Should I Become a Fashion Manufacturer?
Fashion manufacturers manage or are directly involved in the production of clothing, which might include cutting fabrics or sewing clothes. Those involved in apparel production convert fabrics into wearable products according to the specifications set by fashion designers. They might manufacture ready-to-wear apparel or custom apparel for individuals. Some fashion manufacturers lead teams of production workers and are often involved in the supply chain and sourcing decisions.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the average annual salary for cut and sew apparel manufacturing was $23,560.
|Degree Level||High school diploma or equivalent; bachelor's for management positions|
|Degree Fields||Apparel or fashion management or a related field|
|Experience||3-5 years for management positions|
|Key Skills||Ability to use and maintain fashion manufacturing equipment; critical thinking, problem-solving, basic math, and communication skills|
|Salary||$23,560 (average salary for cut and sew apparel manufacturers)|
Sources: ONet Online, The Princeton Review (2014 job postings), U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2015)
For this career, you'll need at least a high school diploma, but you'll need a bachelor's degree in apparel or fashion management or a related field for management positions. In addition, management positions require 3-5 years of experience. For any position you'll need the ability to use and maintain fashion manufacturing equipment along with critical thinking, problem solving, basic math and communication skills.
Steps to Become a Fashion Manufacturer
Let's see what steps you'll need to take to become a fashion manufacturer.
Step 1: Obtain a High School Diploma
According to ONet Online, many workers directly involved in the manufacture of clothing need a medium amount or less of preparation to enter this field. Sewing and textile machine operators often need just a high school diploma and can acquire skills on the job. Other production workers that need at least a high school diploma include pattern makers, textile cutters, sewing machine operators, pressers, and inspectors.
Step 2: Get On-the-Job Training
Fashion manufacturers commonly earn their skills through on-the-job training. Entry-level jobs in one of the manufacturing disciplines can help you learn to use equipment specific to the fashion industry while honing your teamwork, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. Pattern makers, for example, can learn how to draft original patterns, determine dimensions of patterns to meet size requirements and use drafting equipment or pattern software.
Step 3: Complete a Bachelor's Degree Program
You may wish to pursue bachelor's degrees in production management with a concentration in fashion or in apparel production and industry management. Coursework may cover topics such as product costs, textile construction, facilities management, marketing methods, total quality management and design strategies. Such courses could help prepare you to manage manufacturing plants by providing training in strategic planning, budgeting and maintaining cost-efficient operations.
To become a fashion manufacturer, you'll need to check into the education requirements, obtain training and experience in the field, and consider a bachelor's degree if you want to advance into management.