Login

High Fashion Designer: Job Outlook & Career Requirements

High fashion designers create one-of-kind garment or clothing prototypes for clients and retail establishments. Continue reading for more information about required skills and job responsibilities, as well as the career prospects and salary potential in the creative field of fashion design.

View popular schools

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Advertising and Commercial Design
  • Commercial Photography
  • Fashion Design
  • General Visual Communications Design
  • Graphic Design
  • Illustration and Drawing
  • Industrial Design
  • Interior Design and Decorating

Career Definition for a High Fashion Designer

High fashion designers use their eye for fashion to conceptualize and create designs for the runway and retail. Responsibilities include studying fashion trends, making sketches, choosing materials and producing prototypes. In more senior roles at larger apparel companies, fashion designers often focus on creating the initial design and overseeing a team who executes it. Some fashion designers might specialize in a particular area, such as clothing, footwear or accessories design.

Education Formal education not commonly required
Job Skills Adaptable, artistic, computer skills, interpersonal skills
Median Salary (2015) $63,670 (all fashion designers)
Job Growth (2014-2024) 3% (all fashion designers)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Formal education is not required, but a 2-year or 4-year degree in fashion design, fashion merchandising or fine art can be a boon to job-seekers, according to the Princeton Review (www.princetonreview.com). Fashion design programs often include internships, which provide beginning professionals with the opportunity to gain real-world experience, develop a portfolio and network with industry leaders. Relevant coursework typically includes training in drawing, color theory, textiles, trend forecasting, marketing and business.

Skills Required

A career in fashion design requires a high degree of adaptability and perseverance. Designers often work by contract, and hours can be unpredictable and demanding. Fashion designers must also possess a diverse skill set that includes proficiency with both hand sketching and computer-aided design (CAD) programs, familiarity with materials and textiles, an understanding of the fashion industry and sewing experience. A basic knowledge of manufacturing and an aptitude for marketing and business can also help designers advance in the field.

Career Outlook and Salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted 3% growth in employment prospects for fashion designers nationwide during the 2014-2024 decade. Although the field is competitive, experienced designers with strong portfolios should enjoy the best opportunities. The BLS reported in 2015 that fashion designers made a median annual wage of $63,670, and the top 10% had earnings of $125,270 and above (www.bls.gov).

Alternate Career Options

Those seeking to become high fashion designers may consider other occupations in the fashion industry, including industrial design, as well as jewelry and gem design.

Industrial Designers

Industrial designers use their understanding of art and engineering to develop concepts and prototypes for everyday consumer products, including appliances, cars, toys and other goods. Entry-level requirements usually include a bachelor's degree in architecture, engineering or industrial design. The BLS has projected a 2%, or slower-than-average, increase in jobs for industrial designers nationwide between 2014 and 2024. In May 2015, commercial and industrial designers received median yearly salaries of $67,130, with those in the highest 10% earning $104,730 (www'bls.gov).

Jewelers and Precious Stone and Metal Workers

Jewelers and precious stone and metal workers create, repair and sell jewelry. While most jewelry and gem designers and workers acquire their training on the job, formal instruction can also be found at art or trade schools. According to the BLS, job opportunities for jewelers and precious stone and metal workers across the country are expected to decrease by 11% between 2014 and 2024, due primarily to overseas production. As of May 2015, professionals in this field earned median annual wages of $37,060, with those in the top 10% earning $67,210 (www.bls.gov).

Next: View Schools

What is your highest level of education?

Some College
Complete your degree or find the graduate program that's right for you.
High School Diploma
Explore schools that offer bachelor and associate degrees.
Still in High School
Earn your diploma of GED. Plan your undergraduate education.

Schools you may like:

Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.

Find your perfect school

What is your highest level of education?