Menswear designers must have fashion sense as well as an understanding of the market for men's clothes. They usually need an undergraduate degree in fashion design or a related field. Potential fashion design students generally need a portfolio of designs as part of their application to these programs.
Menswear designers conceive the construction and look of clothing intended for men. Designers may focus on one type of clothing, such as sportswear, or choose to design many different styles of garments. These professionals typically complete an associate's or bachelor's degree program in fashion design. They often begin their careers as sewers or pattern makers before advancing to head design positions.
|Required Education||Associate's or bachelor's degree in fashion design|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)||3% (for fashion designers)*|
|Median Salary (2015)||$63,670 (for fashion designers)*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Education Requirements for Menswear Designers
Menswear degree programs are not easy to find; however, courses in menswear often are included in traditional fashion design curricula. Most fashion design programs are offered by art and design schools. A portfolio demonstrating one's artistic ability and creativity generally is required for entrance to these programs.
Through an associate's or bachelor's program in fashion design, aspiring menswear designers typically gain broad knowledge of fashion, including past and current industry trends. Coursework often covers traditional and computer-aided design (CAD) techniques, sewing, tailoring and pattern making. Fashion design programs also can aid prospective designers in creating, presenting, marketing and ultimately selling their collections. Students may take additional courses in marketing, business, English, psychology and anatomy.
Career Information for Menswear Designers
Prospective menswear designers may benefit from internship opportunities and retail, styling or tailoring experience. Employers often seek designers familiar with a range of accessories, textiles and fabrics. Beginning designers may find themselves working as sketch artists, sewers or pattern makers. With experience, they might advance to head design positions with design companies, or they may work for independent designers or themselves. Menswear designers also might work for wholesalers or manufacturers.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2014, very little employment growth was predicted for the fashion design industry through 2024; in fact, job openings for fashion designers were expected to increase by 3%. However, those working in the wholesale apparel industry may experience better opportunities. In 2015, the BLS reported an annual median salary of $63,670 for fashion designers in general.
Duties of a Menswear Designer
Head menswear designers may be charged with the creative direction of a clothing line, from creating designs to choosing fabrics and colors. At larger firms, they also might supervise design assistants or technical designers, who construct the finished products.
Independent menswear designers might operate their own retail stores or design lines for department stores. This typically requires many years of experience, as well as a steady list of clientele.
Menswear designers employed by manufacturers or wholesalers usually design for mass appeal. They create pieces that can be translated into a variety of colors and sizes. At every level, whether designing dress shoes or sportswear, menswear designers must be able to balance their unique vision with what's in demand.
Menswear designers need to hold either an associate's or bachelor's degree. They often start as pattern makers or sewers before advancing to design positions. Employment openings for designers are expected to grow more slowly than the overall job market, with preference going to experienced designers who can demonstrate excellent design skills.