Information on Fashion Designing for Aspiring Students

In this lesson, you'll learn about the types of certificates or degrees you can earn and what courses you'll take in a fashion design program, which can help you prepare for a career in apparel design, patternmaking or production management.

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  • 0:04 Fashion Design Programs
  • 0:32 Levels of Study
  • 1:26 Sample Coursework
  • 1:58 Career Information

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Fashion Design Programs

Fashion design, sometimes referred to as apparel or clothing design, involves the process of envisioning, designing, producing and marketing clothing. Students in fashion design programs become familiar with the different steps in the creative processes, while developing technical skills. Many schools offer instruction in fashion and apparel design, including traditional 4-year universities, 2-year community colleges and private institutions.

Degree Levels

Credentials in fashion design are offered at multiple levels, including the certificate, associate's degree, bachelor's degree and master's degree levels. Certificate programs may be suitable for students seeking a basic understanding of garment construction. Associate's degree programs also provide introductory training in fashion design and may lead to an Associate of Science, an Associate of Applied Science or an Associate of Fine Arts.

Bachelor's and master's degree programs in fashion design focus on more advanced skills in fashion design theory, history and construction, as well as related skills in marketing, retailing and business. Degree programs offered at the bachelor's level usually lead to a Bachelor of Fine Arts or a Bachelor of Science; both degree programs require similar coursework. The most common degrees offered at the master's degree level are a Master of Fine Arts and Master of Arts.

Sample Coursework

Students completing associate's and bachelor's degree programs in fashion or apparel design typically fulfill both general education and major coursework requirements. Graduate programs focus on advanced topics and usually culminate in a thesis project in the form of a fashion collection or exhibition. Some examples of course requirements included at both the undergraduate and graduate levels are:

  • Design illustration
  • Textile analysis
  • Clothing design studio
  • Fashion trend forecasting
  • Clothing product development
  • Merchandising

Career Information for Fashion Designers

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that most fashion designers need to earn a bachelor's degree to be competitive in the job market. Job opportunities for fashion designers were expected to increase by 3% from 2014-2024. Employment was highly concentrated in states like California and New York. As of 2015, the BLS stated that fashion designers earned a median annual income of $63,670.

Let's recap what we discussed in this lesson. Fashion design programs can lead to a certificate or an associate's, a bachelor's or a master's degree. Through 2024, job openings were expected to increase by just 3% for fashion designers, who earned a median annual salary of $63,670 in May 2015.

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