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Fashion Design Careers

photo of a model on a runway

El Centro's Fashion Design and Fashion Marketing programs work in tandem to provide students with integrated skills.

Fashion Design 

  • Computer aided design software
  • Fashion design of original garments
  • Pattern making and draping
  • Product development
  • Sewing skills
  • Sketching
  • Textiles
  • Mass production 

Fashion Marketing

  • Fashion marketing
  • Merchandising
  • Promotion and branding
  • Styling
  • Visual merchandising and display
  • Department management 

Careers

Fashion or apparel designers develop style trends into marketable designs for the fashion industry. An academic background in fashion design will help you understand the garment production process as well as the business of consumer demand. Successful fashion designers have:
 
  • Strong business sense
  • Good communication skills
  • Creativity with the ability to visualize
  • A sense of innovation and competition
  • Solid drawing and sewing skills
  • A good eye for anticipating fashion trends
  • The ability to be a team player
 
Pattern makers create industrial paper patterns from sketches or original garments to be used in the production of clothing. Patternmaking combines creative right-brain skills with precise and logical left-brain skills. A degree equips you with sewing and patternmaking skills, as well as a working knowledge of color and textiles. Patternmakers should have:
 
  • Strong mathematical skills for precision measuring and cutting
  • An aptitude for problem-solving
  • Knowledge of textiles, sewing and patternmaking
  • The ability to work with a wide variety of people and personalities
  • A genuine interest in fashion, fit and technical solutions
  • Results-oriented work ethic
 
Apparel product developers are in charge of turning design concepts into tangible products for retail sale. They are responsible for taking a designer’s specifications forward: costing, managing quality control, working with factories, maintaining production schedules and following through with the product life management (PLM) cycle. This hybrid job is more of a business than an art, the merchandising and business side of the fashion equation. Product developers should have:
 
  • The ability to communicate and negotiate with a variety of creative and business people
  • A solid business background with understanding of budget constraints and forecasting
  • The ability to work under pressure and within tight timelines
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills with an eye for detail
  • Perseverance and follow-through for a possibly lengthy product life management (PLM) cycle 

According to America’s Career Infonet, these occupations offer the following average salaries in Texas:

Job Average
Hourly Rate
Annual Salary Projected Growth Through 2020
Art directors $31.25 $65,000 +16%
Fashion and apparel patternmakers $13.26 $27,600  N/A
Fashion designers $24.24 $50,400 +10%
Marketing managers $59.08 $122,900 +18%

Tailors, dressmakers and custom sewers

$10.64 $22,100 +11%
Wholesale and retail buyers $25.44 $52,900 +15%

 Note: these are standardized salary guides; the best source for the local market may be found with references from your professors. Demand is currently high for patternmakers, who may actually earn more money than designers.