Fashion Industry FAQ

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Can I get a fashion degree even if I don't live in a big fashion community?

Fashion is a part of life everywhere in the country, not just big cities like New York City and Los Angeles. Fashion designers are needed for clothing that normal people wear every day. While the runway is what most people think of when they think of fashion, the clothing that normal people wear everyday is produced by fashion designers. In recent years, there has been a large movement that supports local fashion designers. This has allowed many fashion designers from small towns to thrive.

The same is true for fashion merchandising and marketing. These positions support fashion designers and retailers. Even the smallest clothing stores need merchandisers and display specialists that can create attractive displays that compel customers to buy. The skills you learn while earning a fashion degree can be applied to a wide variety of fulfilling, exciting careers.

What type of traits do I need to be a successful fashion designer?

Fashion design may be one of the most popular fashion degrees. However, before committing to a fashion design degree, you may want to know if you have the traits needed to survive in this field. Here's a sampling of the traits you need as a designer:

• Tenacity: As a fashion designer, your designs may be shot down on a frequent basis by supervisors and clients. However, it's just part of the business. You should be able to keep working and aiming to satisfy clients without taking criticism personally.

• Creativity: Fashion companies don't want to hire someone that can mimic yesterday's biggest trends; they want someone whose mind is already on tomorrow's buyers and what they will want to wear. You learn many of these skills in school, but if you are generally an "out of the box" thinker, you may do well as a designer.

• Ability to work under pressure: Deadlines and rapidly changing demands are part of the fashion industry. You should be able to focus during stressful situations and get work done, rather than crumbling under the pressure.

• Able to work with others: In many cases, fashion designers work in teams to create new lines or meet clients' requests. You should be able to contribute to a group while listening and considering others' ideas.

• Flexible: Your job tasks may change from day to day, particularly in an entry-level fashion design position. It is important to roll with the punches and do your work to the best of your ability.

• Artistic: Fashion designers need to be able to sketch their designs and sew them. You may learn lots of this in fashion school, but it definitely helps to already have some artistic skills.

What kind of jobs can I get after graduation?

Every fashion degree can teach you valuable, marketable skills that can be applied to other fields. If you major in fashion design, you may be able to find entry-level designer work. These jobs are typically at wholesalers, manufacturers, or specialized costume shops.

If you earn a fashion marketing degree, you may work as a marketer at a fashion company, a marketing firm, or a retailer. Common job titles include fashion marketer, marketing specialist, marketing analyst, and public relations specialist.

Fashion merchandising degrees are very flexible. You might work as a merchandise displayer, window trimmer, retail supervisor or store manager, corporate buyer, wholesale purchaser, or merchandising specialist.

How can I get the most from my fashion education?

Networking and experience are two of the most important parts of the fashion industry. You should try very hard to complete an internship, practicum, or study tour while in school. These options give you experience and help you network at the same time. Study tours tend to give you more experience in national or international fashion, while internships get you involved in the fashion industry on a local level.

You can also network by joining local fashion groups, attending fashion shows in your area, and becoming part of fashion week events in your state. These experiences help you apply your education and prepare for the job search after graduation.

What national fashion groups can I become a part of?

Joining fashion groups can bolster your confidence, help you participate in special events, and help you start networking early in your career. Two of the biggest groups are the Fashion Industry Association and Fashion Group International.

While national and international groups are important, don't overlook the value of joining fashion groups in your city or state. These groups can often be essential in helping you find internship opportunities and open jobs.