What Is a Fashion Design Degree?
Fashion design is the art of designing and manufacturing clothing and accessories, including jewellery, hats, shoes, ties and belts. Fashion is a highly competitive field, with new designers attempting to enter the market every day. Successful fashion design is a combination of skill and talent – coupled with a little luck. Students wishing to become fashion designers should definitely focus on developing their skills by earning their fashion design degree to give them an edge over their competition.
A fashion design degree prepares students to enter into the field with the highest skill set possible. The degree coursework also teaches them how to fine-tune their talents, making both skill and talent work to their advantage. This is critical when entering a field as subjective as fashion design. The student must understand every aspect of the industry, both good and bad, before he or she will be equipped to succeed in it.
Fashion is driven by popularity and social class. The fashion industry is a very fickle industry, and new designers must learn how to navigate through the oftentimes temperamental world of fashion in a sink or swim fashion – there’s no getting your feet wet here. Fashion moves at lightening paces, and designers must keep up with it in order to stay on the top of their market.
Fashion Design Job Opportunities
There are three types of fashion designers that graduating students might become: high street fashion, ready-to-wear and haute couture designers. Unless the graduate is an idiot savant, he or she will not likely begin their careers designing haute couture. Fashion designers usually start off designing high street fashion.
High street fashion is the everyday-wear crucial to the masses. It is designed for everybody in every price range. It is mass produced for retail and is usually influenced by current trends. High street fashion is the least specialised of the types of fashion design, because it must appeal to all demographics, not just those who can afford haute couture.
Ready-to-wear fashion design is also referred to as prêt-à-porter, and is more exclusive than high street fashion, but not as exclusive as haute couture. Ready-to-wear appeals to a smaller crowd who can afford more luxurious and expensive clothing, and is often featured on the catwalks and in fashion magazines.
Haute couture is the crème-de-la-crème of fashion design and also the most expressive. An haute couture gown, for example, is designed by fashion’s top designers and is hand-made from head to toe, including any embroidery, lace work or beading. The gowns are usually statement pieces, incredibly expensive and worn by only the wealthiest and fashion elite.
Graduates of fashion design who go to work for a fashion house or manufacturer will begin their careers earning salaries that range from £14,000 to £22,000. This is an entry-level salary, and within three to four years, the designer should be promoted to a junior designer and earn anywhere from £25,000 to £45,000. With greater experience come the senior and head designer titles and a salary of £45,000 to £85,000
Because online retailing has boomed in the 21st Century, many fashion designers choose to work as self-employed, rather than design for someone else. Salaries for self-employed fashion designers are hard to quantify, as it depends on the designer’s ability to establish his or her own client base and market the designs successfully.
Fashion Design Curriculum
Fashion design curriculum includes learning about fashion design, working with various fabrics and garment manufacturing techniques and also working with woven and printed textiles. Fashion is a very broad and interpretive art form, and students are tasked with designing fashion from any number of materials, challenging their creativity and sewing ability. Other curriculum includes learning how the industry works from the business perspective.
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