Fashion design studies: a designer sketches a dress.

Careers in fashion design: working as a fashion designer, fashion tailor, jewellery designer & more

Do you want to work with fashion and develop designs that have a ‘wow‘ factor? Then how about a career in fashion design? In this field, you can put your creative ideas into practice in many ways and make unique and stunning clothes. To give you an overview of the jobs in fashion design, we have compiled a list of the most popular jobs in the industry. Among other things, the article has information about fashion designers, fashion illustrators and jewellery designers. In addition, we will inform you about the general requirements for each profession, as well as the different training opportunities and career prospects.

What is fash­ion de­sign?

Fashion design means designing and creating all kinds of products within the fashion industry. This includes clothing, shoes and accessories. The type of fashion collections ranges from children, women and men to sportswear and workwear.

In addition to the classic fashion designer profession, many other jobs deal with the design of clothing. These include jewellery designers, fashion illustrators, shoemakers and textile cutters.

Fash­ion de­sign ca­reers: What you need to know

We have gathered some of the most popular career paths in the fashion industry.

Be­come a fash­ion de­sign­er

As a fashion designer you would be the creative head of a fashion collection responsible for creating original designs. Where does the inspiration for this come from? Many fashion designers study the upcoming fashion trends intensively and frequently read fashion magazines. Others find their ideas in their immediate environment through people, nature, shapes and colours.

Once you have found your inspiration, it's time to create a concept by putting your ideas on paper and creating technical illustrations on the computer. Materials and accessories can now be selected to match your designs. You can then create samples of your designs, which are to be tried on by models and adjusted if necessary. Once your creations have been approved, it gets even more exciting as your collection can be presented to a professional audience at a fashion show. The next stage is for your designs to go into production.  Production-ready cuts would need to be designed and the production of the garments will then need to be monitored.

Depending on the order, you may have to follow some design specifications laid out by the brand. Different collections may have different requirements, for example, luxury fashion such as haute couture differs from everyday fashion in terms of production numbers and the exclusivity of the fabrics. It is also important during the design process for a collection to be mindful of your budget as you will need to save some of it for the production.

There are many job opportunities open to you as a fashion designer, for example, studios, design departments, production rooms, theatres, film and television productions. If your interest lies more in development, you can also focus on improving existing collections and trend analysis.


Bear in mind that...

When it comes to presenting your collections at a fashion show, things can get a little hectic and you need to be flexible and keep a cool head.


Fashion design course: models showing fashion collections on a catwalk.

How to become a fashion designer: an overview

  • Training options: fashion design apprenticeship; fashion design degree course.

  • Good to know: if you want to study fashion design, you may need to take an aptitude test at a university. They test your skills, for example, your creative talent and your ability to grasp concepts. You will also have to submit a portfolio with some work samples. It is a good idea to start making your own sketches and drafts as soon as possible.

An ap­pren­tice­ship as a tex­tile and fash­ion tai­lor

Do you like to be creative and want to be involved in producing fashion collections? Then why not turn your dream into a reality and become a textile and fashion tailor. In this profession, you would be guided by the designer's drafts as you create samples and models of all kinds of clothing for production. In addition to creating templates and sewing, you will be responsible for selecting suitable fabrics and yarns. Accurate cost counting will be an important skill for this profession. Once your samples have been approved, they will go into production. To ensure that the final product is perfect, you would be monitoring the process and checking the quality.


Did you know that...

The occupations of textile and fashion tailor are specialities within the tailoring trade. There are also others, for example, alteration tailors (sewing and fitting textiles) or tailors (designing and making clothes).


A textile and fashion tailor working with patterns on a garment.

What is needed to become a textile and fashion tailor:

  • Career entry: training as a textile and fashion tailor

  • Good to know: if you want to complete a dual training programme, you will need to sign a contract with your training provider.

  • We recommend that you take up textiles and fashion trends as a hobby to get a good start on your apprenticeship.

Be­come a fash­ion il­lus­tra­tor

If you love to draw clothes, shoes and accessories then becoming a fashion illustrator may be the perfect role for you. The aim is to capture the essence of the collection so that it gives a positive feeling to the potential customers. In some cases, you would highlight certain details. Many fashion illustrators develop their own style over time, giving their drawings a signature look. However, depending on the assignment, illustrations may need to be more technical and accurate. Your drawing talent could be used in magazines, online or for adverts.

What is needed to become a fashion illustrator

  • Training paths: training in fashion design, fashion design studies and graphic design

  • Good to know: It’s a good idea to get to grips with different drawing techniques early on, for example, 3D images or shadow and light effects. Combine this with an interest in CAD software and fashion trends and you will have a good head start on your apprenticeship as a fashion illustrator.

Ap­pren­tice­ship as a shoe­mak­er: mak­ing unique shoes

Do you have an interest in shoes and genuine craftsmanship? Then an apprenticeship as a shoemaker could be a good choice. You would make unique, custom-made shoes, such as low heel shoes, heeled shoes or boots. Dance shoes, such as ballet shoes, could also be an area of expertise.

Depending on the customer's request will define the type of shoe, material, colour and fitting. You would then make a one-off shoe using the precise feet measurements. Other tasks of a shoemaker may include shoe repairs and manufacturing soles, shoe elevators or buffer heels.

What is needed to become a shoemaker

  • Starting a career: apprenticeship as a shoemaker

  • Good to know: if you want to become a shoemaker, you should work on your technical understanding and workshop skills.

Tip: If you want to work in a more creative role, focus on training such as shoe design or shoe technology. Devote time to unusual designs and explore the design departments of fashion brands.

Jew­ellery De­sign Stud­ies

Are fashion accessories your thing? Then how about becoming a jewellery designer? You would be making special pieces of jewellery from precious metals, precious stones or even plastic. There is a difference between making unique pieces and mas producing items, however, the design process is the same.  First, you sketch your idea and work with the customer to finalise it. Next, choose the materials for the jewellery, for example, gold or glass. Then you make a precise drawing to produce the items. This should include exact details for the production.

In addition to making jewellery, you would also be responsible for repairing and maintaining items. As a jewellery designer, you can work in jewellery shops, jewellery workshops or ateliers.

A young woman working on the production of silver jewellery.

What is needed to become a jewellery designer:

  • Training path: a goldsmith apprenticeship specialising in jewellery design studies.

  • Good to know: at some universities, you can be accepted onto a jewellery design degree programme if you have completed an apprenticeship and you have some work experience.

  • What you should bring with you: a general interest in materials such as gemstones and plastics, stamina (for longer work in the workshop), and diligence. As you will be working a lot with machines and image processing software, you should also have a good technical understanding.

Ca­reer prospects in fash­ion de­sign

With training in fashion design, you will have a range of career paths with publishing houses, fashion brands, textile manufacturers and film and television productions. Career opportunities are also good for people wishing to change careers from other industries who have expertise in the field of design.

However, new technologies are also causing companies to rethink their approach. For example, technologies in the field of tailoring can automatically convert body measurements into digital designs. This step saves time and allows designs to go into production more quickly.

Con­clu­sion: How to find your dream job in fash­ion de­sign

You can live out your creative passions in the field of fashion design in many ways. Depending on whether you want to design collections, tailor or focus on illustration you will have different career options working with fashion. If you are fascinated by shoes and accessories, you will probably feel at home working as a shoemaker or jewellery designer. What you should bring with you to all fashion design professions is a sense of aesthetics, technical understanding and manual dexterity. Combine this with your enthusiasm for fashion and you'll be ready for a successful career start in the fashion industry!

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(Accessed on 09.07.2022)

(Accessed on 09.07.2022)

(Accessed on 09.07.2022)

Image sources: Peretiatko