Training as a fashion photographer: a young photographer doing a photo shoot with a female model at a photo studio.

Creative Roles in the Fashion Industry: Working as a visual merchandiser, fashion photographer or as a fashion journalist

Are you creative and passionate about fashion? How about a creative role in the fashion industry? Nowadays, there is a wide range of opportunities for creativity in the fashion industry, where you can show off your creative skills. In the following article, you will find out more about the different creative jobs in the fashion industry such as a visual merchandiser or fashion journalist. Additionally, we will also give you some further information on the different training opportunities available, as well as the skills you will need for each job.

What cre­ative roles are there in the fash­ion in­dus­try?

There are various jobs in the fields of textile technologyfashion management and fashion design, however there are also a range of other jobs in the fashion industry, which focus on clothes production and creativity. Depending on your qualifications there are various jobs in fashion boutiquespublishing companies or at art colleges. Costume designers, fashion photographers and fashion journalists play an important role in the fashion industry. Nowadays there are plenty of opportunities for people who are looking for a career change. Depending on your skills and personality you may be able to make it in the fashion industry.


Did you know that...

Over the last couple of years, a lot of people who are passionate about fashion have set up their own businesses and are now working as personal stylists or as fashion influencers. They use their experience and outreach on social media to collaborate with different fashion brands, share fashion tips and inspire their community.


Cre­ative jobs in the fash­ion in­dus­try: From vi­su­al mer­chan­dis­er to cos­tume de­sign­er

We have put together some key information to give you an insight into the different creative jobs in the fashion industry:

Visual merchandiser training: a young woman in a shop checking the product presentation.

What is the job role of a visual merchandiser?

When working as a visual merchandiser, the shop is your personal advertising space. You will need to create decorations for the shop window, posters or signs, which will act as a form of advertisement to grab the customer’s attention. It is important to stick to the planned budget for advertising and keep in mind the specific retail requirements whilst planning: What type of lighting is available in the shop? What structural aspects need to be considered? Most importantly, the company’s brand identity needs to be recognisable through the advertising concept. A visual merchandiser also needs to do market research. This is important because you will then know how to develop promising advertising strategies, what the current trends are and what would appeal to your target group.  

Here are the most important skills needed to work as a visual merchandiser:

  • Natural creative ability with designs and aesthetics

  • Planning and organising skills

  • Communication skills

  • Willingness to travel

What is the job role of a fash­ion pho­tog­ra­ph­er?

You have a talent for taking fantastic photos and you would like to combine this with your passion for fashion? If so, then training to be a fashion photographer is perfect for you. Normally, you will start with basic training and then afterwards you can choose to specialise in fashion photography. During your training, you will learn about composition, lighting and how to create a motif. You will also learn how to professionally edit pictures and print them to a high standard.  

As a fashion photographer you will be hired by different clients to do a lot of different photo shoots, for example for fashion magazines, fashion shows or film productions. Switching over to become a commercial photographer is possible because you will also be doing photo shoots for products for online retail.

Here are the most important skills needed in order to work as a fashion photographer:

  • A good eye for fashion and aesthetics

  • A good technical understanding of image editing programs and camera systems

  • Communication skills

  • Flexibility


Bear in mind that...

If you would like to become a fashion photographer, you need to be aware that there are no regular working hours. Photoshoots can be in the evenings or even on weekends, depending on the client’s request.


What is the job role of a fash­ion jour­nal­ist?

If you would describe yourself as open-minded, enthusiastic and you are eager to learn, then the job role of a fashion journalist is perfect for you. They work at agencies, in publishing houses and in online media as well as in television and radio. Most fashion journalists have completed basic training in journalism and then specialise in fashion. You would inform readers and viewers about the latest fashion trends as well as the different social events in the world of fashion.

An insight into a fashion journalist’s working tasks:

  • Extensive research on different fashion topics

  • Carry out expert interviews, for example with designers

  • Attend special events such as fashion shows

  • Create content for articles, reports, documentaries and podcasts

  • Edit content for online versions


Don't forget...

Anybody can call themselves a fashion journalist as the job doesn’t have a protected title. If you would like to get your foot in the door it is important to complete a thorough training programme and to gain some good experience.


A fashion journalist interviewing an elegantly dressed lady on the red carpet.

Here are the most important skills needed to work as a fashion photographer:

  • A good eye for interesting topics

  • Strong communication skills

  • Talent for writing

  • Strong interest in the fashion industry

What is the job role of a cos­tume de­sign­er?

Are shows, costumes and theatre productions your thing? Then working as a costume designer will certainly get your creative juices flowing. You will need to create costumes for theatre productions, opera or for film and television studios. You will design the costumes, order the different materials needed to create them, carry out the fittings and oversee the costume stock. Make sure to keep your budget in mind whilst doing the different tasks.

Here are the most important skills needed to work as a costume designer:

  • Strong creative skills to design costumes based on texts

  • Arts and crafts skills

  • An Interest in cultural history and materials science

Work­ing as a vi­su­al mer­chan­dis­er, cos­tume de­sign­er and oth­er sim­i­lar roles: ap­pren­tice­ships and cours­es

You will need to complete a course of studies or an apprenticeship if you would like to work in a creative job role in the fashion industry. As part of the admission, a lot of colleges require and expect you to have some experience in one of the job fields listed in this article. The earlier you start gaining experience, the better. How can you gain enough experience? It is a good idea to start sooner rather than later by putting your own portfolio together and improving your skills. Apprenticeships will help you to gain experience and network with others in the fashion industry.  Another option is to pursue fashion as a hobby by creating a blog or having an account on social media, which focuses on fashion.

If you have decided that you would like to work in one of these creative job roles, there are various routes, which you can go down to get your foot in the door:

  • Visual merchandiser: basic training as a designer for visual marketing and then further training in visual merchandising; course of studies in marketing or product design

  • Fashion photographer: training in photography or a course in photography

  • Fashion journalist: training in journalism; a course in media studies, communication studies or journalism

  • Costume designer: stage and costume designer studies, fashion design

Ca­reer prospects for cre­ative jobs in the fash­ion in­dus­try

In many areas of the fashion industry, creative jobs are in demand. These jobs are in different job fields such as fashion brands, textile manufacturers, magazines, agencies, TV or radio. You will have a wide selection of employers to choose from. In addition to a permanent position, you can also become self-employed and work as a service provider. A good example of this would be a fashion photographer.

In general, creative professions within the fashion industry are constantly evolving, and new job profiles have emerged, for example as an online fashion stylist or as a fashion content creator.

Con­clu­sion: fash­ion pho­tog­ra­ph­er, vi­su­al mer­chan­dis­er or cos­tume de­sign­er? This is how you can find a suit­able cre­ative job role in the fash­ion in­dus­try

If you are passionate about fashion and like to be creative, there are a lot of exciting professions to discover besides classic fashion design. When working as a visual merchandiser, you will be designing advertising spaces. Whereas if you work as a fashion photographer you will be getting hired for photoshoots. If you enjoy creative writing, maybe the job role as a fashion journalist would be perfect for you. In this role, you would inform your target audience about the latest news from the world of fashion. If you have great ideas and a good imagination, then the job role as a costume designer would be perfect for you. In this job role, you would design and create costumes for theatre productions and film studios. You will find the perfect position in the fashion industry if you focus on your strengths and do something you are passionate about.

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Image sources: Bradbury