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Fashion/Apparel Design

Program Description

Just the Facts

Fashion/Apparel Design. A program that prepares individuals to apply artistic principles and techniques to the professional design of commercial fashions, apparel, and accessories, and the management of fashion development projects. Includes instruction in apparel design; accessory design; the design of men's', women's', and children's' wear; flat pattern design; computer-assisted design and manufacturing; concept planning; designing in specific materials; labor and cost analysis; history of fashion; fabric art and printing; and the principles of management and operations in the fashion industry.

This program is available in these options:

  • Certificate / Diploma
  • Associate degree
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Graduate Certificate
  • Master's degree
  • Doctoral degree

High School Courses

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See the high school courses recommended for programs in this pathway:

Related Careers

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Related Programs

Often similar programs have different names. Be sure to explore all your options.

Additional Information

Fashion design students get the training, education and experience necessary to sew up stylish careers.

"As long as people wear clothing, there will be a wide array of job openings awaiting new graduates," says Kevin Crouch. He is a fashion design professor at O'More College of Design in Tennessee. He adds that success requires hard work.

Jobs related to the fashion industry are diverse, Paula Funk agrees. She is the bachelor of fine arts program advisor at a university. "Graduates do everything from theater costume design to production of industrial safety-wear," says Funk.

Two-year college diplomas will make sure graduates are well prepared for an entry-level position in fashion. A four-year bachelor's degree will qualify you for most jobs in the industry, but you'll need a master of fine arts degree if you want to teach fashion design at the college level.

Many fashion design programs will want to see your portfolio as part of the application process. Interviews are also common. "We consider a wide range of skills and knowledge in the review, including sewing skills, artistic expertise, math skills, life experience, and both written and oral communication," says Funk.

The fashion industry has both a creative and technical side. You will have to decide which side you are more interested in and match your interest to program offerings.

There are many successful men working in the fashion industry, but men are a significant minority in fashion design courses.

"In the workplace, however, the ratio of female to male employees evens out. At that point, talent, drive and passion determine successful employment, and those qualities are not gender specific," says Kevin Crouch.

Fashion is all about having an edge. Aspiring fashion designers should start early. In high school, take textiles and art classes. You can learn the basics, like operating a sewing machine or fashion sketching.

"A prepared student has an advantage over classmates and a greater ability to develop individual talents," says Crouch.

You should read serious fashion periodicals and learn about the historical evolution of fashion. Become familiar with the names of international and local designers and what they are particularly known for. Try to get a summer job in fashion, a retail store or another art-related field. You can learn the workings of the business at the consumer level.

"Develop a diverse portfolio of garments and fine art," says Funk. "Students who have some understanding of pattern drafting also have an edge, so working with pattern development or even Auto-CAD can be useful."

Many programs cover equipment costs with tuition. Look into the facilities and equipment available to students before you sign up for class.

"Expenses outside of tuition include textbooks, supplies and materials. Costs of these fluctuate considerably, but typically run about $1,400 per semester," says Funk.


Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to Fashion Design Programs, see: Fashion Designers

Fashion Net
Runway photos, biographies and more

Designers A to Z
Find fashion designers, websites and profiles


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