Getting Started in Fashion Design

The runway, cameras, models and lights are enough to intoxicate anyone. But, fashion is about more than being part of the latest trendy fashion show. It’s about putting great ideas on people. The fashion industry has many jobs and many levels. For example, there’s the latest hot Italian designer and there the designer who sells out by moving clothes to the local budget-friendly department store.

Getting your foot in the fashion door can be a challenging task, especially if your goal is to be a fashion designer. You can help your cause greatly by creating designs to show off. This applies even if you’re looking to get into a design school. While you can go the traditional paper and pencil route, there’s a plethora of software out there that can make the job easier and help you improve your designs.

You want your portfolio to look like you, not a cheap copy of whatever is hot at the time. It should show that you have the ability to understand colors, know how to solve fashion problems and display your textile knowledge.

Here’s a great fashion business tip. When you’re just starting out, focus on one thing and knock it out of the park. I think what trips up many would-be designers is they try to create entire clothing lines from the start. Do you know who Ralph Lauren is (I hope so)? Guess what. Mr. Lauren got his start by doing just ties, that’s it. So yes, you can start very small and become an icon who’s designs are seen around the world.

In case you’re looking to go the fashion school route, be patient. Remember, in this industry, you’ll have to pay your dues to move up. If a really solid internship opens up, grab it. Yes, it’s not going to pay anything, but the experience you’ll get and the connections you could make might be priceless.

And if you’re not going to school or have been to school already, look to purchase some good supplies, such as design software and get to creating. You’ll need to be good at marketing yourself to move forward.

Lastly, let me leave you with some ideas to get started. One way to improve your chances of success in any industry is to specialize in something. Fashion is no different (again, think of Ralph Lauren). Here are some ideas for specialization: children’s clothing, costume design, footwear, lingerie, sportswear, men’s items (ties, suits, polos, etc), swimwear, uniforms, women’s wear (dresses, suits, etc).