San Francisco: Fashion Design in the Bay Area

by Sarah Faulkner
Fashion School Review Columnist

January 10, 2007

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Think living in foggy San Francisco means wearing dumpy jackets and heavy jeans all the time? Well, think again. It's an exciting time to be designing fashion in San Francisco. The city is buzzing with fresh new talent and innovative fashion trends. Just look at this group of San Francisco fashion designers who're making waves around the Bay: Colleen Quen, Richard Hallmarq, Lily Samii, Cari Borja, and Erin Mahoney. These designers are crafting unique styles and making cool cash for their creative efforts.

For those considering a career in fashion design, it's a creatively and financially great time to jump in. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that fashion designers made an annual average of $55,840 in May 2004, with the highest 10 percent earning more than $112,840. Look out Calvin Klein and Betsy Johnson - here you come!

New 2007 Trends
During San Francisco Fashion Week in August 2006, designers gave trendsetters a sneak peek at what to expect for fashion styles in 2007. Here are the most notable:

  • Long, silhouetted dresses that cinch under the breast and flow past the ankles are in. Whether the top of the dress is strapless, has thick straps, or short cap sleeves, the A-line structure crosses 1950s glamour with 1970s hippie culture.
  • The mini was first seen in 2006, but put aside the denim skirts and leggings because the 2007 minis are short, mod tunics and long-sleeve dresses that hit right below the hip. You'll be summoning the spirit of the 1960s with this look.
  • Wild prints are back. Runways were ablaze with geometric, floral, and animal prints that flouted inhibition.
  • Flirty lace, satin, and romantic layering gave a Victorian feel to women's A-line skirts and tight, high-collared blouses.
  • Fitted shirts are back in full force. Men catwalked in tight, cotton, collared shirts of army colors in green, gray and periwinkle blues, paired with classic, fitted jeans.

Fashion Design Blueprints
The fashion industry attracts a wide number of potential designers because of its reputation for glitz and glamour, but becoming a fashion designer requires hard work and follow-through. Nearly all designers who exhibited collections at San Francisco Fashion Week started as design students in fashion school. Most fashion designers earn a degree from a fashion school to cement their position as a top contender within the business.

According to the BLS, job outlook for fashion designers remains fiercely competitive, so you'll need fashion school to give you an edge. The good news is that San Francisco has a number of fashion schools for potential design students. At school, design students take classes in color, cuts, and fabric, as well as how to forge new fashion currents and develop a personal style. The BLS reports: "Few job openings arise because of low job turnover and a small number of new openings created every year." You'll increase your chance of success by developing fashion expertise as a design student in fashion school


About the Author
Sarah Faulkner teaches composition at Texas State University, San Marcos. Her previous resume includes covering municipal politics for The San Francisco Bay Guardian, and news and features for various bi-weekly newspapers. Sarah holds a B.A. in English fr

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