Fashion Design for the Everyday Woman

by Sarah Clark
Fashion School Review Columnist

March 28, 2007

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The fashion industry has cultivated a well-earned reputation of being unabashedly elitist. Catering to socialites, trust-fund kids, and ladies of leisure, the fashion industry may have clung to an air of superiority. But that's changing as greater numbers of top-tier fashion designers create looks within the majority's reach.

Not long ago, the pages of Vogue were cluttered with advertisements for top labels with four-figure price tags. In those days, one could guess why anyone would bother shelling out a few bucks for a magazine filled with pictures of things very few people could ever afford.

Fashion Design for Everyone?
Today, those same ads are still featured - including shoes for thousands of dollars that look frighteningly uncomfortable and purses that cost more than a down-payment on a home - but something new has been introduced in the way of style-conscious clothing for people of average means. Now when you thumb through Vogue's hallowed pages, you'll find advertisements featuring fashions designed by top designers like Proenza Schouler and Isaac Mizrahi.

New Opportunities for Careers in Fashion
Fashion school students might find this news extraordinarily exciting. When people start taking an interest in fashion design, and the markets respond to their demand, opportunities for careers in fashion can flourish. No longer do fashion school graduates have to work at top fashion houses to do interesting work. Now they can pitch collections to Macy's, Target, and even Wal-Mart.

Of course, you also have low-cost retailers like H&M and Zara that early on identified a big market shift the larger fashion industry was carelessly overlooking. For years they've been selling trendy, affordable designer clothes for low prices. In fact, H&M recently featured lines by Stella McCartney and design duo Viktor and Rolf.

Careers in fashion have never been more exciting and more down-to-earth. Besides, what fashion school graduate wouldn't want to see their designs sported on main streets across the country? That kind of wide-spread approval is tough to beat.

About the Author
Sarah Clark is a freelance writer specializing in career development and postsecondary education.

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