Fashion Design Isn't All Glitz and Glam -- Are You Ready?

by Jessica Santina
Fashion School Review Columnist

March 2, 2009

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So you're completely up to date on Project Runway and America's Top Model. You watch coverage of Fashion Week like it's a soap opera. Now you're sure that fashion design is your true calling. You and about a million other people!

Well, at least 800 of them. According to a 2006 survey of 800 people, fashion design was perceived as the #1 most glamorous job. Unfortunately, though, it also tops the "High Glam, Low Pay" list.

Fashion design can certainly be one of the most exciting careers out there. And if a career in fashion is your passion, it's certainly worth pursuing. But there are some other things you should know about the work you'll be doing -- and you can learn them in fashion school.

Fashion Design's No Catwalk

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Think a career in fashion means trips to Paris, or planning celebrity designs for the Oscars? Think again. Typically, for every 15 minutes you spend at a runway show, you've spent hours, days, or weeks in an office sewing or handling administrative work, or meeting with manufacturers to select materials or do production checks.

You might work 12-hour days, and you'll likely start out as an assistant designer, with a fairly small salary, and you'll have little or no job security. And although you may dream of bringing your avant-garde ideas to life, in reality, fashion design is traditionally less about what you like, and almost entirely about what consumers like.

Fashion School Can Prepare You

This ultra-competitive career in fashion is not for the faint of heart, which is why you formal training can you an edge, and prepare you for real life as a fashion designer.

In fashion school, you can learn about textiles, color theory, patternmaking, and production, not to mention marketing, consumer research, computer skills, and more. By the time you graduate, you should have a very real perception of life as a fashion designer, and have what it takes to get started.


About the Author
Jessica Santina is a freelance writer with a background in media and marketing. She also teaches first-year writing courses at the University of Nevada, Reno.

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