What Can I Do With A Fashion Degree?

Fashion degrees were not always held in very high esteem by the business world. In past years, fashion was not considered to be a viable degree for someone who wanted a guaranteed job and a good income. However, with the explosion of interest in haute couture and the growing number of men and women willing to spend money on well-designed clothing, fashion degrees have become a much more accepted way for students to channel their studies into a career in design or marketing. While the industry is very competitive, those who are talented and willing to work hard have a chance not only to make a living but possibly emerge as one of the world’s greatest fashion icons.

What Skills Do I Need for A Fashion Degree?

Fashion divides itself neatly into two categories: design and marketing. Of course, there is some overlap, but generally designers have little to do with the business side of the fashion industry and marketers have little to do with drawing, cutting or sewing. This means that a student seeking a degree in fashion can have strong artistic skills or strong business skills and still obtain a good job in the industry.

If you choose a fashion degree because you want to design clothing, you will need to develop your practical skills as well as your artistic ones. Being able to design and draw well is wonderful and should enhance both your studies and your chances of landing a good job, but being able to pick up scissors, needle and thread and quickly alter an outfit is also very important.

If you choose a fashion degree in order to market fashion, good business and accounting skills are very important. Good math and communication skills will make you a much more successful student and ultimately a much better marketer. If you want to focus on the fashion industry, it is also helpful for you to keep up with the trends in fashion on a regular basis.

Do Not Limit Your Job Opportunities

You may have visions of working in a large fashion warehouse designing dresses for runway models, but in reality only 28 percent of fashion graduates work in “art and design” jobs. You may be able to find a job in textile design, which means you work with the material rather than the clothing itself. However, even these jobs are not as numerous as those in some other areas of the fashion industry. If your art skills are good, you may also be able to find employment in the media. Magazines, newspapers, and other media outlets often hire fashion experts for segments on the subject. Retail stores may also utilize artistic skills of fashion designer for advertising purposes. This is a very competitive industry, but you may find success by marketing your own brand of clothing to independent retailers or selling them yourself. You may also find that your best employment opportunities happen through consulting jobs, such as becoming a buyer for a major retailer.

Can I Take A Graduate Degree In Fashion?

While graduate degrees in fashion design are available, most people who take master’s degrees in this field are looking for a master’s in business administration to help them advance in the marketing or business side of the industry. Those who obtain a Master of Fine Arts or MFA in design may not improve their job prospects, as much of the advancement in the field of design is done through on-the-job promotion.

How Much Can I Expect To Earn With A Fashion Degree?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median income for fashion designers in 2010 was $64,530 per year. Although the job requires only a high school diploma, many fashion designers earning higher salaries have more education. The job outlook, according to the BLS, does not allow for any growth over the next ten years, which means that there will be the same number of jobs available in ten years as there are today.

However, this should not necessarily discourage someone who wants to start a career in fashion; not only will many people leave the field, opening existing jobs, but the numbers used by the BLS are based on very specific decisions about job titles. Some fashion employees, such as consultants or merchandisers, may not be included in these numbers.

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