Accessory Designer

What Is Accessory Design?

To complete the perfect outfit, many people will often rely on the addition of accessories. These can include items such as jewelry, belts, shoes, scarves, hats, and handbags. Accessories not only help complete and ensemble, but they can also add a splash of color, personality, and style to the wearer.

In the fashion industry, accessory design refers to the act of designing and creating these accessories. Some designers will stick with classic timeless designs, such as black leather handbags, while others may create wilder, trendier accessories.

Work Environment

An accessory designer is a type of fashion designer that plans the aesthetics and functionality of different accessories. Like other individuals in the fashion industry, an accessory designer must be very knowledgeable about past, current, and future fashion trends. They must be able to predict what types of accessories consumers will find fashionable at the beginning of future fashion seasons.

Once an accessory designer forms an idea, she will then usually try to bring her idea to life. Many accessory designers choose to draw their accessories with pencils and paper. Computer software can also be used for this step, however, and it is becoming much more popular.

After a design has been drawn, an accessory designer will also often create a prototype. For instance, if the accessory in question is a traditional leather purse, an accessory designer will create a pattern and sew pieces of leather together to make the purse.

Some accessory designers may only specialize in a certain type of accessory. Others, however, may design and create several different types of accessories, as well as garments.

Read about how to become an accessory designer.

Education Requirements

While there are no stringent education requirements to become an accessory designer, most aspiring designers will usually benefit from a fashion design or similar degree. Some post-secondary schools, particularly fashion design schools, also offer courses specifically geared toward individuals interested in accessory design careers.

To earn a degree in fashion design or accessory design, most students will usually complete courses in fashion history, drawing, and CAD. They will also learn about the different textiles and materials that can be used to make accessories.

Salary and Job Outlook


Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not offer any specific information regarding the salaries of accessory designers, the average annual salary for fashion designers was roughly $67,420 in 2017. As with most type of careers in the fashion industry, the average salary for an accessory designer varies greatly, depending on a number of different factors. Some accessory designers, for instance, only work part-time from home, and they may not make as much as a full-time accessory designer. The area where an accessory designer lives might also affect her salary as well. Generally speaking, accessory designers that live in larger, more densely populated areas will also usually make more money. An accessory designer’s salary will also depend on how successful she is. Accessory designers that are able to sell more designs and accessories will also usually be able to bring in more money.

Job Outlook

An accessory design degree can help you get started with a career in accessory design. Many accessory designers choose to work in a freelance capacity. This means that they work to design and create their own accessories. Typically, freelance accessory designers start out small. They usually only design and sell a handful of accessories at a time. With hard work and dedication, however, some freelance designers may be able to become very successful. Design firms and established fashion designers may also hire accessory designers as well.

Helpful Resources

Accessory Designer Jobs