Careers in Fashion

What Is Fashion?

Fashion often refers to a particular style of clothing or custom of dress. Although it is commonly associated with glitz and glamor, fashion actually influences nearly everything around you. Even if you don't consider yourself to be a fashionista, your clothes, accessories, and shoes, for instance, are all influenced by the high fashion world to some extent.

The concept of fashion has been around for centuries, and it is largely based on society and culture. Fashion is not a constant. Instead, it is constantly evolving, and every generation adopts its own fashion trends. Citizens of ancient Rome wore togas, for instance, wore togas, which separated them from the common slaves. The need for women to work in factories during World War II also made it acceptable for them to wear pants.

Work Environment

One of the most important aspects of the fashion industry is fashion design. Fashion designers are the professionals that design clothes, accessories, and shoes. They usually accomplish this with either old fashioned methods, such as pencils and paper, or modern methods, such as computers.

Many fashion designers choose to specialize in one particular area, like casual clothes, business ensembles, or evening wear. Some designers may also choose to design clothes just for women, men, or children. There are even fashion designers that design clothes and accessories for pets!

After the fashion designers design and create the clothes, it is then necessary to show them off. This job is typically the responsibility of fashion models, who wear the clothes to show them off to prospective clients or buyers.

Although modeling is often perceived to be one of the most glamorous jobs in the fashion industry, it is in fact one of the most demanding. Successful models typically work very long hours, for instance. Also, since they are usually photographed wearing the clothes, models usually have to work very hard to stay in shape and look attractive.

Fashion photography is another popular career in the fashion industry. Fashion photographers must work closely with fashion designers and models to hep market the clothing to the general public. Not only do they have to take photographs of the clothes, but they also need to make the clothing and models look and feel provocative, attractive, exciting, and memorable. The photographs that a fashion photographer takes are usually used in advertisements and on billboards.

Education Requirements

Designers in the fashion industry will typically need to obtain a two to four year degree in fashion design. This type of degree program will usually include courses on the history of fashion, design, textiles, sewing, drawing, and CAD. Perhaps online fashion degree programs allow for more accessible education for your lifestyle. Fashion design students may also find that courses in business and marketing will come in handy later in their careers.

Although there is no strict education requirements for models, the majority of serious models choose to attend a modeling school. These schools will not usually guarantee that a model will find work, though, nor will they increase the odds of finding work. A stint in modeling school, however, can teach an aspiring model valuable lessons in self-confidence and poise, two traits that successful models must possess. Attending modeling school can also help an aspiring model build her portfolio. Since most models usually find it difficult to get wok after a certain age, earning a degree in another area is usually advisable.

Individuals who are interested in fashion photography will usually benefit from a degree in photography, although it is not absolutely necessary. Since many photographers work for themselves, business degrees are also helpful.

Students who earn a degree in fashion design will usually work with an established designer or a fashion design or production firm. Very talented fashion designers may go on to design and produce their own clothing lines. Fashion design graduates might also find work at fashion magazines, as well as retail stores and boutiques.

Some models may work with modeling agencies to find wok. By working with these types of companies, many models are able to find steady modeling jobs. Some models, however, may prefer to work as freelancers and secure modeling jobs on their own.

Fashion photographers can sometimes find employment with fashion magazines or established fashion photography studios. Some photographers, on the other hand, may prefer to work as freelancers or open their own studios.

Salary and Job Outlook


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2008, the average annual salary for a fashion designer was roughly $61,160. Some designers, however, may make less or more than this, depending on their skill and popularity. Very popular designers, for instance, have the potential to make over $100,000 annually. Fashion model salaries are a little harder to pin down. Since modeling is a very competitive field, only the best and most attractive models are able to earn a living. In fact, the majority of models must usually be employed elsewhere in order to supplement their modeling income. The average annual salary of a successful model in 2008, however, was $36,420, but very successful and popular models have the potential to make much more. As with models, the salary of a fashion photographer can be very hard to pin down. Generally, though, more experienced fashion photographers are able to command a better wage.


Fashion is a fast-paced and dynamic industry. New fashion trends are create every single day, some even by accident. Antone interested in a fashion career should be able to deal with and keep up with constant change, or else be left behind. Most people who work in the fashion industry have an intense love for all things fashion. Not only do they stay abreast of current fashion trends, but they are also usually very knowlegeable about past fashion trends as well. To have a successful fashion career, a person should also have a knack for knowing what looks good and an eye for detail.

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