Top Jobs for Fashion Majors
The fashion industry is often seen as a glamorous and high-profile industry to work in. Worth more than $1.2tr and increasing, many people mostly think of fashion designers when it comes to fashion industry jobs.
It's true to say that being a fashion designer is probably one of the most well-known careers in the industry.
If the life of a fashion designer isn't for you, but you have an interest and passion for working in the industry, then there are many other careers to consider that aren't as high profile but are equally rewarding.
The fashion industry is a competitive industry to get into. Many people who want to break into it often want to know how to get started.
Like many industries, experience and skills are what is needed to be able to start your career in this sought-after sector.
There is no one path to starting a career in fashion. However, deciding which area of the industry you want to work in and in what type of role helps.
Each type of job in the fashion industry requires different background knowledge or skills.
For example, if you want to work as a fashion designer, a degree relevant to fashion, such as fashion design, art, and business or graphic design is often required.
Other jobs in the fashion industry are more business-related. These roles require an appreciation of trends and an understanding how data can inform trends or stock levels. Also, being able to show your creativity is a bonus.
For those looking to start a career in fashion, degrees that are relevant to roles in the fashion industry include:
- Retail management
Depending on the technical requirements of the role, experience in using computer software packages such as CAD (computer-aided design) may also be required.
It is worth remembering that not all fashion careers require candidates to have a fashion-related degree.
Some roles focus on the skills required for the position, such as:
- Communication skills
- Time management
- Organization and planning
- Attention to detail
- Analytical and data interpretation
Knowing which skills are required for the types of roles you want to apply to and which skills you have is a good first step.
This means that even if you don't yet have direct experience in the fashion industry, you can demonstrate you have the transferable skills needed for the role.
Gaining experience in the fashion industry is another way of demonstrating your commitment to a career.
Ways that you can gain experience include:
Working in retail fashion enables you to build up experience in many areas. These could include stock control, styling and understanding how the fashion and retail sector operates.
Dealing with customers and colleagues will also enable you to develop your interpersonal skills.
Consider the size of the organization you are applying to.
Some smaller organizations may have opportunities for those with less experience but lots of interest in fashion.
Gaining an internship is a good way to experience first-hand what a career in your chosen sector is actually like. It is also a way to test out whether your chosen career path is for you.
Demonstrating your interest in a sector comes not only with working in the industry but also by learning.
Whether that be as a formal degree or as a course you complete in your spare time. Building up your knowledge of the sector you want to break into will help boost your confidence and show your interest to potential employers.
It is always worth noting that some larger fashion-related companies might have jobs that experienced professionals in other industries could use to make a sideways move.
In this case, think about the transferable skills you have developed in relation to the skills and abilities the role requires.
As with many sectors, building up your fashion business network helps you meet people in the area you want to start your career.
It can give you ideas of roles within the fashion industry that you may not have considered before. It also widens your understanding of the industry and the paths that others have taken to start their career.
There are many jobs in the fashion industry, some more prominent than others. The list below outlines some of the most popular careers in the sector.
Salary: Varies according to the type of client, brand or organization
A fashion stylist can work as part of an organization or brand, as well as independently.
Stylists work across different locations on photo shoots, liaising with art directors and photographers.
Working with their clients, they put together pieces of clothing according to their clients’ wishes, the way they want to wear their clothes and body type.
This role is creative. The images a stylist creates are across many media outlets, such as digital advertising, TV and print.
Stylists also teach clients how to wear their clothes and which accessories would go together to help them develop their style. Some individuals hire personal stylists to work with them.
Personal stylists create their outfits for their clients according to their budget and the latest fashion trends.
Salary: From around $45,000 per year
Textile designers create and illustrate designs for fabric and fabric structures. These designs are then printed on or woven into the textile used to make a garment.
This role is a highly creative yet technical role.
Designers often use CAD when creating their designs before being printed onto the fabric being used.
Textile designers in the fashion industry work closely with fashion designers as well as trend forecasters. They look to understand what is happening trend-wise in the fashion world. They may also conduct their trend research and analysis to see what textile designs have sold well or been popular in previous seasons.
This is information they can then use when forecasting new textile design trends to create unique patterns.
Salary: From around $45,000 per year
Print designers create and visualize designs printed on textiles. This role is highly creative, requiring many different skill sets.
Print designers also create hand-illustrated, digital and painted designs to show their ideas. These could be as part of mock-up designs or as part of a presentation to brands or their clients.
Practical working knowledge of design packages such as Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop is often required for these roles.
Print designers can work as part of an organization or freelance, being commissioned as required for project-based work.
Salary: Around $42,000 per year, increasing with experience
Fashion illustrators work with fashion designers. They produce drawings or sketches based on fashion designers' ideas for fashion products, such as clothing, shoes or accessories.
The illustrations produced by fashion illustrators are also used for advertising or in mock-ups for both print and online media.
Attention to detail and strong drawing skills are needed for roles as a fashion illustrator. Knowledge of computer software packages such as CAD may also be required.
Fashion illustrators work on both a freelance basis and as part of an organization, such as brands or retailers.
Salary: Variable according to setting
This is probably one of the most well-known professions within the fashion industry. A career as a fashion designer is a highly creative and innovative one. Fashion designers work on creating and designing fashion-related products.
Many work as part of a brand or retailer specializing in designing a specific product such as tops, lingerie, shoes or trousers. These designers take inspiration from trends and designs seen on catwalks to translate them into everyday fashion items.
High-end or luxury fashion designers use greater creativity and fashion forecasting to design high-end or couture items.
Fashion designers can work in a range of settings: brand/fashion house, retailer or freelance as commissioned by individuals or organizations.
Salary: From around $70,000 per year
Production managers are at the heart of fashion manufacturing.
Once a product is designed, production managers have oversight of each stage of the manufacturing of the fashion product.
- Testing which fabric is used to produce the garment
- Manufacturing of the garment
- Timelines for production
- Packaging and shipping timelines of the garment ready for sale
Most production managers work for a clothing brand or a fashion manufacturing company.
Salary: 66,000 per year, depending on retailer
Fashion buying is another sought-after role within the fashion industry.
Working as part of a retailer, a career in fashion buying is a mix of understanding the fashion and business worlds.
Fashion buyers decide what products and clothing, shoe or accessory range to sell in stores season by season. Buyers use trend forecasting, data on previous sales and consumer buying, and stock level information to aid decision-making.
Once items are in store, meeting with suppliers and keeping up to date with stock levels through data analysis is also required as part of the role.
A career in fashion buying requires good communication skills, an analytical mindset and a strong interest in fashion and fashion trends.
Salary: Varies according to experience – usually starts at $33,000
Fashion publicists work with many professionals within the fashion world. The role's primary responsibilities are to create awareness and positive opinions of the fashion brand and clothing.
A career in fashion PR is varied. Writing press releases, building networking relationships with journalists, covering press events or working with models and photographers are some of the day-to-day responsibilities of the role.
Ensuring that the public opinion of the brand you work for is positive and new season fashion items are well-publicised is central to this role.
Given the nature of this role, fashion publicists are sought-after jobs. Candidates need to have exceptional communication, negotiation and organizational skills. Fashion publicists can work as part of a brand or on a freelance basis.
Salary: Starts from around $24,000 per year, increasing with experience
Fashion journalists promote fashion trends and brands via media outlets such as TV, magazines, social media and websites.
This is a very fast-moving job in the fashion industry.
The role also involves researching and writing about the latest fashion-related issues and news.
Working alongside fashion publicists, fashion journalists need strong communication skills, an interest in fashion, good editorial skills and attention to detail.
Fashion journalists tend to work as part of websites, magazines or TV companies. Some may be freelance, pitching ideas to media outlets on a commission basis.
Salary: Variable – depends on work basis; Can start from around $27,000 per year
Fashion photographers are central to the fashion industry. Through their creative direction, they work with other professionals, such as stylists, to create concepts for photoshoots.
Ensuring that fashion items are photographed to appeal to the audience is central to this role. Photographers also edit images.
Working on location and in a studio, fashion photographers work on a freelance basis, although some work as part of a fashion brand or retailer.
This role is highly creative, requiring a keen eye for detail and good communication skills.
Salary: Variable depending on project and brand work
The career of a fashion blogger covers a variety of different areas. Bloggers create written and video content and share it across various media outlets, such as social media and magazines.
Content produced ranges from images to videos, as well as written editorial style pieces.
Fashion bloggers can also run their own website, working with brands or retailers to help promote their products.
Usually working freelance, fashion bloggers need to have good communication skills and negotiate and demonstrate creativity in the content they create.
Fashion has been with us as far as records go back and is likely to remain a dynamic, creative part of the commercial industry in the future.
Working in the fashion industry can be exciting, glamorous and rewarding, but it does take focus and dedication. There are many types of fashion industry careers.
Knowing the type of fashion industry job you want helps you identify the skills required for this career.
You can then work to develop the experience and skills needed to break into and succeed in this fast-moving and competitive industry.