Career Opportunities In The Fashion Industry

When most people think about a fashion career, they picture a designer sketching an idea for a new dress, or a model walking down a runway to show off the latest design. While the fashion industry wouldn’t exist without the designers or models, of course, there are also a number of other fashion careers that people might forget about. In fact, many of the fashion professionals who go unnoticed behind the scenes are just as important to the fashion industry as the designers and models that we typically see.

The fashion industry is typically split into four main fields: design, manufacturing, marketing/promotion, and retail sales. The design field includes jobs such as designers, pattern makers, and sketching assistants who create designs, revise designs, and/or break designs down into their component parts. The manufacturing field includes positions such as apparel workers, dressmakers, seamstresses, tailors, and textile workers who produce the accessories and garments that others have designed. The marketing/promotion field includes marketers, photographers, models, and stylists who help a designer present and sell accessories and garments to a retailer. The retail sales field includes jobs such as buyers, merchandise planners, salespeople, and retail managers who buy the accessories and garments from the designer and then sell them to the general public.

What Can I do with a Major In Fashion?


One career you might pursue is that of a model. A fashion model wears the various garments and accessories that an individual or a company designs to show off the features of the design. Models are responsible for letting people see the way that the design looks on a real person so that retailers and consumers will then want to purchase the garment. Models walk down runways in fashion shows; construct portfolios that contain images depicting their previous modeling experience and modeling skills; exercise regularly and watch their diets to maintain their figures; follow the instructions of clients, fashion coordinators, fashion show managers, fashion photographers, and other similar professionals; and receive professional attention from make-up artists, stylists, and other similar professionals.

fashion model

The specific requirements necessary to become a model vary from agency to agency and client to client. However, most modeling clients and agencies require that you have a portfolio showing that you are photogenic and that you have the physical attributes that the agency or client is looking for (such as height, overall appearance, weight, and so on). A degree is not typically required for a modeling career, but a degree in fashion or a certificate from a modeling school may help you obtain a position in some cases. Almost every client or agency will be more interested in your overall appearance and your ability to look good on camera than they will be in your education.


Another fashion job to consider is that of photographer. A fashion photographer, also sometimes known as a commercial photographer, takes pictures of the garments and/or accessories that an individual or company designs, as well as pictures of the models wearing those garments and accessories. Fashion photographers are responsible for making sure that each photograph shows the garment, accessory, and/or model in the best possible way. Fashion photographers adjust the lighting of the room and camera settings; create portfolios that contain the best pictures of each accessory, garment, or model; explain how models should pose for pictures; store electronic or physical copies of each picture; test cameras to make sure that they are in working order prior to each photo shoot; use backdrops, digital cameras, film cameras, tripods, and other similar equipment to take pictures; and use computers to review and edit each picture so that each accessory, garment, and model looks as good as possible.

fashion photo

Specific requirements for becoming a fashion photographer vary. For self-employed photographers, most clients require that you have a portfolio that demonstrates your camera skills and that you show proof of technical skills (sometimes including proof of photography courses taken). A commercial photography firm, on the other hand, will typically require that you have a bachelor’s degree in photography and/or fashion design. Some clients and commercial photography firms will also require you to show that you have obtained some experience in the field as a photography assistant or intern.


A fashion salesperson, sometimes known as a fashion retail salesperson or a fashion sales representative, sells garments and accessories to retailers or consumers. Salespeople are responsible for convincing a retailer or consumer to buy the products that an individual or a company designs. Fashion salespeople assess the needs of each consumer or retailer to determine the accessories or garments that best meet those needs; contact customers to discuss some of the new designs that they may be interested in; discuss payment and delivery options; explain the qualities of the various garments or accessories that are available for sale; fill out order forms for standard orders and special orders; help consumers try on accessories and garments; invite retailers to fashion shows so that they can get a better idea of how the garment will look on an actual person; provide information about the price of each accessory or garment; ring up transactions and record purchase information; and send and hand out advertisements, catalogs, fabric samples, and photographs.

Specific requirements for becoming a fashion salesperson vary from company to company. Most retailers require that you have a degree from a higher institution of learning, pass a background check, and have some sort of proof of good communications skills (the specific type of proof may vary, but most stores will require you to demonstrate your skills in an interview and/or take a personality or a sales test). A design company typically has the same requirements as a retailer, but most design companies will also require you to have some sales experience (typically two or more years in a sales position related to the fashion industry).


Stylist is another popular fashion job. A stylist, also known as a personal stylist or a makeup artist (depending on the styling tasks that they are required to perform), uses styling techniques and makeup to improve the overall appearance of an actor, model, or couple with fashionable items like these couple hoodies. These individuals are responsible for making sure that their clients look their best before they step in front of a camera or a crowd. Stylists assess the overall appearance and needs of each client to determine which styling techniques and/or makeup will help the client achieve the desired look; provide advice to clients about the makeup that they should use and/or the garments or accessories that they should wear, especially when trying to emphasize the qualities of a new design.

fashion stylist

Specific requirements for becoming a stylist vary drastically. Most clients and companies require that you have a degree from a higher institute of learning, a bachelor’s degree in styling and/or fashion design, a portfolio that shows before-and-after pictures of some of your previous work, and some experience in the styling field (typically more than a year of experience as a fashion assistant, a personal styling apprentice, or a styling intern).
However, the main qualification is talent. A Secondary school graduate who can make models look dazzling will never lack for work.


One highly sought after fashion job is that of designer. A fashion designer, also sometimes known as an accessory designer or a clothing designer (depending on the type of product), designs new accessories and/or garments. Designers are responsible for analyzing the accessories and garments in the stores of other major designers, at fashion shows, and in fashion magazines so that they can use this information to plan out new accessories and garments that may be popular in the near future based on current trends. Fashion designers create design samples with or without the aid of a sewer or you could go to and get a sewing machine to do it yourself; discuss their ideas with clients, fashion marketers, managers, and/or other designers to determine if the idea actually makes sense or not; discuss their ideas with textile companies to determine which materials should be used; draw new designs for accessories and garments; provide advice to sketching assistants and pattern makers regarding the appropriate way to create, break down, or assemble a design; use design samples and models to look for problems in the design and make the appropriate alterations; and use models to present their designs in fashion shows and other similar locations.


Specific requirements for becoming a fashion designer vary from client to client and company to company. Most clients and companies require that you have a bachelor’s degree in fashion design or a diploma from a reputable fashion house. Also you’ll be required to have a portfolio with some of the previous accessories and/or garments that you have designed. Some clients and companies may also require or prefer that you have a bachelor’s degree in marketing or fashion merchandising and/or some experience in the fashion industry (typically more than a year of experience as a custom seamstress or tailor, fashion assistant, fashion design intern, fashion salesperson, pattern maker, personal stylist, or sketching assistant).


One of the less glamorous, but still important, fashion careers you can pursue is that of a marketer. A fashion marketer creates advertising campaigns and/or marketing plans that an individual or company can use to sell its products. Fashion marketers are responsible for making sure that each accessory and garment is presented to the retailers or consumers in the best way possible. Fashion marketers analyze current trends to determine if a new idea or design is marketable or not; determine which age group, gender, or geographical area is more likely to buy the product and gather other information about their target market; discuss new ideas and designs with fashion designers to determine the qualities that may make the new design more marketable; draft advertisements and/or marketing plans that emphasize the qualities of a particular design and convince individuals within the target market to purchase it; draft plans for fashion shows that include details about which and how accessories and garments will be displayed; estimate the total cost of an advertising or marketing campaign and create a budget; review and edit advertisements to make sure that they convey the desired message to the target market; and set the suggested retail price for the accessory or garment based on the cost to produce the product, the target market, and other similar factors.

Specific requirements for becoming a fashion marketer vary. Most companies require that you have a degree in advertising or marketing, and some marketing or sales experience (typically two to five years of experience as a fashion salesperson, marketing assistant, marketing intern, or another similar marketing or sales professional). Some companies may also require or prefer that you have a degree in Business Administration with a concentration in marketing, a bachelor’s degree in fashion design, and/or another similar degree, especially if you are attempting to obtain an upper-level position as a fashion advertising manager or a fashion marketing manager.

Retail Manager

If you enjoy dealing directly with the public, you might consider a career as a retail manager. A fashion retail manager, also sometimes known as a fashion store manager, oversees the activities of a store that sells accessories and/or garments to the general public. Retail managers are responsible for making sure that the cashiers, salespeople, and other employees of a store perform the tasks necessary for the store to succeed. Fashion retail managers design and implement sales plans; discuss problems and new sales strategies with the store’s employees and/or the district manager who oversees the area in which the store is located (if the store is part of a large chain); establish a budget for the store and establish strategies that the store can use to stay within its budget; help employees answer questions and find products for customers; help employees handle customer complaints, problems with customers, and transaction issues; hire cashiers, salespeople, and other store employees; order new accessories and/or garments for the store; report the store’s sales and count the money that the store takes in each day; schedule employees to make sure that every shift is covered and that salaries are within budget; set up signs and displays; and supervise and train the store’s employees.

A worker dresses a mannequin in a pilot shop at the Zara factory at the headquarters of Inditex group in Arteixo, northern Spain, June 14, 2012. Spain's Inditex SA, the world's largest clothes retailer, bucked Europe's financial crisis with a sharp rise in quarterly earnings by pleasing fashion-hungry shoppers in Asia and cash-strapped consumers on its home continent. REUTERS/Miguel Vidal (SPAIN - Tags: BUSINESS FASHION) - RTR33L5T

Specific requirements for becoming a fashion retail manager vary. Most companies require that you have a degree from a higher institute of learning, have at least two years of experience in a customer service or retail position related to the fashion industry, pass a background check, and complete a training program.


Have you considered becoming a seamstress or tailor? A seamstress is a female fashion professional who makes accessories and garments, and a tailor is a male fashion professional who makes accessories and garments. Seamstresses and tailors are responsible for turning a pattern into an accessory or garment that someone can actually wear. They create patterns when a pattern is not available; cut fabric according to the pattern to create the various pieces of the garment; discuss accessories, garments, and patterns with their customers and managers; examine fabrics to determine which is best suited for a particular purpose; make alterations to accessories, garments, and patterns to improve the way that an item fits on a specific individual; measure the length of an individual’s arms, legs, neck, waist, and other features to determine the correct size of the accessory or garment; mend damaged accessories and garments; and use bobbins, buttons, fabric, needles, patterns, thread, scissors, sewing machines, and other similar equipment to assemble accessories and garments.


Specific requirements for becoming a seamstress or tailor vary from client to client and company to company. Most clients and companies require only that you have some sewing experience (typically one to five years of experience in a position related to the production of accessories and/or garments).

About Stellamaris Obomanu

Loves to read, loves to write, loves to laugh, loves life and yeah, she's as real as they come.

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