Clothing Designer

Clothing designers apply their knowledge of style, line, colour, proportion and fabrics to the task of designing clothing. The industry covers a broad spectrum of work and a designer may slot in at various levels of creativity.

Clothing design is a very competitive field and only a few designers become trend-setting fashion leaders. Factories manufacturing garments for the mass market employ most of the clothing designers.

Clothing designers create clothes that can be produced within a certain price range and in keeping with current styles and trends. They get ideas for styles by scanning trade publications, visiting stores and travelling and observing lifestyles. They develop and record their ideas by making sketches, draping dummies and making patterns.

They select colours, fabric and trimmings for their designs and then prepare samples or model garments, which are checked carefully for appearance, fit and quality of work. If accepted, the samples are included in their lines and presented to sales personnel or private clients.

Fashion styling falls into this field and entails the selection and adaptation of high-fashion garments for lower-budget production for the mass market. A designer may also specialise in certain types of clothing, such as footwear, hats, or sportswear.

Personal Requirements

  • creativity, imagination and an interest in fashion
  • good sense of colour, line and proportion
  • an eye for detail
  • drawing ability
  • able to solve problems
  • able to work independently
  • self-discipline
  • able to meet deadlines
  • business sense and sales ability


  • established couturiers, as fashion designer, pattern designer or fashion stylist
  • magazines, as a fashion illustrator
  • clothing manufacturers
  • textile companies
  • performing arts councils
  • self-employment, as a freelance fashion designer or own couturier business

Getting Started

  • practise designing and sewing your own clothes
  • put together a portfolio of your designs
  • observe fashion trends in stores and magazines
  • try and find part-time or vacation work in a clothing shop or factory
  • speak to a clothing / fashion designer about this type of career

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