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Finding Careers in the Fashion Industry

The vibrant, ever-changing fashion industry is always looking for brilliant minds with an idea of what comes next in design and merchandising. Could you be that visionary voice? What does the future hold for jobs in the fashion industry?

Check out some of the top fashion industry jobs, and learn what you can do to work your way into one of these exciting careers.

Fashion & Retail Management

If you love fashion and you’ve always wanted to own your own business, a degree in retail management could be right up your alley. You already know what shoes to pair with that little black dress for the perfect night out, but you need to learn the details of management as it relates to fashion. Courses in fashion sales, retail history, and more can give you the experience you need to enter the field with confidence.

Management Salary Points. In 2007, retail sales managers and supervisors saw mean annual earnings of $39,210, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Management positions at high-end boutiques and specialty stores might earn more, depending on location and experience.

Fashion Merchandising Careers

If you stand behind your brand, you have to be able to sell it. Fashion merchandising is an umbrella term that covers a range of careers, including: Merchandise managers ” Fashion buyers ” Fashion marketers ” Fashion sales

Even those who specialize in creating window dressings for department stores fall under the category of fashion merchandising.

Fashion merchandise managers see a lot of use in today’s fashion economy. “Today it’s the merchandise manager who carries the weight,” Marvin Traub, a retail consultant, told the New York Times. “He has an eye to the numbers.” While a degree or certificate in fashion merchandising may not be required for all careers, it can help to have the technical knowledge you can pair with you existing passion.

Merchandising Salary Points. Wholesale and retail buyers earned $53,580 in 2007, the BLS reports. That same year, purchasing managers across all industries earned mean annual wages of $90,430. While that figure goes well beyond the fashion industry, it should give you an idea of the kind of salary a skilled manager in the field might expect.

Fashion Designers

When you first think of jobs in the fashion industry, you might picture famous fashion designers like Donatella Versace or Michael Kors. While it’s true that most work can be found in fashion hubs California and New York, designers typically work all over the country, running small businesses and boutiques. Whether you’re dreaming of small-town success or a big-city dream, training in fashion design can get you there.

Fashion Design Salary Points. Fashion designers saw mean annual wages of $71,170 in 2007, according to the BLS. Most designers worked in New York or California, cementing the notion that your best chances for employment are on the opposite coasts.

While competition is keen for many careers and no degree can guarantee a job, graduates of fashion schools are still finding a viable job market. Research fashion schools to get a better idea of your potential future.

Fashion Stylists Are Becoming Mainstream

Fashion stylists are indispensable for celebrities, fashion models and actors. Today, with people busy with their careers, we find many individuals too opting for the services of stylists. Most of us are fashion conscious today and want to look our best during all occasions. This is one of the reasons why a lot of individuals too are increasingly opting for the services of fashion and image consultants.

Fashion consultants work in close coordination with their clients to prepare them for events such as cat walk, fashion shoot, movie shoot or fashion show. They efficiently integrate their unique personalities with the right choice of clothes and accessories. Fashion stylists work in close association with leading fashion designers, expert hair stylists and makeup artists. Some stylists are adept at hair styling too and work on their client’s hair to offer stunning results.

These stylists help with their client’s clothes and accessories shopping choosing the right designs and colors. They fine tune and equip their wardrobes with clothes that exactly suit different occasions. This is the reason why they are also known as personal shoppers.

People who have been worked on by expert fashion stylists stand out among crowd and are the centre of attraction wherever they go. They exude confidence and charm and are always poised and self assured. They are examples of high fashion superbly guided by their stylists who help them keep pace with the ever changing fashion trends.

Every successful stylist has their own fashion website to make it easy for clients to contact them. To be a professional fashion stylist is a highly demanding job which requires you to be focused and dedicated. Only a deep passion for designing and styling can make you a reputed and successful stylist.

If you have the flair for it, you can either be a freelance, self taught professional or can opt for a degree from a reputed fashion institute. It greatly helps to do an internship under well known fashion stylists before venturing on your own. This will help you learn the nuances and tricks of the trade and learn all about the industry in-depth.

You must be prepared to face clients who are highly demanding and insist on perfection. If you work for fashion models on an everyday basis, then you must be prepared to deal with last minute highly stressful situations.

A stylist working for a television or movie production unit must be adept at selecting, planning and preparing items that are exactly suited to each setting and situation. The overall theme must be kept in mind before choosing the right clothes and accessories. Most importantly, all this has to be done keeping the budget in focus.

Fashion stylists must also keep pace with the current and latest fashion trends. Your key to success is in how expertly you integrate the personality and looks of your clients with the existing fashion sense.

Expert fashion stylists will be able to make last minute fix ups and swift alterations to dropped hems or split seams. They will be able to give focused attention to detail and will be highly knowledgeable on the current fashion trends.

There are numerous stylists in this industry and in order to survive the competition and establish your presence as reputed fashion stylists, you must have determination, focus and most importantly a deep passion for your job.

Face Forward Careers in Fashion

There are many different avenues one can go down when they desire a career in fashion. From Fashion designer to celebrity stylist learn all about the hot careers in fashion.

Fashion Designer

Primarily fashion designers create new clothes and accessories. However, their other job tasks may include analyzing fashion trends, marketing, sales, production of garments and accessories, and promotion of their finished products. Fashion designers can attend a two or four year program for a degree in fashion design or fashion merchandising. Generally, most designers start out as interns and move through the ranks as junior designers to design assistant to assistant designer to associate designer to fashion director.

Fashion Merchandising

Fashion merchandisers create and implement displays for stores and catalogs. They are also responsible for designing the layout of department stores, fashion showrooms and trade shows. They have to have a strong familiarity with the consumer market and an artistic flair. Generally, fashion merchandisers hold a bachelors degree in visual or fashion merchandising. They usually begin their career as an assistant and work their way up to visual merchandising director.

Fashion Stylists

Often we think of a fashion stylist as being the brains behind a celebrities look. While that is partially true, fashion stylists also choose wardrobe for photo shoots, commercials, print ads, television, movies and music videos. Additionally, many work as personal stylist to average people in need of fashion advice. Stylists can find employment with magazines, newspapers, retailers, television and film production companies, catalogs, PR firms, advertising agencies and music companies. To be a fashion stylist one must work their way to the top from the ground up. This often means starting out with an internship. Most stylists also earn a degree in fashion design or fashion merchandising but it is not required to work in the field. Networking is everything to the success of a stylist, so they must constantly be gaining new contacts and maintain their existing contacts.

If you are unsure what career path you want to follow in the fashion industry you can begin your education with a degree in either fashion merchandising or fashion design. Either of these degrees can be parlayed into any of the above mentioned career paths once you make your final decision.