Launch Your Fashion Career
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Launch Your Fashion Career

Industry Advice From Top Designers
4.7 (11 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
97 students enrolled
Created by Demand Media
Last updated 12/2013
Current price: $10 Original price: $50 Discount: 80% off
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  • 2.5 hours on-demand video
  • 1 Article
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • To prepare you to take the initial steps for a career in fashion
View Curriculum
  • None

Fashion is something which is central to the world we live in. We all in some way, shape, or form participate and operate within this world, and there are many formal opportunities to have a fully fledged role in the fashion world. This course is intended to prepare you for exactly that, showing you how to get started within the world of fashion and leaving you able to take the first steps into your fashion career!

Who is the target audience?
  • Individuals interested in fashion
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Curriculum For This Course
14 Lectures
Getting Started
3 Lectures 36:03

Welcome to the world of fashion design! We begin by helping you explore the most important traits you'll need for a career in the world of fashion design. There are many avenues and opportunities, but what matters most is what unique talent and passion you bring to the industry. In this lesson our expert designers introduce you to their world and ask key questions to help you find your niche and discover where your passions lie. Let’s meet them now as they share their perspectives on what it takes to become a fashion designer.

Action Items:

  • Get to work building examples of your talent!
  • Attend tradeshows and network

Key Points:

1. Create examples of your work to show off what you can do

  • Build a portfolio to show your talent

2. Know who you are as a designer

  • Define your passion and talents

3. A good designer possesses diverse talents:

  • Creativity
  • Ability to draw
  • Ability to do math
  • Ability to network
  • Detail oriented
  • Technical knowledge of software image and design programs

4. Understand the business side of the industry

  • Promotion, planning and marketing is crucial
  • It's not all glitz and glamour

5. Know what makes your work unique and have thick skin

  • Believe in your work
  • Be dedicated
  • Accept criticism

6. Find your niche and do the research to support it

Preview 14:59

From production, to marketing and merchandising, there are numerous types of fashion design jobs in the industry. Designers even work in costume design for film, television, and theater. Although your goal may be to design your own clothing, it's good to learn about and potentially be exposed to the the many specific roles offered by the industry. Our experts discuss all the avenues available to you.

Key Points:

1. Three main categories of fashion design:

  • Designer
  • Developer
  • Merchandiser

2. There are a wide variety of jobs in the industry

3. Know the in's and out's

  • Gain experience in and understanding of various roles

4. Costume design is one of the more creative industry niches

What Are the Jobs?

Where do you shine? Do you have talent, drive, a willingness to work hard? Can you handle rejection? If so, you are already well on your way to success. Our experts share what you can do to expose yourself to the industry. They discuss how to test and assess your own talent, the challenges of competing with established brands, and the best ways to make connections in the industry.

Action Items:

  • Study the work of others

  • Consider internships

  • Show your work to professionals for feedback

Extra Credit:

  • Go public!

Share your work with followers on our Facebook page Launch Your Fashion Career!

1. Breaking in is certainly possible

2. Internships are great for many reasons

  • Gain exposure to many facets of the industry
  • Build key contacts

3. Expect rejection and learn to handle it

  • Talent and taste are different

4. Get feedback on your talent

  • Ask professionals in the industry
  • Show the pros your work

5. Assessment Questions

  • Would you buy and wear this? How many body types can wear this? Is this well constructed?

What You Need to Succeed
3 Lectures 16:55

The right design program can be a great strategy to get a foothold in the industry. Our experts agree most young designers benefit from programs educating students on every step of the design and production process. Here they discuss what you can expect from a design program, and the most important factors to consider when thinking of attending design school.

Key Points:

1.Learn the specific tools of trade

2. Network with up-and-coming designers

3. Different types of schools exist

  • University run
  • Specialized school focused on design or the arts

4. Benefit of design school include

  • Spending time in a creative environment
  • Access to great resources
  • Opportunity to build a foundation of skills

5. The cost makes school a big decision

A Degree in Design

Even if you are not planning to attend design school, there are many avenues for self education. Classes are available online and in your neighborhood, and a plethora of books on design are available in bookstores and libraries. Our experts share more great strategies and creative ways to give yourself a solid basic education in fashion design.

Action Items:

  • Read Fashion For Profit

- A Professional's Complete Guide to Designing, Manufacturing, & Marketing a Successful Line and Retailing, by Frances Harder

  • Watch fashion shows online

- Check out for all the shows

Key Points:

  • Take lessons in your community

  • Read books on design

  • Watch lessons on YouTube

Alternatives to School

Whether you are studying at a university or in a specialized program, design schools come in all shapes, sizes, and price points. Our experts discuss the personal nature of choosing a school and the many other factors, such as cost, to consider.

Key Points:

  • Tips for Deciding Which Fashion School is Right for You:
  1. Art-based curriculum and less traditional schools (Pratt Institute)
  2. More competitive, pure fashion curriculum based schools (Parson’s School of Design)
  3. Costume Design (CalArts)
  4. High-end, couture design (Istituto Marangoni)
  • Several Types of School
  1. Vocational
  2. 4-Year University
  3. Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT)
  4. Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM)
Which Design School?
Working for a Brand
2 Lectures 31:25

Do you start small and learn the ropes, or do you work on your own immediately? Our experts look at both ends of the spectrum. They discuss the advantages of starting out in lower-level jobs for larger firms and take a hard look at striking out on one's own from the start. Our experts share their opinions on the matter and stress what it takes to succeed.

Key Points:

1. Assistantship and internships, get experience, find mentors

  • Learning truly begins after school
  • Discover what interests you most before you fully invest yourself

2. Independence is good, but ...

  • It is expensive to start your own line
  • There is higher risk
  • You learn at your own cost
  • There is a business side to learn as well

3. Successful designers surround themselves with experts

  • Experts understand key parts of the business

4. Working for others = Learning on others' dollars

  • Mistakes cost you less personally
  • Build key contacts
  • Learn the many facets of the business

5. Living outside fashion-centric cities = Go online

  • eCommerce
  • Sell your styles on Etsy
  • Social Media

6. Entry level jobs include

  • Intern
  • Design Room Assistant
  • Assistant Designer
  • Associate Designer
  • Clerical work in fabric libraries, fit testing, product placement, retail and shipping
Establishing Yourself in an Established Company

Your resume and portfolio speak for you when you’re not in the room, so your portfolio needs to showcase your best work while telling a story about who you are and what you believe in. Here you will learn all the do's and don'ts when building your resume and professional portfolio. Our experts discuss specifics about what your resume should look like, what experience and information is a must to include, and how to convey your style without going over the top. They stress that resumes and portfolios work in tandem and should be designed to support the other. Watch now as our experts examine the key elements required to showcase your talents, passion, personal style and experience.

Action Items:

  • Write or review your resume using the tips here

  • Build or review your portfolio using the strategies here

  • Evaluate your social media promotion strategies

Key Points:

1. Resumes should be crisp, concise and visually appealing:

  • Don't exaggerate
  • Demonstrate your personal style and interests
  • Keep under one page
  • Share your objectives in the industry

2. Portfolios showcase creativity and align with your resume:

  • Include examples of projects from start to finish
  • Show technical ability
  • Use only your best work
  • Demonstrate product experience, technical ability, skills and style

3. Make work accessible online:

  • Build a website
  • Network on LinkedIn and upload work to LinkedIn portfolio
  • Blog and use social media
A Designer's Portfolio and Resume
Starting Your Own Company
4 Lectures 01:03:35

Finding your niche in the fashion world starts by wrapping who you are and what you believe into a unique product that can succeed in the market. Here we examine the process of discovering your niche, the necessary trial and error and the approaches needed to build a cohesive product, message and brand. Let's hear from our experts as they discuss what it means to find your niche in the fashion world.

Action Items:

Research a few of your favorite brands

  • How do they meet and fill a niche. Who is their target audience? Are they expanding their brand?

Key Points:

1. Create something that comes from your heart

2. Create a message or statement with your designs

3. Expect a long period of trial and error

4. Your brand style can become your niche:

  • Political
  • Funny
  • Old School/New School
  • Colorful or Black and White
  • Trendy
  • Vintage Denim

5. What is missing in the market that you can make your own?

  • Determine what missing part/angle in the market you can fill

6. Beyond interests, find an area where you excel

7. Niche markets include:

  • Sportswear
  • Women's Contemporary
  • Plus sizes
  • Missy
  • High-end Couture
  • Casual Wear
  • Swimsuits
  • Children's & Baby Clothing
  • Accessories
  • Shoes
  • T-Shirts & Caps

8. Don't try to appeal to everyone

9. Strong sales on key products will help you define your niche

Finding a Niche

Starting your own business can be difficult but can also be very rewarding. Many avenues to sell your products exist, including: selling online, selling on your own website or with sites like Etsy, and selling through local boutiques. Our experts discuss where to start when creating your business and how to get your product in stores.

Key Points:

1. Know what you need to know:

  • Merchandising
  • Targeting customers
  • Understanding demand
  • Knowing trends
  • Managing price points

2. Understand how are you perceived

  • People buy ideas as much as things
  • Show what you stand for and understand how you want to be perceived

3. Sell in small boutiques and build relationships with buyers

  • Build rapport
  • Establish trust
  • Sell your product to people who know you
  • Try consignment

4. Establish yourself online and network

  • Establishing yourself online will show brick-and-mortar boutiques that your product will sell
  • Try: Etsy, Fab, Zappos
  • Use social media
  • Network
Starting Your Business

Brand awareness, marketing, and selling your line are the three most time consuming activities performed by self-employed designers. Even the best design talent will risk falling flat without great brand marketing. The most successful designers live and breathe their brand. Understand initial sales, and the importance of building a positive brand reputation. Our experts share the marketing strategies they use to reach key customers. They stress the importance of word of mouth, networking, blogging and leveraging image-focused sites like Pinterest and Instagram to build a vibrant social community right out of the gate.

Key Points:

1. Live and breathe your brand

2. One-on-One sales will come first

3. Build a vibrant social community right away

4. Photos should look professional

5. Hone in on your brand and have a good story

6. Leverage social media to meet business goals

  • Pinterest
  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • Blogging
  • Be consistent
  • Share your process
  • Engage your audience

7. Build a coherent collection to target to buyers

  • Offer a variety to please different body shapes and choices

8. 60 - 70% of your time should be spent on branding and marketing

9. Connect with the right bloggers who can help spread your name

10. Stay relevant

  • Reach out to everyone you do business with on a regular basis.
Branding and Marketing

Sourcing materials and production are part of the territory for independent designers. Once again, online research and in-person relationship building is key. Additionally, visiting trade shows and meeting with vendors is also important. Our experts describe what you need to know, the do's and don'ts, and the standard strategies they use for sourcing materials and production services.

Action Items:

1. Source fabric mills

2. Learn line sheets and pricing

  • Take a hands-on approach

3. Attend the Las Vegas Magic Show

  • See Resources for more info.

Key Points:

1. Have all vendors and key people in place before taking orders

2. Research fabric mills and manufacturers

3. Learn minimums and consider outsourcing

  • Learn the differences between the US vs. overseas
Sourcing Materials and Production
Parting Advice
2 Lectures 11:20

Congratulations, you are well on your way to finding your niche in the fashion world. As you have learned here, it all starts by wrapping who you are and what you believe into a unique product that can succeed in the market. Whether you choose to work your way up or strike out on your own from the get-go, you now understand the drive, talent, skills, dedication and business acumen needed to build a cohesive product, message, brand, and business. Lastly, our experts offer one piece of advice they each wish they had known before embarking on their fashion careers.

Key Points:

1. Understand the many options there are in the industry

2. Build a thick skin

  • It's a lot of work, and there is a lot of rejection, but it is a very rewarding career when your creations materialize.

3. Network and go to tradeshows

4. Have integrity

5. Learn Photoshop and Illustrator

6. Go after what you want and love what you do

7. Do your research on your industry and be driven and proactive

8. Understand your business and finances

9. Be patient, pick one thing and stick with it

A Final Word

About the Instructor
Demand Media
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92 Reviews
703 Students
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Content For Real Life

Demand Media, Inc. is a leading digital media and domain name services company that informs and entertains one of the internet’s largest audiences, helps advertisers find innovative ways to engage with their customers and enables publishers, individuals and businesses to expand their online presence. Headquartered in Santa Monica, CA, Demand Media has offices in North America, South America and Europe.