Fashion Designer Career Profile

Do you want to work as a fashion designer?

READ: This page helps you to read about the career and the info you need to decide on whether this is indeed the career you want to follow.

RESEARCH: ​Learn about the skills required and minimum subjects to enter this career, as well as the places where you can study further after school.

PREPARE: If you want to plan and prepare for your career, then join the OZT Community! Members have access to tools while chatting with other students and experts from around the world. Prepare to be amazed!


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1 August 2023


What is a fashion designer?

A fashion designer uses artistic talent to design new lines of clothing.

An animal related fashion designer incorporates some aspect of animals in the design of clothing, such as animal prints, coat design and colors.

Wildlife Vet

One of the most exciting fields in fashion designing is copying the animal kingdom in designs. This is called bio mimicry.

(Using ANY part of an animal in designing clothing should be seen as UNETHICAL and should never form part of your career).

There are different kinds of fashion designers, based on the kind of clothing that they design:

  • Accessory designers design and produce items such as handbags, suitcases, belts, scarves, hats, hosiery, and eyewear. (They can also design accessories for animals, and is discussed as a Pet Accessories Designer)
  • Costume designers design costumes for the performing arts and for motion picture and television productions. 
  • Clothing designers create apparel for people, including casual wear, suits, sportswear, etc
  • Footwear designers create and help produce different styles of shoes and boots.

2. What do they do?


Art & Design / Business


The focus of fashion designers is to create practical and visually stimulating clothing by incorporating animal related design.

Daily Tasks:

  • Discuss brief with clients
  • Working to design instructions
  • Analysing or predicting trends in fabrics, colours and shapes; producing concept and mood boards
  • Making sketches by hand or on the computer
  • Developing basic shapes through patterns
  • Estimating costs for materials and manufacture
  • Sourcing suppliers; supervising the making up of sample clothing items
  • Making in-house presentations
  • Create and add new work to a portfolio
  • Administration and filing

Where they work:


Fashion designers work indoors in studios where they are able to draw, design patterns, cut and work fabrics.

Places of Employment –

Most fashion designers are permanently employed by established fashion houses or large clothing manufacturers. But they may also decide to work on their own and create their own line of clothing, or design clothes for clients on contract. 

Average Salary:

The annual salary for fashion designers is around US$65,000 per year. The amount will differ between those permanently employed and self employed (working on contract or owning own brand), as well as from country to country.


Advancement in the field typically depends on work experience. First year practitioners often begin on a part-time basis, fitting their training commitments around other work demands. Promotion to senior levels are available in all related careers. The levels of each promotion might differ from organization to organization, but generally are the following:

Intern > Junior Designer > Senior Designer > Supervisor


Designers normally work normal business hours, but they may work much longer hours when preparing samples for buyers or collections for fashion shows. Tight deadlines and working with difficult clients can also be stressful. Most designers travel several times a year to trade and fashion shows.

​Future Growth and Possibilities:

Fashion Designing has been showing positive growth for many years. A focus on animal related designs will be the next big trend in fashion designing, as many large fashion houses are moving away from using animal products (skin and fur) towards the huge need for ethical clothing. “Recyclable” clothing is currently being researched and will create a massive market. 

3. Which Skills are required?

The skills required for a career as a fashion designer can be divided into two very important groups. The first is the group containing life skills, which are the core skills that are necessary or desirable for full participation in everyday life. The second group is career skills, or the specific skills required to allow a person to enter and operate effectively within a specific career. Some or maybe even all of the life skills can assist in strengthening the career skills, and they might even be the same for specific careers.

Life Skills:

  • Self-awareness
  • Empathy
  • Critical thinking
  • Creative thinking
  • Decision making
  • Problem Solving
  • Effective communication
  • Interpersonal relationship

Career Skills:

  • ​Creativity and artistic skills
  • Excellent drawing ability
  • Fine eye for detail
  • Strong visualization skills
  • A good business sense
  • Interest in current fashion trends
Life Skills
Career Skills

4. Which Subjects must I have at School?

The subjects you choose at school are important as they lay the foundation for further studies at college or university. While still at school, it’s also important to learn more about the animals you will work with, as well as gain some experience.

OZT has a list of various tertiary institutions where you can study further, after school. These institutions also have their own Group page on OZT where you will find the exact subjects they require of you to have passed in school. Keep these requirements in mind, and discuss it with your school, guidance counselor and parents to ensure that you are prepared!

5. What will I need to Study?

Minimum Requirements:

The minimum requirement to enter this career is a High School Certificate, but most fashion designers have a College Diploma or a Bachelor’s Degree in fashion design or fashion technology. Even if you don’t want to study further, short courses that teaches both design and technical skills are critical to help with the practical knowledge needed to work in this highly competitive industry.


Major –

A diploma or degree that combines technical coursework with artistic and conceptual instruction.

Short Courses –

Courses may include fashion drawing, 3-D design, color theory, textiles, computer-aided design, fashion business, merchandising and portfolio presentation.


The duration of Diplomas are between a year and three years. College and Bachelor’s Degrees can be between 3 and 4 years. Short Courses are usually between a few weeks and a year.

​Possible Career Preparation Paths:

If this is your dream career that you want to pursue, then it’s important to plan the way forward.

Why is planning important?

​To ensure that you understand the requirements for your career, and that you are always prepared for the next step on the road towards your dream. A Preparation Path is like your road map to where you want to be.

Possible Paths (two of many):

Possible Combined Career Paths:

It is possible to sometimes combine two or more related careers. This normally happens when you study and practice a specific main career, but the knowledge and experience gained also help you to have a paying hobby or secondary income career.

Possible Alternative(s):

Stepping Stone Career:

Being a fashion designer can also be used as a stepping stone career. A stepping stone career is one which is used to help you get to another career, normally because the other career is too difficult to reach (sometimes due to things like high fees etc).

You can begin as an intern designer after basic short courses and expert guidance (maybe working under a mentor). The money made can then be used to pay for studies towards a promotion or another career, and the experience helps in gaining knowledge. One paying to help get to the other.

Examples of some of the possible paths:

Training and apprenticeship:

Even though it is important to study to get into some of the animal careers, most of the skills you will need will be acquired through on-the-job training. This means that you will learn how to perform some of the daily tasks by actually doing it a few times and learning the steps.

In some cases entry level positions (or junior positions) require training sessions even before you are allowed to actually perform your job duties. These sessions are offered by the place of employment, after you have successfully applied.

Apprenticeship is also possible where you need to learn skills from a more senior person or expert.

Join the Fashion Designer Group in STEP 8 to learn more and even interact with the educational institutions that will help you secure your dream career!

Average entry level of education across the career:

High School Certificate 0%
Diploma or Short Courses 0%
Degree or Higher Studies 0%

6. Licenses, Certificate, Registration and Professional Associations

Certain animal careers require some form of legal certification to prove that you can indeed do the work, and work with the necessary equipment.

Although not required by law, certifications may help workers establish their credentials and enhance their skills.

Learn more about requirements by joining OZT in STEP 8.

Professional Associations:

7. Where can I study further?

All of the above information will help you understand more about the Career, including the fact that there are different paths to take to reach it. But if you are almost done with High School (Grades 11 or 12), you also need to start thinking about further studies, and WHERE you will study.

See the List of Universities, Colleges and Online Training Academies who offer courses towards animal fashion designing.

Do you want to Contribute?

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Join us as a special member and learn more about becoming a fashion designer.

Members of the Platform have special access to:

  • Info on the best places where you can study (colleges, universities and online)
  • Expertly designed advice to prepare you for the career, and links to places where you can gain valuable experience. For some career experience is necessary, otherwise you wont get the job!
  • Top notch info on each of the different species you will work with
  • Make friends around the world and share knowledge
  • Compete and win points, badges, games, prizes and certificates. Be the best of the best, while you learn and prepare!

If you have decided on being a Fashion Designer, please click on the JOIN GROUP button. Members will be directed to the Group, while non-members will be assisted to register first.

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