5 Career Options for Fashion Design Degree Holders

Written by Donald Pang 
Edited & additional information by No Sleep New York

Society and parents in general tend to be wary towards encouraging people to work in Fashion for good reason. First, they are right about the industry’s highly selective employment. They’re also right when they say that Fashion is “not what it seems”, even though they probably have no idea what they are really talking about. But before you decide to throw in the towel and take up accounting courses, or look for a no-brainer 9-5 job, here are a few fashion design careers to consider!

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The Popular Path

A fashion designer’s job seems to be surrounded by the glitz and glamour of having your works appearing on glossy magazines and the season’s hottest celebrities. It’s a no-brainer that people want to be fashion designers just like how some covet to be millionaires. To take this career path, you need a strong design portfolio. Prior work experience in fashion will be an advantage. So this is where being an intern during your holidays pays off.

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There are two kinds of Fashion Designers:

The In-house Designer:

You will work with a fashion company and design clothes according to their guidelines. The company will own the rights to your designs while you draw a monthly salary from them. Depending on the scale of the company, you may work alone or with a team. Be an in-house designer if you have plans to join the big wigs like Fendi, Gucci, Prada, or Louis Vuitton.

The Freelancer:

Freelancers work for themselves and sell their designs to fashion houses, directly to shops or to manufacturers. After building a good name, you’ll probably start getting people commissioning you for design work. Freelance Designers have the flexibility of work hours and tend to command higher wages, but keep in mind that financial stability is at high risk. If you’re just starting out, it’s best to work as an in-house designer for some experience first before attempting a freelance career.

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Other Possible Paths

Most people don’t study fashion design specifically to join these ranks, but if you found that designing isn’t your cup of tea somewhere through your course; these are jobs in the industry that you can consider:

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Fashion Buyer:

You will be responsible for traveling around and buying suitable fashions for shops or departmental stores. Your knowledge in Fashion Design will help you to predict trends or identify quality, giving you an edge for this job.

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Fashion Journalist:

You will write articles about fashion and source for newsworthy stories in your field. With in-depth fashion know-how and garment composition, you’ll make a perfect critic and can dish out fantastic fashion advice. You can also start your own fashion blog. Though it can be hard to grow a following, practice and research pays off.

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Fashion Stylist or Shopper:

Becoming a fashion stylist or shopper is another career path to consider. There are multiple opportunities to take advantage of, such as styling for photo and video shoots, events, and even being a personal stylist or shopper. Another option is being an in-house stylist for a fashion shop or brand.

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Verdict

If you find yourself jobless long after you’ve graduated with your fashion design degree, all is not lost. It just means that your portfolio needs a revamp. Read up on fashion magazines for inspiration and start sketching for a variety of genres. Employers judge designers by their portfolio because it’s the most accurate representation of the owner that no résumé, job experience or testimonial can replace. It portrays your education, experience and personal style.

With the right attitude, the possibilities are endless! If the world is not providing you with any shortcuts, the best solution is to make one yourself.


Donald is the International Admissions Director of Raffles Education Corporation. He has vast amount of experience in helping international students with their overseas studies. Based in Singapore, he works at the Raffles International Admissions Office where he manages a network of admissions offices in Asia Pacific.

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