Pro Tips for Up-and-Coming Fashion Designers

The aspiring-fashion-designer bug usually bites an interested party early in their lifetime. The journey begins with a pattern and textile fascination, followed by a growing admiration for the ever-shifting fashion trends dominating pop culture. Soon enough, these dog-eared fashion magazines and obsessions with the latest spring collections spark a person’s interest in becoming a world-renowned fashion designer.

If you’re interested in becoming one of the thousands of fashion designers powerful enough to influence what people worldwide are wearing, time is of the essence. After all, what better day to pursue your dreams than today? 

On the surface, striving for a career in fashion design seems to be an easy endeavor. However, these preconceived notions may be deceiving. To become a successful fashion designer, you’ll need more than a passion for fashion or a keen eye. You’ll also need drive and determination, as the fashion industry is hugely competitive.

Some top apparel companies like ShirtSpace offer blank apparel. These blank t-shirts can serve as canvases for your vision and style as a fashion designer. If you long to see your designs hung in stores, a little advice from the pros would seem to be in order. To that end, here are eight tips from the pros that are worth your consideration.

Education is a must

It takes more than an interest in fashion design to become a successful fashion designer. You can’t expect to succeed by simply hanging out your shingle and releasing your designs on the market. 

The best way to build a strong foundation within the industry is to earn an education from a reputable fashion design program. Sadly, history and biology courses won’t help you improve your chances of succeeding in the fashion world, meaning a run-of-the-mill fashion merchandising degree from a state school or community college likely won’t suffice. To make your big break, you’ll need to study facets of design and marketing.from an accredited, big-name institution. 

Before embarking on your education journey, you’ll need to consider the following. To boost your odds of acceptance into a highly competitive industry, you’ll need to establish a name for yourself before launching your own brand. 

To gain the experience necessary, you’ll need to network until you find an established designer willing to take you under their wing. Mentorship is invaluable in the fashion industry, as these seasoned designers can advise you on dos and don’ts and offer tips on how to climb the social ladder. To score the mentorship opportunity of your dreams, formal education in fashion design is one of the keys you’ll need to unlock the door to success.

Start creating your portfolio

It’s never too early to start compiling a portfolio of designs. For those up-and-coming fashion designers unfamiliar with this tactic, a portfolio is a tool you’ll use to showcase your talents and inform industry leaders of your potential. A solid portfolio of sketches and pictures of previous works will help you gain admission into fashion design programs and swing open the door for future employment.

Before successfully launching your fashion brand, you’ll need to research a high-quality fashion portfolio’s central components. Some aspiring fashion designers choose to include rough hand sketches, photos of finished garments, mood boards, collages, etc. Ensure your portfolio represents who you are and what distinguishes you from other designers/applicants. 

Become a student of the industry

All of the time you spend studying the fashion industry, flipping through fashion magazines, and hand sewing your garments will eventually pay off. For optimal success, it’s crucial that you know and thoroughly understand trends as they shift. You’ll also need to familiarize yourself with the big names in fashion who spearhead these changes and radically transform the industry with each statement blouse and high-waisted pantsuit. 

As a student of the industry, it’ll be easier for you to identify where you fit in and where you can make the most significant impact. After all, you have to learn the rules like a pro to break them like an artist. 

Focus on one area

Early in your education and career, you don’t want to juggle too much, given that your chances of success lie in your ability to demonstrate your expertise. In the fashion industry, being stamped with the label of “jack-of-all-trades” could be a death sentence.  

Because it’s nearly impossible to master every garment, it’ll likely yield better results to focus on one area of design. For instance, becoming a design expert in women’s shoes could serve as your entry point into the industry. 

Decide on a career path

All working professionals need a sense of direction, especially those artists easily swayed by eye-catching patterns and bold colors. There are two career paths from which you can choose. You can seek employment and work your way through a top fashion design organization, or you could choose an independent course. The choice is yours, but you’ll need to decide early on so that you don’t waste time.

Focus on becoming a well-rounded businessperson

If you ever head out on your own and choose to manage your line, your success will correlate with your ability to be a good businessperson. To develop a good business sense, you might want to consider taking a few business courses. You might also benefit by aligning yourself with other designers who have a knack for tracking marketing and sales trends. 


Find a mentor

It’s hard to succeed in any endeavor without the support of fellow working professionals who’ve already traveled down your desired path. Luckily, within the fashion design industry, designers love to find and support proteges. 

In most cases, finding a mentor will be the right path for you. Why? A good mentor could save you time by showing you the ins and outs of the industry, sparing you from the dirty work of a trial-and-error strategy. 

Be patient

If becoming a world-renowned fashion designer is your lifelong dream, give it time to come to fruition. Every good fashion designer needs time to hone their skills and build a reputation within the industry.