Design clothing and accessories. Create original designs or adapt fashion trends.
Sample of reported job titles: Apparel Fashion Designer, Clothing Designer, Costume Designer, Dance Costume Designer, Designer, Fashion Designer, Historic Clothing and Costume Maker, Latex Fashions Designer, Product Developer
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Tasks | Technology Skills | Tools Used | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Direct and coordinate workers involved in drawing and cutting patterns and constructing samples or finished garments.
- Examine sample garments on and off models, modifying designs to achieve desired effects.
- Sketch rough and detailed drawings of apparel or accessories, and write specifications such as color schemes, construction, material types, and accessory requirements.
- Confer with sales and management executives or with clients to discuss design ideas.
- Identify target markets for designs, looking at factors such as age, gender, and socioeconomic status.
- Attend fashion shows and review garment magazines and manuals to gather information about fashion trends and consumer preferences.
- Select materials and production techniques to be used for products.
- Provide sample garments to agents and sales representatives, and arrange for showings of sample garments at sales meetings or fashion shows.
- Adapt other designers’ ideas for the mass market.
- Purchase new or used clothing and accessory items as needed to complete designs.
- Visit textile showrooms to keep up-to-date on the latest fabrics.
- Collaborate with other designers to coordinate special products and designs.
- Design custom clothing and accessories for individuals, retailers, or theatrical, television, or film productions.
- Determine prices for styles.
- Draw patterns for articles designed, cut patterns, and cut material according to patterns, using measuring instruments and scissors.
- Develop a group of products or accessories, and market them through venues such as boutiques or mail-order catalogs.
- Read scripts and consult directors and other production staff to develop design concepts and plan productions.
- Test fabrics or oversee testing so that garment care labels can be created.
- Sew together sections of material to form mockups or samples of garments or articles, using sewing equipment.
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- Accounting software — Financial accounting software
- Analytical or scientific software — SAS software
- Computer aided design CAD software — Autodesk Revit ; Computer aided design and drafting software CADD; StartingAClothingLine.com Digital Fashion Pro; Trimble SketchUp Pro (see all 10 examples)
- Desktop publishing software — Adobe Systems Adobe InDesign
- Development environment software — Adobe Systems Adobe Creative Suite
- Document management software — Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat
- Electronic mail software — Microsoft Outlook
- Graphics or photo imaging software — Adobe Systems Adobe Illustrator ; Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop ; Corel CorelDraw Graphics Suite; Lectra Prima Vision Print Repeat (see all 6 examples)
- Internet browser software — Web browser software
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office
- Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint
- Program testing software — User interface design software
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.
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- Design — Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Production and Processing — Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
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- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Management of Personnel Resources — Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
- Time Management — Managing one’s own time and the time of others.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Negotiation — Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.
- Persuasion — Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
- Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.
- Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Operations Analysis — Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.
- Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
- Learning Strategies — Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
- Systems Evaluation — Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.
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- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Originality — The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Visual Color Discrimination — The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness.
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
- Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
- Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
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- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
- Communicating with People Outside the Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Selling or Influencing Others — Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.
- Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment — Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.
- Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
- Monitoring and Controlling Resources — Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Working with Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
- Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
- Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Performing for or Working Directly with the Public — Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
- Providing Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Staffing Organizational Units — Recruiting, interviewing, selecting, hiring, and promoting employees in an organization.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
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Detailed Work Activities
- Develop artistic or design concepts for decoration, exhibition, or commercial purposes.
- Coordinate design activities.
- Draw detailed or technical illustrations.
- Write informational material.
- Collaborate with others to develop or refine designs.
- Monitor current trends.
- Conduct market research.
- Select materials or props.
- Promote products, activities, or organizations.
- Build models, patterns, or templates.
- Maintain inventories of materials, equipment, or products.
- Study scripts to determine project requirements.
- Conduct research to inform art, designs, or other work.
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- Contact With Others — 90% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Electronic Mail — 80% responded “Every day.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 83% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 90% responded “Every day.”
- Letters and Memos — 16% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Spend Time Sitting — 18% responded “More than half the time.”
- Time Pressure
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 24% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 74% responded “Very important.”
- Work With Work Group or Team
- Face-to-Face Discussions
- Level of Competition — 80% responded “Highly competitive.”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 18% responded “Never.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 22% responded “Very important results.”
- Deal With External Customers — 74% responded “Very important.”
- Frequency of Conflict Situations — 12% responded “Once a year or more but not every month.”
- Frequency of Decision Making
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 25% responded “Extremely important.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week
- Cramped Work Space, Awkward Positions
- Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 16% responded “Once a year or more but not every month.”
- Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 22% responded “Never.”
- Exposed to Contaminants — 25% responded “Never.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 22% responded “Very high responsibility.”
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|Title||Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate’s degree.|
|Related Experience||Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations usually involve using communication and organizational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include hydroelectric production managers, travel guides, electricians, agricultural technicians, barbers, court reporters, and medical assistants.|
|SVP Range||(6.0 to < 7.0)|
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Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
|25||Some college, no degree|
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Interest code: AER Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
- Artistic — Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.
- Enterprising — Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
- Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
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- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Independence — Job requires developing one’s own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others’ needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
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- Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
- Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
- Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
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Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2020)||$36.45 hourly, $75,810 annual|
|Employment (2020)||27,800 employees|
|Projected growth (2020-2030)||Little or no change|
|Projected job openings (2020-2030)||2,500|
|Top industries (2020)||
Management of Companies and Enterprises
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2020 wage data and 2020-2030 employment projections . “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2020-2030). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.
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Job Openings on the Web
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Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- Costume Designers Guild
- Council of Fashion Designers of America
- Fashion Group International
- National Association of Schools of Art and Design
- Occupational Outlook Handbook: Fashion designers
- The Underfashion Club
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