How to become a Fashion Designer

Fashion designers plan and develop new clothing and accessory styles by creating original designs or by adapting fashions to suit local conditions and trends. They fabricate sample garments based on these designs.

Personal requirements of a Fashion Designer

  • Enjoy artistic and creative activities
  • Creative flair and drawing ability
  • Good communication skills
  • Good colour and design sense
  • Good hand-eye coordination
  • Able to work independently or as part of a team
  • Good time management skills
  • Able to work under pressure

Education & Training for a Fashion Designer

To become a fashion designer you usually have to complete a VET qualification. Applicants may be required to attend an interview and/or submit a folio of their work. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information. You can also become a fashion designer by completing a degree in fashion design or fashion and textiles. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education with English. Applicants may be required to attend an interview and/or submit a folio of their work. A number of institutions in Australia offer degrees in these areas. Institutions have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information.

Duties & Tasks of a Fashion Designer

Fashion designers:

  • consult with clients and stakeholders to determine the objectives of the design brief and to negotiate design solutions
  • illustrate concepts by producing storyboard and specification drawings
  • use computers to manipulate and develop patterns and modify designs
  • research and develop fabrics and accessories for production of garments
  • make patterns or work closely with patternmakers to draft patterns from sketches or specification drawings
  • select fabric, colour and trim, and undertake cutting and machining of sample garments
  • fit samples and discuss them with management, sales and manufacturing staff
  • contribute to costing estimates
  • finalise specification sheets with detailed sketches and trim details
  • approve final samples before they go into production
  • liaise with production staff during mass production of garments and participate in quality control
  • maintain an awareness of current global and local fashion trends
  • control merchandising and retailing of garments.

Employment Opportunities for a Fashion Designer

Fashion designers work for manufacturing houses, small businesses or retailers. They may design ready-to-wear clothing or one-off garments to be sold to retailers or directly to the public. They tend to specialise in one area, such as menswear, children's wear, knitwear or lingerie. In addition, opportunities exist for specialist work in an established business as a designer, cutter, patternmaker/grader, sample machinist, general machinist or subcontractor. Fashion designers may also become trainers in the industry. The fashion industry is highly competitive and success depends on talent and determination. Vacancies are extremely limited for trainees wanting to work their way up to fashion designing. Some employers promote employees who have gained practical experience in the industry. A limited number of vacancies for qualified and experienced designers exist in both large fashion companies and smaller clothing manufacturing firms. Most vacancies occur in large capital cities, especially Sydney and Melbourne. Some opportunities exist for talented and experienced designers to establish their own businesses or work on a freelance basis.

Avg. weekly wage:


Future growth:


Employment by state:

ACT ACT 0.5%

NSW NSW 46.1%

NT NT 0%

QLD QLD 16.7%

SA SA 1.7%

TAS TAS 0.3%

VIC VIC 32.5%

WA WA 2.2%

Hours worked:



Lower unemployment

Gender split:

Male 36.9%

Female 63.1%

Education level:

Age brackets:

15-19 - 0%

20-24 - 7.6%

25-34 - 30.8%

35-44 - 23.3%

45-54 - 19.1%

55-59 - 13.4%

60-64 - 3.3%

65 and Over - 2.6%

*The data above is sourced from the Department of Employment’s Job Outlook website.

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