Five Important Things Every Fashion Designer Should Know

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By Mariana Henriquez, HAICC

For those who love clothes and revel in the world of fashion, life as a fashion designer may seem like a dream come true, but it is also a job. If you want to succeed in this competitive environment, you need to treat designing fashion as a professional undertaking.

For those new to the world of fashion, the growing pains can be enormous, and not knowing what to expect could doom your new enterprise to failure before you even get started. With that in mind, here are some key things every budding fashion designer needs to know:

1.You May Need to Get Your Hands Dirty – or At Least Covered in Cloth

Many would-be fashion designers simply assume that others will be doing the hands-on work and that they will never have to thread a needle or pick up a bolt of cloth. And while it is true that the top fashion designers do have armies of assistants to do the sewing and create the mockups, those just starting are likely to do a lot of the work themselves.

You may need to get your hands dirty to show off your fashion designing skills, or at least fire up your sewing machine. If you are unfamiliar with the inner workings of a sewing machine, you might want to brush up on your skills – it will be good for your artistic creativity and your budding career.

2.Designing Fashion is an Art and Science

Speaking of artistic creations, it is essential to know that designing fabulous fashions is both an art and a science. Successful designers delve into the scientific side of their endeavors regularly – poring through sales statistics, reviewing the results of shopper surveys, and learning everything they can about what makes one line a winner and the next an also-ran.

At the same time, those successful designers have a special something, a talent that cannot be measured in survey results and dollars and cents. Having an artist’s sensibilities will definitely come in handy if you plan to pursue a career in fashion, so including art classes in your college plans might be a smart thing to do.

3.You Will Need to Be a Team Player

There is a widespread misconception that fashion designers work mainly on their own, hunched over their drawing tables and busily working on the dresses, suits, and shirts that will take the runways by storm. As a result, many would-be fashion designers end up discounting the importance of teamwork in their future careers and are blindsided by life in the real world of fashion design.

While it is true that fashion designing is sometimes a solo enterprise, it is also true that most designers work as part of a team. From the models that will end up wearing your clothes to the corporate buyers who will select the designs and make the payments to the men and women who put those runway shows together, you will be putting a lot of teams together and having solid team-building skills will definitely come in handy.

4.You Will Need to Be a Strong Communicator

When you enter the world of fashion design, your clothes will do the talking, but that does not mean you do not have to be a great communicator. The best fashion designers know how to sell themselves, and their communication skills are second to none. 

From written communications to giving speeches, you will need to get comfortable expressing yourself in various situations and settings. Your clothes may indeed do the talking, but you will need to do some talking of your own. 

Whether your fashion house ends up becoming a household name or you toil away in relative obscurity, working in fashion design can be an incredibly rewarding career. Designing clothes that make people feel beautiful and confident just feels good, especially when you earn a good living creating those fabulous fashions.

It is essential to enter into this world fully informed, and there are some key things current fashion designers wish they had known when they were coming up and getting their start in the industry. Now that you know what you need to do, you can pursue your passion and work toward the amazing career you want.

5.Understanding of Fashion Law

The fashion industry is a very highly competitive market. It’s important to protect your designs from beginning your career to growing to a worldwide brand. Fashion designing is a business, and entrepreneurs and executives need to understand the state, federal, and international laws to protect their intellectual property: their brands and the products their customers recognize. 

The Hispanic-American International Chamber of Commerce (HAICC) is proud to present a 5-week seminar to help budding and new fashion designers understand the legal issues related to the fashion industry and their rights as designers. To register, visit or call 1-800-470-6113.

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