Powerful Geography
Fashion Designer and the Fashion Industry

Fashion Designer and the Fashion Industry

Fashion Designer and the Fashion Industry


Main Topic: Human Geography
Secondary Topic: Environment and Society

Overview:  Fashion designers create original clothing, accessories, and footwear. They sketch designs, select fabrics and patterns, and give instructions on how to make the products they design.  Larger apparel companies typically employ a team of designers headed by a creative director. Some fashion designers specialize in clothing, footwear, or accessory design; others create designs in all three fashion categories.  For some fashion designers, the first step in creating a new design is researching current fashion and making predictions about future trends, such as by reading reports published by fashion industry trade groups. Other fashion designers create collections using a variety of inspirations, including art media, their surroundings, or cultures they have experienced and places they have visited.  After they have an initial idea, fashion designers try out various fabrics and produce a prototype, often with less expensive material than will be used in the final product. They work with models to see how the design will look and adjust the designs as needed.  Although most designers first sketch their designs by hand, many now also sketch their ideas digitally with computer-aided design (CAD) programs. CAD allows designers to see their work on virtual models. They can try different colors, designs, and shapes while making adjustments more easily than they can when working with real fabric on real people. Designers produce samples with the actual materials that will be used in manufacturing. Samples that get good responses from fashion editors or trade and fashion shows are then manufactured and sold to consumers. The design process may vary by specialty, but it generally takes 6 months, from initial design concept to final production, to release either the spring or fall collection. In addition to releasing designs during the spring and fall, some companies release new designs every month.  The Internet and e-commerce allow fashion designers to offer their products outside of traditional brick-and-mortar stores. These designers ship directly to the consumer, without having to invest in a physical shop to showcase their product lines of collections.  Geography is important for fashion designers in understanding relationships between people, places, culture, and economics, and how successful clothing and other fashions are dependent on sensitivity to location.

Geographers at work:  Industrial geographer, cultural geographer, economic geographer, environmental geographers, human geographers

Recommended College Courses:  Economic geography, cultural geography, industrial geography, environmental geography, human geography, natural resource use and management

Skills:  Understanding of economics, finance, markets, logistics, and labor, as well as how fashion design is influenced by geography (people and places); computer and database systems; critical thinking; teamwork

Occupation Group: Arts and Design

Learn more about Fashion Designers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Department of Labor:  https://www.bls.gov/ooh/arts-and-design/fashion-designers.htm#tab-1

Written by Christopher Anderson


Fashion designers create clothing, accessories, and footwear.
Fashion designers create clothing, accessories, and footwear.