11 Tips to Become a Successful Fashion Designer

Last Updated on 16/01/2021

11 Tips to Become a Successful Fashion Designer

R.S. Balakumar
Associate Professor
Dept of Fashion Design & Arts
Hindustan University, Chennai, India
Email: rsbalakumar1953@gmail.com


Now formal education or certification required to become a successful fashion designer. It needs to have a combination of drawing, sewing, and design skills; knowledge of the fashion industry is necessary and very much important to all the budding fashion designers. In this article I have given 11 golden tips to become a successful fashion designer.

fashion designer tips
Fig: Fashion designer

11 Golden Tips to Become a Successful Fashion Designer

Develop the creative fashion drawing skills. Successful fashion designers have a wide array of skills, including drawing, an eye for color and texture, an ability to visualize concepts in three dimensions, and the mechanical skills involved in various types of garment and cutting&sewing with necessary required types of fabrics.

Get excellent sewing tuition if you haven’t already learned this skill well. Being able to sew difficult fabric under challenging situations will stand you in excellent stead throughout your career but you need to work at it – it’s a skill that doesn’t come easily to many people.many times of practical training must be required.

Understand how fabrics move, drape, breathe, react when worn in the human body. In-depth knowledge of fabric is absolutely required to using it properly when designing. Also know where to source materials with suitable quality & affordable prices from different sourcing in domestic & overseas countries.

Learn from the eminent fashion designers, not just who they are, but their backgrounds, their signature style, the learning that they undertook, where they studied. Knowing this will help you to be a better designer yourself, as you can borrow and build on their ideas will ever help you to become a successful fashion designer.

Learn how to create storyboards and product ranges. Be good at researching trends through media, comparative shopping and fashion& trade shows are often held in and around the place, where you stayed. Start developing these skills at a young age. Be prepared to devote hours of time to perfecting your fashion art and craft.

Learn more. If you can, it makes good sense to get a diploma or degree in well-known fashion design institutions. You’ll learn a great deal, make excellent early contacts and have ample opportunity to show off your skills in a less judgmental environment. Get a degree in fashion design. Most programs are three years duration B.Sc. and four years duration B.tech. program. D.F.tech -three years MFM(PG-PROG) and, certificate courses are conducted in India and International.

Students willstudy basicdrawing, color and composition, fashion illustration, pattern-making, and grading Art of Draping.[2] In addition to learning practical skills like these, you will also be working with industry professionals who may serve as important contacts in the future and who can give you first-hand advice and feedback on your work.

Again, the connections you make through your internship or apprenticeship will be vital as you pursue your career in fashion, and working with industry professionals will give you an opportunity to pick up important skills first-hand.

Decide which designing field is your primary interest and task. You may need to start at the bottom but you do need to have a goal in mind as to the type of designing you want to undertake lifelong.

Are you interested most in:

  • Haute couture,
  • Ready-to-wear,
  • Fitness/leisure gear,
  • The mass market or
  • Niches

Such as eco wear?
Each has advantages and disadvantages that you’ll need to explore before reaching your final decision on which pathway to pursue. Within these major fields, you’ll also need to decide on a few sub-set areas for your fashion design. You might wish to straddle a few but to begin with, don’t over-extend yourself as it’s better to perfect your designing within one area and then experiment when you’ve already got a good foothold in the industry. For example:

  1. Women’s daywear,
  2. Women’s evening wear
  3. Men’s daywear,
  4. Men’s evening wear
  5. Boys’ wear and/or girls’ wear;
  6. Teenage wear
  7. Sportswear/fitness/leisure wear
  8. Knitwear
  9. Outdoor, adventure, outerwear
  10. Bridal wear
  11. Fashion Accessories
  12. Costume design for theater, movies,
  13. The advertising industry and
  14. Fashion retailers.

Plan some key pieces:

  • What is your absolute strength in designing?
  • Perhaps you’re a whizz at accessories or a genius with yoga pants.
  • Your passion and skill are an important first part of the equation.
  • Of course, the second part is matching this to what the market wants, which in fashion, is part convincing the market and part noticing what the market is demanding.

Assess your skills and personality honestly before pursuing a career in fashion design. You may love clothes but clothing is only part of the story when undertaking fashion design. You’ll also need excellent communication skills, a willingness to work very hard. A tough hide when criticized, an ability to cope with stress, openness to having many different clients and/or bosses, an acceptance that there will be loneliness or isolation on occasion (depending on how you set up your design business or career) and an ability to be a self-disciplined self-starter.

Being a fashion designer is probably not for you if: You can’t manage stress well, you don’t like uncertainty or instability, you want a career without too many highs or lows, you need other people to praise your efforts, you need a lot of guidance, you hate being financially unstable and you have too many other interests in life.

Get educated about the business side of fashion. Being a successful fashion designer not only requires talent and creativity, it also requires a sound knowledge of the business and marketing aspects of the fashion world. Keep yourself updated on the happenings in the fashion industry by regularly reading trade journals.

Know your customer. This skill is basic and essential and it’s one a fashion designer must never lose sight of. Know how much your customers spend, what their lifestyles are, where they like to shop, how they like to shop and what they like and dislike. Know what absolute needs are and what are the things that only get bought when disposable incomes are less tight. If you have done marketing, you should have a solid understanding of how to work out customers’ needs.

Know your competitors. Always keep an eye on what other fashion designers in your area of interest are doing. At a minimum, keep up. Better still, surpass them while still meeting your customers’ need. Trade fairs are an excellent place to develop deeper understanding of how the fashion industry works and what will work for you in terms of meeting customer needs and staying competitive.

Look for fashion design jobs. There are various ways to find work in the fashion industry as a designer and it depends on the type of designing you’re interested in. In some cases, being versatile will help you a great deal, just so that you get the experience and then jump across to your real passion later. And in most cases, you’ll need to be persistent and apply to many different places to get your foot in the door. For starters, some places to apply to include:

  • Existing fashion houses and designers – look for internships, entry-level paid positions, assistants to designers, etc.
  • Costume positions with movie studios, theaters, costume stores, etc.
  • Online advertisements through various online job agencies
  • Word of mouth––use your college or fashion industry contacts to get you through the door. In an industry that values what people who already are well positioned have to say, this is a good way to get started.

If running your own design business, be prepared to be financially astute. You may be exceptionally creative but be absolutely certain that if you run your own fashion label, you need to be business savvy. You do need to understand those numbers and the invoices that keep piling up on your table. If you really hate this stuff, there are good options, such as asking your accountant to take care of all things financial but it still pays to keep on top of the whole thing yourself. And if you really, really hate this side of it, look for work as a fashion designer with a fashion house instead of running your own label.

Be realistic. You may need to be willing to move to match your market but that depends on how you work and sell. Being realistic means recognizing that it’s pointless trying to sell a lot of haute couture to people who only want career clothing in a semi-rural town while it’s no good trying to sell bikini to the Inuit. You’ll need to focus on where your market is most likely to be and either work out whether it’s best for you to live and work in that same area or how to get the distribution from your current area to the place where it’s most likely to sell.

Take into consideration the influences around you. As a creative person, part of your creative process is being around like people and sparking off their ideas and suggestions too. It’s a lot harder to do this alone or working alongside people who aren’t into your fashion approaches.

Remember too that seasonality impacts fashion designing and may have an impact on the type of clothing you’re producing and where you wish to sell it.

Assemble a portfolio of your work. Your design portfolio will be vital when applying to design jobs and internships, as it is your chance to market yourself and your work. Your portfolio should display your best work, and highlight your skills and creativity. Use a high-quality binder to show that you take yourself seriously as a designer.

Include the following in your portfolio:

  1. Hand-drawn sketches or photographs of these sketches
  2. Computer-drawn designs
  3. Resumé
  4. Mood or concept pages
  5. Color or textile presentation pages
  6. Any other pieces that fairly reflect what you’re capable of doing and evolving into
  7. Add your own method.

Develop a good logo if running your own fashion label. It will define your style from the outset and so it needs to be good from the outset. It is worth getting a professional graphic designer on the job if you’re no good at this yourself.

If you start your own fashion label, you need sound advice on everything from the beginning. Surround yourself by a trusted team of financial, legal and marketing advisers, paid according to what you need rather than having them on staff.

Read widely. Find the biographies and true stories of fashion icons in the area of fashion that you’re interested in. Learn all of the ins and outs of their experiences and see how you can use their experience to better your own. The fashion industry is extremely competitive; only pursue a career in fashion if it you are 100 percent devoted to the field. It also helps to grow a thick hide very early on and to learn to be discerning about criticism––most criticism is sour grapes and if you believe in yourself, you’ll know when the criticism is spot on or just plain nasty. In this way you become a successful fashion designer.


  1. Inside Fashion Business-Book.
  2. Fashion from Concept to Consumer-Book.
  3. Career in Textile and Fashion Designing Edited by: Cameron Luther
  4. The Great Fashion Designers by Brenda Polan and Roger Tredre

You may also like:

  1. Career Opportunities for Fashion Designers in India
  2. Scope of Fashion Designing Jobs in India
  3. Scope and Opportunities for Fashion Design Study
  4. Important Fashion Design Tools for Beginners
  5. Viva Questions and Answers for Fashion Design Students and Professionals
  6. Different Types of Fashion Categories for Dress Design
  7. Grading and Pattern Making: Job Interview Questions
  8. Drafting and Cutting Techniques of Dartless Saree Blouse
  9. Drafting Details of Katori Blouse Step by Step
  10. Interview Questions on Dress Draping and Fitting
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