-- Don't miss our interview with fashion designer Jamie Lewin! Scroll down!--
A fashion designer works with businesses and stores to create the clothing we wear each and every day! He or she might work for a large company or brand, designing anything from clothing to accessories to shoes, or they might own their own line and create each item individually in 2007, over a quarter of all fashion designers in the U.S. reported being self-employed.
A designer's process begins months (or even years) before you see the finished product in stores. They will sketch out ideas and make samples out of a fabric called muslin, which is a cheap, easy to sew form of cotton. This allows them to work out any problems with the design, and to see how it will look on a dress form or body. Once the muslin prototype is perfect, a pattern will be created to show how to turn fabric into that piece of clothing. And then, only after the designer approves the pattern and chooses fabric and fastenings, will the pattern be shipped off to be manufactured into a clothing line!
Being a fashion designer doesn't necessarily equal being famous, but there are definitely a few household names: Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, Diane von Furstenburg, Karl Lagerfeld, and Stella McCartney are all internationally known brands. Can you think of any more?
Further informationA passion for fashion may be essential if you want to become a designer, but it's important to have a good education as well! A well-rounded college degree in fashion design not only includes courses in sewing techniques, but history, fabric and textiles, and computer-aided design (CAD). The "fashion capitals" of the world are generally considered to be New York, London, Paris, and Milan, and some notable fashion programs in the U.S. include the Rhode Island School of Design, the Savannah College of Art and Design, the Fashion Institute of Technology, Drexel University, the University of Wisconsin and the Pratt Institute.
whyzz interview with fashion designer Jamie Lewin:
1) How did you become a fashion designer?
My Grandmother was a fashion designer and my Grandfather was a master tailor so I had some background in design growing up. After college I went to the Fashion Institute of Technology for training and then started working in New York City. I also had a couple of internships while in college where I learned a ton about design and the business.
2) What does your typical day look like?
I love my job because every day is different. A typical day would be coming into the office around 9-9:30am and checking all of my emails. Because we work with factories in Asia we have emails coming in all night while we are sleeping. Then I might sketch some new designs or detail sketches of garments to give to my technical team so they know exactly how the garment I am designing should be constructed. Some days I have meetings with buyers and some days I have fittings of samples. Fabric and print vendors come to show us their new collections on some days as well. I get to travel to our factories overseas and also to different cities in Europe to see what is happening in fashion there.
3) What is the most exciting part of your job?
The most exciting part of my job is getting to do what I love. I think it's so important to feel happy and challenged every day. It's very exciting to see my designs in stores and people wearing them on the street. It makes me happy and pushes me to continue doing what I love!
Jamie Lewin is a fashion designer and lives in New York City. Over the past few years she has designed the women's collection at J. Crew and has owned and designed her own contemporary collection called Phyl Couture. Today Jamie is designing the women's collection for Gap.
Sources & links
"What does a fashion designer do, and how do I become one?" Just Colleges. 26 Oct. 2009. "Fashion Designer." Princeton Review. 26 Oct. 2009. "Fashion Designers." U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 26 Oct. 2009. "Become a Fashion Designer." All Art Schools. 26 Oct. 2009.