Fashion designers work on the design of clothing and fashion ranges. They typically specialise in one area of design, such as sportswear, children's wear, footwear or accessories.
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Depending on their level of responsibility and the company they work for, designers may work to their own brief or be given a brief to work towards, with specifications relating to colour, fabric and budget.
Developments in technology mean that a design can be on sale as a finished product in the high street within six weeks.
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The main areas of work for fashion designers are:
high street fashion - this is where the majority of designers work and where garments are mass manufactured (often in Europe or East Asia). Buying patterns, seasonal trends and celebrity catwalk influences play a key role in this design process. It is a commercial area and heavily media led;
ready-to-wear, also known as prêt-à-porter - where established designers create ready-to-wear collections, produced in relatively small numbers;
haute couture - requires large amounts of time spent on the production of one-off garments for the catwalk, which are often not practical to wear. Designs are usually created to endorse the brand and create a 'look'.
Tasks depend on the market the designer is working for, but core responsibilities include:
creating/visualising an idea and producing a design by hand or using computer-aided design (CAD);
keeping up to date with emerging fashion trends as well as general trends relating to fabrics, colours and shapes;
planning and developing ranges;
working with others in the design team, such as buyers and forecasters, to develop products to meet a brief;
liaising closely with sales, buying and production teams on an ongoing basis to ensure the item suits the customer, market and price points;
understanding design from a technical perspective, i.e. producing patterns, toiles and technical specifications for designs;
sourcing, selecting and buying fabrics, trims, fastenings and embellishments;...
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