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Fashion Designers Job Outlook

Employment of fashion designers is expected to experience little to no change from 2010 to 2020.

Some growth is projected for this occupation in specialized design firms and for self-employed fashion designers. Clothing and accessories designers will be needed to design comfortable and more affordable items for the mass market and everyday wear. In addition, as new clothing technology is developed, fashion designers will be needed to create garments using new fabrics, such as moisture-wicking fabrics.

However, fashion designers in the apparel manufacturing industry are expected to face declining employment, which should prevent overall employment from increasing.

From 2010 to 2020, employment growth of fashion designers in the industries employing most of these workers is expected to be as follows:

Specialized design services40%
Performing arts, spectator sports, and related industries14
Management of companies and enterprises3
Apparel, piece goods, and notions merchant wholesalers0
Apparel manufacturing-58

Job Prospects

Strong competition for jobs is expected because of the large number of people who seek employment as fashion designers and the relatively few positions available.

Those with formal education in fashion design, with excellent portfolios, and with industry experience will have the best job prospects.

In addition, it may be necessary for some fashion designers to relocate. Employment opportunities for fashion designers are highly concentrated in New York and California. In May 2010, almost 75 percent of all salaried fashion designers worked in these two states.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition