Careers in Fashion

Employment Trends | Skills for Success
Careers in Fashion 

Employment Trends

Fashion Design
Career opportunities abound in Fashion Design! The industry is large and growing because Americans spend a respectable amount of their budget on clothing. Employment is expected to increase an average of 6 percent through 2014.

Key positions and median incomes in the Fashion Design industry are Fashion Designer, $46,000; Assistant Designer, $38,500; Technical Designer, Apparel; $47,500; and Pattern Maker, $24,000.

Fashion Merchandising
Employment opportunities in Fashion Merchandising are expected to increase an average of 9 to 17 percent through 2014.

Careers in this field are many. Key employment opportunities and the accompanying median incomes include Buyer, $42,000; Sales Representative, $41,000; Sales Management, $31,000; Special Event Planner, $43,000; and Visual Merchandiser, $26,000.

Skills for Success

Fashion Design
Employees in this industry will need these attributes:

  • A strong sense of fashion trends
  • Be highly organized and flexible
  • Work well and effectively under pressure
  • Possess creative and artistic skills
  • The ability to communicate effectively

Fashion Merchandising
Employees in this industry will need these attributes:

  • The ability to communicate effectively
  • Effective listening skills
  • An eye for fashion trends and their influences
  • Contemporary marketing knowledge
  • High energy level
  • Leadership ability
  • Attention to detail

Careers in Fashion

Fashion is everywhere, and so are career opportunities for individuals who combine a knowledge of the fashion business with their own talents, ambitions and abilities. The fashion industry provides a wide spectrum of career choices, from raw materials to the final consumer purchase: stores, mail-order houses, other forms of retailing, manufacturing, advertising, newspapers, magazines, commercial photography, public relations and other creative areas.


Entry-Level Jobs for Fashion Design Graduates

  • Assistant Designer
  • Cutting Assistant
  • Sketching Assistant
  • Sketcher -- Assistant to the Designer
  • Stylist
  • Junior Designer

Skills: Well-organized, flexible, fast- working; ability to work under pressure; good eye for trends in silhouette, color and fabric; ability to analyze trends for customers; garment construction, computer drafting and technical skills, pattern making, draping and sketching.

Entry-Level Jobs for Textile/Surface Design Graduates

  • Textile-Surface Designer
  • Colorist
  • Assistant Stylist
  • Screen Print Artist
  • Woven Fabric Designer
  • Knit Designer

Skills: Initiative, reliability, following instructions, meeting deadlines, versatile portfolio, extensive art background, art and costume history, color and design courses, textile science courses, illustration, strong computer design skills.

Entry-Level Jobs for Fashion Buying and Merchandising

  • Management Trainee
  • Department Manager
  • Assistant Store Manager
  • Associate Buyer
  • Assistant Buyer
  • Distribution Planner
  • Product Development Trainee
  • Store Operations
  • Mall Management

Skills: Analytical ability, computer skills, strong communication skills, leadership ability, initiative, high degree of motivation and energy, maturity, fashionable appearance. High grade point average in math, business math, accounting, management, marketing, business, fashion marketing, fashion history, psychology of fashion, textiles, design principles.

Entry-Level Positions for Fashion in Stores

  • Assistant to Fashion Director
  • Special Events Planning
  • Visual Merchandising Team
  • Personal Shopper
  • Sales Associate

Skills: Good eye for trends and coordinating trends, great communication skills, ability to work with store policies and management, flexible, creative, fashion merchandising, textiles, product knowledge, fashion history, psychology of fashion, color and design, advertising, public relations.

Entry-Level Positions for Fashion Merchandising with Manufacturers

  • Showroom Sales Trainee
  • Showroom Receptionist
  • Clerical Assistant
  • Product Development
  • Retail Sales Coordinator
  • Merchandising Assistant
  • Assistant Piece Goods and Trim Buyer
  • Production Assistant
  • Administrative Assistant

Skills: Assertive, excellent communication skills, computer skills, high level of organization, sales experience, broad range of courses which will enhance specific jobs, knowledge of fashion merchandising, trend analysis, management, retail math, textiles, color and design, fashion history and psychology of fashion.

Entry-Level Position for Apparel Production

  • Production Control Assistant
  • Import Coordinator
  • Junior Industrial Engineer
  • Costing Analyst
  • Quality Control Specialist
  • Assistant Plant Manager

Skills: Organizational skills, quantitative aptitude, computer skills, accuracy, thoroughness, assertiveness, detail oriented, problem-solving ability, multi-cultural training, bilingual, understanding of textiles and apparel in the global economy, good mathematical skills, knowledge of construction and contemporary processes of cutting, pattern making and construction.

Entry-Level Position for Textile Development

  •   Assistant Converter
  • Assistant Fabric or Yarn Stylist
  • Product Development Specialist
  • Textile Technology
  • Sales Trainee
  • Fabric Librarian

Skills: Detail - oriented, ability to analyze color and fashion trends, communication skills, computer skills, textiles, specialty courses in textile manufacturing, design courses, fashion and art history.

Don't Forget!
Magazine Editors, Writers, Costume Designers and Media Stylists, Photographers...
Fashion careers are everywhere! 

Gainful Employment Information
View information about this program, including estimated cost and employment opportunities.

Contact Information

Sharon Scalise, Program Coordinator
Student Resource Center (SRC), Room 1007, (630) 942-2619

Anna Gay, Program Support Specialist
(630) 942-2502

Business and Technology Division
Technical Education Center (TEC), Room 1034, (630) 942-2592



  • Valeria Baker

    Valeria BakerFashion Studies

    "The Fashion program at COD has been an inspirational motor in my life. Not only did I find excellent coaching here but I have found the way to express myself in a manner I never thought possible."

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  • Christine Mezile

    Christine MezileFashion Studies

    "All of the teachers in the Fashion program are very knowledgeable and are willing to answer any question you have. They really care about your future in the fashion business."

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  • Judith Smith

    Judith SmithFashion Studies

    "Every instructor was extremely helpful and generous with their time, knowledge and experience. I feel very privileged to have had them as teachers." 

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  • Anna Loosli

    Anna LoosliFashion Studies

    "I would definitely recommend College of DuPage for any person who has an interest in entering the fashion design world as this school provides a broad offering of design courses to help anyone learn and grow."

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  • Michelle Olvera

    Michelle OlveraFashion Studies

    "I have learned so much from all my teachers and have gained so many friendships. I am confident that after I graduate I will be able to find an internship in downtown Chicago."

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  • Jacqueline Nadolski

    Jacqueline NadolskiFashion Studies

    "I have used and continue to use many of the things I learned from the classes I took at COD."

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