Some career possibilities:
Accessory Designer Apparel Designer Boutique Owner
Buyer Catalog Copywriter Costume Designer
Display Artist Distribution Manager Fashion Coordinator
Fashion Publicist Fashion Editor Fashion Journalist
Fashion Photographer Fashion Trade Show Designer Human Resources Manager
Lab Technician Marketing Manager Merchandise Manager
Merchandiser Modeling Agent Production Assistant
Retail Salesperson Retail Store Manager Sketcher/Stylist
Textile Colorist Textile Salesperson Window Artist

The world of fashion is exciting, fast-paced and encompasses many different industries, including the design, manufacturing and distribution of clothing and accessories, wholesale and retail sales, and fashion media and photography. U.S. consumers spend approximately $140 billion per year on apparel which makes the fashion and apparel industry one of the strongest and most important in the country.

Working in the fashion industry requires flexibility, drive and creativity. Many areas of the fashion industry also require knowledge of computerized design programs, such as CAD-CAM. Computers have become increasingly important for quick presentation and modification of fashion designs. Even if you are not interested in the design of clothing and accessories, basic computer skills are important for securing that first job after graduation. Supplementing your fashion technology curriculum with courses in business and communication would be advisable for all areas of fashion.

Broad areas of employment are:

Fashion Merchandising: Fashion merchandisers select and buy products, determine pricing, and develop marketing and advertising strategies. Merchandisers may work in wholesale/retail sales, which focuses on selling clothing, accessories, or home fashions that have already been designed and produced. Merchandisers may also work as buyers. Buyers specialize in locating and marketing certain types of products, and usually focus on one particular product area. Buyers must be sensitive to market trends and current fads, as they are responsible for selecting, pricing, and marketing products that people will buy. Other fashion merchandising jobs may include merchandising manager, trade show organizer, window artist, and retail manager. Most individuals pursuing a career in fashion merchandising have a business orientation, as well as an interest in the fashion industry.

Apparel And Accessory Design: Apparel and accessory designers create clothing and/or accessories based on the needs of their clients. Generally, designers specialize in one or two markets, such as women's clothing, men's clothing or accessories. Designers may work for individual clients, high fashion or specialty stores, or for major companies that adapt what is seen at fashion shows for sale to the general public. Success as a designer requires not only creativity and talent, but also a good sense of what customers are looking for and are willing to buy. The fashion design world is highly competitive and requires determination as well as talent.

Textiles: Most people think of clothing or home furnishings when they think of textiles, but the textile industry encompasses much more than that. It also includes handbags, shoelaces, rope, tents, rain gear, electrical cord insulation, and many other products. The production of textiles involves a number of occupations, from textile designers who determine what the product will look like and from what materials the textile will be made, to individuals who produce yarn, to those who make woven or knitted cloth, to finishers who add color, textures and patterns to the cloth. Occupations within the field of textile production include lab technicians, colorists, and textile salespeople.

Manufacturing: Fashion manufacturing is the business of turning raw materials into clothing and accessories. It mainly consists of three areas: promotion and sales, merchandising and styling of the line, and the actual production of goods. Testing laboratories researching the durability and quality of materials are an additional employment setting relating to the manufacturing end of the fashion industry. Careers in the area of manufacturing include merchandiser, production assistant and marketing manager.

Fashion Media And Photography: Due to the fact that the individuals working in fashion media and photography can literally make or break a fashion designer, it is easily the most powerful component of the industry. Careers in this area of employment include fashion editors - who work for fashion magazines and regularly attend fashion shows, scanning the runways for new fashions for the upcoming season - as well as photographers, modeling agents, fashion journalists, copywriters and graphic artists. Entering this area of fashion often requires specialized training in such areas as journalism, photography or design. This is one of the most competitive sectors of the fashion industry.

The fashion industry is a challenging one to enter. No matter which area of fashion interests you, obtaining an internship in your desired area of employment can not only help you gain experience, but also allow you to meet important individuals within the industry. Volunteer work, part-time jobs while in school, and related school activities can also provide you with the skills and experience that employers are seeking. Your first job in the fashion industry may require you to start at the bottom. Those candidates who have pursued related experiences while in college will have an edge in securing more challenging positions, and will probably advance more quickly.

Labor analysts predict that, despite great demand for products in the fashion industry, employment growth in the industry as a whole will be slight to moderate through the year 2005. For many positions, those individuals with a technical background and computer training will be more marketable in the upcoming years.

A degree in fashion technology can also be good preparation for a variety of graduate programs. Depending on your area of interest, you may pursue graduate work in business, design, art, or communications, to name only a few possibilities. Recommendations, academic success, and related experiences in your field will be important criteria for admission to graduate school.

Career Development Center

Buffalo State College  •  1300 Elmwood Avenue  •  Cleveland Hall 306
Buffalo, New York 14222  •  Phone: (716) 878-5811  •  Fax: (716) 878-3152