What qualifications are needed to become a fashion designer?

Updated April 17, 2017

A career in fashion design demands a strong aesthetic sense, well-developed art and design skills, and excellent written and verbal communication. Fashion designers obtain qualifications first through college study in fashion design, and then through practical internships.

College Degrees

The fashion design industry usually requires an associate's or bachelor's degree in fashion design. A designer may combine this with studies in fashion merchandising, business and marketing.

Art and Design Courses

Schools offering fashion design programs require students to fulfil basic art and design courses. These classes teach students the basic skills necessary to build portfolios for clothing sketches, and in how to apply computer-aided design programming to their work to increase clothing production.

Sewing and Tailoring

Fashion designers must know sewing, measuring and pattern making. This helps them communicate about how to construct outfits and how to fit designs to different body types.


Colour, line and style play a vital part in the fashion design industry, and those in the field must use these tools.

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About the Author

Diana Rajchel has freelanced since 1993, writing on topics ranging from finance to the new age. Her work has appeared in the Princeton Review Online, the "Twin Cities Daily Planet" and many other publications. Rajchel has a Bachelor of Science in mass communications from Minnesota State University, Mankato.