Becoming a fashion designer is the dream of many young women and quite a few young men. The first and most important step:

Practice

To develop the skills needed to create a piece of clothing from an idea to the finished product, you need to practice in the real world. Do an internship with a design firm, stylist, or clothing manufacturer. You could also volunteer for a fashion house.

Choose a Niche

The fashion industry is so complex that it’s unrealistic to assume you’ll master every aspect of it. You should select a niche that you like and are good in, and focus your efforts in this area. Examples of niches include casual clothing, sportswear, or swimwear.

Get a Degree

Note that this is the third step, not the first. A degree in itself won’t make you stand out in this competitive industry. On the other hand, lack of one is sure to keep you in the waiting room. People who want to become fashion designers can get Bachelor’s degrees in the field. They take courses in textile, computer-aided fashion design, and figure drawing.

They can also complete degrees in fashion merchandising to prepare for a job position. This includes merchandise planning, consumer behavior, retail sales promotion, retail management, and product development.

How Much Do Fashion Designers Make?

According to data current as of May 2017, fashion designers make $67,420 a year on average. There’s a great deal of variety within these earnings, as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics will tell you. The top ten percent of earners get more than $135,490 annually, while the bottom ten get under $33,910. Designers with extensive experience get an average of $89,225 a year. Those with moderate experience earn around $71,000, and novices earn just $53,049 per year.