Fashion designers work on the design of items of clothing and fashion ranges. Some may focus completely on one specialist area, such as sportswear, childrenswear, footwear or accessories.
They produce designs for the haute couture, designer ready-to-wear and high street fashion markets. Developments in technology mean that a design can be on sale as a finished product in the high street within six weeks.
Depending on their level of responsibility and the company they work for, designers may work to their own brief or be given a brief to work towards, with specifications relating to colour, fabric and budget.
The main areas of work for fashion designers are:
- haute couture - requires large amounts of time spent on the production of one-off garments for the catwalk - which are often not practical to wear - usually to endorse other brands and create a 'look'.
- high street fashion - this is where the majority of designers work and where garments are mass manufactured (often in Europe or East Asia). Buying patterns, seasonal trends and celebrity catwalk influences play a key role in this design process. It is a commercial area and heavily media led;
- ready-to-wear, also known as prêt-à-porter - where established designers create ready-to-wear collections, produced in relatively small numbers;