Popular Careers

Career Development

Career development resources for aspiring professionals.

Career Change Center

Career change guides, tutorials and resources for professionals in transition.

Job Search Resources

Job search resources, websites, guides and directories for job seekers.


Career and Education Opportunities for Fashion Designers in San Francisco, California

For those living in the San Francisco, California area, there are many career and education opportunities for fashion designers. There are currently 4,600 working fashion designers in California; this should grow 15% to about 5,300 working fashion designers in the state by 2016. This is better than the national trend for fashion designers, which sees this job pool growing by about 0.8% over the next eight years. In general, fashion designers design clothing and accessories.

Income for fashion designers is about $31 hourly or $64,690 yearly on average in California. Nationally, their income is about $29 per hour or $61,160 yearly. Fashion designers earn more than people working in the category of Art and Design generally in California and more than people in the Art and Design category nationally. Jobs in this field include: clothing designer, fur finisher tailor, and fur remodeler.

There are eighty-six schools of higher education in the San Francisco area, including six within twenty-five miles of San Francisco where you can get a degree to start your career as a fashion designer. The most common level of education for fashion designers is an Associate's, or other 2-year degree. You can expect to spend about two years training to become a fashion designer if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Fashion Designer

Fashion Designer video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, fashion designers design clothing and accessories. They also create original garments or design garments that follow well established fashion trends.

Fashion designers examine sample garments on and off models; then modify designs to produce desired effects. They also furnish sample garments to agents and sales representatives, and manage showings of sample garments at sales meetings or fashion shows. Equally important, fashion designers have to sketch rough and detailed drawings of apparel or accessories, and write specifications such as color schemes and accessory requirements. They are often called upon to visit textile showrooms to keep up-to-date on the latest fabrics. They are expected to attend fashion shows and review garment magazines and manuals so as to gather data related to fashion trends and consumer preferences. Finally, fashion designers direct and schedule staff involved in drawing and cutting patterns and constructing samples or finished garments.

Every day, fashion designers are expected to be able to be creative and generate new ideas. They need to articulate ideas and problems.

It is important for fashion designers to collaborate with other designers to direct special products and designs. They are often called upon to decide on materials and production techniques to be used for products. They also adapt other designers' concepts for the mass market. They are sometimes expected to purchase new or used clothing and accessory items as needed to finish designs. Somewhat less frequently, fashion designers are also expected to test fabrics or oversee testing so that garment care labels can be created.

Fashion designers sometimes are asked to draw patterns for articles designed; then cut patterns, and cut material in line with patterns, using measuring instruments and scissors. They also have to be able to sew together sections of material to fashion mockups or samples of garments or articles, using sewing equipment And finally, they sometimes have to visit textile showrooms to keep up-to-date on the latest fabrics.

Like many other jobs, fashion designers must be thorough and dependable and believe in innovation and creative thought.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in San Francisco include:

  • Art Director. Formulate design concepts and presentation approaches, and direct workers engaged in art work, layout design, and copy writing for visual communications media, such as magazines, books, and packaging.
  • Craftsman. Create or reproduce hand-made objects for sale and exhibition using a variety of techniques, such as welding, weaving, and needlecraft.
  • Display Specialist. Plan and erect commercial displays.
  • Fine Artist. Create original artwork using any of a wide variety of mediums and techniques.
  • Florist. Design, cut, and arrange live, dried, or artificial flowers and foliage.
  • Graphic Designer. Design or create graphics to meet specific commercial or promotional needs, such as packaging, displays, or logos. May use a variety of mediums to achieve artistic or decorative effects.
  • Industrial Designer. Develop and design manufactured products, such as cars, home appliances, and children's toys. Combine artistic talent with research on product use, marketing, and materials to create the most functional and appealing product design.
  • Interior Designer. Plan, design, and furnish interiors of residential, commercial, or industrial buildings. Formulate design which is practical, aesthetic, and conducive to intended purposes, such as raising productivity, selling merchandise, or improving life style. May specialize in a particular field, style, or phase of interior design.
  • Multi-Media Artist or Animator. Create special effects, animation, or other visual images using film, video, or other electronic tools and media for use in products or creations, such as computer games, movies, and commercials.
  • Set and Exhibit Designer. Design special exhibits and movie, television, and theater sets. May study scripts, confer with directors, and conduct research to determine appropriate architectural styles.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Fashion Designer Training

California College of the Arts - Oakland, CA

California College of the Arts, 5212 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94618-1487. California College of the Arts is a small college located in Oakland, California. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 1,688 students. California College of the Arts has a bachelor's degree program in Fashion/Apparel Design which graduated eleven students in 2008.

Academy of Art University - San Francisco, CA

Academy of Art University, 79 New Montgomery, San Francisco, CA 94105. Academy of Art University is a large university located in San Francisco, California. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 13,335 students. Academy of Art University has associate's degree, bachelor's degree, and master's degree programs in Fashion/Apparel Design which graduated seventeen, ninety, and forty-eight students respectively in 2008.

Canada College - Redwood City, CA

Canada College, 4200 Farm Hill Blvd., Redwood City, CA 94061-1099. Canada College is a medium sized college located in Redwood City, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,775 students. Canada College has 2 areas of study related to Fashion Designer. They are:

  • Apparel and Textile Manufacture, associate's degree and two to four year.
  • Fashion/Apparel Design, less than one year, one to two year, associate's degree, and two to four year which graduated two, eight, one, and zero students respectively in 2008.

The Art Institute of California-San Francisco - San Francisco, CA

The Art Institute of California-San Francisco, 1170 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94102-4908. The Art Institute of California-San Francisco is a small school located in San Francisco, California. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,558 students and an admission rate of 41%. The Art Institute of California-San Francisco has an associate's degree and a bachelor's degree program in Fashion/Apparel Design which graduated five and thirty-six students respectively in 2008.

The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising-San Francisco - San Francisco, CA

The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising-San Francisco, 55 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94108-5805. The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising-San Francisco is a small school located in San Francisco, California. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 900 students and an admission rate of 67%. The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising-San Francisco has an associate's degree program in Fashion/Apparel Design which graduated ninety students in 2008.

City College of San Francisco - San Francisco, CA

City College of San Francisco, 50 Phelan Ave, San Francisco, CA 94112-1898. City College of San Francisco is a large college located in San Francisco, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 49,897 students. City College of San Francisco has a less than one year program in Fashion/Apparel Design which graduated nine students in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: San Francisco, California

San Francisco, California
San Francisco, California photo by Optigan13

San Francisco is located in San Francisco County, California. It has a population of over 808,976, which has grown by 4.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in San Francisco, 180, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in San Francisco cost $218,300 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, fifty-seven new homes were built in San Francisco, up from fifty-five the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in San Francisco are professional, scientific, and technical services, health care, and educational services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, accommodation and food services, and construction. The average travel time to work is about 31 minutes. More than 45.0% of San Francisco residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 16.4%, is higher than the state average.

The percentage of San Francisco residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 41.8%, is less than both the national and state average. Gold Mountain Monastery, Golden Gate Community Church of the Nazarene and Golden Gate Lutheran Church are among the churches located in San Francisco. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the United Methodist Church.

San Francisco is home to the Pier 88 and the Prayer Book Cross as well as Helen Wills Playground and Music Concourse. Shopping malls in the area include Yerba Buena Square Shopping Center, Fox Plaza Shopping Center and Galleria At Crocker Center Shopping Center. Visitors to San Francisco can choose from Astoria Hotel, A-1 Inn Motel and Best Western Canterbury Hotel for temporary stays in the area.