Career and Education Opportunities for Fashion Designers in Chicago, Illinois
For those living in the Chicago, Illinois area, there are many career and education opportunities for fashion designers. The national trend for fashion designers sees this job pool growing by about 0.8% over the next eight years. Fashion designers generally design clothing and accessories.
The average wage in the general category of Art and Design jobs is $20 per hour or $41,503 per year in Illinois, and an average of $22 per hour or $46,166 per year nationwide. People working as fashion designers can fill a number of jobs, such as: apparel designer, clothes designer, and designer.
The Chicago area is home to 180 schools of higher education, including six within twenty-five miles of Chicago where you can get a degree as a fashion designer. Given that the most common education level for fashion designers is an Associate's, or other 2-year degree, it will take about two years to learn to be a fashion designer if you already have a high school diploma.
CAREER DESCRIPTION: Fashion Designer
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 Chicago 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
College of DuPage - Glen Ellyn, IL
College of DuPage, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn, IL 60137-6599. College of DuPage is a large college located in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 25,668 students. College of DuPage has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Fashion and Fabric Consultant which graduated twelve and four students respectively in 2008.
Dominican University - River Forest, IL
Dominican University, 7900 W Division St, River Forest, IL 60305. Dominican University is a small university located in River Forest, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,413 students and an admission rate of 85%. Dominican University has a bachelor's degree program in Fashion/Apparel Design.
The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago - Chicago, IL
The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago, 350 N Orleans St, Chicago, IL 60654-1593. The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago is a small school located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,900 students and an admission rate of 48%. The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago has a bachelor's degree program in Fashion/Apparel Design which graduated forty-six students in 2008.
Harper College - Palatine, IL
Harper College, 1200 W Algonquin Rd, Palatine, IL 60067-7398. Harper College is a large college located in Palatine, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,250 students. Harper College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Fashion and Fabric Consultant which graduated twenty-one and five students respectively in 2008.
Columbia College Chicago - Chicago, IL
Columbia College Chicago, 600 South Michigan, Chicago, IL 60605-1996. Columbia College Chicago is a large college located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 12,464 students. Columbia College Chicago has a one to two year and a bachelor's degree program in Fashion/Apparel Design which graduated one and forty-two students respectively in 2008.
International Academy of Design and Technology - Chicago, IL
International Academy of Design and Technology, One North State Street - Suite 500, Chicago, IL 60602-3300. International Academy of Design and Technology is a small school located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 2,080 students. International Academy of Design and Technology has an associate's degree and a bachelor's degree program in Fashion/Apparel Design which graduated thirty-three and seventy-two students respectively in 2008.
LOCATION INFORMATION: Chicago, Illinois
Chicago is situated in Cook County, Illinois. It has a population of over 2,853,114, which has shrunk by 1.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chicago, 114, is well above the national average. New single-family homes in Chicago are valued at $200,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred eighty-one new homes were built in Chicago, down from eight hundred seventy the previous year.
The three big industries for women in Chicago are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 35 minutes. More than 25.5% of Chicago residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.0%, is higher than the state average.
The unemployment rate in Chicago is 11.6%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.
The percentage of Chicago residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.6%, is more than both the national and state average. Southlawn United Methodist Church, Southern Missionary Baptist Church and Lakeside Evangelical Church are all churches located in Chicago. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.
Chicago is home to the Five Crossings and the Wrigley Field as well as Monticello Park and Wilson Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Lincoln Village Shopping Center, Market Place at Six Corners Shopping Center and Kimbark Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Chicago can choose from Extended Stay America, Embassy Suites Lakefront and Cottage Inn for temporary stays in the area.