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Career and Education Opportunities for Fashion Designers in Boston, Massachusetts

If you want to be a fashion designer, the Boston, Massachusetts area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. Currently, 820 people work as fashion designers in Massachusetts. This is expected to grow by 7% to 880 people by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for fashion designers are expected to grow by about 0.8%. In general, fashion designers design clothing and accessories.

The income of a fashion designer is about $22 per hour or $47,460 annually on average in Massachusetts. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $29 hourly or $61,160 annually on average. Compared with people working in the overall category of Art and Design, people working as fashion designers in Massachusetts earn less. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Art and Design nationally. People working as fashion designers can fill a number of jobs, such as: shoe designer, uniform designer, and pattern designer.

The Boston area is home to 151 schools of higher education, including four within twenty-five miles of Boston 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, 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 Boston 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

Fisher College - Boston, MA

Fisher College, 118 Beacon St, Boston, MA 02116. Fisher College is a small college located in Boston, Massachusetts. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,262 students and an admission rate of 62%. Fisher College has an associate's degree program in Fashion/Apparel Design.

Mount Ida College - Newton, MA

Mount Ida College, 777 Dedham Street, Newton, MA 02459. Mount Ida College is a small college located in Newton, Massachusetts. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,460 students and an admission rate of 70%. Mount Ida College has an associate's degree and a bachelor's degree program in Fashion/Apparel Design which graduated two and sixteen students respectively in 2008.

Massachusetts College of Art and Design - Boston, MA

Massachusetts College of Art and Design, 621 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02115-5882. Massachusetts College of Art and Design is a small college located in Boston, Massachusetts. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,223 students and an admission rate of 51%. Massachusetts College of Art and Design has a less than one year and a bachelor's degree program in Fashion/Apparel Design which graduated seven and twenty-two students respectively in 2008.

Lasell College - Newton, MA

Lasell College, 1844 Commonwealth Ave, Newton, MA 02466-2716. Lasell College is a small college located in Newton, Massachusetts. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,484 students and an admission rate of 61%. Lasell College has a bachelor's degree program in Fashion/Apparel Design which graduated twenty-nine students in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Boston, Massachusetts

Boston, Massachusetts
Boston, Massachusetts photo by Ahonc

Boston is situated in Suffolk County, Massachusetts. It has a population of over 609,023, which has grown by 3.4% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Boston, 136, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Boston are valued at $216,200 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, twenty-three new homes were constructed in Boston, down from forty-eight the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Boston are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, educational services, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 29 minutes. More than 35.6% of Boston residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 15.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Boston is 8.2%, which is less than Massachusetts's average of 8.4%.

The percentage of Boston residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 60.0%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Brighton Congregational Church, Leslie Lindsay Chapel and Universalist Meeting House are some of the churches located in Boston. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Episcopal Church.

Boston is home to the Metropolitan Water Works Pumping Stations and the Mystic Pier 1 as well as Schoolboy Stadium and Liberty Square. Shopping centers in the area include Legion Shopping Center, Longwood Galleria Shopping Center and Neponset Circle Shopping Center. Visitors to Boston can choose from Federalist Restaurant, Eco-Logical Solutions and Omni Parker Hotel for temporary stays in the area.