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Career and Education Opportunities for Fashion Designers in Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for fashion designers. There are currently 460 jobs for fashion designers in Oregon and this is projected to grow by 25% to about 580 jobs 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.

Fashion designers earn about $24 hourly or $50,370 per year on average in Oregon and about $29 hourly or $61,160 annually on average nationally. Earnings for fashion designers are better than earnings in the general category of Art and Design in Oregon and better than general Art and Design category earnings nationally. Jobs in this field include: uniform designer, custom furrier, and fashion illustrator.

There are fifty-nine schools of higher education in the Portland area, including one within twenty-five miles of Portland where you can get a degree to start your career 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 studying to be 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 Portland 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.
  • 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

The Art Institute of Portland - Portland, OR

The Art Institute of Portland, 1122 NW Davis St., Portland, OR 97209-2911. The Art Institute of Portland is a small school located in Portland, Oregon. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,728 students and an admission rate of 73%. The Art Institute of Portland has an associate's degree and a bachelor's degree program in Fashion/Apparel Design which graduated zero and forty-one students respectively in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon
Portland, Oregon photo by Fcb981

Portland is located in Multnomah County, Oregon. It has a population of over 557,706, which has grown by 5.4% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Portland, 103, is above the national average. New single-family homes in Portland are priced at $194,700 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, six hundred forty-eight new homes were constructed in Portland, down from 1,205 the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Portland are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, construction, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 23 minutes. More than 32.6% of Portland residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 11.4%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Portland is 10.7%, which is greater than Oregon's average of 10.6%.

The percentage of Portland residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 45.7%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the Charismatic Churches Independent.

Portland is home to the Barnes Yard and the Haig as well as Cottonwood Bay City Park and Wallace City Park. Visitors to Portland can choose from Motel 6, Shilo Inns & Resorts and Comfort Inn Portland for temporary stays in the area.