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Career and Education Opportunities for Fashion Designers in Madison, Wisconsin

Fashion designers can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Madison, Wisconsin area. The national trend for fashion designers sees this job pool growing by about 0.8% over the next eight years. In general, fashion designers design clothing and accessories.

Fashion designers earn about $28 hourly or $60,210 yearly on average in Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin and better than general Art and Design category earnings nationally. Jobs in this field include: costume designer, image consultant, and custom furrier.

There are thirteen schools of higher education in the Madison area, including one within twenty-five miles of Madison 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.


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 Madison 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.


University of Wisconsin-Madison - Madison, WI

University of Wisconsin-Madison, 500 Lincoln Dr, Madison, WI 53706-1380. University of Wisconsin-Madison is a large university located in Madison, Wisconsin. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 41,581 students and an admission rate of 63%. University of Wisconsin-Madison has a bachelor's degree program in Apparel and Textile Manufacture which graduated one student in 2008.


Madison, Wisconsin
Madison, Wisconsin photo by Dori

Madison is situated in Dane County, Wisconsin. It has a population of over 231,916, which has grown by 11.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Madison, 86, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Madison are valued at $243,800 on average, which is near the state average. In 2008, one hundred forty-eight new homes were constructed in Madison, down from three hundred seventy-four the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Madison are educational services, health care, and finance and insurance. For men, it is educational services, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 18 minutes. More than 48.2% of Madison residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 20.9%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Madison is 5.2%, which is less than Wisconsin's average of 7.7%.

The percentage of Madison residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 52.5%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Gates of Heaven Synagogue, Abundant Life Church and Grace Episcopal Church are some of the churches located in Madison. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the United Methodist Church.

Madison is home to the Allen Centennial Gardens and the Annie C Stewart Memorial Fountain as well as Bordner Park and Brigham Park. Shopping centers in the area include Brookwood Village Shopping Center, Whitney Square Shopping Center and Walnut Grove Shopping Center. Visitors to Madison can choose from Comfort Inn Madison, Howard Johnson-Plaza Hotel and Country Inn Sts Madison for temporary stays in the area.