Fashion designers conceive of and create clothes. These can either be for designer labels or for the mass production clothing industries. A fashion designer might specialise in leisurewear, beachwear, lingerie or wedding outfits. They may also design accessories, footwear, sportswear or millinery.
There are a number of different areas of fashion a designer could work in:
- Couture is a prestigious field in which a designer works on unique creations. This involves a great amount of work amending outfits and organising fittings. It also involves liaising with clients to decide what they want
- Ready-to-wear collections are often much sought after. They are sold in small numbers but often at a high price. These garments bear the designer's name and are frequently worn by celebrities
- High street fashion is affordable clothing, often based on ready-to-wear collections.
A designer might work as part of a fashion house. Alternatively they could work in an in-house design team employed by a retail chain. Self-employment is also a possibility, sending samples of their design to buyers, shops, agents or trade fairs.
Only a small minority of designers work for haute couture firms (which design one-off garments for individual customers) or produce their own collections. Most work as commercial designers for clothing manufacturers, producing designs for the mass market.