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Fashion Designer

Note: Completion of a TAFE SA course does not guarantee an employment outcome. Formal requirements other than educational qualifications (eg licensing, professional registration), may apply to some occupations.

Job Prospects Openings 5 years to November 2019: 5,001 to $10,000
Salary Range Median weekly earnings: $1051 to $1300 to Source: Australian Government Department of Employment 2015
Brief Many fashion designers are currently enjoying a trip down memory lane, reliving the disco fever fashion of the 1970s, but it's generally not long before they've moved on to their next fashion inspiration. Competition in the field of fashion is intense, yet lots of people want in! Each year, approximately 100 training places are offered in the Fashion Design and Technology courses available from TAFE.

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TAFE SA courses that may be relevant for: Fashion Designer

Accredited (Award)


Fashion designers use their knowledge of fabrics, style and colours to create clothing people will want to wear. The design process usually starts with a series of sketches of original designs. A pattern, which may be computer generated, is created on the basis of these sketches and used as a guide for cutting fabric. The designer chooses the colour and style of fabric and proceeds to cut out a sample, while always keeping in mind the cost of production. Winning Fashion Before samples are approved, fashion designers may look at ways to improve their designs. Once samples are given the go ahead, designers liaise closely with manufacturers and production staff, overseeing quality control and the merchandising and retailing of their garments. A fashion designer must be creative and artistic, have a good sense of style and colour and preferably be able to sew.

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Education Requirements

TAFE SA offers courses relevant to this occupation including the Advanced Diploma of Applied Fashion Design and Technology. Pathways include the Certificate II and III in Applied Fashion Design and Technology, Certificate III in Footwear Production and Certificate IV in Custom Made Footwear.

SA Apprenticeships are available in this occupation for further information go to the Traineeship & Apprenticeship Services Website at or phone the Freecall number 1800 673 097.

Career Path

Is There A Future In Fashion? Prominent young designer Megan Salmon says, ''Professionals in the field have recognised that new designers are being welcomed into the industry more readily and that the focus is moving away from 'big labels'. ''However, job prospects in this field are limited with numbers remaining very small outside the larger cities. The fashion industry has much greater representation in Melbourne and Sydney, but even there, fashion design is a small and competitive occupation. A career in fashion design is not for the weak hearted. For every designer who achieves success and recognition, many more have failed. Entry into this highly competitive occupation will require presentation of a portfolio of your work, so try to get one underway as soon as possible. And for those people interested in opening their own business, they are strongly advised to gain some first hand experience about retail management. Megan, who is enjoying success as a self employed fashion designer, is the first to admit that running her own business was an eye opener. ''You must be very resourceful when opening your own fashion store, taking into consideration the cost of advertising, rent, and materials. Establishing a new label is a costly and an unpredictable business.''


Manufacturing,  Retail Trade,  Wholesale Trade

Nature of the Job

Fashion designing also requires a thorough knowledge of the manufacturing process, everything from cutting and sewing to pattern making. Most of the skills required can be gained via practical on the job training. Fashion Vision An important part of a fashion designer's job is to stay one, or many, steps ahead of fashion trends. To keep abreast in this industry, designers should be knowledgeable about past and present styles, and even art history. Well reputed fashion designers generally know what colour and hemline will be 'in' two years before the public knows they have to have 'it'.

Typical Physical Working Environment

A fashion designer's work is undertaken in a variety of environments such as retail clothing outlets, offices, sewing and cutting rooms or warehouses. Many designers operate home based businesses and are responsible for everything from the design concept to the completed garment, which may take place in their very own lounge room! On occasions, fashion designers may travel interstate or overseas to attend fashion shows or to view new trends. Given the demands of the fashion industry and the deadlines that need to be met, a 12 hour day is not uncommon for fashion designers. Networking is a must for fashion designers. They need to be a 'people person' as they regularly deal with the likes of textile manufacturers, buyers, advertisers, retailers and the general public. Networking is a great tool for fashion designers to help get noticed in this industry. While great fashion speaks for itself, a high profile designer speaks volumes too!

Typical Occupational Example

Experienced industry representatives suggest that with technology impacting upon the industry, a knowledge of computer aided design and e-commerce are seen to be important for fashion designers of the future. An increasing number of designers are going online to promote their fashion wares.

Further information:

Design Institute of Australia
Phone: 1300 888 056

Earning Potential

Earnings can vary greatly. This is largely dependent on a fashion designer's skill, experience, and what areas of specialisation they choose to go into. On average, a fashion design assistant can expect to earn about $25,000 per year, while a more senior, and well known designer may earn $75,000 or more, much much more if they happen to be the next Armani, Yamamoto or Tom Ford!!

Further Information

For further information about all TAFE SA Courses, phone 1800 882 661 or enquire online