When most people think of the fashion industry, they think of supermodels, runway shows, fashion magazines and cities like Paris or Milan, which are considered meccas for fashion design. While these are all major components of the fashion industry, there's just as much going on behind the scenes. A career in fashion can follow many different paths and utilize a wide range of skills.
Fashion designers use their creative vision to design many different kinds of clothing. Often, fashion designers choose to concentrate their efforts in one area, such as menswear, casual wear, haute couture or children's clothing. A successful career in fashion design requires a keen eye for detail, an ability to understand trends and a desire to express oneself artistically.
Fashion models provide the structure upon which a designer's clothing can come alive. Fashion models must be able to project a certain image or attitude on demand, and they must be able to adapt quickly to different environments. The primary function of a good fashion model is the ability to sell a product, whether it be cosmetics, perfume or clothing, by capturing the attention of a public audience.
Fashion merchandisers work to analyze trends. They help retail stores and boutiques select products to sell, creating successful marketing campaigns for those products. Fashion merchandisers attend fashion shows, buy clothing and accessories, and negotiate with suppliers and manufacturers. They also create fashion displays for boutiques, department stores or showrooms.
Set designers, an integral part of fashion shoots, design the set upon which models will be photographed. Set designers ensure that the background setting evokes whatever mood the photographer or designer desires and enhances both the designer's clothing and the model's features.
Fashion photographers may work in a commercial or high fashion context or they may specialize in photographing runway shows. A fashion photographer captures images that sell a particular product or piece of clothing by highlighting its best features.
A stylist may work on fashion shoots, commercial shoots or runway shows. The stylist ensures that the model's clothes, hair and makeup combine to create a look that is in keeping with the designer or photographer's artistic vision. Stylists select accessories, make hair and makeup decisions and alter clothing as needed.
Fashion writers work for fashion magazines, fashion design websites and other media outlets, such as television. They review runway shows and other fashion events, offer insight into fashion trends and interview fashion industry professionals.
Costume designers typically work in film and television or on the stage. They oversee wardrobe and accessories, working closely with the director, actors and set designers to ensure that the actors' clothing reflects the genre and tone of the production.