Fashion designers that work for wholesalers or manufacturers create designs for the world market. These designs are manufactured in various sizes and colors and materials. A small number of high-fashion (haute couture) designers are self-employed. They create custom designs for individual clients, usually at very high prices. Other high-fashion designers sell their designs in their own stores or cater to specialty stores or high-end fashion department stores. These designers create a mixture of original garments and also established fashion trends. Fashion designers employed by manufacturing establishments, wholesalers, or design firms generally work regular hours in well-lighted and comfortable settings.
Some fashion designers specialize in costume design for the performing arts, movies, and television productions. The work of costume designers is similar to other fashion designers, except they must extensively research the styles worn during the period in which the performance takes place. They may also work with directors to select and create certain attire. Costume fashion designers make sketches of designs, select fabric and other materials, and oversee the production of the costumes. They also must stay within the costume budget.
Designers who freelance usually work on a contractual basis, or by the job. They often have to adjust their workday to suit their clients’ schedules and deadlines, meeting with the clients during evenings or weekends. Freelance designers tend to work longer hours and in smaller environments, and are under constant pressure to please clients and to find new ones in order to have a steady income. Regardless of their work setting, all fashion designers occasionally work long hours to meet deadlines or get ready for fashion shows. The nature of the fashion business requires consistent communication with suppliers, manufacturers, and customers all over North America and the world. Many fashion designers travel several times a year to trade and fashion shows to learn about the latest fashion trends. Designers may also travel frequently to meet with fabric and materials suppliers and manufacturers.