Have you been waiting for the perfect time to take the first step in a fashion design career? If you live in Illinois, don't put it off any longer. With large cities like Chicago and Springfield, Illinois has one of the most established and respected fashion industries in the Midwest.
Whether you want to create swimwear for women, day-to-day clothing for children, or businesswear for men, you must have a strong understanding of the fashion industry, a variety of techniques, and theory to make it in this field. That's where Illinois schools come in.
The type of education you get depends on your career goals and how much prior education you have. If this is your first degree, you'll need to select either an Associates degree program or a Bachelors degree program. A four-year Bachelor's degree program offers a well-rounded, in-depth look at the fashion industry. A two-year Associate's degree offers more of a general overview. If you already have a Bachelors degree and you've spent some time in the industry, a graduate program in fashion may be just what you need to take your career to the next level. As a Bachelor's degree student, plan on earning at least 120 credits to graduate. At most schools, this involves an internship and the creation of a portfolio, both of which play a big part in your post-graduation career options and professional connections.
In addition to your internship and portfolio classes, you may enroll in classes like:
- Fashion Foundations
- Garment Construction
- Fashion Illustration
- Clothing and Society
- Contemporary Fashion
- Flat Pattern Making
- Pattern Making and Draping
- Advanced Garment Construction
- Pattern Grading
- Digital Pattern Creation
- Digital Textiles
- Portfolio Development
You may want to use many types of financial aid to cover the cost of your education. In addition to school-specific programs, look into local organizations and associations that support the arts and the fashion industry. The Chicago Fashion Foundation Scholarship specifically supports fashion design students in Illinois.
Fashion is often considered a competitive industry, so be ready to put in lots of work and long hours to set yourself apart from other new designers after graduation. You may choose to start your own fashion line or freelance, but you may get more industry experience by starting out at a design firm, a clothing retailer, or a wholesaler. The more experience you can get during the early stages of your career, the more you may be able to do with your career in later years. Currently, the average salary for a fashion designer is $64,000 per year (O*Net, 2016). Although job growth is not expected to change significantly through the year 2022, you might find a variety of options by concentrating your efforts in large cities like Chicago (O*Net, 2016). As you make your start in this industry, get involved in professional organizations to learn from others in the field. Fashion Group International of Chicago is a large Illinois association that unites designers. You can also take part in fashion shows and events, such as Fashion Focus Chicago.
On average, full-time workers spend over 40 hours per week at their place of employment. Choosing a career that you are passionate about can do a lot to increase your career satisfaction and your overall enjoyment of life. If you are willing to apply your love of fashion to the techniques and ideas of this industry, you may find a career you love and change the industry in the process.
Illinois Dept. of Professional RegulationBarber, Cosmetology, Esthetics, Hair Braiding, and Nail Technology Board
320 W. Washington St., 3rd Fl.
Springfield, IL 62786
100 W. Randolph Street, 9th Fl.
Chicago, IL 60601
Phone Number: 1-888-473-4858
The Illinois State Board of Cosmetology can help you with replacing a lost cosmetology license, updating change of name or change of address information, and acquiring out-of-state and other useful forms, as well as answer additional questions about obtaining an Illinois state cosmetology license.