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Lingerie Designer - Fashion Career Profile

Written by FS StaffNovember 10, 2011
Lingerie Designer

What do Lingerie Designers do? Where do Lingerie Designers work? FS takes alook:

About  Lingerie Designers

Lingerie designers create intimate wear for women and men. Their designs can lean towards sexy or settle on sporty. Lingerie designers may also design workout gear, socks, nylons, and even shoes.

Lingerie Designer Jobs: What do lingerie designers do and where do they work?

Lingerie designers sketch design ideas by hand or by using computer-aided design (CAD). They sew, mix colors, research lingerie trends, select fabrics, and design entire lines. Lingerie designers at the top of their game might oversee production, and just about every lingerie designer attends lingerie shows, fashion shows, and trade shows.

Depending on the type and size of company, lingerie designers may manage a team of pattern makers, colorists, and sewers. In smaller companies, the lingerie designer may have to do it all, acting as designer, patternmaker, and colorist. If just starting out, self-employed lingerie designers will have to do it all until he or she establishes a name in the industry.

Lingerie designers work for design firms, boutiques, apparel manufacturing companies, wholesalers, department stores, chain retailers, retail shops, and boutiques. Some have their own shops or design studios where they produce their own lines, or they might work independently to create designs based on clients’ specifications.

Lingerie Designer Salaries

Lingerie designer salaries are around the same as fashion designers. Salaries vary based on factors such as geographic location, experience, education, and size and type of company. For example, some of the highest paid lingerie designers live in fashion capitals such as Los Angeles ($74,180 per year), New York ($81,540), and Miami ($67,920). Across the country, median annual wages for salaried lingerie designers were $61,160 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $42,150 and $87,120 and the lowest 10 percent earned less than $32,150. The highest 10 percent earned more than $124,780.

Many lingerie designers are self-employed, so salaries for these designers vary. The Bureau reports that salaried designers usually earn higher and more stable incomes than self-employed or freelance designers. However, a few of the most successful self-employed designers may earn many times the salary of the highest paid salaried designers.

Programs to Consider:

Becoming a Lingerie Designer

Most employers prefer applicants with a degree in fashion design plus solid experience in the industry. Some lingerie designers may also have a degree in fine art, fashion merchandising, or fashion retailing. While a degree in fashion design is not required to start your own line, designers without formal training are far and few between. While it is true that a few designers have made it big without a degree or other formal training, unfortunately, they are the exception, not the rule.

In the U.S., there are 300 National Association of Schools of Art and Design accredited postsecondary institutions that offer art and design programs. Most, if not all, offer internships with manufacturing companies, design firms, and others. Internships are typically offered during student’s junior and senior years. This experience can be invaluable when the time comes to look for a job in the fashion industry.

Job Trends for Lingerie Designers

Employment of fashion designers is expected to average 1 percent for the 2008-2018 decade. Fashion/lingerie designers may find work anywhere in the U.S., but some cities offer more opportunities than others do. New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Miami, Dallas, and Atlanta are great places to start. If you want to test the waters abroad, head to fashion capitals such as Milan, Tokyo, Barcelona, Paris, Rome, Hong Kong, Dubai, or Rio de Janeiro.