How should you dress for 100-degree weather? In Arizona, the answer is hip, lightweight gear that helps you stay cool on all fronts. Fortunately, Arizona has hundreds of great clothing stores to choose from, ranging from boutiques filled with casual dresses to high-end retailers such as Saks, Barney’s and Neiman Marcus, which carry all of the major brands. Simply put, Arizona is a great place to shop and this is great news for aspiring fashion designers. This means, the fashion industry here is stable, with plenty of job opportunities for fashion merchandisers and fashion designers. Fashion merchandisers can find work in working in retail sales, buying, merchandising or auxiliary positions in the retail sector—to name a few, and fashion designers can find positions in textile design, technical production, apparel design, or pattern making.
Aspiring fashion designers can also benefit from multiple Fashion Weeks that take place in major cities such as Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Tucson. Fashion merchandisers have a place at Fashion Week too. They work as event coordinators, fashion show coordinators, stylists, and visual merchandisers.
To become a fashion designer or fashion merchandiser in Arizona, you’ll need plenty of talent and the right education. Fortunately, Arizona is home to a number of schools that offer fashion training programs, such as Collins College in Phoenix and the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in Tempe.
Career Opportunities & Employers in Arizona:
Arizona fashion designers may work in textile development for product development, technical production, apparel design, pattern making, and even administration sales. Fashion merchandisers work in wholesale and retail, buying, and auxiliary positions in retail. Many also work exclusively in visual merchandising for retail stores or fashion houses. Fashion design and merchandising graduates can find work just about anywhere in the state, but many work in principle cities such as Phoenix, Tucson, Mesa, Scottsdale, Chandler, Glendale, and Tempe.
Arizona Fashion Schools & Programs:
The National Association of Schools of Art and Design accredits approximately 300 postsecondary institutions with programs in art and design. Some are located in Arizona and the surrounding area, and many award degrees in fashion design and fashion merchandising. In addition to Collins College and the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, fashion design and fashion merchandising programs are available at:
- Mesa Community College, Mesa
- Pima Community College, Tucson
- Phoenix College, Phoenix
- The Art Institute of Phoenix
- The Art Institute of Tucson
To get started on a career in fashion design or fashion merchandising, enroll in a fashion design or fashion merchandising degree program. If you want to start your own business, consider combining your degree with a business or marketing degree. Most art and design schools don’t offer business or marketing degrees. You can take business courses at another school while completing your fashion program or you can wait until you have completed your degree to enroll in a full-time business or marketing degree program.
For more information about the fashion design and fashion merchandising industries, visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics at Bls.gov.
Employment and Salary Trends for Arizona:
As of July 2011, the Bureau of Labor Statistics had not reported employment and salary figures for fashion designers or fashion merchandisers in Arizona. However, based on the state’s active retail industry, it’s safe to assume that Arizona has a sizable population of salaried and self-employed fashion designers. Nearly 2,000 merchandise displayers live and work in Arizona, up from 1,560 in 2006. Retail fashion merchandisers perform a significant amount of display work as part of the job.
Overall, employment in the fashion industry is expected to grow by one percent for the 2008-2018 decade. Sewing and cutting jobs may decline as more and more designers and brands choose manufacturing companies overseas. However, employment of fashion designers is stable because many firms prefer to keep design work in house.
As of May 2008, the mean annual wage for fashion designers nationwide was $61,160. The lowest paid fashion designers earned an average annual salary of $32,150 and the highest paid fashion designers earned $124,780 per year. Because many fashion designers are self-employed, salaries may vary greatly. It’s not unusual for a top fashion designer to earn millions per year.
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