The Colorado Springs Fashion Scene
Yes, Colorado Springs has a fashion scene! Although casual is king here, the looks are still classic, expensive, and almost always designer. While designer duds do well here, the city’s independent boutiques are the places to find chic looks for a night out on the town. Head downtown for a variety of unique boutiques or visit one of Colorado Springs’ many malls to look for trendy fashions at your favorite retailers. Just a few top places to shop are Promenade at Briargate, the Outlet Shops at Castle Rock, and the Citadel.
Besides employment opportunities in retail, Colorado Springs offers training programs for fashion designers and fashion merchandisers. Colorado Springs is convenient to Denver, where you’ll find the state’s best fashion design and fashion merchandising programs. Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design (RMCAD) and the Art Institute of Colorado are popular options. Denver is only 60 miles or so from Colorado Springs.
Career Opportunities & Employers in Schools & Colleges:
Many Colorado Springs fashion designers work in retail environments, but they also work in other areas of fashion such as textile design, technical production, apparel design, pattern making, and administrative sales in the textiles industry. Fashion merchandisers work mainly in retail environments, but they can also find work in promotions, personal shopping, marketing, and mystery shopping.
Employment opportunities can be found in malls, retail shops, textile manufacturing facilities, production studios, and design studios. Design and retail opportunities can be found in the city’s major shopping districts. Production (and design) jobs can be found just about anywhere in the city from office parks to industrial design centers.
Schools & Colleges Fashion Schools & Programs:
The state of Colorado is home to 83 colleges and universities. In Colorado Springs, Colorado College offers fashion courses. Nearby Denver is a better option because it’s home to several schools that offer excellent fashion design and fashion merchandising degree programs. They are:
- Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design (RMCAD)
- Art Institute of Colorado
- Emily Griffith Technical College
Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design offers a degree in fashion design and several major fashion shows each year that help promote student work. The Art Institute of Colorado-Denver offers a Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Design, a Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Retail Management, and a diploma in fashion retailing. Emily Griffith Technical College offers a number of unique programs for aspiring designers as well. Students can study apparel alterations, apparel pattern design, or fashion design.
Employment and Salary Trends for Schools & Colleges:
Figures for Colorado Springs fashion designers have not been reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but the state of Colorado is home to around 100 salaried fashion designers. Many others are self-employed. Based on a population of nearly 420,000, the number of retail venues, and quick access to Denver, it’s safe to assume that Colorado Springs is home to a significant population of salaried and self-employed fashion designers.
Colorado fashion designers earn an average salary of $65,280. Overall, fashion designers average around $61,160 per year. The lowest paid fashion designers average $32,150, and the highest paid salaried designers average $124,780 per year. Self-employed designers can earn much more—even millions per year.
Across the nation, employment of fashion designers is expected to grow by one percent between 2008 and 2018. Sewing and cutting jobs may decline as 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.
Figures for fashion merchandisers have not been reported, but a significant part of the job involves creating window displays and managing the overall look and feel of stores. There are 1,250 merchandise displayers in the state of Colorado. Nearly 100 live in Colorado Springs.
For more information about the fashion design and fashion merchandising industry, visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics at bls.gov.
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