The Dallas Fashion Scene
Dallas is one of the top 22 fashion capitals of Four Seasons Magazine and it currently holds the number 31 spot on the Global Language Monitor's list of fashion capitals of the world. Based in the U.S., Global Language Monitor tracks the frequency of words and phrases on the Internet, in the media, and the blogosphere.
Dallas shares the spotlight with other fashion capitals such as Tokyo, New York, London, and Paris, and Los Angeles, and it’s easy to understand why. The Dallas fashion scene is a mix of high-end fashion, from Armani to Gucci to Versace, and innovative styles by local designers. Fashionistas with expensive taste and stylish locals looking for trendy pieces shop at the famous NorthPark Center—Dallas’s premier shopping and dining center. NorthPark Center is home to Versace, Gucci, Armani, and Burberry as well as retailers such as H&M, Juicy Couture, and Urban Outfitters. It also hosts many of the city’s fashion events and other cultural events.
South Side on Lamar is the top area for Dallas fashion entrepreneurs. It is also home to poets, photographers, sculptors, painters, musicians, and other artists. They live and work in an environment that caters to artists of all kinds. In addition to being home to multiple design and fashion entrepreneurs, the area is home to art galleries, theaters, and more.
Couture Fashion Week in Dallas, a world-class shopping center, and a thriving scene for design entrepreneurs are just a few things Dallas has to offer aspiring fashion designers and fashion merchandisers. A number of training programs are also accessible if you want to study here while enjoying Dallas’s lively fashion scene.
Career Opportunities & Employers in Texas:
Dallas fashion designers and fashion merchandisers work for designers, in merchandising and buying, management, and marketing. They may work as clothing designers, accessories designers, footwear designers, visual merchandisers, fashion consultants, children’s fashion designers, pattern makers, costume designers, tailors, and hand sewers. Many fashion designers also teach, so Dallas’s academic institutions and design centers are excellent sources of jobs for aspiring instructors.
Many Dallas fashion designers work for established designers and brands, department stores, textile manufacturers, and others on a long-term basis or while working on their own lines. Fashion designers and fashion merchandisers may find employment from downtown Dallas to the garment district.
Texas Fashion Schools & Programs:
The state of Texas is home to 240 colleges and universities. This is nearly three times the national average of 88. Many are art and design schools, while others are traditional colleges and universities that offer art and design programs. The variety of schools that offer fashion programs make it easier for aspiring fashion designers and fashion merchandisers to find the right program.
Some art and design schools have been accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), while others have been accredited by agencies such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools or the Colleges and the American Academy of Liberal Education. Visit the U.S. Department of Education at Ed.gov for a full list of accrediting agencies.
Some of the city’s top fashion design and fashion merchandising programs are offered at popular schools such as:
Wade College offers several degrees for students interested in fashion design and fashion merchandising. The Associate of Arts Degree in Merchandising and Design is a dual-major program. The core curriculum consists of instruction in merchandising, design, and general studies. Electives give students the opportunity to acquire specialized skills in fashion design, interior design, merchandise marketing, or graphic design. The Bachelor of Arts Degree in Merchandising and Design is also a dual-major program, with a core curriculum consisting of instruction in merchandising, design, and general studies. The program requires completion of 123 credit hours, including seven electives totaling 21 hours.
The Art Institute of Dallas offers an Associate of Applied Arts in Fashion Design, a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion & Retail Management. The Dallas County Community College District Fashion Design Program offers three Associate Degrees and a certificate in Apparel Design, Fashion Design, Pattern Design, and Theatrical Costume Design (certificate).
Employment and Salary Trends for Texas:
In 2006, nearly 600 fashion designers lived and worked in Dallas. Today, 290 fashion designers call Dallas home. Salaries have declined as well, from an average of $67,140 in 2006 down to $62,640 in 2009. The decrease in employment and salaries has less to do with the popularity of this career and more to do with the economy. Companies just aren’t hiring like they used to. However, employment of fashion designers across the nation is projected to grow by 1 percent between 2008 and 2018, which is good news in a bad economy. This means, you can still find work in Dallas—you just have to know where to look. Start with the companies listed in the “scene” section at the beginning of this article, and check Indeed.com, SimplyHired.com, and CareerBuilder.com.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not offer statistics for fashion merchandisers, but a significant part of the job involves creating window displays and managing the overall look and feel of stores. There are 7,370 merchandise displayers in the state of Texas. More than 2,000 live in Dallas.
For more information about the fashion design and fashion merchandising industry, visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics at bls.gov.
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