The Long Beach Fashion Scene
Long Beach is the perfect location for aspiring fashion designers and fashion merchandisers interested in beach town living with easy access to LA’s extraordinary fashion industry. Long Beach is located just a short 25-mile drive from one of the top fashion capitals of the world and all it has to offer. Los Angeles has multiple fashion events weekly, monthly, and yearly; it is home to more upscale retail shops that just about anywhere else in the nation, and LA Fashion District is the largest of its kind. It has dozens of fashion-related businesses that serve the trade and consumers.
While Los Angeles is the number one place for fashion in the region and the number two place in the nation (New York is number one), Long Beach may very well be one of the most fashionable beach towns in the country! Long Beach host’s multiple fashion events each year; it’s home to dozens of vintage clothing stores, boutiques, and specialty shops, and its “street style” has been featured in multiple online publications and blogs.
Long Beach is also home to several schools that offer fashion programs and it is convenient to LA, where fashion programs are plentiful. Some of the nation’s top fashion programs are offered at California State University (CSU) with campuses in Long Beach and Los Angeles; Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) with campuses in Los Angeles and Irvine, and Otis College of Art and Design (OCAD), Los Angeles.
Career Opportunities & Employers in Schools & Colleges:
Long Beach offers access to one of the largest apparel production industries in the world—Los Angeles. Fashion designers can find work in technical production, textile design for product development, apparel design, pattern making, sample making, grading, handweaving, embroidery design, retail, and sales. Many fashion designers also teach, so the academic institutions and design centers in Los Angeles and Long Beach are excellent sources of jobs for aspiring instructors.
Fashion merchandisers can find work at any of the thousands of shops, design studios, department stores, and popular retailers in Long Beach, Los Angeles, and Orange County. Fashion merchandiser’s work in product development, production, marketing, sales, visual merchandising, and more.
Schools & Colleges Fashion Schools & Programs:
California is home to 436 colleges and universities. This is nearly five times the national average of 88. Many California colleges serve artists and designers exclusively, while other traditional colleges offer some of the best fashion programs in the nation. In Long Beach, California State University is a top choice. The College of Health and Human Services offers a Bachelor of Arts in Family and Consumer Science with options in Fashion Merchandising, Fashion Merchandising and Design, and Textiles and Clothing. Students can also minor in fashion merchandising or textiles.
The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising offers more fashion programs than any other school in the nation. Students can major in fashion design, advanced fashion design, apparel industry management, fashion knitwear design, film & TV costume design, footwear design, international manufacturing & product development, jewelry design, merchandise marketing, merchandise product development, textile design, and theater costume design. In addition to Los Angeles and Orange County, FIDM has campuses in San Francisco and San Diego.
Otis College of Art and Design offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design. This competitive program has welcomed a long list of celebrated designers as mentors, from Bob Mackie to Cynthia Rowley to Isaac Franco.
Other top schools for aspiring fashion designers and merchandisers living in Long Beach include:
- University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), Los Angeles
- Santa Ana College, Santa Ana (21 Miles)
- The Art Institute of California-Orange County, Santa Ana
- Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM), Irvine (28 Miles)
- Saddleback College, Mission Viejo (35 Miles)
- California State University, Northridge (45 Miles)
Employment and Salary Trends for Schools & Colleges:
The state of California is home to nearly 4,000 fashion designers. More than 3,000 live in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana metropolitan area. Employment of fashion designers across the nation is expected to grow by 1 percent between 2008 and 2018. Salaried Long Beach fashion designers earn an average of $74,180 per year. Self-employed designers can earn six to seven figures per year. Nationwide, fashion designers average around $61,160. The lowest paid fashion designers average $32,150, and the highest paid salaried designers average $124,780 per year.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not report employment or salary figures for fashion merchandisers. However, a significant part of the job involves creating window displays and managing the overall look and feel of stores. There are 8,900 merchandise displayers in the state of California. Around 4,200 live in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana metropolitan area.
Employment in the fashion industry overall is expected to grow by one percent for the
2008-2018 decade. 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.
For more information about the fashion design and fashion merchandising industry, visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics at bls.gov.
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