Day in the life of
Fashion Designer – Nic Hyl
In general, there are 2 types of designers; the type that works for a company and the type that works for themselves.
At present, I work for myself. It is very difficult but very rewarding. The most difficult aspect of the work is running a business and all that goes with it, (managing people plus the production of my product, being in charge of everything, balancing finances to ensure we have funds to continue to produce product, looking for opportunities to help grow the brand, being the face of a business, being responsible for the livelihood of others), but it’s extremely rewarding and you have more freedoms to design for your own inspirations and reasons. It feels more artistic and true to the art of fashion design.
While working for a company as a designer is more stable, it offers far less freedom-depending on what level designer you are: associate, first designer, head designer, creative director. Often, companies will have inspirations that are determined by other departments and you design into their inspirations or sales needs. This can be really challenging if you aren’t good at wrangling your ideas.
Corporate or brand designers work in teams usually assigned to specific product categories. So there is a team that will work on men’s and women’s and that is typically broken down into product categories. So the dress team, the shirt team, etc. Success is measured by sales of products for the season. So if dress sales are up by 25%, the designers that worked on that product category are credited with that. Conversely, if sales are down, the designers are often blamed as well. If there are too many bad performing seasons for that product category the company could take it as a sign of not having the right designers in the role and let them go or reconfigure the teams.
It can be more cut throat in the corporate setting, because of the pressures from various departments to perform and do well-this is particularly true in the luxury market. The independent designer doesn’t have this exact pressure but has pressure in other ways like selling products regularly and constantly trying to grow the brand and brand awareness.
In either scenario, both types of designers should understand the business and their customer that they are designing for in order to perform the role to the best of their abilities.