5 minute read

Fashion Illustrator Job Description, Career as a Fashion Illustrator, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training: Associate’s Degree

Average Salary: $55,840 Annually

Job Outlook: Good

Job Description

A fashion illustrator works in a variety of ways to portray the latest fashion trends through graphic design. As so much of fashion is portrayed and conveyed through print and online media, there is a great need for good solid illustration to be a part of this. Generally fashion illustrators are graphic designers in nature who have turned their attention to fashion specifically, as this can call on different skills than other areas of the field.
Fashion illustrators must work to understand the fashion or product itself. They spend some of their time doing research or working with others in the field who are considered to be subject matters on the products and areas of fashion that pertain. They must take the concepts and then turn them into a stunning visual effect. They must not only be able to convert things to a visual effect that customers can understand, but they also must be desirable to them through the illustrations that are created as well.
Fashion illustrators work through a variety of different graphic design programs. They must be able to convey sometimes painstaking detail in the products, lines, or fashion trends that they work to illustrate. They must work under the direction of fashion experts to ensure that the final product is something that the company can be proud of. They must be able to get into the mind of the consumer and work to create illustrations that reach out to them and make them want the product.
In this role, it is expected that there is a great deal of communication. Fashion illustrators often must create something with great detail out of very little information at all. They must be able to work from their past experience and know what is important for print and online media in general. To be successful, fashion illustrators must always be working to understand and master the fashion world and all of its demands.

Education and Training Requirements

Though their education may be more extensive, it is expected that a fashion illustrator at least have an associate’s degree. It is preferred that the degree be in graphic design or a related discipline, as this can be quite important. Any further education can only be of more help in getting the job. The most important part of the educational requirement is that the fashion illustrator has worked within a wide array of design programs. Having experience working within programs such as Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, Quark, and even CAD is what will help to fully prepare them for this role. It should be expected that a fashion illustrator will keep up with their training as they move throughout their career. Not only will they be trained within fashion standard specifically, but can expect access to special training within design programs that can help them in their job as well.

Getting the Job

Initially having experience working within graphic design and related programs is what will help a fashion illustrator to get the job. Showing an aptitude for graphic design and an interest in fashion can be of great help in getting a job at first. Any classes or educational background within fashion illustration or even with graphic design can help an individual to get hired.
As fashion illustrators work throughout their career, they can expect to pick up a great deal of experience. This is what will help them to get jobs in the future. To get hired throughout their career, it will be essential to demonstrate a full portfolio with great examples of their work. Companies will want to see what they’ve done, and that they demonstrate a strong ability to pick up the cues of what the end consumer will care about in terms of fashion. The experience gained is what will play an important role in getting a job moving forward.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook, and Career Development

The fashion world isn’t necessarily expected to grow as fast as other industries. Though there is always a need for fashion in society, it is not necessarily something that people will put their money into if economic times are tough. Though there may not necessarily be an above average number of positions available for fashion illustrators, there is always some sort of need for this position. A good graphic designer who gains solid experience in this role within the fashion industry can expect to enjoy great career growth. Though turnover may not be very high as graphic illustrators may be expected to stay within their positions for an extensive period of time, there is always potential for a talented individual. There is always a need to convey the latest fashion trends and sell these items to the end consumer through print media.

Working Conditions and Environment

The environment for a fashion illustrator can be quite stressful at times. As they work with a wide array of different people to understand the need and fulfill the requirements, this can create stress amongst differing points of view. Additionally there is often a need to work within a tight deadline and to potentially switch things up and modify them up until the last minute. Therefore it’s imperative that fashion illustrators be able to work well under stress, and to work well with many different personality types. The job can be quite fulfilling when they get to see their work at play, and it may involve a great deal of creativity that those within graphic design love to utilize.

Salary and Benefits

The average salary earned for a fashion illustrator is around $55,840 annually. There can be a number of factors that play into the varying range for this position which include level of experience, geographical location, type of employer, and responsibilities held within the position. If a fashion illustrator possesses a great deal of experience, then they may expect to earn more. Additionally if they work in a big city or a “fashion capital”, they can definitely expect to earn more than the average salary. Generally these are full time employees of the company that they work for, and therefore they may expect to receive standard benefits such as health benefits, paid vacation and holidays, and potentially even tuition reimbursement.

Where to Go for More Information
Digital Printing & Imaging Association
10015 Main Street,
Fairfax, VA USA 22031-3489
(703) 385-1335

Printing Industries of America
601 13th Street, NW
Suite 350S
Washington, DC 20005-3807
(202) 730-7970

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesCommunication and the Arts