When I first decided I wanted to apply to fashion schools, I was a freshman at the University of Wisconsin-Madison sewing denim dresses from Wal-Mart patterns late into the night while my roommate (as in shared the same room) was eyeing me like she wanted to kill me. At this moment I decided I liked sewing so Fashion Design and fashion school is what I would do! Looking back now, I can definitely laugh at my thought process on how I decided what I would do for the rest of my life.
I started researching different schools and different Fashion Design programs. While doing so, I stumbled upon the career of Technical Design. After finding out what Technical Designers did, I found my match and years later it still is the best choice for me over Fashion Design.
Technical Design vs. Fashion Design
Fashion Design is for the creative-types. The ones that love to illustrate and create. Although most work in the industry is now done on the computer using Adobe Illustrator, there are still some designers that sketch up their designs by hand as well. They choose fabrics, prints, trims, and decide what it takes to make the garment come alive. If you love thinking up what your customer would love to purchase next – then Fashion Design may be the right career path for you.
While designers are the ones to create, it takes another to execute the style. This is where Technical Designers come in. If you are a detail-oriented (and I mean really detailed) person and not so much the creative-type, then Technical Design is probably the choice for you. Technical Designers take a design and create the information necessary to produce that garment. This includes sewing instructions, button sizes/colors, thread colors, packaging information, etc. You can see an example of a “Technical Package” for a pair of jeans in My Portfolio. As a Technical Designer, you may also be required to assure the fit of that garment. Multiple fits may be conducted with the garment on a fit model before it can be approved for production. We essentially are the engineers of fashion.
So, if you’re debating on choosing Fashion Design or Technical Design – be true to yourself and who you are. If you love to create and are more of an artist and could care less about the details – Fashion Design is for you. On the other hand, if what gets you excited is what goes into making a garment, then you’ve found your match in Technical Design.
If you have additional questions on Fashion Design or Technical Design, leave a comment below and I’ll be sure to answer them!