What’s It Really Like Being A Fashion Designer?

If you’re the friend who says they’re dressing casual and turns up in a red carpet-ready outfit, you might have a career in fashion design ahead of you.

It’s a dream job for so many other people, too, whether fashion is how you express yourself or you just really liked seeing Emma Stone’s outfits in Cruella. We wanted to know more about this dream job, so we spoke to Anna Anicic, founder of the sustainable fashion brand ANICIC.

Anna told us what it’s really like working as a fashion designer and what she learned during her Bachelor of Branded Fashion Design at Billy Blue College of Design at Torrens University Australia.

What does a fashion designer do?

A typical day might include anything to do with garment construction from start to finish: you might be sketching concept art for an outfit, sewing, or organising production. If you’re working in a smaller team, you might do all of these things and more.

“One week I can be very focused around organising a photoshoot with lots of other people, while the next week I’m sketching designs and working on admin things by myself,” she says. “No day is like the other.”

You can even work in the industry if you love fashion but don’t want to design it yourself: there are always job opportunities for fashion buyers, stylists, and merchandise planners.

Sketch by Anna Anicic

What’s the best part of the job?

“I love when my models and customers wear my designs and tell me how confident and beautiful it makes them feel.”

For someone like Anna, who grew up experimenting with fashion, being a fashion designer means they can help other people find ways to express themselves. Fashion is such a big part of who we are and how we present to the world, and great designers are working to make it inclusive and good for the environment.

Image: Angeline Way courtesy of Billy Blue

What’s the hardest part of the job

Just like with any creative job, it can be hard to break into fashion design, and even harder to build a long-term career. But Anna says that the skills she learned at Billy Blue helped her succeed in the industry.

“A lot of fashion schools focus on the fashion design only, but I wanted something that was more industry focused and gave me an in-depth understanding of the fashion industry as a business.”

Sketch by Anna Anicic

For Anna, who’s currently studying a Masters of Design at Billy Blue, one of the hardest parts of the job is balancing her work, study, and self-care. “Doing everything by yourself can be challenging … Working all the roles means you’re also responsible for meetings, budgets, websites, customer service, paperwork, organising shoots, and you have to keep track of it all.”

“Doing self-care and prioritising things like sleep, nutrition, and daily walks have helped me manage the most stressful times.”

How do you get into fashion design?

One of the most important things you can do if you want a career in fashion design is to start creating. You can learn the skills and perfect your creations during your degree, but you need to be passionate about fashion first. Billy Blue’s Bachelor of Branded Fashion Design not only gives you the skills you need to start designing, but it also focuses on equipping students with all the business knowledge to understand every element of the process.

“Much of the work [at Billy Blue] is self-directed so when you’re doing assessments, you often come up with your own projects related to the subject,” says Anna. That allowed her to practice her passion for sustainable fashion early on, which led to her starting her own sustainable fashion brand.

“In February 2022 I am going to debut ANICIC at New York Fashion Week with eight new sustainable looks and I’m over the moon excited for it.”

She also designed her favourite piece during her second year at Billy Blue, a “crazy hard dress” inspired by lava that was made with 20 panels of silk satin and organza sewn together when the class was working on draping skills.

Just like any career, being a fashion designer comes with its own challenges and rewards, but if you love fashion, the rewards far outweigh the challenges – especially if you take smart steps to set yourself up for success early on.

Un-stitch convention and adventure into branded fashion design with Billy Blue – now offering a 50% Vogue Australia Scholarship for 2022.

(Lead image courtesy of Billy Blue)