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Top 10 Fashion Design Skills for the Future

Fashion design is much more than creating clothes and accessories. With the world evolving technologically, so is the realm of fashion. The metaverse has caused waves in the industry and designers and artists alike are now starting to leverage these technological advancements and merge them with fashion to create remarkable works.
Designers are constantly developing ingenious designs that pose as a new frontier in the world of fashion. If you want to be the next big fashion designer, it’s important to have the skills in the trade and stand out from the crowd.

Let’s look into the main responsibilities of a fashion designer, then look at how you can improve your fashion designing skills, and finally, we’ll examine the top 10 fashion designing skills you will need to be a successful designer in the future.

What are the main responsibilities of a fashion designer?

Being a fashion designer, you will be expected to create and assist in the development of clothing, footwear, and accessories. A major skill is the ability to identify trends, create silhouettes, select colours, fabrics, prints, trims and build them into a collection.

As a fashion designer, your core duties will include:

– Overseeing and conducting the research and development of new styles and trends and seeking design inspiration.

– Managing the design process from concept to garment.

– Utilizing computer-aided design (CAD) programs for designs, working with other 3d software like Browzwear and CLO3D

– Instructing manufacturers or teams of designers on how to make the pieces and managing the production of pieces.


Character traits to become a successful fashion designer

Over time and with a lot of experience, you can develop a wide range of skills that will help you thrive in your profession. But apart from that, there are some innate traits that could boost your chances of becoming a successful fashion designer. Here are a select few.


A desire for variety, high curiosity and an active imagination are all traits of an open person. A person who constantly searches for new ideas and thinks out of the box – with big, abstract ideas in mind. As a fashion designer, you will have to constantly jump hoops and make leaps in terms of your concepts in order to attract more people and to keep your brand ahead.


It takes blood, sweat, and tears to become a renowned fashion designer. The rising star cases are extremely rare in the industry, so you will need to arm yourself with patience and never give up when adversity comes.


Everyday, a fashion designer has to solve problems, so having the ability to still see your design as if it were the first time is a really useful trait. Being curious about people’s responses and internalizing their reactions as fresh perspectives for future design is a good way to remain innovating and inventing new and exciting designs.

These qualities can be learned and nurtured to transform you into a better designer.

Do I need a degree to become a fashion designer?

Although fashion designers mainly use their creativity and talent to create products, getting an educational degree is still highly recommended. A formal education in fashion equips you with theoretical knowledge on the industry and some level of practical knowledge if it is combined with internships or apprenticeships or even real-life professional projects.

Often though, most fashion degrees neglect some of the fundamental hard skills and in-depth knowledge of the inner workings of the industry for the glamour of fashion brand management and marketing. And most degrees still aren’t up-to-date enough to incorporate enough technology skills into the curriculum.

So remember that it is not all just about sketching and the glitz of the catwalk; you will have to work hard and develop a solid foundation and learn new skills and qualities during your career if you want to keep up with the pace of change in the industry.


Fashion design skill list

What skills will a fashion designer need for the future?

Fashion design has come a long way from the mere art of designing clothes. It has evolved into a full-fledged industry and is now considered a highly desirable career worldwide.

Nowadays, apparel & footwear is not simply designed based on colour or style choices but also on function, customer behavioral preferences and emerging trends – sustainability also takes up importance now too. Innovative technologies and social media trends are transforming the fashion world at a rapid pace.

To keep up with where the industry is going, here is our list of 10 skills that a fashion designer will need in the future:


1. Creativity

The quintessential skill in any industry is creativity. A good fashion designer is creative and is able to make something out of anything. You should be able to transform the two dimensional idea into a three-dimensional art piece. The process from conceptualization to completion takes a lot of creativity and determination.

When you look at a piece of fabric, you should have enough creativity to envision what it is going to look like in a garment. Knowing how materials work and what design will suit it best is the perfect ability to have as a creative. Moreover, if you are creative, you will always be equipped with new ideas on how to better your work. It is a core skill that enables you to deliver your best and keep striving for excellence.

2. In-Depth Knowledge of Fabrics

Understanding fabrics and materials is advantageous in the fashion design industry. By familiarizing yourself with garments by touching them and experimenting with textures and embroidery, you can really push yourself further in the game.

Knowing how fabric moves, drapes, wears and works together is the basic skill in the industry, and since selecting fabrics is an important part of expressing your idea, you may need to make creative decisions based on only a swatch sometimes. Learn the nuances of textile terms and appreciate the journey from fibre to fabric by taking advantage of MOTIF’s online course: Textile Appreciation.

Textile Appreciation

Evaluate different fabric qualities and make more informed decisions

3. Excellent Visualisation Skills

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t actually have to be the best at sketching or illustrating to be a fashion designer. What you do need however, is the ability to put your ideas down on paper and visualize your ideas in a befitting manner. The better your visualization skills are, the more efficient you will be in bringing your ideas to reality. You can purchase garments or take photographs of seam finishes and trims and such to help explain your ideas.

Whether you are designing for men, women, or kids, you should have the capability to see if something is even a quarter of an inch off and anticipate future fit problems in your designs.

4. Adaptability

Fashion designers have to make quick decisions, often in the nick of time to adjust and improve on their designs to meet certain needs. Altering garments, designs and even ideas aren’t easy tasks, but if you have an adaptable mindset, you can make these adjustments easily and more. If you can adapt your designs to current trends to work on future collections and adapt your designs to your clients needs, you can really gain a larger following.

5. Have an Inclusive Mindset

There is a current trend of adaptive fashion – designs for disabled people. If you can truly include all types of people in your collection and adapt your designs to suit them, you will be driving forward an incredibly inclusive movement. Despite the expansive growth of the fashion industry, disabled people are still a minority and are underrepresented. If you can design for maximum accessibility, you can empower those with disabilities. 

Big Fashion houses like ASOS have joined in on this by creating a wheelchair-friendly jumpsuit, and Nike released its Go FlyEase shoes too. Adaptable fashion is truly the way to go.

6. Strong Communication Skillls

The fragmented world of fashion relies on collaboration and communication. You must be able to communicate with buyers, suppliers, other designers and team members.

Any top fashion designer needs good communication skills to develop their brands and lead their teams. An underrated skill is listening. Listening is paramount when it comes to efficient collaboration, because your teammates and the people around you might just provide you with feedback that could push your designs further.

Whether you’re discussing your designs, explaining your inspiration, brainstorming or simply reviewing your goals, you need to be able to establish professional connections within the industry and have a good command of verbal and written communication skills in order to advance in this cutthroat industry.

7. Computer Skills and Knowledge of 3D Softwares like CLO3D

With 3D design quickly becoming the forefront of fashion, having knowledge of 3D softwares like CLO3D and Browzwear is becoming more and more important. Design softwares can provide thousands of colors and patterns and numerous possibilities for you to bring your ideas to life. In fact, in the current digital climate, a lot of designers are involved in producing computerized designs.

Not only that, but 3D design concepts make the actual product manufacturing process even easier, as authentic visualizations can allow for in depth understanding of a garment. Embrace digital design and learn how to make waves in your brand with your knowledge of these softwares.

8. Care for the Environmental and Social Impact of Fashion

It is not a secret that fashion is a big contributor to pollution and global warming and doesn’t have an impeccable track record when it comes to ethical labour practices. However, the industry is taking steps towards sustainability.

Having the ability to incorporate sustainable strategies in your garment and collection design and development at each step of the process will make you stay ahead in the industry while making a positive impact on the world. You can learn how sustainability can be an asset for your business with  MOTIF’s online course Sustainability: Concepts, Practices and Applications for Fashion.

Sustainability: Concepts, Practices and Applications for Fashion

Lead through sustainability and be a chance agent

9. Knowledge of Current Fashion Trends

The ability to anticipate the latest trends in fashion along with the digitisation of fashion is very important. Knowing what’s in for spring, summer, fall and winter is how you can stay in your clients minds. Paying attention to fashion trend forecasts and social media trends, you can pretty accurately predict current trends.

I’m sure we’re all aware of the Metaverse – well, fashion plays a big role in the Metaverse. With the amount of freedom designers have there, it’s clear to see the influences in real life, with the elements of science, digi tech and virtual fashion coming together in the virtual realm. This too, is a current trend that should very much be paid attention to.

10. Analysing Big Data

The power of the internet means we now connect with our consumers in a very different way. The ability to analyse customer data and interrupt this information into trends and product lines has become a fundamental skill for a designer of today. You have to be both creative and analytical to deliver fashion which is also commercial in this very competitive market.

Retailers and designers alike have to identify marketing and pricing strategies across global retail markets to help drive informed decision making by analyzing big data with a keen eye.

11. Understanding Commercial and Marketing Strategies

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that marketing is important for businesses to be able to dominate the industry. Understanding smart marketing strategies like capsule collections can help boost your brand and show your willingness to stay on trend as well as your fashion savvy expertise. To learn the behavior of your customers is important to stand out from the crowd too.
Maintaining an active social media presence is also a major factor in growing your business. 

Social media has really taken the forefront in fashion, which makes it vital for you to gain support from your followers, friends and potential customers. The best social media platform for fashion designers is Instagram mainly because of its visual appeal. You can grow your audience and better interact with them online and gain valuable insights into your customers wants and needs.

12. Having your own Style

To be able to hone your own unique style in fashion is a highly sought after prowess in the fashion design industry.  Bonus points if you can evolve your collection with the times. Your style essentially reflects what you stand for, and using it as a tool to stand out is what will propel you and your brand to further heights.

Figuring out your signature style and sending your message through your clothes is the best way to go. By adding your personal accents to your clothing and designs, you can impact the fashion industry as you know it.

Get ready for the future and improve your fashion designing skills

In this article, we have pointed out how a successful fashion designer needs to work in multiple evolving aspects during his or her professional career. Regardless of whether you are an experienced fashion designer or starting a career in fashion design; you need to keep improving your skills to stay ahead.

There are many resources available to upskill, you can nurture your general knowledge by reading articles, attending conferences, or watching tutorials.  If you want proper training and to dive into specific topics and hard skills such as sustainable fashion, apparel costing,  fit or 3D product development, you can learn from leading practitioners at your own pace taking  online courses on MOTIF.

Remember that you are not alone in this sprint, listen to other designers and share your experience with them, don’t be afraid of embracing new challenges, keep learning and bring innovation to the industry.

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