How to Become a Fashion Creative Director

by William Henderson

Fashion creative directors must be jacks-of-all-trades. They may oversee a fashion photo shoot in the morning, approve marketing and advertising materials in the afternoon and schmooze with designers and fashion buyers at night. You need strong organization and public relations skills and the ability to recognize and set trends, and work as well with others as you do on your own.

Enroll in an advanced fashion design course, such as at a fashion design school. Taking courses in fashion sales and merchandising, such as at a four-year or community college or even at a vocational school can help prepare you for a career as a fashion creative director, though fashion creative directors must have at least a bachelor’s degree.

Intern or participate in an apprentice program at a small fashion boutique, fashion magazine or even at a marketing and communications firm. ''Marie Claire'' Fashion Director Nina Garcia started out in the public relations department at Perry Ellis.

Gain industry experience, such as by working as a retail associate or as an assistant fashion coordinator. Reading fashion magazines like ''Vogue'' can also help you learn the ins and outs of the fashion industry. Jenna Lyons, creative director at J. Crew, credits a subscription to ''Vogue'' with setting her on her career path.

Hone your management skills. Good creative directors provide ideas and inspiration, Nick Finney, founder and creative director of branding and communication studio NB, told Creative Bloq. They must also be able to listen, think, adapt and propose ideas, sometimes about more than one product at the same time, according to Mark Anderson, the executive creative director and founding partner of We Love Digital, a strategic creative agency. You can gain this experience by taking on increasingly more responsibility at the jobs where you work.

Develop a resume that highlights your fashion and management experience.

Put together a portfolio that showcases your industry experience and design point of view. Fashion designers interested in becoming fashion creative directors should include sketches of their designs or even of patterns they have created, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Look into openings in a range of fashion fields, such as at design houses, department stores, boutiques and design firms.

Items you will need
  • Resume
  • Portfolio


  • Though the job outlook is reasonably good for creative fashion directors, according to FashionSchools, expect competition to be fierce. The more experience and education you have, and the stronger your portfolio, the better your chances of becoming a fashion creative director.

About the Author

William Henderson has been writing for newspapers, magazines and journals for more than 15 years. He served as editor of the "New England Blade" and is a former contributor to "The Advocate." His work has also appeared on The Good Men Project, Life By Me and The Huffington Post.

Photo Credits

  • Leonard Mc Lane/Photodisc/Getty Images