Fashion designers may work full-time for one fashion house, as 'in-house designers', which owns the designs, or they work alone or as part of a team. Freelance designers work for themselves, selling their designs to fashion houses, directly to shops, or to clothing manufacturers. The garments bear the buyer's label. Some fashion designers set up their own labels, under which their designs are marketed. Some fashion designers are self-employed and design for individual clients. Other high-end fashion designers cater to specialty stores or high-end fashion department stores. These designers create original garments, as well as those that follow established fashion trends. Most fashion designers, however, work for apparel manufacturers, creating designs of men's, women's, and children's fashions for the mass market. Large designer brands which have a 'name' as their brand such as Abercrombie & Fitch, Justice, or Juicy are likely to be designed by a team of individual designers under the direction of a design director.
Considered by many one of the greatest tailors of the century, Pierre Balmain was born in Saint Jean de Maurienne, France in 1914. After studying at the school of Architecture, in Paris he founded in 1945 the Maison Balmain as a couture house, with a lucrative sideline in fragrances. In that year he showed long, bellshaped skirts with small waists; a line that became popular in 1947 as part of Dior’s New Look.
Known as the champion of star-spangled glamour, Tommy Hilfieger‘s favorite trends go from red, white and blue. Since introducing his first collection in 1985, no designer has become more closely associated with Ivy League prep than Tommy Hilfiger. After building his company on the modernization of all-American men’s wear, and winning the CFDA Menswear Designer of the Year award in 1995, Hilfiger introduced women’s wear in 1996 and sold the company for $1.6 billion ten years later.
Donna Karan came from a background that was related to fashion in certain ways. This fashion designer worked as a head of a design team for a few number of years and launched some designs that included the very well-known ‘Seven Easy Pieces’. She is the sole creator of the DKNY label (Donna Karen New York). Since then, this label has seen many new additions in the fashion segment.
The Italian-born Frenchman is lauded for his 20th century pieces that looked as though they were from the 25th century. As Cardin rose to fame in the age of the space race, his creations took on an air of futurism. His so-called bubble dresses had all the fixings of science fiction, combining earthly elegance with out-of-this-world colors and avant garde design. They may be wacky, sure, but Cardin’s clothes showed a freedom of expression that highlighted larger ideals, in particular the emancipation of women. The visionary designer fell out of critical favor when he attached his name to less fashionable items, from cars to umbrellas, but his futuristic, space-centric legacy will live to infinity and beyond.
Fashion design is generally considered to have started in the 19th century with Charles Frederick Worth who was the first designer to have his label sewn into the garments that he created. Before the former draper set up his maison couture (fashion house) in Paris, clothing design and creation was handled by largely anonymous seamstresses, and high fashion descended from that worn at royal courts. Worth's success was such that he was able to dictate to his customers what they should wear, instead of following their lead as earlier dressmakers had done. The term couturier was in fact first created in order to describe him. While all articles of clothing from any time period are studied by academics as costume design, only clothing created after 1858 is considered as fashion design.