Creative Director of a fashion brand. It sounds like a glamorous job, doesn’t it? Well, it is in many respects. On the other hand, it is A LOT of hard work so even though the big names make it look easy don’t let that fool you. Now, I am sure that you are eager to know as much as possible from exactly what they do to how much they make. So, let’s get to it!
WHAT DO THEY DO & HOW DO THEY DO IT?
A Creative Director's job is to reinforce or recreate the brand aesthetic. They are the creative brain of the company who is responsible for coming up with concepts and color palettes based their inspiration as well as what will appeal to the market. Next, he or she communicates these ideas to the design team through rough sketches or a think tank. Once the team develops the prototype sketches based on this "direction", they meet with the creative director who approves or asks them to make changes. Typically, they oversee the various stages of design and production before making the final approval of what will go to market. Usually, if the brand has a certain design aesthetic, the Creative Director will retain its essence, but with their own twist. Some companies on the other hand may be looking for a complete image revamp.
Overall, many of these ideas are revised or scrapped as the phases of design progress. However, this is the time when most of the designs are fleshed out for review at a later date. There are usually 4 phases of of these review sessions where some designs in spite of various production cycles never leave the cutting room floor. The reasons can vary from design flaws, issues with construction or the fact that they were not received well by buyers or the merchandising team.
SHOW ME THE MONEY!
I am sure you are super curious about how much a Creative Director makes per year. Well, it can vary depending on a few factors.
- The brand (Gucci versus Zara)
- Company size ( 50 people versus 10,000)
- Which category ( fast fashion versus luxury)
- Your educational training (Berkley College versus Parsons)
- Experience (8 years versus 14 years )
- Locations ( Los Angeles versus New York)
On average, a Creative Directors salary can range from $70,000 to $150,000. However, more high profile designers earn much more.
In most cases, to become a Creative Director, you will need a Bachelors Degree in Fashion Design and a Masters of Arts Degree. If you can earn a scholarship or afford the splurge, attend a globally recognized design school. There is a short list of schools, but I will write more about them in another post. In addition, what many people won't mention is that studying and having an internship in one of the top fashion capitals can make a tremendous difference. You and I both know that fashion is extremely competitive. So, when someone who applies for a position with a resume that shows they studied in Paris and did an internship at Celine versus someone who studied in North Carolina, but worked in Miami who do you think has a better chance of getting the job? Exactly!
Well a career as a Creative Director is not built on education alone, you need experience and quite a bit of it! However, with that Masters in Arts, you could become a Creative Director is a little as 7 years. Here is the path you will need:
- Fashion Assistant
- Design Assistant
- Junior Designer
- Senior Designer
- Head Designer
- Design Director
- Vice President of Design
- Creative Director
FAMOUS CREATIVE DIRECTORS