Lead designers are the designers most people think of when they hear the words "fashion industry."
The main responsibility of lead fashion designers is creative; they work up designs for individual pieces or entire lines of clothing, footwear, and accessories. This typically involves several generations of sketches or computer-aided drafts; consideration of color, texture, material, and shape when worn; and supervision of final patterning and construction.
Some lead designers aim to set trends (and, with skill and luck, they often do); others do their best to follow and capitalize on trends that are already established. Others simply design very beautiful, comfortable, and/or useful garments.
Their markets vary from department stores to boutiques, and specialty retailers to individuals willing to pay large amounts of money for custom-designed originals.
While some lead designers are self-employed or head their own labels, many others work for apparel manufacturers, designing fashions to be sold to the discriminating few through high-end catalogs or to the millions who shop at discount super-centers.
See the full listing of schools offering fashion design degrees.