Have you ever have wondered, “What is a creative director responsible for? Is it a job I could do?” You might be surprised to know that this exciting high-level creative position is not as off-limits as it seems.
Today’s creative directors are well-rounded individuals who understand digital communication and brand collaboration just as well as designing collections.
This article answers 4 top FAQs about what it is that a creative director does in fashion:
1. What is a creative director in the fashion industry?
2. What does a creative director do?
3. How much money do they make?
4. How can you become a creative director?
A creative director is one of the most important roles in fashion and design. They shape a company’s overall vision, establish product lines and lead creative solutions. They are often in-house employees – dedicated solely to one business – but they might also work for agencies and serve multiple clients.
When a company develops new concepts and designs, it’s the creative director who gives the designers a central direction for inspiration. They also make the final decisions about how concepts are visually represented. This means they walk a fine line between maintaining the company’s traditions and legacy and pushing boundaries to move the brand forward.
Even if you know what it is that a creative director does in fashion companies, you might not know that they spend much of their time focused on people and communication. Everyday tasks involve meetings and collaborations to discuss ideas, make decisions, delegate duties and stay current on company happenings.
Creative directors also face a lot of pressure to ensure the brand is successful and grows quickly. To keep such a high-level view, they have to be involved in many aspects of the business, including advertising, social media, sales, fashion shows and staffing.
The salary for a creative director can vary greatly. The average creative director salary per year is $120,000 in the United States and £180,000 in the United Kingdom. However, the more successful a company, the higher the salaries. Creative directors for fashion’s most successful luxury brands can make $1 million to $2 million annually, or more.
No direct path exists, but creative directors typically work their way up. Many start as designers, and they make a name for themselves by networking, doing well in management roles and being unique and passionate.
For example, Olivier Rousteing studied fashion, became a designer at Roberto Cavalli, then led the womenswear department. When Balmain hired him as designer, he was mentored by Christophe Decarnin, and Rousteing took over as creative director when Decarnin stepped down.
Luxury brands typically look for candidates who are in touch with current attitudes and trends towards not only fashion but society, culture, politics and the arts. In today’s day and age, this means understanding digital communication and advertising trends, such as the metaverse and NFT fashion.
1: Understand what a creative director is in your fashion niche. By following successful creative directors, you might find inspiration for a path to the top. Some recommendations include Nicolas Ghesquiére, Kim Jones, Maria Grazia Chiuri, Anthony Vaccarello and Raf Simons.
2: Make sure you have relevant education and experience. Creative directors are well-rounded, so consider taking courses or internships to strengthen weak areas. Useful fields include art, design, advertising, business, finance, communication, digital media, photography and writing.
3. Build leadership skills to demonstrate on your CV. Being able to show concretely that you can solve problems, manage projects and staff and deal with difficult situations and clients will improve your chances of landing a position.
4. Develop a stellar portfolio. This item is crucial for many creative jobs, but for creative directors, it’s even more vital to have a superb representation of your vision and what you offer.
A creative director drives a company’s vision and shapes the brand. This high-level position makes final decisions about product creation and manages many aspects of the creative process. To become a creative director, you should have education and experience in design, top-notch design and business skills and demonstrable success in management.
To learn more about high-level positions in fashion and how to land one, check out these articles:
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