Freelance Fashion Designers: Setting Career Goals

Freelance fashion designers have a huge range of possible career goals, and like the fashion design work itself, the ideas for goals develop through the career. Most freelance fashion designers are very independent-minded people, and they don’t follow fashion, they decide it. Similarly with their goals, they tend to innovate, and make decisions which produce truly unique careers.

The Goal Setting Processes

There are several types of goal setting in freelance fashion design:


The purely creative goals are the hallmarks of the real innovators. These are highly motivated people who are prepared to put in the hard work and dedication required to achieve the ultra-creative works which are on the real edges of fashion.

The creative goals are often the primary drivers behind business success. The startling, innovative new fashions are often big sellers, and many big names began with iconic designs based on creative goals.


Freelancing is a business, whatever industry you’re in, and for freelance fashion designers, the fashion industry can be a tough business. Freelancers know that very well, and they work on a very practical basis, setting business goals to support their career goals.

The business goals are all practical, like:

  • Getting clients
  • Ensuring production cost margins are profitable
  • Doing promotions for their ranges
  • Making sure of distribution 

Mixed goals:

One of the more likely combinations of career goals is a mix of creative and business goals. A designer will maneuver their designs to match their clients, as well as their creative concepts. This also prevents clashes between creativity and good business sense, often the curse of the real artists.

The Goal Setting Continuum and Environment

In creative fields, goal setting is often a continuous process. The creative environment provides constant new inputs and triggers for new ideas. The business environment is also often a catalyst for creative ideas, some reactive, some based on meeting a commercial demand.

You may have noticed that many successful fashion designers have a long history in the industry as employees as well as freelancers. The fashion industry supports success, and people have different types of success at different stages of their careers. It gives freelance fashion designers a lot of room to expand and develop. That’s particularly good for the creative freelancers, who may have turned freelance in the first place because of the restrictions on their creativity. Other freelancers may have turned freelance because they couldn’t develop their business ideas as employees.

Freelance fashion designers often create their own paradigms and set their own goals based on their own standards.

For example:

One of the giants of fashion, Yves St. Laurent, is a classic case of the independence of freelance fashion design. St. Laurent started out as a freelance fashion designer, and wound up as a unique, unrivalled exponent of a type of fashion which was as much like a school of art as a form of fashion. This was an extraordinary level of business success. The industry couldn’t get enough of St. Laurent’s work, and he was free to set his own creative goals and standards.

Career goals for freelance fashion designers are based on a combination of aspiration and perspiration. Talent and inspiration will set the scenes for career goals, skills and hard work will achieve them.