It may come as no great surprise that fashion design is something you'll likely come across if you spend much time studying and really getting into it.

You will probably have already come across some different terms describing the type of fashion, but may not know what they actually mean.


Although the names of these design types may differ depending on where they are taken from, the general idea of fashion design hierarchy is the same.

In general, fashion design can be divided into a number of distinct tiers.

While there is some overlap and subcategorization within each tier, there are five main types. These are the five main types of fashion design:

  1. Haute Couture Fashion
  2. Luxury Fashion
  3. Ready-To-Wear Fashion
  4. Fast Fashion
  5. Economy Fashion

Describing Fashion

These types of fashion design are described in detail below. In general, these tiers start with haute couture, which is the most skilled and most exclusive fashion creation.

It then progresses down to economy fashion which is the lowest-quality, cheapest fashion items.

These fashion types can have interchangeable names. Ready-to-wear fashion is sometimes called pret-a-porter or high street fashion. It's important to be familiar with all the terms so you don't get confused.

It is important to be familiar with fashion terminology if you are looking to enter the fashion industry in some guise and learn about designing and promoting your own creations.

Knowing the differences that are present in fashion design will help you to determine your career goals and understand the workings of the industry better.

What is Fashion Design?

When we talk about fashion design, we're basically referring to the art of designing clothing and accessories and their creation for wearing and accessorizing.

fashion designThis process can include pieces that are more valuable for their art than they are for their function, or pieces that are simple and practical.

Fashion design is an art form.

It involves careful consideration of aesthetics and beauty in designing clothes and accessories.

It evolves over time and changes to reflect cultural and social influences. It certainly requires creativity and flexibility.

It must also be able to adapt to changing tastes and trends.

Each piece of clothing and accessory begins with an idea. Fashion design is used to help create these ideas.

This includes everything from the creative vision to market research that will guide the production to the fabric and the overall aesthetic message.

The Five Types of Fashion Design

1: Haute Couture Fashion

Haute couture is the highest level of fashion design. Haute couture is the creation of custom-made clothing and accessories that are unique works of art.

Haute couture, which literally means "high-dressmaking", was created using made-to-order garments that were sewed specifically for private clients.

Haute couture pieces are usually made by hand. This can take many man-hours. The pieces are often created by a team of skilled designers in an workshop or atelier.

These pieces may require multiple fittings to be perfect. They are often made from the most expensive materials and intricate ideas. These pieces are often unique and require extreme attention to detail.

Fashion designers must be officially recognized by France to be considered haute couture. The French government must designate a Paris atelier for fashion designers.

They also need to employ at least 15 full time employees and present 35 original designs twice a year.

These guidelines were established in 1945. They must be followed strictly by all fashion houses, including the largest.

2: Luxury Fashion

Luxury fashion is a fashion design that bridges between custom-made, hand-made garments and mass-produced clothing. Luxury fashion is high-quality clothing that is not only hand-made, but also produced in small quantities.

Luxury fashion is more sought-after because it comes in a more exclusive range. Although luxury fashion may vary in quality, it is usually made of higher-quality materials and more intricate designs.

This attention to detail often comes with a higher price tag.

Although luxury fashion items may not be as costly as haute couture, they are expensive enough to give the consumer the feeling of belonging in an elite market. Some of the higher prices make it difficult for average consumers to afford the items.

Luxury fashion continues to grow and is expected to keep growing in the future. This means that there will always be a demand for talented fashion designers in this area.

3: Ready to Wear Fashion

Pret-a-porter fashion is mass-produced in standard sizes, which contrasts with haute couture's bespoke design.

These ready-to-wear clothes are easier to find and can be purchased in large quantities. They also come in a variety of sizes that can accommodate many different body types than haute couture which is usually made for one person's measurements.

Although some haute couture designers still produce ready-to-wear collections, they are often very different from actual haute couture.

Although ready-to wear designs can be inspired by haute couture runways and models, they are much more labor-intensive for mass scale creation. Many haute couture pieces can be combined into multiple ready-to-wear clothes.

Ready-to-wear fashion focuses on creating attractive garments that are in line with current market trends. Designers need to be aware of the latest fashion trends and produce multiple collections each year for ready-to-wear garments.

High Street fashion generally refers to ready-to wear clothing. This refers to the ability to purchase the items at shops located on the main street or high street of the town.

This means that clothing can be purchased in regular shops rather than being made by fashion designers.

4: Fast Fashion

Most apparel brands that are well-known to average consumers are fast fashion brands. Fast fashion is mass-produced clothing that has a rapid turnover rate.

Fast fashion's driving motivation is to make trendy, affordable clothing available on the market. These fashion designs can be moved quickly from catwalk shows to shelves.

Fast fashion houses such as the best can produce pieces and have them in stock within weeks of an inspiring fashion show. These trends may not be replicated by other companies for up to six months.

Fashion design for fast fashion is not tied to seasonal clothing collections. Luxury and high-end ready to wear design houses will release clothing on a regular basis. However, fast fashion will release multiple pieces each week.

Many designs that are created today may not be in style for a while because of the fast fashion industry. Fast fashion is more affordable for those who want to be trendy, but don't have the budget to spend a lot on clothes.

Recent criticisms of fast fashion have focused on the fact that many pieces are cheap and encourage throwaway fashion. This leads to items being worn only once and then thrown away. It has a huge economic and environmental impact on the world.

5: Economy Fashion

Economy fashion is at the bottom of fashion design hierarchy. Economy fashion is lower than fast fashion.

The ultimate goal of this fashion style is to mass-produce clothes in the most efficient way and then ship them to retailers. Most economy fashion is about making a profit. Usually, the lowest labor and materials are used.

Although economy fashion may draw inspiration from seasonal trends, they are often unable to replicate exact trends due budget constraints and time constraints. Economy fashion begins with a large production of clothing that will be sold at a low price.

Economy fashion is the most environmentally-friendly type of fashion design.

Because of the low quality standards, garments have a shorter lifespan. Pieces are also released later in a trend's peak, which means they go out of fashion much quicker due to fast-changing trends.

This style of fashion appeals to people who don't necessarily have the means to purchase higher quality clothing, or tend to have little interest in it in the first place.


There are the five main types or categories of what we collectively bundle into the concept of ″fashion″ described so that you can see the differences in more detail.

If you are interested in becoming involved in the fashion industry in some way, it's a good idea to read and learn as much as you can about it first.


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