Fashion designers may work full-time for one fashion house, as 'in-house designers', which owns the designs, or they work alone or as part of a team. Freelance designers work for themselves, selling their designs to fashion houses, directly to shops, or to clothing manufacturers. The garments bear the buyer's label. Some fashion designers set up their own labels, under which their designs are marketed. Some fashion designers are self-employed and design for individual clients. Other high-end fashion designers cater to specialty stores or high-end fashion department stores. These designers create original garments, as well as those that follow established fashion trends. Most fashion designers, however, work for apparel manufacturers, creating designs of men's, women's, and children's fashions for the mass market. Large designer brands which have a 'name' as their brand such as Abercrombie & Fitch, Justice, or Juicy are likely to be designed by a team of individual designers under the direction of a design director.
Designers conduct research on fashion trends and interpret them for their audience. Their specific designs are used by manufacturers. This is the essence of a designer’s role; however, there is variation within this that is determined by the buying and merchandising approach, and product quality; for example, budget retailers will use inexpensive fabrics to interpret trends, but high-end retailers will ensure that the best available fabrics are used.
A designer with a notorious past, Christian Dior was also known for being in cahoots with the enemy during WWII, when he dressed Nazi wives and French collaborators in his designs. Despite this questionable choice, he still rose to prominence during the late-forties when the war was over…primarily due to his unparalleled mastery of line and shape. He gave women a desirable “flower silhouette” which always featured a nipped-in waist, a full, voluminous skirt, and a feminine, corseted bodice. Often, the hips of his suits and dresses were padded to balance the bust line and accentuate the wasp-waisted effect.