Anyone can be a fashion designer. After all, simply safety pinning some scarfs together to make a shawl is the act of designing an item of clothing. However, not everyone can be a professional designer, since to be a professional means you have got to be paid.
That said, you can become a professional fashion designer if you are ready to put in the time and effort it takes to learn the skills and acquire the knowledge needed to succeed in an industry that is known for its competitiveness.
The first step to becoming a professional designer is to learn how to sew and how to sew very well, which takes time at the spindle. Without this skill, you will not be able to turn your designs into actual clothing. Since becoming proficient with a sewing machine, needles, and thread does not come quickly, during this period you should also read biographies of fashion designers to keep your motivation bubbling and take art and fashion design classes. Also, around this time you will need to decide if you want to earn a degree in fashion design or try your luck without one. Both avenues are possible, though degrees do open doors.
As you learn more about fashion design and your sewing skills improve, you will progress by actually making clothes you have designed. During this exciting segment of your growth you will make some items that you are proud of and some that did not work out so well. Make sure you take photos of all that you make for your portfolio.
As you begin to design and make more and more items of clothing, you will need to learn how to keep costs down by contacting wholesale and manufacturing companies such as QUANTUMFACTORY.NET. These contacts will come in handy later if you decide to create your own line and go the freelance route.
If, however, you do not wish to work for yourself, you may want to get an internship while you are still in school. Finally, when you have your degree, assuming you get one, a solid set of skills, and a quality portfolio start applying for positions with design houses.