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Do you love clothes? Do you enjoy identifying the latest fashion trends and discovering the next big thing before anyone else? Are you artistic? Then fashion design may just be the career for you.
A career in fashion design doesn’t necessarily lead to you working for Gucci or Prada – it’s more likely that you won’t. Designers are needed wherever clothes are produced, however, meaning that you could quite easily end up working in the fast-paced environment of high street fast fashion in the women’s wear team for Marks & Spencers or H&M instead.
There are many different types of fashion design that you could do, including:
Creative designers come up with the idea or vision of a piece of clothing, within the story or theme that runs through the whole collection.
Technical designers look after the technical aspects of a design, such as the measurement and fit of a piece of clothing – the length of a zip, the placement of a pocket. They make the creative designer’s initial vision a reality.
Pattern-cutters create the pattern, or pieces of a garment using either cardboard or material pieces that they create from the sketched designs. These pieces then form the basis of the item of clothing when assembled.
Textile designers create the graphic patterns or colours that are used on printed fabrics or knit and weave materials.
Fashion designers can work in-house for a company, or be self-employed, freelancing for companies on a specific project or collection.
How to get into fashion design
A fashion or textiles degree or qualification is usually needed, alongside plenty of work experience.
Identify the courses that sound most appealing to you, and find out what their specific qualification requirements are for you to apply.
While studying, get work experience in your spare time or the holidays. Many labels and companies need the help and offer (usually unpaid) placements.
A job as a store assistant in a boutique or high street shop is also helpful in giving you further insight into different aspects of the industry.
Qualifications and experience
To get onto a degree course for fashion design, you usually need to have completed an arts foundation.
Pay is wildly variable. It could be peanuts if you’re working for a small start-up label as a junior on the team, or rather extravagant if you’re lucky enough to break into the upper echelons of the design world with a haute couture label. Graduate positions usually range from £12,000 to £25,000.