Fashion designer

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Fashion designers design clothing and fashion ranges.

Salary range: £20,000 to £80,000

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How to become a fashion designer

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
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University

You’ll usually need a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree.

Courses are widely available and include:

  • fashion design
  • art and design
  • textiles

You should look for a course that covers both design and technical skills to get the practical knowledge needed by the industry.

Some universities and colleges are members of the British Fashion Council.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels, or equivalent, for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree

More information

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College

You could do a college course, which will teach you some of the skills and knowledge you need to work in the fashion industry. Relevant subjects include:

  • Level 2 Award in Fashion – Sampling Fashion Techniques
  • Level 2 Diploma in Skills for the Fashion Industries
  • Level 3 Extended Diploma in Fashion Design and Production

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course

More information

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Apprenticeship

You may be able to do an advanced apprenticeship in fashion and textiles and work as an assistant in a design studio. You could then develop your design skills on the job.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

More information

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Volunteering and experience

You’ll need to get as much work experience as you can, for example through an internship, as there’s strong competition for jobs in the fashion industry.

It will help you get a better understanding of the role, and to meet people who may help you to find paid work later.

More information

Career tips

You can create a portfolio of your design work to showcase your skills, which will help you at course and job interviews. Your portfolio should include mood boards, designs and technical drawings.

Further information

You can find more details about working in fashion from:

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What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • the ability to come up with new ways of doing things
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • ambition and a desire to succeed
  • the ability to organise your time and workload
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • working to design instructions
  • analysing or predicting trends in fabrics, colours and shapes
  • producing concept and mood boards (a collection of items to capture a mood, like photos, fabric pieces or colour samples)
  • producing designs by hand or by using computer-aided design (CAD)
  • developing basic shapes (‘blocks’) through patterns
  • estimating costs for materials and manufacture
  • finding suppliers
  • supervising the making up of sample clothing items
  • making in-house presentations, for example to finance departments and merchandisers

Working environment

You could work in a workshop or in a creative studio.

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Career path and progression

With experience you could progress to senior designer, head of a department (like head of women’s wear design) or design director.

You could also go freelance or start your own company.