Textile designer

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Textile designers create fabric designs and patterns for woven, knitted and printed materials for clothes and interior furnishings.

Salary range: £15,000 to £40,000

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How to become a textile designer

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
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University

You could take a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in textile design. Other useful subjects include:

  • fashion and textiles
  • art and design
  • textiles and surface design

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • a foundation diploma in art and design
  • 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

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College

You may be able to get into this career by studying for a college qualification like the Level 3 Diploma in Textile Design and Manufacture.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

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

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Apprenticeship

You could complete an advanced apprenticeship in fashion and textiles, or specialise in technical textiles through a higher apprenticeship.

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
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship

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Work

You could start work as a textile operative or design assistant, get relevant work experience and qualifications, and then move into textile design.

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Career tips

You’ll need to present a design portfolio when you’re looking for work. You can also use your portfolio to make job applications to companies whose products match your style.

Professional and industry bodies

You could join The Textile Institute and The Textile Society for professional development training.

Further information

You can find out more about careers and training in textile design through Creative Choices.

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What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • design skills and knowledge
  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • the ability to come up with new ways of doing things
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • analytical thinking skills
  • persistence and determination
  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • knowledge of manufacturing production and processes
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • working with customers to understand what they want
  • producing sketches by hand or on a computer, using design software
  • making up samples for the customer
  • researching design trends to decide what will sell
  • investigating new textiles made from sustainable materials
  • working with technical staff, marketing teams and retail buyers
  • keeping up-to-date with developments in manufacturing technology

Working environment

You could work at a manufacturing plant, in a creative studio or in an office.

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Career path and progression

With experience, you could progress to a senior design position or work as a textiles production manager.

You could also move into part-time teaching, university research or set up your own business.