The fashion industry offers a wide range of opportunities, from the design end to retail and public relations.
Jobs in fashion design
Fashion designers create clothing ranges based on their target audience, what’s ‘on trend’, what’s relevant and what will sell. The job involves coming up with concepts, sketching ideas for designs, testing different colours, materials and styles, and then finalising designs. Part of a fashion designer’s role also involves ensuring fashion models look their very best in fashion shows. A successful fashion show generates an increased demand for a designer’s work.
Jobs in costume design
Costume designers are less concerned with creating clothes for a target audience and considering what will sell best; their task is to design costumes that are required for a certain film, television show or play, or even television commercial. It’s all about designing the right item for the right setting and scene. Depending on the way you work and your style, costumes can be made from scratch or revamped from vintage clothing shops, bargain bins and charity shops, for example.
Jobs in fashion styling
Stylists similarly set the scene and tone using clothes – but ones they’ve chosen rather than designed themselves – whether that’s for published features in magazines, print or television advertising campaigns, music videos, concert performances, and public appearances made by celebrities, models or other public figures.
Jobs in textile design
Textile designers create designs for various different printed, knitted and woven fabrics, such as tartan. They need a good understanding of what customers or their employers require: what the material will be used for, what environment it will be used in and who will use it. In these roles, you’ll usually be in control of the project from start to finish, from taking the initial order to stitching everything together.
While a lot of time is spent at a computer, designing fabrics and working on patterns, textile designers may sometimes need to travel to visit trade fairs, clients and manufacturers. Away from the fashion side of things, the textile industry also involves the design and upkeep of everyday products, like carpets, curtains and rugs.
Jobs in fashion retail
On the retail side of the fashion industry, professionals could work in visual merchandising at clothes stores, or as a buyer. Buyers usually work closely with designers and their designated sales representatives and attend trade fairs, wholesale showrooms and fashion shows to observe trends. They may work for large department stores, chain stores or smaller boutiques.
Those going into fashion could even work in fashion PR, creating a strong brand for fashion clients, ensuring their pieces get in the right magazines and understanding trends in both fashion and media.
School leavers wanting to work in this sector could do an Intermediate Apprenticeship (Level 2) after taking their GCSEs, and train in roles like textile operative, cloth cutter and dressmaker.
They could then do an Advanced Apprenticeship (Level 3) in roles like fashion merchandising, textile dyeing technician and pattern grader. School leavers with A-levels could also access these schemes.
School leavers could also look at the fashion courses on offer at further education college or university.