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Fashion & textiles

Fashion designer

Fashion designers use creative and technical skills to design new clothing and fashion ranges.

Annual Salary

£20,000 to £40,000

Average UK salary in 2019 was £30,378
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

40 to 42 variable

You could work: evenings / weekends / bank holidays; attending events or appointments

1%
Future employment

There will be 1% more Fashion designer jobs in 2026.
In your local area

Day to day tasks

As part of your day-to-day tasks, you could:

  • work to design instructions
  • analyse or predict trends in fabrics, colours and shapes
  • produce concept and mood boards (a collection of items to capture a mood, like photos, fabric pieces or colour samples)
  • produce designs by hand or by using computer-aided design (CAD)
  • develop basic shapes ('blocks') through patterns
  • estimate costs for materials and manufacture
  • find suppliers
  • supervise the making up of sample clothing items
  • make in-house presentations, for example to finance departments and merchandisers

Working environment

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

You can get into this job through:

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

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

Courses are widely available and include:

  • fashion design
  • art and design
  • garment technology
  • 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
For more information
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
For more information
Apprenticeship

You may be able to do a fashion studio assistant advanced apprenticeship and follow the product development and production pathway. You could work as a design assistant in a studio, develop your design skills on the job and work your way into a designer role.

This apprenticeship typically takes 18 months to complete as a mix of workplace learning and off-the-job study.

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
For more information
Volunteering and work 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.

The British Fashion Industry supports initiatives like the National Saturday Club for young people from 13 to 16 looking to get an insight into fashion careers.

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, technical drawings and examples of completed fashion items you have made.

Further information

You can find more details about working in fashion from:the British Fashion Council; UK Fashion and Textiles (UKFT); Discover Creative Careers

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With experience you could progress to senior designer, head of a fashion department or design director. You could move into other aspects of the fashion business like marketing or buying.

You could develop business skills and go freelance or start your own fashion company.

You could teach your skills to students in schools, colleges or universities.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • the ability to come up with new ways of doing things
  • design skills and knowledge
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • ambition and a desire to succeed
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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