Career Opportunities in Fashion Design – Introduction
In this topic you will learn about the many different career options that are available to you once you complete your education.
It is time that you explore your opportunities, so you can narrow down the selections and begin planning for your new career.
As you already know, a fashion designer creates clothing, which can include trousers, skirts, suits, accessories, and shoes. However, there are several areas of specialisation that you can branch out into, including opening your own business, entering a niche, or even tailoring and computer-aided design.
Although you do not need a college degree to become a fashion designer, you should earn one because many of the designers competing against you for jobs will have a formal education.
Since you are well on your way to course completion, there are other things that you can do to gain additional experience as a fashion designer.
For example, many first-time designers will enter an internship to gain hands-on experience in fashion marketing, manufacturing, and merchandising.
You can also take on a job assisting an established designer, which offers you the unique opportunity to gain experience from a seasoned professional.
Career Positions as a Fashion Designer
Since the fashion industry is so broad, you have a wide variety of career positions to choose from. Over the ollowing pages, you will find a few of the more popular areas that aspiring designers decide to enter.
A fashion designer is involved in every aspect of clothing design from concept to completion.
This involves development, production, and manufacturing.
Fashion designers have an extensive knowledge of apparel design, fashion concepts, sewing, garment construction, industry trends, and different textiles.
Most fashion designers are also specialists, which means they enter a sub-market like women’s or men’s apparel.
An assistant designer works alongside the fashion designer and performs many of the same duties in an assisting role.
The assistant will help the designer through every aspect of design and production, ensuring that everything runs according to schedule.
Typical duties of an assistant include sketch development, material presentation, clothing demos, and fabric sourcing.
Pattern makers focus on creating patterns and specs that detail how each component of a garment should be manufactured and pieced together.
Many pattern makers today will use computer software, CAD, and 3D imaging to develop their patterns and specifications.
Many design students will eventually advance towards a degree in fashion merchandising because it offers an increase in pay and status.
A merchandiser determines what fashion, accessories and clothing lines get produced.
Merchandisers generally work as executives for companies and are tasked with researching, planning, and identifying fashion trends.
A fashion buyer is responsible for planning sales, monitoring inventory orders, pricing vendor orders and selecting merchandise for sale.
Fashion buyers are usually given a fixed budget and are expected to get the best possible return. These positions are very competitive and usually take years to earn.
Assistant Fashion Buyer
Before you can become a fashion buyer, you must first become an assistant fashion buyer.
Assistant buyers help with every area of fashion purchasing, interact with customers, and they also help to plan budgets.
A merchandise manager, also known as a DDM or divisional merchandise manager, holds one of the highest paid positions in the fashion industry. Merchandise managers supervise merchandise departments, fashion buyers, and other departments.
The design director is responsible for overseeing trends, colours, and fabric direction for all product lines.
They are also in charge of marketing and the manufacturing process.
A fashion director is required to have an in-depth knowledge of market trends and branding strategies and must attend the industries top shows in London, Paris, Milan, and New York.
Additionally, a fashion director is required to forecast trends and manage buying teams.
As you know, haute couture is a custom, high-end method of crafting made-to-order garments for private clients.
This technique is unique to Paris only and requires individuals to comply with some strict requirements.
A couturier is highly skilled in garment construction, production, and design, and enjoys crafting one-of-a-kind apparel for private clients. Couturiers can be self-employed, or they can work in an exclusive boutique.
In the previous modules, you tried your hand at fashion forecasting, so you have some practise with predicting fashion trends. A fashion forecaster is a market analyst who predicts consumer tastes and fashion trends.
Fashion or costume curators design apparel or accessories from other eras, cultures, or contemporary designs.
The curator also restores and cleans damaged garments and textiles and prepares lectures for the public.
A tailor is an expert in garment construction, sewing, support and structure, and fittings.
Tailors are responsible for developing designs, changing existing designs, and creating made-to-measure clothing.
The careers above are just some of the several different sectors that you can choose to enter in the very broad fashion industry. If you are still undecided or would like some additional career resources, the following information should be helpful.
Fashion and Textile Apprenticeships
Due to the enormous growth and the competitive nature of the fashion and textile industry, the UK offers apprenticeships in saddlery, textiles, footwear, leather goods, and apparel. You can apply for an intermediate or an advanced apprenticeship that allows designers to train in several different roles.
UK businesses are also offering training opportunities in the following niche activities:
Brand creation and development
Inexpensive, small scale manufacturing
For more information on either of these opportunities, you can contact the Skills Funding Agency.
If you plan to launch a fashion show or fundraising event to showcase your collection, you will need insurance for your event.
The following UK businesses specialise in providing event insurance, so you are protected from any unforeseen circumstances:
BNF Insurances Services
The previous module covered some important information you will need to know if you want to design, produce, and sell your own clothing label.
If you decide to forego the career options on the previous pages, and you want to open your own business in the UK, there are a few legalities that you need to go through:
Checklist to help you get your clothes on the rack:
Register as a sole trader, limited company, or a partnership. You can do this online.
Most designers will choose to register as a sole trader, and in this case, it will be your responsibility to keep records of your business expenses and pay income taxes.
Apply for a national insurance number, which you can do through Jobcentre Plus. This number is used in the United Kingdom as a personal account number and sometimes in the tax system.
Finally, you will need to obtain business and liability insurance. To find insurers in the United Kingdom, you can contact the Association of British Insurers.