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(Sample) Machinist
Bespoke Tailor
Costume Designer
Pattern Grader
Become a
(Sample) Machinist

Produces samples of garments to show designers or customers how the finished items will look. Works with Designers and Suppliers.

Specific skills required for the role

Excellent competency and accuracy in using industrial machines to create products.

Experience

Experience with industrial sewing and overlocking machines. Excellent knowledge of construction.

How to get there

Often requires no qualifications. You will need experience and be able to demonstrate your skill, speed and accuracy of making. Can, in some cases, lead to progression into Garment Technologist.

Become a
Bespoke Tailor

Produces ‘bespoke’ (custom-made) suits, jackets and coats for men and women. Can work as a team or alone.

Specific skills required for the role

Excellent attention to detail is required. Patience. Abilty to work alone and be self-motivated.

Experience

Pattern cutting and construction knowledge are essential.

How to get there

Internships and apprenticeships are common. You will work closely with more experienced tailors for a number of years.

Become a
Costume Designer

Researchs and designs costumes for film, TV, theatre or the music industry.

Specific skills required for the role

Ability to work to tight deadlines and unregular hours.

Experience

Very good knowledge of construction. Knowledge of historical dress and costume would be beneficial.

How to get there

Often requires a specialist degree and/or work experience in the field.

Become a
Pattern Grader

Alters sample size patterns to enable production of clothes in a range of sizes. Can be done by hand but is increasingly done using CAD.

Specific skills required for the role

Excellent attention to technical detail.

Experience

Knowledge and experience of pattern cutting. Would be beneficial to be adept at using a range of computer programmes.

How to get there

Specialist job. An area which could be pursued from a more vocational route. Apprenticeships, internships and entry level experience at suppliers. Can, in some cases, lead to progression into Garment Technologist.

Fashion Buyer
Textiles Buyer
Trend Forecaster
Become a
Fashion Buyer

Creates and stocks a store targeting a specific customer profile, carrying a mix of clothing that appeals to this demographic. Works closely with Merchandising and Design Teams.

Specific skills required for the role

Ability to profile customers and market needs. Empathy; being detached from your own taste and adapting to what the customer needs. Negotiation skills, very good understanding of costing; quick thinking. Know when to follow and when to lead.

Experience

Very important to have a fashion knowledge, fabric, etc.

How to get there

You may not require a specialist degree but this is beneficial at the start of your career and in terms of progressing through to more senior roles. You will start as a Buyers Admin Assistant and work towards being an Assistant Buyer (after approximately 2 years) and then onto Buyer, Buying Manager and finally Head of Buying. The more prestigious companies may require work placement experience.

Become a
Textiles Buyer

Analyses market trends, production costs, and previous sales numbers create colour palettes and inspiration boards working closely with Fashion Buyers. Will then work with the designers or suppliers to develop or source fabrics.

Specific skills required for the role

Ability to profile customers and market needs. Empathy; being detached from your own taste and adapting to what the customer needs. Negotiation skills, very good understanding of costing; quick thinking. Know when to follow and when to lead.

Experience

Knowledge of fabrics, fibres and surface decoration is essential.

How to get there

A degree or qualification in Textile Design or Buying. You will work as an Assistant and, depending on the size of the company, work towards being a Textiles Buyer.

Become a
Trend Forecaster

Analyses market trends, global movements and a range of other sources to predict colours, shapes, styles and fabrics that will be popular in the future. This is usually within a specific trend forecasting company rather than a retailer.

Specific skills required for the role

Extremely innovative with the ability to 'think outside the box'. Be able to connect easily with people.

Experience

Work experience either in Trend Forecasting or Design can be beneficial.

How to get there

Degrees or qualifications in Fashion, Art, Psychology or Sociology can all be of benefit. Can also progress from design experience into trend forecasting. You would start as an assistant or researcher and work up to having responsibilities for your own area or account.

Accessories Designer
Fashion Designer
Fashion Illustrator
Graphic Designer
Become a
Accessories Designer

Specialises in designing jewellery, bags, hats (millinery), belts, gloves, etc. Works closely with Buyers and Trend Forecasters.

Specific skills required for the role

Creativity, vision, working in a team, knowing how to apply your skills for the specific customer you are designing for in that company.

Experience

Technical drawing can be beneficial.

How to get there

You will start as an assistant and from there move up to designer with a specialism and the ultimate job is Head of Design.

Become a
Fashion Designer

Designs items of clothing - can specialise in men’s, women’s or children’s wear and specialist fields such as knit, jersey, sportswear, swimwear, or lingerie. Works closely with Buyers and Trend Forecasters.

Specific skills required for the role

Creativity, vision, working in a team, knowing how to apply your skills for the specific customer you are designing for in that company.

Experience

Technical drawing can be beneficial.

How to get there

You will start as an assistant and from there move up to designer with a specialism and the ultimate job is Head of Design.

Become a
Fashion Illustrator

Creates illustrations of clothes, shoes, and accessories for advertisements, magazines, promotional products (eg carrier bags, store displays) and other media, by hand or with computer software.

Specific skills required for the role

You feel very passionate about it; it is more an artist role. Freelance, companies will commission illustrations. Touching up images for the online shopping.

Experience

A portfolio of your work will be essential.

How to get there

Degree in Fine Art, Fashion Illustration or Fashion Design with a heavy focus on illustration. Usually work freelance. There are very few job opportunties for fashion illustrators. There is little by way of progression. Fashion illustrators will often also work as designers or print designers.

Become a
Graphic Designer

Can be employed in a variety of ways from Graphics to promote retail brands to placement prints for textile products. Works for either suppliers or with Buyers.

Specific skills required for the role

Creativity, vision, working in a team, knowing how to apply your skills for the specific customer you are designing for in that company. A good knowledge of CAD software.

Experience

Portfolio of work is essential. Work experience can be beneficial.

How to get there

Specialist graphic design qualifications or experience are essential. A lot of graphic designers work freelance or as part of an specific graphic design company. You may start by designing a range of different types of graphics for different end uses but as you progress you will become more specialist and may secure a permanent role within a company.

Print Designer
Textile Designer
Become a
Print Designer

Designs patterns to be printed onto fabric. This is either done by hand and converted to a print or is completed using CAD. Works for either suppliers or with Buyers.

Specific skills required for the role

Creativity, vision, working in a team, knowing how to apply your skills for the specific customer you are designing for in that company. A good knowledge of CAD software.

Experience

A portfolio of your work will be essential.

How to get there

Specialist print qualifications or experience are essential. A lot of print designers work freelance. You may start by designing a range of different types of print for different end products but as you progress you will become more specialist and may secure a permanent role within a company.

Become a
Textile Designer

Creates designs for fabrics - may specialise in knit, weave, embroidery or print. Works closely with Buyers, Trend Forecasters and Designers.

Specific skills required for the role

Creativity, vision, working in a team, knowing how to apply your skills for the specific customer you are designing for in that company.

Experience

Knowledge of fibres, fabrics and methods of textile decoration.

How to get there

You will start as an assistant and from there move up to designer with a specialism.

Boutique Owner
Event Coordinator
Fashion Blogger
Fashion Journalist
Become a
Boutique Owner

Selects and buys the products that a store will stock, and oversees the development of products designed.

Specific skills required for the role

Determined. Excellent business management skills. Good with numbers. Ability to identify a gap in the market and address it. Have a clear vision and understanding of customer needs.

Experience

Experience working within small retail businesses. Sales experience.

How to get there

A degree or other qualifications in Business, Management or Marketing. Boutique owners will usually work in other boutiques first to gain experience and contacts. To become a boutique owner you will need financial backing so be prepared to take on debt and be clear that there may be loses in the first few years.

Become a
Event Coordinator

Responsible for organising and running catwalk shows and other fashion events, coordinating the whole project from initial planning to running the event on schedule. Works closely with PR.

Specific skills required for the role

Excellent organisational skills. The ability to lead others. Adaptable to different situations and varied working hours. Motivated and positive people succeed.

Experience

Working as part of an event team or PR department.

How to get there

Degree or other qualifications are not essential but can increase chances of success. The qualification does not have to be specific to fashion. Related degrees such as Hospitality, Leisure, Business Management and Marketing are all considered. Work experience is essential whether it is paid or voluntary. You may start as an assistant and work towards Event Coordinator.

Become a
Fashion Blogger

Uses blog posts and social media to share knowledge, experiences and ideas related to fashion. Often done part-time for little or no profit.

Specific skills required for the role

Excellent ICT skills. Ability to write fluently. You must be able to work at a fast, reactive pace. This is a role that can required constant work or involvement.

Experience

Previous blogging and/or social media experience. Portfolio of work if you are applying to companies.

How to get there

Have your own blog or social media account that can be expanded. Successful bloggers can collaborate with companies to produce ranges of products or services. Prepare to not make a profit at the start or at all if you are doing this independently. There are some opportunities to blog or manage social media for larger companies but these are often within a marketing department.

Become a
Fashion Journalist

Writes about fashion for media such as fashion magazines, newspapers, websites or blogs. Will spend a lot of time researching and interviewing.

Specific skills required for the role

Excellent writing and editing skills. The abilty to be analytical and communicate clearly and appropriately for the audience. Motivated, independent but also able to establish contacts and networks in the industry.

Experience

A portfolio of written work. This could even be your own blog or website. Contacts within the industry are very beneficial.

How to get there

A specialist degree or a degree in English or staight Journalism. You may begin as a researcher or assistant. Internships and work experience are very valuable.

Fashion Photographer
Fashion PR Specialist
Fashion Stylist
Visual Merchandiser
Become a
Fashion Photographer

Shoots photos of clothing and accessories for use in advertisements or the media.

Specific skills required for the role

Independent, motovated and very self confident to push for work experience opportunities at the start of your career.

Experience

You must have a portfolio. You will need up to date knowledge of technology available in the field, from cameras to editing software.

How to get there

This is a very competitive area and jobs are hard to secure. This means that a lot of people will work for free to begin with to prove themselves, build a portfolio and make contacts. From this you can then work as an assistant. You will need to continually work on your own portfolio before you can become a Fashion Photographer. Most photographers work freelance.

Become a
Fashion PR Specialist

Helps stores and designers to build and maintain a good public image, finding creative ways to keep the company's brand name in the public eye.

Specific skills required for the role

Excellent communication skills. Highly confident and motivated. You must be able to network and use a range of social media. You will be required to have knowledge of brands and retailers and specifically, their current PR strategies.

Experience

Placements or internships with PR departments is beneficial if not essential.

How to get there

A related degree. Experience is essential and there are many placements available. You will begin as an Assistant and work towards managing your own area.

Become a
Fashion Stylist

Works with a team including hair, make-up, photographers etc to create looks for catwalk shows or photographs for in magazines or advertising.

Specific skills required for the role

Self motivated and innovative yet able to take direction and work closely with others. A excellent knowledge of brands and a good eye for style.

Experience

You will need to demonstrate an exceptional knowledge of brands and trends.

How to get there

There are specialist courses however, you will also need to complete internships and work placements. Your first role will be as a Stylist's Assistant, you will work up to styling yourself and then progress to Stylist, then Senior Stylist.

Become a
Visual Merchandiser

Develops visual concepts and strategies to promote products and brands. This can be instore, in print or online. They may also be responsible for the layout of stores and the way a shop is fitted out. Will liaise with the buying, design and merchandising teams.

Specific skills required for the role

Be a visual person who has an understanding of how to make an impact on a desired customer base.

Experience

Retail or design experience are both useful.

How to get there

Degree is not essential. There are specialist courses however, candidates will be accepted from a variety of degrees related to fashion, design and marketing. You can also work up from the shopfloor as a Visual Merchandise Assistant or through design team, though this can be difficult and take time.

Fashion Merchandiser
Become a
Fashion Merchandiser

Analyses market trends, production costs, and previous sales numbers to determine the amount of stock to order and directs designers to design products which will sell. Works closely with the Buying team.

Specific skills required for the role

Maths, analytical, ICT, being confortable working on a PC for many hours. Teamwork , work well with buyer and design teams. Good at strategy, forward planning, multitasking,

Experience

Be able to carry out research of competition and conduct SWOT analysis. Knowledge and experience of excel is beneficial.

How to get there

Often a degree is required. This can be specialist or in a related subject like business. In some cases, people can work towards this career through the shop floor or through the distribution or allocator route that does not require a degree, though this can be difficult and take longer. You will typically begin as a Merchandise Administrative Assistant. You can then work towards beign an Assistant Merchandiser, Merchandiser, Merchandise Manager and finally Head of Merchandising.

Distribution Manager
Garment Technologist
Pattern Drafter / Cutter
Production Manager
Become a
Distribution Manager

Ensures the stock (products) are delivered correctly to stores in order to meet demand. Will often coordinate teams for storage and delivery.

Specific skills required for the role

Logistic and strategic thinking that will see a process through to the end. Well organised and ability to lead others.

Experience

Previous experience with distribution or warehousing is an advantage but not essential.

How to get there

A degree level education is desirable. There are some specialist qualifications in Distribution and Logistics but other related degrees such as Business Management are considered. Experience in distribution or warehousing is advantageous but not essential. Larger companies have gradutate schemes as a route into this career. You can also move into this field if you have worked in Supply Chain or even Retail Management.

Become a
Garment Technologist

Oversees the sizing, fitting and testing of sample garments and analyses product returns and faults. Works with Buyers and Suppliers.

Specific skills required for the role

To be technical, it is not about design and trends. To be precise, logical. You are interpreting what the designer and buyer want at the end. Clear minded. Link to the suply chain. Liaison and communication skills. To communicate very well - technical language.

Experience

Very good knowledge of product construction, fabrics and pattern cutting.

How to get there

Specialist job. An area which could be pursued from a more vocational route. Apprenticeships, internships and entry level experience at suppliers.

Become a
Pattern Drafter / Cutter

Responsible for turning a designer’s sketch into a working pattern, to be used in the construction of the garment. Works with Designers and Manufacturers.

Specific skills required for the role

To be technical, it is not about design and trends. To be precise, logical. You are interpreting what the designer and buyer want at the end. Clear minded. Link to the supply chain. To communicate very well. Good knowledge and use of technical language.

Experience

Specialist pattern drafting knowledge and experience.

How to get there

Specialist job. An area which could be pursued from a more vocational route. Apprenticeships, internships and entry level experience at suppliers. Can, in some cases, lead to progression into Garment Technologist.

Become a
Production Manager

Manages the supply chain from design to finished product, often across different countries. Responsible for ensuring goods are produced to the right quality and quantity, on time and at the right price.

Specific skills required for the role

Understand garment construction; Work closely with factories to ensure quality and timeliness ; Track pieces from conception to completion. Excellent leadership and organisational skills.

Experience

Managerial Experience.

How to get there

You can obtain this position after gaining experience as a team leader or supervisor. There are some apprenticeships available.

Quality Assurance
Retail Store Manager
Supplier
Textile Technologist
Become a
Quality Assurance

Responsible for checking the quality of products and/or components. This role is also responsible for the ethical and environmental compliance of a company. In larger companies this may be seperated into Quality Superviser and Product Tester.

Specific skills required for the role

An eye for detail. Ability to communicated clearly with a range of people, including having difficult conversations.

Experience

Experience as a garment technologist or product tester is essential.

How to get there

Typically Quality Assurance roles are a sideways move from garment technologist or product tester. Depending on the company the Quality Assurance manager will work at the Head Office, factory, sourcing office or supplier.

Become a
Retail Store Manager

Oversees all aspects of a store's operations from visual displays and advertisements and ordering a store's merchandise to hiring, training, firing and promoting employees. Informs buyers of merchandise needs.

Specific skills required for the role

Excellent communication and customer service. Abilty to lead and manage teams of staff. Adaptable to different working hours. Good with numbers. Motivated, positive people will succeed.

Experience

Retail and sales experience.

How to get there

Typically Store managers will work their way up from a sales assistant to an Assistant Manager and then a Store Manager. The progression from here is to Regional Manager who coordinates and manages a number of stores. In some cases being a store manager can lead to Visual Merchandising or Merchandiser.

Become a
Supplier

Manufactures products for larger companies. A generic term which can include many different job roles such as Account Manager (sales), Sample Machinst, Garment Cutter, Clothes Presser.

Specific skills required for the role

Differences from working for the big retailers. Designing from different accounts and labels; different labels. Lots of product development. You get to experience other businesses.

Experience

Working as part of a team or sales experience would be beneficial.

How to get there

There are different routes depending on where you want to specialise. Usually, people with degrees or relevant experience will begin as Assistants and work up to manager certain accounts that the supplier has. The more experience you gain the high profile the accounts you will work on.

Become a
Textile Technologist

Concerned with the scientific make-up of fibres, yarns and materials, developing new fabrics and carrying out technical and quality control work on textiles. Works with Manufacturers.

Specific skills required for the role

Technical and scientifically minded. Interested in the detail of textiles.

Experience

Knowledge of fibres, dyes and technological advances in the area.

How to get there

Often requires a specialist degree and/or work experience in the field.