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Textile Designer

Industries:
Fashion and Textiles
Personality type:
Creative
Departments:
Design | Textiles

The lowdown

  • Creating fabric designs and patterns for woven, knitted and printed materials
  • Drawing ideas by hand or using computer programmes

Is this role right for me?

To do this role, you will need to:

  • be creative 
  • be able to draw
  • have an eye for colour, texture and pattern
  • pay good attention to detail
  • have an understanding of different processes and techniques
  • know about fashion and textiles
  • have an understanding of trends
  • use CAD packages
  • work with customers 
  • know about textile techniques
  • have good communication and problem-solving skills

What does a Textile Designer do?

Textile Designers need to discuss, understand and interpret the needs, ideas and requirements of their customers accurately. They must consider how the textile will be used and what properties it needs. These properties include the weight, strength, performance and flammability of the material used.

Once Textile Designers have selected the type of textile, they then produce design ideas, sketches and samples for presentation to customers. These are often created using computer-aided design (CAD) packages.

A Textile Designer works within a budget and to deadlines, whilst keeping up with current trends and production techniques. They may spend some of their time attending trade shows and researching new fabrics and trims.

Textile Designers usually work between 37 and 40 hours a week. Additional hours are often needed to meet deadlines. Part-time work may also be available.

Textile Designers are usually based in an office or studio, and usually also spend some time on the factory floor, overseeing the production process. Overseas travel to meet customers and visit trade shows is common.

What might I earn?

The starting salary for a Textile Designer is between £15,000 and £20,000 a year. More experienced Designers could earn around £28,000 a year. A Senior Designer or Design Director may earn in excess of £40,000 a year. The salary of a Freelance Designer will depend on their workload and the market level they design for.

Will I need a qualification?

Companies might expect you to have a relevant degree from an institution with a strong tradition in the textiles field.

If you are considering taking a fashion design course in higher education, the following courses have been rigorously assessed by the fashion industry and awarded the Creative Skillset Tick for the high standard of education they provide and the degree to which they prepare you for a career in fashion:

Fashion design courses awarded the Creative Skillset Tick

The textiles pathway of the Apprenticeship in Fashion and Textiles would also give you an excellent grounding and professional experience.

If you are considering an apprenticeship, the following programmes have been assessed by experts and awarded the Creative Skillset Tick for the high standard of training they provide and their links to the industry:

Fashion and textiles apprenticeship programmes awarded the Creative Skillset Tick

You can also take vocational qualifications such as an ABC Award in Manufacturing Textile Products; Apparel, Footwear, Leather or Textiles Production; or Textile Technology; or an SVQ in Manufacturing Textile Products.

Further training is carried out on the job and you may need to complete short courses to update your computer, technical or creative skills.

The Chartered Society of Designers (CSD) offers a range of seminars to help people in this area update their skills.

The Textile Institute also offers a range of chartered professional qualifications for continuous professional development.

Freelance designers may find it useful to train in business-related skills such as marketing and finance and you may find the ABC Award in Business for Creative Practitioners of interest.

What's the best route in?

There are no formal entry routes to become a Textile Designer. However, most people enter the industry through one of two main routes. You could begin as a Textiles Operative and progress into the role of a Textile Designer or gain relevant qualifications.

Where might the role take me?

If you start as a Junior Textile Designer, with experience, you may be promoted into the role of Designer and then Senior Designer. Opportunities may be limited in smaller organisations and so it may be necessary to change employer to gain promotion.

Experienced Designers often work on a freelance basis. There may also be opportunity to work overseas. You could also move into a related career in textile manufacturing or buying.

Interested? Find out more...

Websites

Publications

  • Drapers
  • Vogue
  • Knitting Trade Journal
  • Knitting International
  • Twist - The New Wool Record