Skills in fashion and textiles
Jobs in Fashion & Textiles
The Fashion & Textiles industry offers a large amount of jobs for people looking to get into the industry. Many of those in the industry are designers or makers, either coming up with the ideas for products or physically making them. Although designers are often the more famous part of the industry, the makers are seen as a hugely valuable commodity in the industry, and talented production specialists are highly sought after.
Although those are the roles most commonly associated with Fashion & Textiles, there are plenty of other jobs in the industry for those who possess different skill sets. For example, a Sales Representative will be responsible for trying to sell the products to retailers, pushing the value of the brand and negotiating a deal for the design company. Retail and merchandising also makes up a large proportion of the Fashion & Textiles workforce.
There’s also a large amount of business partners in Fashion & Textiles who help with the running of the business and creating strategies so that the designers can concentrate on their own creative work.
Getting into Fashion & Textiles
One of the most important things to possess when looking to get into one of the traditional roles in the Fashion & Textiles Industry is design skills. No matter where you are positioned on a production line, being able to sketch out your ideas will be absolutely key, and employers will be looking for people who can express their ideas on paper.
The industry can be very difficult to break into, and is based almost entirely off networking. To give yourself a head-up on the competition, having a degree or qualification is highly recommended. When looking to enter the fashion industry, it’s recommended that you are in a commutable distance to London for events and showcases; it’s one of the leading fashion locations in the world.
While most designers will have their own studios or companies, there is a lot of potential for freelancing in Fashion & Textiles. However, most of the freelance positions won’t be advertised and will be strictly obtained through word of mouth. It’s recommended that you have a large lists of contacts who trust you before going freelance in the Fashion & Textiles industry.
A recruiter might read hundreds of applications, so when applying you’ll need to make sure your CV is as close to perfect as possible. We have a great guide for writing a CV, but for Fashion & Textiles specifically you’ll want to focus on your previous design experience and your personal statement. Employers will be looking for passionate people who can hit the ground running, so formatting your CV to highlight those aspects is recommended.
However, the most important thing for those looking to enter the industry is a portfolio. While most other industries are moving their portfolios online (and having an online portfolio is always recommended), the Fashion & Textiles industry still generally like to see a physical portfolio.
You should include designs and photos of your previous creations, but also samples of the materials you used so a potential employer can get a better idea of the product you created. It also helps you demonstrate your knowledge on not only the fabrics themselves, but also where and how to source them.
Being able to showcase your love of the industry in your CV and describing at length when prompted about your portfolio is a great way to show passion, something that employers in all industries ask for when you make an application. In Fashion & Textiles, there is an extra step you’d have to show when arriving for an interview. While you should seek to dress smartly and practically, being able to show your personal style will do wonders for making an impression – If you’re fashionably dressed, it shows an employer you know the industry!
With the industry being so difficult to break into, it’s worth looking up trainee schemes to introduce yourself to some of the employers and workers in the industry.
Working in Fashion & Textiles
The Fashion & Textile industry works in seasons, and new collections will be made to be launched in tandem with a new season. Because of this, things can get hectic and stressful when a new season approaches, and being able to handle the pressure of the situation requires a lot of mental fortitude and the ability to work to a professional level while under strict deadlines.
Fashion & Textiles can provide very high-tension environments, and designers have a reputation for being harsh towards the makers and other employees. Because of this, it’s very key to know the etiquette of a design studio. For example, if there’s a more senior person on your team, it’s best to go through them rather than asking the designer questions or raising concerns. Likewise, you will need to be able to work quickly and efficiently, and not get disheartened if things go wrong.
No matter what industry you’re working in, it’s always wise to know where to seek legal counsel and aid if required. The UK Fashion and Textiles Association offer a voice to Government and support, while the trade union Community also covers the Fashion & Textiles industry for legal aid and counsel.