Fashion-designer-sketching_bannerFashion designer sketching

Fashion Designer

Fashion and Textiles
Personality type:
Apparel | Design

The lowdown

  • Designing items of clothing for a wide range of retailers
  • Sketching designs by hand or using computer programmes
  • Developing ideas into patterns and making samples

Is this role right for me?

To do this role, you will need to:

  • have a creative eye for colour and shape
  • draw and show design ideas effectively
  • have an interest in fashion and past and future trends
  • have excellent technical skills in sewing and pattern-making

What does a Fashion Designer do?

Fashion Designers have an exciting and demanding career in a competitive industry.

They can design items of clothing for a wide range of retailers, from everyday high-street chains to exclusive design houses. They may specialise in designing menswear, womenswear or childrenswear.

A Fashion Designer usually starts the design process by collecting ideas and looking for trends. Then, they sketch their ideas or use a computer programme to draw designs. These are developed into patterns and samples are made.

Fashion Designers often work long hours and weekends to stick to deadlines. It can also be hard to switch off - as a Designer as they always need to be looking for inspiration.

They are usually based in a studio space. Travel, both within the UK and overseas is very common.

What might I earn?

When starting out, a Fashion Designer may be paid between £12,000 and £14,000 a year. This increases to around £22,000 with experience. Top, experienced Designers could earn over £60,000 a year.

Will I need a qualification?

You will need a qualification, such as a degree, to get work with a fashion design company. It is important to look for a course that will give you a range of practical (drawing) and technical (sewing and pattern-making) skills, as this is what employers will be looking for.

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 apparel pathway of the Apprenticeship in Fashion and Textiles is another option and would 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 ABC, City & Guilds, NOCN or SVQ courses in fashion and textiles.

What’s the best route in?

You can expect to start your career in fashion through work experience. Many students undertake paid and unpaid work experience both during and after their course to establish contacts.

You’ll also need to have a good design portfolio of work to take to interviews.

Where might the role take me?

With the right skills, training and experience, you may be promoted into a Senior or Head Designer position. There are also opportunities to become a Design Director or Senior Manager.

You could also consider setting up your own company or label.

Interested? Find out more...



  • Drapers
  • Vogue