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Finding your feet in fashion: The career options available to you

19th January 2019

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So, you’re almost done with your time in education and thinking about a career in fashion. Luckily there is a wide range of options available aside from the ones you may expect, such as designers and models. From a career in fashion-related finance to discovering a role in communications, the opportunities are varied.

Image Credit: Free-Photos Pixabay

Retailers of men's shirts, CT Shirts, have taken a look at what’s out there, considering some careers you might not have thought of.

1. Garment Technologist

Image Credit: Engin Akyurt on Pixabay

You may not be familiar with this particular role, but it’s one of the most important. This role is largely about quality control and investigative work with regards to the materials that are used to create fashion pieces.

Within this position, you’ll design and develop new materials. Through testing new combinations of materials and fibres, people in this role look to find the best type of fabric for what’s to be made. These people work closely with designers, pattern graders and buying teams to find the right type of fabric for what’s to be made.

As well as this, you’ll find yourself improving the production side of things — ensuring that brands remain as efficient as possible. This might be to do with price and would involve liaising with buyers and suppliers to negotiate a cost that’s within the budget of the project. Or, they might be looking to make the company more sustainable, and therefore the technologist would investigate the production of the fabrics.

Employers may also expect you to have a degree in a related topic, such as garment technology and production, or you may complete a module around this as part of a wider subject. Or, look out for apprenticeship schemes and junior roles, where you can work your way up to this role.

2. Pattern Grader

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Pattern grading is another important role in the fashion industry. They focus on producing scaled-up and scaled-down versions of design patterns, which enables the manufacturers to produce the same patterned piece of clothing in different sizes.

Some of the main tasks of a pattern grader include; tracing the outline of a pattern with scanning equipment, quality checking to ensure that the final pattern is in-line with the original design and creating sample garments from the pattern to send to prospective buyers.

Mathematical skills are also essential in this industry. You must be able to take accurate measurements and make calculations in order to scale the patterns correctly. It’s also important that you enjoy being part of a team, so to cooperate with others in the design process, and be able to confidently use IT to work with a digitising table.

But remember, you don’t need a degree! Instead, you could take the apprenticeship route through college by studying subjects such as fashion or textiles. Or, work your way up from an assistant or pattern cutter to become a grader in a fashion company.

3. Fashion Illustrator

Image Credit: Illustrations by Kato on Flickr

If you’re looking to become a fashion illustrator, you’ll be responsible for drawings and diagrams that align with garment creation. They work closely with designers to create conceptual sketches and illustrations of fashion products. In addition to this, they may produce advertising copy and images for promotional material for print and online coverage. To succeed in this role, you need to be able to use computer design, as well as drawing by hand and have an eye for fashion.

Usually, fashion illustrators have a degree in graphic design. To get accepted onto a degree of this kind, you will need GCSEs and potentially A levels, or entry based on passing a foundation course. Alternatively, you can build up a strong portfolio and gain experience in relevant positions to impress prospective employees.

4. Fashion Journalist

Image Credit: Duncan Chen on Flickr

If you live and breathe the fashion industry, becoming a fashion journalist could be the route for you. A fashion journalist is no longer limited to securing a job for a print publication — with a range of online magazines out there, there are more opportunities available. You could also go freelance, but work isn’t guaranteed here. As part of the job, you’ll likely be required to travel and meet new people to conduct interviews and get the latest on fashion stories.

Although you might have a passion for writing and great creativity, you should be strategic when it comes to choosing your subjects at school. Choosing A-levels such as English Language will further your creative writing skills, for example. There are speciality degrees out there too, such as the Fashion Communications course which will teach you more about the sector and increase your employability.

A portfolio is essential too! Start your own fashion blog to write about the latest news in the sector and approach editors for freelance opportunities. Networking is also a great way to get to know about future vacancies. Try to secure internships in relevant positions to build your experience too.

5. Fashion Accountant

Image Credit: on Pexels

For those who love finance but want to work in fashion, the dream is not over - you can do both! There is a range of finance roles available in the fashion sector — from retail accountants to accountants in textiles, who ensure that a budget is adhered to when buying materials. Roles like this allow you to be involved with designers and the garment-making process, whilst keeping finances under control.

Naturally, a speciality in maths is a must. Start by taking Maths at A-level and progress to studying a financial role at university. This might be Economics, Accounting or another form of Financial Studies. As part of your degree, take up the opportunity to undergo a year in industry — this can give you an insight into the field that you’re going into and give you some invaluable experience to put on your CV.

For more information about careers in fashion, check out UCAS and Drapers.

Lead image credit: Duncan Chen on Flickr

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