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Perhaps one of the most popular careers in fashion, designers are responsible for creating clothing, accessories and footwear.
Written on 11/12/19

Perhaps one of the most popular careers in fashion, designers are responsible for creating clothing, accessories and footwear. This is an extremely competitive field, with thousands of hopefuls jostling for a coveted foot at the start of this career ladder.

Creative flair is a must-have for designers, as well as a keen eye for detail and colour. Although designers undoubtedly need to be creative and imaginative, they also need to be able to adapt their design handwriting to suit the retailer or brand they are working for.

Retailers will usually expect candidates to have a relevant design qualification and experience in a similar role, particularly on the high street. Those looking to pursue a career in design will also need to be prepared to travel, as designers often head overseas on trend research trips or visits to suppliers.

Designers are tasked with creating and working to briefs, which reflect the needs of business. In this role, perhaps more so than anywhere else in the industry, a laser-like understanding of trends is key. Designers will be tasked with scouring catwalks, social media and reports from trend forecasters. Creating ranges, developing a design handwriting and working closely with suppliers and manufacturers are other key responsibilities. 

Excellent communication skills are another must for a good designer. This role is likely to be asked to present on key trend ideas and products to senior stakeholders across the business. They also need to be able to work closely with relevant departments, particularly merchandising and buying.

Good organisation skills, the ability to juggle multiple deadlines and accuracy are all necessary for a top-class designer.


Designers’ salaries vary, depending where they are on the career ladder. Those just starting out as an assistant designer can expect to earn around £22,000. That climbs to £30,000 for a mid-level and £40,000 for a senior designer, according to research from Drapers’ salary survey 2018.

Garment technologist

A delicate blend of practical skills and creativity, garment technologists are responsible for ensuring garments perform and fit correctly. This role chooses the right fabrics and designs to make sure products are made for the right price. A garment technologist also oversees quality control, to ensure the end product meets customer expectations when it ends up in their hands.

Candidates for this role will need an extensive knowledge of garment construction, fabric technology, patterns and production processes. Key responsibilities include communicating with suppliers, advising design teams, managing the sampling process and attending fit sessions. Garment technologists might also be expected to test fabrics and lead on critical paths. This is another role where international travel to visit suppliers overseas may be expected.

Retailers and brands will expect relevant training and qualifications. Garment technologists may also specialise in a particular field, such as tailoring, knitwear or denim. To secure a job at a large high street retailer, previous experience in a similar role is often a must-have.


A garment technologist can expect to earn between £30,000- £40,000 depending on experience.