Thinking of pursuing a career in fashion? There are 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. Read on as we take a look at what’s out there, considering some careers you mightn’t have thought of:
Garment technologists play an important part in the clothing manufacturing process. This role is largely about quality control and investigative work with regards to the materials that are used to create fashion pieces.
A key responsibility for garment technologists is to 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.
They also look at making the company more efficient. 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.
To succeed in a role in this field, you’ll be required to have sufficient knowledge around the textiles and manufacturing process. In addition to this, you should have an interest in the creative work that goes into clothing production. 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.
Another key figure in the manufacturing process is a pattern grader. 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.
What do they do exactly? 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 are some of the tasks you can expect to do as a pattern grader.
To succeed in this role, you should have an interest in design and textiles and have some mathematical skills. 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.
Fortunate for some, you don’t need a university degree to prosper in this role. 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.
Those who create fashion drawings and diagrams are fashion illustrators. 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.
What about academic experience? Most fashion illustrators have a degree in graphic design or a related subject before progressing in this career. 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.
A fashion journalist reports on the latest in clothing, trends and accessories for a range of publications.
Someone in this role 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.
What do you need to become a fashion journalist? A creative flair, love for writing and an interest in fashion will put you in good stead to succeeding in this role, but there are some educational choices that you can make to better your chances of getting a career in this field. Choosing A-levels such as English Language will further your creative writing skills, for example. There are specialty degrees out there too, such as the Fashion Communications course which will teach you more about the sector and increase your employability.
Also, having a writing portfolio can also impress employers. 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 unpaid work in relevant positions to build your experience too.
Do you enjoy finance and fashion?
The fashion industry is not short of finance roles. 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.
Understandably, a background in maths is essential. 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.
Now you can see that there are a range of roles in the fashion industry that you might not have considered. It’s all about being proactive and showing potential employers what you’re capable of. Good luck!
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