Have you considered taking on a career in fashion after education? There is a wide range of options available aside from the obvious ones like designers and models. From a career in fashion-related finance to discovering a role in communications, the opportunities are varied. Read on as providers of costume design courses, The Northern School of Art (formerly Cleveland College of Art & Design), take a look at what’s out there and some careers you might not have considered.
Becoming a fashion journalist
A fashion journalist writes about the latest in clothing, trends, and accessories for a range of publications.
People in this role are 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. As part of the job, you’ll travel and meet new people to conduct interviews and get the latest on fashion stories. You might write about the latest in men’s suits or evening dresses, or what the celebrities wore on the red carpet.
Having a creative flair, love for writing and an interest in fashion will put you in good stead to becoming a fashion journalist. However, you have some educational choices 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.
Becoming a pattern grader
Pattern graders are another important role in the fashion industry. They focus on producing scaled-up and scaled-down versions of design patterns. This enables the manufacturers to produce the same patterned piece of clothing in different sizes.
Some of the responsibilities 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.
In addition to an interest in design and textiles, you also need 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, to cooperate with others in the design process, and to confidently use IT for working with a digitising table.
It’s not necessary to have a degree to become a pattern grader. 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.
Becoming a fashion illustrator
These are the creators behind fashion drawings and diagrams that represent the garment to others. They work closely with designers to create conceptual sketches and illustrations of fashion products. In addition, 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.
With regards to academic experience, most fashion illustrators have a degree in graphic design or a related subject before progressing in this career. To be accepted, 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.
Becoming a fashion accountant
Interested in fashion and enjoy finance? Why not choose a role that can combine both?
There’s an abundance 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 while keeping finances under control.
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.
Becoming a garment technologist
This role is largely about quality control and investigating the materials for creating fashion pieces.
What does a garment technologist do? The main role of these individuals is to work on design and development of new materials. Through testing new combinations of materials and fibres, people in this role look to find the best type of fabric for the garment. These people work closely with designers, pattern graders and buying teams to find the right type of fabric.
Another area of the role is to improve production techniques and help the company become more efficient. For example, pricing and liaising with buyers and suppliers to negotiate a cost that’s within the budget. Or, they might be looking to make the company more sustainable. Therefore, the technologist would investigate the production of the fabrics.
It’s important that you’re aware of the textiles and manufacturing process and 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. Also, look out for apprenticeship schemes and junior roles where you can work your way up to this role.
There are plenty 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!