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Fashion design assistant

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Fashion design assistants support designers to create new materials, styles, colours and patterns for fashion brands and labels.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £14,000 to £23,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

You could join a company in a junior position before working your way up and taking qualifications to become a fashion design assistant. 

You could complete a higher education course before joining a fashion company.

You could also take a college course in fashion or textiles to learn some useful skills.

Experience in pattern cutting, using computer-aided cutting machinery and a working knowledge of design software may be helpful when looking for work.

Creating a portfolio of your work will help for course and job interviews. Your portfolio could include mood boards, designs and drawings.
You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • an eye for design and colour
  • excellent presentation skills
  • excellent negotiation skills for working with customers and suppliers
  • strong pattern cutting skills

3. What you'll do

Your day-to-day tasks will usually include:

  • creating prototypes and tailoring garments
  • producing technical sketches
  • explaining technical and creative ideas to designers
  • sourcing fabrics and trimmings
  • creating mood, shape and trend boards
  • gaining approval from customers
  • working closely with factories and suppliers
  • participating in meetings with customers and fabric agents
  • inspecting products during the design process

4. Salary

Starter: £14,000 to £19,000

Experienced: £23,000

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll usually work at least 40 hours a week, and may need to work longer hours and weekends to meet deadlines.

You’ll usually work in a studio or workshop, but you may travel to visit manufacturers. You may also go on research trips to visit art galleries, trade shows, or particular places or countries linked to a design theme.

6. Career path and progression

With experience you could progress to designer, then senior designer or design director. As a design director you could create your own range and manage a design team.
You could also move into freelance design, working on individual projects, or self-employment, creating your own collections.

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Last updated: 11 September 2018