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Footwear designer

Footwear designers create new designs and sample patterns for men's, women's and children's footwear.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £16,000 to £60,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: Variable per week

1. Entry requirements

You'll usually need a relevant degree that teaches both design and technical skills. The British Fashion Council has details of relevant college and university courses.

Paid or unpaid work experience will give you an advantage when looking for work.

You’ll also need to put together a portfolio of work that you can take along to interviews. This should include designs, technical drawings and mood boards to show your creative talents.

You could start as a design assistant before progressing to become a designer. 

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • accuracy and attention to detail
  • drawing skills and the ability to use computer design software
  • the ability to visualise designs

3. What you'll do

You could work in:

  • high-end fashion (known as ‘haute couture’)
  • designer ready-to-wear
  • high street fashion

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • creating 'one off' designs (haute couture)
  • basing your designs on a theme for the coming season (ready-to-wear, high street)
  • using computer aided design (CAD) software, graphics packages and traditional hand-drawing techniques to create your designs
  • researching design ideas
  • following a brief
  • adapting existing designs
  • working closely with the design team
  • producing samples before agreeing the final design
  • sending technical instructions to the manufacturers to produce the final product

4. Salary

Starter: £16,000

Experienced: £25,000 to £35,000

Highly Experienced: £50,000 to £60,000

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll often work long hours and at weekends in order to meet deadlines – like at the launch of a new collection.

You may travel for research, like visiting art galleries, trade shows or to places or countries linked to a theme.

6. Career path and progression

With experience within a company, you could progress to senior designer, design director or head of department.

You could also become a freelance designer, employed by companies to work on specific projects, or become self-employed and launch your own collection.

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Last updated: 08 December 2016