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Careers advice you can give to students with a flair for fashion
If you have pupils who wish to study fashion at university, they’ll want to know about their career options after graduation. Luckily there are plenty of opportunities available, some of which they probably haven’t thought of yet. Students can discover a role in communications, or go down the finance in fashion route, so the opportunities are varied. Here CT Shirts, retailers of men’s casual shirts, take a look into the roles out there for fashionistas and have some careers advice which you can pass on to your pupils…
An important role within the fashion industry 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.
There are various tasks within the role of a pattern grader including. The main tasks 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 this role, employees need more than just an interest in design and textiles, but also mathematical skills. They must be able to take accurate measurements and make calculations in order to scale the patterns correctly. It’s also important that they 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.
There are a few different ways to get into a job as a pattern grader, employees don’t need to have a degree. Instead, they could take the apprenticeship route through college by studying subjects such as fashion or textiles. Or, work their way up from an assistant or pattern cutter to become a grader in a fashion company.
A creative role to go into is a fashion illustrator, they are responsible for the fashion drawings and diagrams that represent the garment to others. They work closely with designers to create a conceptual sketch and illustration of the 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, employees need to be able to use computer design, as well as drawing by hand and have an eye for fashion.
Generally, fashion illustrators have a degree in graphic design or a related subject. To get accepted onto a degree of this kind, they will need GCSEs and potentially A levels, or entry based on passing a foundation course. Alternatively, they can build up a strong portfolio and gain experience in relevant positions to impress prospective employees.
A role students may not have initially considered is a garment technologist, but this is a highly important role in the fashion industry. This role is largely about quality control and investigative work with regards to the materials that are used to create fashion pieces. In this position, they’ll be involved in the 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 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’ll also be expected to improve production techniques and help the company they’re working for to be 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.
Having an interest in the creative work that goes into the production of clothing and being aware of the textiles and manufacturing process would be essential. Employers may also expect students to have a degree in a related topic, such as garment technology and production, or students may complete a module around this as part of a wider subject. Or, look out for apprenticeship schemes and junior roles, where employees can work their way up to this role.
Much the same as a news writer, this role will see a journalist writing about the latest in fashion trends and accessories for a range of publications.
With the online world being as big as it is today, a fashion journalist is no longer limited to securing a job for a print publication. There are a lot of opportunities available as there are so many online magazines out there. Journalists could also go freelance, but work isn’t guaranteed here. As part of the job, they’ll likely be required to travel and meet new people to conduct interviews and get the latest on fashion stories.
A creative flair, love for writing and an interest in fashion will put students in good stead to becoming a fashion journalist, but there are some educational choices that students can make to better their chances of getting a career in this field. Choosing A-levels such as English language will further their creative writing skills, for example. There are speciality degrees out there too, such as the fashion communications course which will teach students more about the sector and increase their employability.
A good way to impress employers would be to put together a writing portfolio. Start a 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 up experience too.
If students are interested in fashion and finance, then this is the role for them as it combines both.
There are multiple finance roles available within the fashion industry, from retail accountants to accountants in textiles who ensure that a budget is adhered to when buying materials. Roles like this allow employees to be involved with designers and the garment-making process, whilst keeping finances under control.
A background in mathematics would be essential if this is the route students are looking to go down. They should 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 a degree, students could take up the opportunity to undergo a year in industry — this can give an insight into the field and give students some invaluable experience to put on their CV.
As we can see, there are a range of roles in the fashion industry that student might not have considered. It’s all about being proactive and showing potential employers what they are capable of.
With the right careers advice, the future is bright for fashionistas!