Fashion design assistant

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

Average salary (a year)

£14,000 Starter

to

£23,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

40 to 42 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends flexibly

How to become a fashion design assistant

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role

University

You could do a foundation degree or higher national diploma in fashion design or fashion and textiles.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels for a foundation degree or higher national diploma

More information

College

You could take a college course to learn skills in pattern cutting, computer-aided cutting techniques and design software. Courses include:

  • Level 2 Diploma In Skills for the Fashion Industries
  • Level 3 Certificate in Fashion and Clothing
  • Level 3 Diploma in Fashion and Textiles
  • Level 3 Extended Diploma in Fashion Design and Production

A course that teaches both design and technical skills will give you the practical knowledge that employers look for.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D) for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) for a level 3 course

More information

Apprenticeship

You could start by taking an intermediate or advanced apprenticeship in fashion and textiles. You could also do a fashion studio assistant advanced apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, for an intermediate apprenticeship
  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), usually including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

More information

Work

You can start as a general assistant with a fashion company or retailer and work your way up, taking training and getting qualifications along the way.

Volunteering and experience

There is strong competition for jobs in the fashion industry, so any contacts and experience you can get will help when looking for work. You could get this through internships, work placements or volunteering. 

More information

Career tips

You'll need to put together a portfolio of your work to take to course and job interviews. This should include mood boards, designs and drawings. An employer or college may also ask you to take along actual clothes that you've produced.

Further information

You can find more details about working in fashion from the British Fashion Council and Creative Choices.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • design skills and knowledge
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to come up with new ways of doing things
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • ambition and a desire to succeed
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • the ability to organise your time and workload
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • creating prototypes and tailoring garments
  • producing technical sketches
  • explaining creative ideas to designers
  • finding sources for fabrics and trimmings
  • creating mood, shape and trend boards
  • getting approval for designs from customers
  • working closely with factories and suppliers
  • meeting with customers and fabric agents
  • inspecting products during the design process

Working environment

You could work in a creative studio or in a workshop.

Career path and progression

With experience you could become a fashion 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.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Fashion and Textiles / Production Apprentice

  • Wage : To be agreed upon appointment
  • Location: Huntingdon PE28 0LQ

Embroidery & Print Production Apprentice (Fashion and Textiles)

  • Wage : To be agreed upon appointment
  • Location: Batley WF17 9LN

Courses In England

UAL Level 3 Extended Diploma in Fashion Design and Styling

  • Provider: Big Creative Education
  • Start date: 09 September 2019
  • Location: LONDON

Fashion design and production

  • Provider: Redborne Upper School and Community College
  • Start date: 01 September 2019
  • Location: BEDFORD

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