When you finally come to the end of your educational path, it’s time to start looking to the future. If you are looking to pursue a career in education, what are your options? Well, there are many different routes you could take, from the lucrative model industry to the creative designer sector. Or, maybe a career in fashion-related finance is more your style, or working with the always-important communications side of the fashion world.
In this article, men’s casual shirts retailer CT Shirts will be exploring different career options, as well as a few you may not have considered yet.
Spreading the word: fashion journalist
If you’ve a passion for writing, there are branches of journalism within the fashion sector that might interest you. Similar to a news journalist, a fashion reporter writes about the latest in clothing, trends and accessories for a range of publications.
A fashion journalist is 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 here. As part of the job, you’ll likely be required to travel and meet new people to conduct interviews and get the latest on fashion stories.
You can’t really be taught a flair for writing, but there are some educational points that you’ll want under your belt to secure your role. 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.
A writing portfolio can also be a good asset to maintain. 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.
By the numbers: fashion accountant
If both fashion and finance are your passions, combine them! There are a range 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, whilst keeping finances under control.
Of course, a mathematical background is the best foundation for this role. 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.
New materials: garment technologist
The role of garment technologist is vital to the industry, and yet it is often overlooked as a potential career path. This role is largely about quality control and investigative work with regards to the materials that are used to create fashion pieces.
The main focus here is the design and development of new fabrics and 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.
Plus, a garment technologist will work on making a company more efficient in its production techniques. 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.
There are a few factors that you need to consider when going down this route. You’ll need to be 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. Or, look out for apprenticeship schemes and junior roles, where you can work your way up to this role.
Measuring success: pattern graders
Another vital job for the fashion industry is that of pattern graders. 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. Some of the main tasks 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.
Mathematical skills are very useful in this job. 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, so to cooperate with others in the design process, and be able to confidently use IT to work with a digitising table.
A degree is not necessary, however. 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.
The bigger picture: fashion illustrators
The job of a fashion illustrator is to show the initial idea through sketches and diagrams. They work closely with designers to create conceptual sketches and illustrations of 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, you need to be able to use computer design, as well as drawing by hand and have an eye for fashion.
In building towards this career, many fashion illustrators have gained a degree in graphic design or similar. To get accepted onto a degree of this kind, 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.
There are so many different roles in the fashion sector that suit different skills and strengths. It’s all about being proactive and showing potential employers what you’re capable of. Good luck!