getting into the fashion industry

Finishing your studies in fashion can mean making some big decisions in terms of employment. There are a wide range of options available aside from the ones you may expect, such as designers and models. From a career in fashion-related finance, to discovering a role in communications, the opportunities are varied. Retailers of men’s shirts, CT Shirts, take a look at what’s out there, considering some careers you mightn’t have thought of:

Garment technologist

Although this role is slightly unsuspecting, a garment technologist is an essential aspect of any major clothing retailer. This role is largely about quality control and investigative work with regards to the materials that are used to create fashion pieces.

Designing and developing new materials is a day-to-day activity in this role. 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. Items such as men’s suits often require the attention of a garment technologist, in order to produce durable, high quality products.

Enhancing efficiency and find new production line methods is also a part of the role as a garment technologist. 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.

Key qualities of a potential candidate include an interest in the creative work that goes into clothing production and a strong awareness of textiles and materials. Employers may also expect you to have a degree or major 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.

Pattern graders

Another important part of the fashion industry is pattern grading. 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.

A pattern graders’ typical duties will include; quality checking to ensure that the final pattern is in-line with the original design, tracing the outline of a pattern with scanning equipment and creating sample garments from the pattern to send to prospective buyers.

A keen interest in design and textiles is necessary, but as well as a flair for creativity, you will also need some mathematical skills. 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.

Contrary to belief, a degree isn’t required to become a pattern grader. 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.

Fashion illustrators

A fashion illustrator is responsible for creating fashion drawings and diagrams to depict garments to others. 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.

To secure a role in this field, a degree or major in graphic design or a related subject is often sought after by employers. To get accepted onto a degree of this kind, you will need to have studied art in high school. Alternatively, you can build up a strong portfolio and gain experience in relevant positions to impress prospective employees.

Fashion journalist

A fashion reporter writes about the latest in clothing, trends and accessories for a range of publications. Fashion journalism has become an increasingly popular way to share new trends and inspiration in recent years.

Fashion journalists aren’t confined to securing a job for a print publication, despite popular belief — 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.

An eye for detail, fluent writing ability and a clear interest in fashion will put you in good stead to becoming a fashion journalist, but there are some educational choices that you can make to better your chances of getting a career in this field. Choosing subjects such as English Studies 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.

Potential fashion journalists should consider compiling a writing portfolio to support any job applications. 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.

Fashion accountant

Finance and fashion seem like an unsuspecting combination — but fashion accountancy is an emerging profession, allowing recruits to combine their passions.

A variety of roles are available for someone interested in fashion accountancy— 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.

Entry requirements for these positions will include a background in mathematics. Start by taking Advanced Maths and progress to studying a financial role at college. 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 resume.

There are certainly some hidden gems to uncover if you are looking for a role in the fashion industry. It’s all about being proactive and showing potential employers what you’re capable of. Good luck!