Sobhan Mohmand, Career Expert 1 Oct 2019
A Textile Designer designs woven, knitted and printed textiles that are used on a variety of printed fabrics and textile products. Designs are often mass-produced to be used within the clothing and fashion sectors. Professionals working in this role will be closely working with clients to establish their requirements, and produce design ideas, sketches and samples to be presented to the clients.
Day-to-day activities and responsibilities
- Meeting with clients to establish and outline their needs and requirements
- Producing designs, sketches and samples based on the client’s needs
- Presenting new design concepts, sketches and samples to clients
- Modifying preliminary designs based on client feedback
- Using specialist computer software, including CAD, Photoshop and Illustrator
- Overseeing the complete process from design idea to the delivery of the final product
- Liaising regularly with colleagues, suppliers and other stakeholders
- Attending trade shows and events to source and locate fabrics and other materials
- Remaining up to date with the latest developments in the fashion industry
- Carrying out market research
- Marketing your brand and services (particularly when self-employed)
Workplace and working hours
The majority of people working in this role are self-employed or freelance. They work for themselves and therefore have greater control over their own working hours.
Those that work for an organisation can typically expect to work the standard working hours of 9-5, Monday to Friday. In busy times, they may be required to work overtime.
Textile Designers are primarily based in an office or a studio, with some working from home and others based in factories (depending on the project needs and the client’s requirements). Occasional travel may also be required.
Starting salary for a junior designer can average between £15,000 and £20,000 with higher rates in London.
More experienced professionals, including managers and directors, can earn up to and in excess of £40,000 depending on their work experience, portfolio and technical expertise.
The income levels of freelance or self-employed Textile Designers vary greatly, depending on work availability.
Figures are intended as a guideline only.
There no formal entry requirements, although many employers tend to favour applicants with design-related degrees in the following areas;
- Art and Design
- Surface Design
HND and HNC may also be accepted.
Alternatively, relevant work experience, including a summer internship or placement year, and a good portfolio would also support a strong application.
Job likes and benefits
- Exciting: This role always offers something new and exciting; you will constantly be working on new designs and ideas, meeting a variety of different clients and working closely with other creative professionals in the industry. The work will generally not be boring or repetitive.
- Inspiring: Textile Designers often say that they are inspired by the work that they do. Attending trade shows, and discussing new ideas, concepts and designs with clients and other creative professionals provides excellent inspiration and expands one’s own mind and creativity.
- Being your own boss: Many professionals in this role are self-employed, which comes with its own risks, but it gives them the opportunity to determine who they want to work for, what projects they want to work on and ultimately be their own boss.
Job challenges and disadvantages
- Fast-paced working environment: The creative, manufacturing and fashion industries are rapidly evolving, driven by competition, new trends in fashion and the advancement of technology. Professionals working in this field are expected to keep up with the latest developments in the industry and adjusting their working styles accordingly.
- Long hours: There are times when an individual will be expected to work late nights, weekends and bank holidays to ensure that the work is completed on time and meets the required standard. This is something that cannot be avoided regardless of whether an individual is self-employed or working for an organisation.
- Work availability: This sector is very competitive and work is not always available, especially if one is self-employed.
Job progression and career prospects
Within the textile industry, many young professionals will be able to work their way up to become a Senior Designer or Product Manager. It is expected that progression can take a considerable time in this role, especially due to a lack of vacancies or finding the correct role that suits the individual.
There is also the opportunity for Designers to become self- employed and supplement their income by a secondary job such as teaching.
According to government statistics, jobs in this and closely-related roles are projected to grow by 5.3% over the period to 2024 (Source: LMI for All).
The Textile Institute
Worshipful Company of Weavers