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Case Study: Fashion Designer - Tanya

What do you do?

I work as a fashion designer for a small company that produces casual sportswear for sporting goods retailers, and the university and college markets.

Unlike most designers in small companies, I have also taken on the role of production manager. This means that I oversee all stages of garment production, from the original design concept to the final product and dispatch.

What is your background?

I've been interested in fashion design ever since I was a teenager, when I used scissors and a sewing machine to make my own clothes. After doing my A levels, I decided to study fashion design at university.

It can be very difficult to find full-time work in this field. I was fortunate. During my last year at university, I met some manufacturers who were looking for an energetic designer. For the past two years, I've been working very hard with those manufacturers to expand their sportswear company.

What characteristics do you need to be successful in your job?

A fashion designer must be both artistically and technically minded. A great idea for a new garment is no use if you don't have the cutting and sewing skills necessary to turn that idea into reality.

Most importantly, a fashion designer must love what he or she is doing, because the job requires a lot of hard work, self-motivation and dedication.

What other jobs could you do using the skills from this job?

There are many fashion-related jobs that a designer would be capable of doing, including fabric design, merchandising, garment manufacturing, styling, illustrating and teaching. A designer could even work as a consultant for businesses or individuals who need fashion advice.

What changes will there be in the future?

People will always need to wear clothes, so the demand for fashion designers should remain constant. The job will change in the future as computers will be increasingly used to make the design and production of clothing more efficient and less time consuming.

Are there many opportunities to enter this career?

There are many opportunities in this field, but you have to be willing to work hard and do many unglamorous jobs. If you go into this job thinking that any kind of job responsibility is beneath you, you'll never last. Connections are very important in this industry, so make the most of any that you have.

What do you like about your job?

I find my work very rewarding. You get a great sense of accomplishment if you see someone walking down the street wearing the clothes you've designed. It makes you feel really good.

There's also a lot of variety in this job. Every day is different. One day I'm designing, one day I'm pattern-making, another day I'm overlooking production.

It's also a very exciting industry and a lot of fun. It allows you to be creative and show your ideas all the time.

What do you dislike about your job?

What I like the least about my job is the stress and the pressure to always produce a better line than the last season. It's very difficult trying to come up with new and exciting ideas.

Nothing ever runs smoothly when it comes to production; there are always problems. For example, fabric not arriving on time (which throws off your whole production schedule).

What advice would you give to someone interested in your career?

My advice to you is that the fashion industry is not as glamorous as you may think it is. Therefore, you have to really love your job and be proud of what you do. And you have to be willing to put in really long and hard hours in order to succeed.

A day in the life

8:00 am - 9:00 am

Checking messages and organising tasks for the day.

9:00 am - 10:00 am

Instructing cutters, sewers and other staff about their responsibilities for the day.

10:00 am - 11:00 am

Grading or making patterns.

11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Checking on staff's process and ordering fabric.

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm


1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Grading or making patterns.

2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Checking on staff and cutting samples.

3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Organising production schedule.

4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Going to contractor's factory to overlook production and dealing with any problems that arise.

5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Meeting with business owners to discuss the day's events and set out the next day's schedule.

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