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Article: Fashion Industry


This article covers the following jobs:

  • Costume Designer
  • Fashion/Advertising Photographer
  • Fashion Designer
  • Footwear Designer
  • Magazine Journalist
  • Model
  • Textile Designer.

The job descriptions are only a brief summary. It is recommended that you do further research on jobs that interest you.


Design is a very popular area of the fashion industry and entry to jobs is very competitive. There are three different types of design: haute couture, designer ready-to-wear and high street fashion.

Haute couture is the most exclusive area of design and involves designing for individual clients.

Designer ready-to-wear ranges are collections that are sold through up-market shops and boutiques.

High street fashion involves designing for mass market production.

Footwear Designer

Footwear designers design new shoe styles or alter existing ones. They keep up to date with changes in colour and fashion. They decide on heel height, colour, material and shape of the shoe. Experienced footwear designers have the freedom to develop new styles, as well as make changes to existing ones.

Starting from a sketch, the footwear designer makes paper patterns or designs straight onto a computer-aided design (CAD) system. Footwear designers need to be creative and good with their hands.

Entry to this job is usually after a relevant degree or Higher National Diploma such as footwear design or fashion design (containing footwear design).

Textile Designer

Textile designers create designs for woven, printed and knitted fabrics and also for carpets, wall-coverings and soft furnishings.

Textile designers' duties vary according to where they work. Those working for a small company may spend most of their time reworking traditional designs. In large companies, there is usually a small team of designers who create new ideas.

Designs are prepared using traditional materials such as pens and paints, or computer-aided design (CAD) systems. When the design is finished, a sample is made. If this is satisfactory, it is made into the final product.

For entry to this job, you usually need a degree or Higher National Diploma in a subject such as textile or fashion design.

Costume Designer

Costume designers work in theatre, film or television production. They design costumes and pick accessories such as jewellery, hats and bags to suit particular characters and settings.

Before they start to design, they read the script and carry out detailed research, especially if they are designing historical costumes. They then take measurements of the cast members and create the costumes. They work closely with directors, producers, set designers and performers so that the designs suit the overall look of the production.

The usual route towards a career as a costume designer is to complete a degree or Higher National Diploma in a relevant design specialism such as theatre, costume or fashion design.

Fashion Designer

Fashion designers create designs for clothing and fashion accessories.

Haute couture is the most exclusive area of design. Haute couture garments are produced for individual clients and their seasonal collections influence the rest of the fashion industry.

Fashion designers who work in wholesale manufacturing produce designs that are suitable for mass market production. Their designs are the ones you see in most high street shops and mail order catalogues.

Fashion designers need knowledge of garment structure, pattern cutting and technical processes, even if they are not directly involved in these activities.

Most fashion designers enter the industry after a degree or Higher National Diploma in fashion design.

Sales and promotion

There are many jobs in the fashion industry that deal with selling and promoting the items produced. The following jobs are to do with advertising and publicity.

Fashion/Advertising Photographer

Fashion/advertising photographers take photos that attract attention to the product being advertised. Most work on a freelance basis from their own studio. They produce photos for magazines, newspapers, brochures and posters.

Fashion/advertising photographers usually receive a brief from an art director, fashion editor or other client. This brief details the image they wish to project.

A lot of advertising work involves taking still life photographs of objects in a studio. Some photographers specialise in a particular area such as food.

Fashion/advertising photographers work under a lot of pressure and must keep within the limits of a budget and meet deadlines.

If you are interested in becoming a fashion/advertising photographer, the best way to learn about the industry is by becoming either a full-time or freelance photographic assistant, although there is a lot of competition for these jobs.


Models appear in newspaper and magazine advertisements and features, television commercials, catalogues, exhibitions and fashion shows. They model clothes or promote other products such as jewellery.

Fashion work includes photographic, catwalk and fashion house modelling. Many models work in more than one area. Most models join an agency that represents them and finds them work.

In photographic modelling, models pose for a photographer in a studio or on location. In catwalk modelling, music and special lighting effects are used and the model might have to learn some simple dance routines. In a fashion house, models might be used by designers to check the look and fit of fabrics and sample clothes.

For some types of modelling work, there are height requirements.

Magazine Journalist

Magazine journalists work on a variety of magazines, including the many fashion and style magazines that are available. Fashion magazine journalists write about fashion news and features and may also edit copy.

They have to keep up to date with fashion trends and developments. They normally do a lot of research before they write their articles.

Some magazine journalists work freelance, using their specialist knowledge to write features for a number of magazines. All journalists need good English and writing style, and the ability to conform to a house style.

Competition for entry to this work is tough and most entrants are graduates.

Further Information

Drapers: The Fashion Business

Publisher: EMAP

Address: Greater London House, Hampstead Road, London NW1 7EJ

Tel: 020 3033 2600


Chartered Society of Designers (CSD)



Alba Model Information

Address: PO Box 588, Southport PR8 9BR

Tel: 07725 879988



National Theatre Wales (Welsh Enquiries)

Tel: 029 2035 3070



Wales Screen


Wales Online (Welsh Enquiries)

Address: WalesOnline, Media Wales, Six Park Street, Cardiff, CF10 1XR


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