It's important to build your portfolio during your textile design degree so take advantage of competitions, exhibitions and work experience opportunities

Job options

Jobs directly related to your degree include:

Jobs where your degree would be useful include:

Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here.

Work experience

You'll need to build a portfolio to showcase your creative and technical skills to employers and the work from your course will help with this. You can also try to gain work experience in related fields to add to your portfolio.

Try contacting more established designers, fashion houses and design companies to ask about placements, work shadowing and possibly getting commissions. Course tutors may be able to help with making contacts, especially as they often still work in the industry while teaching. You can also make the most of your course by entering competitions, exhibiting your work and visiting any industry shows.

It's also good to consider roles that may not be directly based within design but are still related. For example, experience in the retail sector will help to demonstrate your enthusiasm and commitment to the sector, as well as developing your commercial awareness. It may also be possible to get voluntary work in art therapy or community art to build your contacts.

Search for placements and find out more about work experience and internships.

Typical employers

Employers of textile design graduates include:

  • design studios and consultancies
  • large fashion and design companies
  • small specialist design companies
  • manufacturing and processing companies that produce clothing, soft furnishings and other textile-based products
  • interior design and decoration services
  • private clients.

It is sometimes possible to work for the above employers on a freelance basis, perhaps through an agent. This may lead to permanent, full-time employed positions.

You may also choose to set up your own business, as many designers do, designing and producing work for exhibitions, direct sale or through retail craft outlets. If you go down this route you may need to look at a portfolio career, combining several jobs to supplement your income. This can include teaching, community arts work or curating and conservation.

Textile design is a global industry and you may find opportunities to work abroad or with an international company.

There are also opportunities to use your skills in areas such as fashion marketing, advertising and journalism.

Find information on employers in retail, creative arts and design, and other job sectors.

Skills for your CV

Your textile design degree gives you an understanding and experience of using different textile processes and techniques, such as:

  • constructed textiles (such as knitted, woven, stitched and manipulated textiles)
  • digital textiles (focusing on textiles for fashion or interiors)
  • mixed media textiles.

You also learn to use computer-aided design (CAD), critically evaluate and interpret materials, research designs and predict trends, and communicate with clients, manufacturing staff, buyers and retailers.

Other useful skills that are valued by many employers include:

  • the ability to work independently, set goals and manage your own workload
  • project management - to see the design project through from conception to completion
  • attention to detail
  • IT and technical skills
  • marketing and commercial awareness
  • the ability to work effectively with others through collaboration, team work and negotiation
  • communication and presentation
  • the ability to work to deadlines and a budget
  • research and analytical skills
  • resourcefulness.

Further study

Postgraduate study provides the opportunity to develop and experiment with ideas and techniques and to extend your expertise into related areas.

The job market is competitive, so you may find that taking a one-year Masters or professional short course, for example in computer-aided design (CAD), helps give you the edge - particularly when combined with relevant work experience - and enables you to further develop your portfolio. Do your research and make sure that courses you're interested in meet the requirements of employers and enhance your overall skill set.

If you want to move into an associated career, such as teacher, journalist, archivist or stylist, you may need to undertake further postgraduate training.

For more information on further study and to find a course that interests you, see Masters degrees and search postgraduate courses in fashion and textile design.

What do textile design graduates do?

Nearly a fifth (23%) of textile design graduates are working in design occupations 15 months after graduation. 6% were working in sales marketing and related associate professionals, 4% as web and multimedia design professionals, 4% as science, engineering and production technicians and 4% in artistic, literary and media occupations.

Further study2.6
Working and studying7.4
Graduate destinations for textile design
Type of workPercentage
Arts, design and media32.5
Retail, catering and customer service20.4
Clerical, secretarial, administrative9
Marketing, PR and sales6.9
Types of work entered in the UK

Find out what other graduates are doing after finishing their degrees in What do graduates do?

Graduate Outcomes survey data from HESA.

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