You can work in the textiles industry, or use your creative flair and ability to generate ideas and concepts to match a brief, in many other sectors…

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

Work experience in a design-related area, through holiday work or course placements, is an essential part of the process of getting into the industry. That gained in the retail sector, for example, will help demonstrate your enthusiasm and commitment to the sector, as well as developing your commercial awareness.

It is important to build up relationships with more established designers, fashion houses and design companies in order to get commissions and placements. Extracurricular activities, such as private commissions or making your own clothes, will help build up your portfolio.

Contacts can be made through course tutors, since most work in the industry in addition to their teaching work, and by attending trade fairs and other events.

There may be opportunities for voluntary work in art therapy or community arts for textile design graduates. This will build contacts and experience and may lead to paid work.

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

Typical employers

Graduate employers of textile design graduates include design studios and consultancies; private clients, manufacturing and processing companies and retail organisations. Designers often specialise in fashion fabrics, soft furnishings or accessories.

Although retailers employ many textile graduates, outside retailing there are few large companies in the UK fashion and textiles industry. The sector is instead made up of small niche and local retailers. Many designers work on a freelance basis.

Some textile design students choose to become self-employed creative entrepreneurs, often designing and producing work for exhibitions, direct sale or through retail craft outlets.

Portfolio style working is common, and may for example; involve elements of design practice together with teaching, community arts work or curating.

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

Skills for your CV

Studying textile design enables you to develop a range of subject-specific skills, in areas such as:

  • constructed textiles;
  • mixed media;
  • printed textiles;
  • embroidery;
  • surface design;
  • textile retail management.

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

You will also gain a number of transferable skills that are sought after by many employers, including:

  • the ability to work independently, set goals, manage your own workload and meet deadlines;
  • project management;
  • IT and technical skills;
  • marketing and commercial awareness;
  • resourcefulness and entrepreneurial skills.

Further study

Postgraduate study provides the opportunity to develop and experiment with ideas and techniques and to extend personal 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.

As many roles in the sector need an understanding of business and management, these are also popular options for further study.

Associated careers such as teacher, journalist, archivist and stylist that are popular with textile design graduates often require further training.

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

What do textile design graduates do?

Textile designer is the top job held by graduates in employment in the UK. Four more of the top ten jobs held by graduates are related to design including, product, clothing, graphic and interior decoration designers.

Further study5.2
Working and studying2.4
Graduate destinations for textile design
Type of workPercentage
Arts, design and media40.8
Retail, catering and bar work22.2
Marketing, PR and sales7.0
Secretarial and numerical clerks6.0
Types of work entered in the UK

Find out what other graduates are doing six months after finishing their degrees in What Do Graduates Do?

Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.

Find out more