In the textile design industry, you can use your creative flair and ability to generate ideas and concepts for creating innovative clothing and interior designs

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 essential for getting into the industry. Experience 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's important to build up relationships with more established designers, fashion houses and design companies in order to get commissions and placements. Make the most of your course by entering competitions, visiting industry and trade shows, and exhibiting your work. You can also make contacts through your course tutors, most of whom work in the industry in addition to their teaching work.

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. Extracurricular activities such as private commissions or making your own clothes will also help build up your portfolio.

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.

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

Many designers work on a freelance basis and some choose to set up their own business, often designing and producing work for exhibitions, direct sale or through retail craft outlets.

You may choose to follow a portfolio career, combining several jobs such as design practice with teaching, community arts work or curating and conservation.

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

Textile design students develop 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 include:

  • the ability to work independently, set goals, manage your own workload and meet deadlines
  • 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 your career needs 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 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?

Clothing, fashion and accessories designers are the most popular job held by textile design graduates. Moreover, five of the top ten jobs reported include, design occupations n.e.c, graphic and multimedia designers, interior designers, visual merchandisers and related occupations and secondary education teaching professionals.

Further study4.9
Working and studying6.8
Graduate destinations for textile design
Type of workPercentage
Retail, catering and customer service28.5
Arts, design and media27.5
Clerical, secretarial, administrative10.7
Skilled trades, crafts and vocational work5
Types of work entered in the UK

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

Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.

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