As a textile design graduate, you can use your creative flair and ability to generate ideas and concepts to match a brief to find work in the textile industry or to set up your own business
Jobs directly related to your degree include:
- Clothing/textile technologist
- Colour technologist
- Interior and spatial designer
- Fashion designer
- Textile designer
Jobs where your degree would be useful include:
- Further education teacher
- Graphic designer
- Higher education lecturer
- Product designer
- Retail buyer
- Secondary school teacher
- Visual merchandiser
Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here. If you haven't already done so, take a few minutes to answer the Job Match questions to find out what careers would suit you.
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. 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.
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 together with teaching, community arts work or curating.
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
- 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
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.
What do textile design graduates do?
Textile designer is the top job held by textile design graduates in employment in the UK six months after graduating.
Out of the top ten jobs held by graduates, the following four are also related to design: product, clothing, graphic and interior decoration designer.
|Working and studying||2.4|
|Type of work||Percentage|
|Arts, design and media||40.8|
|Retail, catering and bar work||22.2|
|Marketing, PR and sales||7.0|
|Secretarial and numerical clerks||6.0|
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.