Case study

Assistant CAD designer — Lucie Fellows

Lucie's job opportunity came when a large international company visited the design school where she was studying

While studying for my BA (Hons) Woven Textiles at Loughborough University the company I now work for visited design schools across the country and set a brief. Applicants were interviewed at university and, if successful, were then interviewed at the company's head office in America.

The three-day interview process involved seeing the head office and meeting previous graduates from the UK, as well as American and other international employees. We were given further information about the job, as well as details about moving to and living in America.

At the end of the interview process I was offered a job as an assistant CAD designer, specialising in pattern work on woven shirts for men and boys, with the condition that I completed my course of study gaining a pass grade.

My degree was essential to me gaining a position within the company and I was expected to have high-level design skills. As a woven textile designer I was able to transfer my practical skills into CAD design for a woven garment. I was able to understand the structure of the garments I was designing, as well as how colour and pattern can be applied in the design process.

My industrial placement year (carried out between my second and third year of study) was essential in developing my skills. I spent ten months working in London for a small fashion company, specialising in print, embroidery and embellishment, as well as in Munich producing fashion prints using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop Design.

Working in design studios enabled me to gain experience within the real design world and also helped me decide that I wanted to work for a large international company.

During my time at university, I joined my halls of residence committee and organised freshers' week for new students. I was also course rep and attended student and staff committee meetings and represented my course and university to other university associates. These activities helped me develop my people, communication and time management skills.

My working day typically begins at 8am and ends around 6pm. Each day varies depending on where we are in our current season. I attend different meetings during the week and discuss the design line and what changes need to be made. We are constantly working with the garment design team and our merchants to make sure that the pattern we produce is right for the customer and the brand.

The most enjoyable aspect of my job is designing and using all the knowledge I have gained over the past five years and putting it to use. It's a great feeling working with a team on ideas and themes for the upcoming season and working through to get positive feedback.

At times it can be challenging when your designs aren't taken further or changes need to be made, but this is part of the design process and is essential to produce the best products.

My advice to other students is to choose a route that you enjoy and take advantage of every given moment. I really enjoyed activities and groups outside of my course, as well as entering competitions to develop my design skills further.