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Does your child want to be a fashion designer?

(12 Posts)
PRW10 Mon 29-Aug-16 17:49:43

Hi everyone, I hope that you’re enjoying this bank holiday (even if the weather is being typically British..)?

I am a fashion designer and I am currently writing an online course which helps to advise teenagers/young adults about fashion design and what it’s like to be a designer. I want to be transparent about my job and what it really entails, not the champagne-sipping, air-kissing, sweetie darling version that you see in the films!

I’m going to be giving a true inside look to the industry and I will chart the career route a future designer might take to get into the business. I’ll be giving great advice from working professionals and taking a look at how they have progressed in their own careers

What I’d really like to know from you, especially from anyone who has daughter or son wanting to pursue this career, is what you need to know so I can answer those questions! Sometimes these creative industries and the jobs included are not so obvious to anyone outside so I’m here to help- just let me know what I can do for you!

A huge thanks in advance! x

MatchsticksForMyEyes Mon 29-Aug-16 17:53:05

Is Art A level alone fine, or do you need something technology-based such as textiles?
Which degree course did you do? Is an apprenticeship worthwhile? Are they available? Is it best to be London-based?

drinkingtea Mon 29-Aug-16 17:56:23

My eldest has phases of designing clothes, though she has half a dozen diverse career ideas which she flits between. Tbh she'd really like practical tips on the best sewing machine (she struggles with a very old one which often snarles up as I have no idea how to help her, having no talebt in that area) and material etc. She watches Project Runway and Project Runway juniour so knows she needs to be able to sew (and wants to make her own clothes anyway).

PRW10 Mon 29-Aug-16 19:49:18

Hi Matches and Drinking Tea,
Thanks for your questions.. I'll answer them in order..

1. Art A-level- Really there is so much competition to get into the industry that an Art A-Level alone really won't cut it. My recommendation would be to do Art A-Level, an Art Foundation Course (which can usually be done locally and really helps to focus your direction in a creative role)and then a degree in your chosen area. I'd say that this is the route to go for any creative field that you want to make a career of.

2. Apprenticeships don't really exist as such (that I know of). You do work placements and internships but this is usually whilst at Uni/College (during holidays or on a sandwich course) or afterward college and is the first step to getting a job.

3. I did an Art A-level, Art Foundation in my home town and the I went on to study Fashion at Central Saint Martins. Whilst I was there I spent a year in industry and spent my holidays doing as much work experience as possible.

4. I would very much recommend the Foundation Course as a way of deciding what you really want to do. I think this extra year after school is the best (and it was such a fun year!) way of really figuring out where my talents and passion truly lay.

5. Thanks for suggestions about the sewing machine and fabric knowledge. The fabric part will be included as part of the course, however my suggestions with sewing are just to practice. I always had Singer machines which were great to be able to use at home but at college they had industrial machines for us to use- you get shown how to use these once you get there...
I have only ever seen Project Runway (a few times) and I used to watch the UK version when that was on. I don't know what the level expected of the juniors would be though. If the machine is snarling, I would check that the tension isn't too tight, the machine is threaded properly (this is often the reason mine chews up) and that the fabric isn't too light for the size of needle. The user guides that come with the machines are often helpful for this...

I hope that this helps you both? If I was to market an online course (split out into modules) for your children, do you think that you would be interested in buying something like this? And if so, what's the m,maximum price that you might pay for it? Any advice would be so appreciated!!

Thanks! x smile smile smile

MatchsticksForMyEyes Mon 29-Aug-16 20:39:01

My daughter is not nearly the right age yet, but thanks for the information. I am a secondary teacher with a Y11 form so I can use your information at work too. I would think online courses would be appealing, particularly to people in the north where I am.

PRW10 Mon 29-Aug-16 22:15:04

That's great to hear, thank you! It's always good to hear that an investigation sea is worth pursuing!

I'm still at the early stages of developing my course but I will be looking to send out some initial sections from it to see how well it goes down and if I'm pitching it at the right level. If you think any of your students might be interested then I'd be happy to send you a link for the page to access? This might be a few weeks down the line, but as the school year is about to start, and students will be thinking about Ucas applications I want to get it out there asap.

Thanks so much! X smile

MatchsticksForMyEyes Mon 29-Aug-16 22:41:47

Pm me the link and I'll pass it on to our careers advisor.

PRW10 Tue 30-Aug-16 06:40:06

Great, thank you! x

RockinHippy Tue 30-Aug-16 07:03:04

Really sorry to ask, but have you actually worked in the industry & if so, in what area/level?

Its just that having had a long & successful career as a fashion designer & recruiting them too, I'm not sure I would agree with some of your points above. My own path into maybe slightly more unconventional, but when recruiting for high at designers, I always put far more store on a garment technology background, which seemed to be the norm

PRW10 Tue 30-Aug-16 09:28:55

Hi, thanks for the above response.

As you will see from my previous replies, I am currently a working designer and I've been in the industry for 15yrs. I've worked as a Head of Design and am currently the most Senior in my team of 8...

So that I can get a good understanding of what you mean, do you mind clarifying for me what you mean about what you are looking for when recruiting? Garment technology is a different area of the business (at least everywhere I have worked) and I work alongside a Garment Tech team. I design the product and the gt's are responsible for the fit process (with design and buying overseeing).

I'd like to hear more about your own path so I could get a good balanced view! When you are looking to hire designers yourself, why do you look at Garment Technology foremost?


RockinHippy Tue 30-Aug-16 10:35:45

Sorry, I'm rushing out of the door & not sure if I can get back on here for a few days, so please excuse snappy reply

From some 30 years plus experience, ending as Design & Technical director for a major high st supplier, I found that designers without a good grounding in garment technology, not necessarily a degree per se, but good solid knowledge & experience in all aspects of garment development, tend to lack technical know how, which often leads to wasting time on designs that are not easy to push through mass production. This tends to lead to time wasted pairing the designs back & much more pressure on the rest of the team.

Its slightly different if you are with a high end small brand of course, having done that too, you don't work with so many price restrictions, though that basic GT knowledge is still very helpful in smoothing production & increasing profit margins

RockinHippy Tue 30-Aug-16 10:48:13

Sorry, missed your last question - my route into it, was growing up learning sewing, pattern cutting & more from my grandmother, started making & selling to small outlets to pay my way through art school, setting up my own business properly, with several sales outlets a couple of years later. The economy hit a patch where I found myself selling things for a third of the price than in previous years, so I sort of sidelined into freelancing, pattern cutting, design & illustration, depending on who for. I got fed up of chasing payment, so ended up taking a job offered by one of the companies I freelanced for - seemed a bit of a breeze after self employment as I had weekends to myself. Basically I progressed from there

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