Getting into Fashion

Do you have a passion for Fashion? Want to make that passion into your career? In this blog post our Senior Careers Consultant Gill Barber aims to help you achieve that ambition!


The fashion and textile sector is a massive part of the UK and it accounts for over 79,000 firms. It is typically a well known industry with many well established businesses and designers working within it. The greatest proportions of fashion and textiles businesses in the UK are in London, the South East and the North West. 

There are a huge number of opportunities available in the fashion industry – from original designs to sourcing materials, to producing the garments and finally selling them. Within these areas there are a whole range of roles to make these stages happen. The industry is constantly changing in response to new technology and economic influences.

Whilst a lot of our clothes are made in East Asian countries, with the consequent environmental impact, this may mean there is an increasing move towards higher value-added products, such as technical textiles and luxury items which we produce in this country. The British Brand is very strong with luxury items increasingly being made in the UK.

The way in which clothes are marketed and sold is also changing with more emphasis on online buying and direct selling to customers, this has opened up a whole new range of career paths for you to consider.

Top tips for getting into this area 

The most important thing is to demonstrate that you are passionate about the industry.

  • This is a very visual industry – you need to show that you understand it. What have you done? Who have you worked with?  You need to make the most of your experiences.
  • There are a number of things you could do to help get work experience.  This could be working in a shop selling the sorts of clothes you are interested in or it could be getting an internship with a high profile designer. Many of the high street stores have industrial placements for summer or yearlong opportunities. The Careers Centre can help you with your search for placements and with the application process. Send off your speculative CV and a cover letter to designers, manufacturers, retail companies or fashion marketing companies asking for some work experience. Use the Careers Centre drop in to help you develop your CV and cover letter.
  • You can also demonstrate your passion by getting involved in campus activities e.g. the Leeds RAG Fashion Show; you can write for the student paper or start your own fashion blog.
  • Being able to communicate with people is the single most important skill, face to face and online.
  • Make use of social media to network and build up your contacts. Connect with any friends or family on LinkedIn who might have contacts in the fashion industry. Also ‘Like’ relevant pages on Facebook and follow designers or relevant organisations on Twitter to keep up to date with their news and information.
  • Also having a LinkedIn profile will enable you to network with other people interested in fashion.
  • Make the most of Leeds Alumni who are in the industry. You can check out all the contacts by accessing the Leeds Network and search for people doing the sorts of jobs you are interested in. Most alumni are keen to hear from prospective students and offer their advice about entering the industry.
  • Make the most of careers events. We have lots of events organised throughout the year – anything from the Arts Expo to an employer presentation. Check out our events website for all up to date information on what is happening. 

Types of jobs 

These fall into different areas:

  • Fashion Design roles – usually require a design degree.
  • Retail – store management, sales, buying, and merchandising – high street stores have graduate schemes.
  • Production supply chain – direct entry and graduate roles working for high street stores and specialist manufacturers. These are usually open to graduates of any discipline.
  • Online – marketing, sales, trends, blogs…
  • Product Marketing, PR, and Events management.
  • General business roles – IT, HR, finance, general management. 

Useful Links 

  • Creative Skillset – the UK Creative Industries’ sector skills council
  • Prospects – further information on the sector
  • Careerweb has further information and insights into the sector
  • Our recent blog on getting into textiles design could also be useful

Remember – you can pop in to the Careers Centre for a drop-in appointment any time 9am-4pm, Monday-Friday. So whether you need an application checking or you have no idea where to start with regards to a career we can help.


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