Fashion Design Assistant

Job Description:

Fashion design assistants help designers to create new materials, styles, colours and patterns for fashion brands and labels.

Job Category:
Art & Fashion

What you will do:

You could:

  • create prototypes and tailor garments
  • produce technical sketches
  • explain creative ideas to designers
  • source fabrics and trimmings
  • create mood, shape and trend boards
  • get approval for designs from customers
  • work closely with factories and suppliers
  • meet with customers and fabric agents
  • inspect products during the design process


You’ll need:

  • design skills and knowledge
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

  • the ability to come up with new ways of doing things (creativity skills)
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • ambition and a desire to succeed
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • the ability to use your initiative (drive)
  • the ability to work well with your hands
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a fashion design assistant, specific GCSE subjects are not typically required, but certain subjects can provide a strong foundation for the skills and knowledge needed in this field. Here are some recommended GCSE subjects that can be beneficial:

  1. Art and Design: A strong background in art and design is highly valuable for fashion design assistants. This subject helps you develop essential skills in drawing, creativity, and design concepts.
  2. Textiles: Studying textiles at the GCSE level can provide an understanding of different fabrics, patterns, and materials used in fashion design.
  3. Mathematics: While not directly related to the creative aspects of fashion, basic mathematical skills are important for tasks such as measurements, pattern making, and calculations related to fabric and materials.
  4. Design and Technology: This subject can offer practical skills in design, pattern making, and working with materials, which are essential in the fashion design process.
  5. English: Good communication skills, both written and verbal, are crucial for interacting with design teams, clients, and suppliers, as well as for writing product descriptions, marketing materials, and instructions.
  6. Business Studies: Understanding the basics of business, marketing, and customer service can be valuable for fashion design assistants, especially if they work in roles that involve client interaction, sales, or product development.

Post School

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role

You could do a foundation degree or a UK higher national diploma in fashion design or fashion and textiles.

You could take a college course to learn skills in pattern cutting, computer-aided cutting techniques and design software. Courses include:

  • Diploma In Skills for the Fashion Industries (Level 2 in the UK)
  • Diploma in Fashion, Clothing and Textile Design (Level 3 in the UK)
  • Extended Diploma in Fashion Design and Production (Level 3 in the UK)
  • Craft and Design (T Level)

A course that teaches both design and technical skills will give you the practical knowledge that employers look for.

You could do a fashion studio assistant or garment maker advanced apprenticeship.

You can start as a general assistant with a fashion company or retailer and work your way up, taking training and getting qualifications along the way.

There is strong competition for jobs in the fashion industry, so any contacts and experience you can get will help when looking for work. You could get this through internships, work placements or volunteering.

In the UK, The British Fashion Industry supports initiatives like the National Saturday Club for young people from 13 to 16 looking to get an insight into fashion careers.

Career tips
You’ll need to put together a portfolio of your work to take to course and job interviews. This should include mood boards, designs, drawings and a couple of examples of finished items of clothing you have made.

Working Hours and Environment:

You could work in a creative studio or in a workshop.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience you could become a fashion designer, then senior designer or design director. As a design director you could create your own range and manage a design team.

You could also move into freelance design, working on individual projects, or self-employment, creating your own collections.