A huge an sometimes over looked area of fashion is accessories, however the demand is huge and there are rewarding careers to had if you are repared to work hard, take the knock backs and keep going. Our top tips for helping you achieve a career working in fashion accessories:
1. Over recent years, a number of UK universities and colleges have started offering specialist courses in fashion accessories design.
2. Entry requirements for undergraduate degree courses vary, though most will require at least 240 UCAS points, as well as GCSE Maths at grade C or above
3. Additionally, universities or colleges will also ask to see proof of a genuine enthusiasm for fashion accessories, usually in the shape of a portfolio and relevant work experience.
4. Degree courses last for three years full-time or up to five-years part-time, with tuition fees varying considerably between course providers.
5. Alongside specialist qualifications, training in bookkeeping, accountancy or other areas of the fashion or retail business may help boost your employability.
6. Making full use of the contacts you make through work experience placements or internships can be the key to finding paid work as an accessories designer.
7. Use the internet to set up “job alerts” for the type of jobs you want, alternatively or in areas you are interested in, google offers a good service called “google alerts” where you get emails.
Working as an Accessories Designer
In the world of fashion, accessories are big business, and its getting bigger. As such, there has never been greater demand for trained, experienced and creative designers.
Alongside in-house positions at major fashion houses and retailers, designers can also go solo, working freelance on a contract basis or even making their own designs and selling them directly to the public or to the high street themselves.
However, as with all areas of fashion, competition is fierce, so you will need to stand out from the crowd in order to get ahead in this line of work.
Over recent years, a number of UK universities and colleges have started offering specialist courses in fashion accessories design, most of them combining classroom learning with practical, on-the-job experience.
Entry requirements for undergraduate degree courses vary, though most will require at least 240 UCAS points, as well as GCSE Maths at grade C or above. Older applicants may be able to make up for a lack of academic qualifications with practical experience, though this tends to be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Applications need to be made through the UCAS system.
As well as being able to demonstrate a certain amount of academic ability, you should also expect to be asked to show a genuine interest in fashion accessories design. Some applicants may be asked for an interview, while others may simply be asked to submit a portfolio of work for assessment.
Some of the most popular specialist courses on offer across the UK include:
- University of the Arts, London: BA (Hons) Fashion Accessories Design and Development – this looks a great choice and is our top University Choice.
- Nottingham Trent University: BA( Hons) in Fashion Accessory Design
- University for the Creative Arts in Rochester: BA (Hons) in Fashion Accessories
Degree courses last for three years full-time or up to five-years part-time, with tuition fees varying considerably between course providers. Alongside specialist qualifications, training in bookkeeping, accountancy or other areas of the fashion or retail business may help boost your employability.
Simply having a degree in or related to accessories design is unlikely to enough for you to start working in this part of the fashion world. Generally speaking, you will need to have a significant amount of relevant professional experience under your belt before you can find a proper, paid job.
All of the above universities offer industry placements as part of their degree courses, though students are still expected to make their own connections in the industry and so create their own opportunities.
Such placements are undoubtedly the best way of finding paid work – remember, it’s often ‘who you know, not what you know’ – so be sure to be proactive in making useful contacts and showing yourself to be not just talented but also hard-working and, above all, reliable.
Searching online will broaden your horizons, and it need not be time consuming, first of all set up job alerts on the job sites that offer this service, but be careful that they are not just gathering email addresses, make sure you can specify the type of job you want to hear about. (Use our jobs search, we have thousands of jobs).
Google offer a great service called “google alerts” where you can set your career phrase, the type of media you are interested in, ie News, how often you get an update and quality of the results, this means you don’t have to daily search as its happening for you.
Specialist online recruitment sites can also be a good way of finding accessories designer jobs. Drapers Jobs specialises in recruitment for the fashion industry, with dozens of accessories designer positions across the UK and the rest of the world advertised each week. Similarly, Retail Choice can be a good place to look for new openings.
Pay and Benefits
Pay for fashion accessories designers can vary significantly, depending on employer, location and how much expertise you can offer them.
In fact, while some positions, even full-time openings, come with no pay at all, with just the prospect of gaining some valuable industry experience on offer, big-name design houses and retailers will be willing to pay high salaries in order to attract the right talent.
As such, while qualified and experienced accessories designers can expect to earn a salary of between £18,000 and £25,000, those at the top of their game and with a few design awards to add to their CV, may be able to command double that or even more.
Freelance accessories designers, meanwhile, may be able to earn around £150 to £250 a day, with contracts lasting a few days to a couple of months. Again, big-name employers may pay significantly more for the right designer.
Aside from the financial benefits, most designers go into the business in order to make a living from their love of fashion. In fact, being able to follow – and indeed create – the latest trends, to meet new people and, sometimes, see the world, are all potential upsides to this line of work.
For ideas on other possible career paths within the fashion industry, check out the Fashion Retail Academy website.
Another option for you maybe to find work in Fashion Merchandising or if you are good at writing then check out Fashion Journalism career guide.
Please see UK Jobs Guide tab at the top if you need to help from your jobcentre then we have maps, addresses and phone numbers for you.