Textile Design

What is it?

Unlike a fashion designer who creates whole garments, a textile designer is only focused on creating the fabrics and materials used to make clothing. Textile designers are super creative and get to experiment with different techniques to fulfil a brief that their client (a brand) has set for them. Textile designers have a broad knowledge of materials and their applications, as well as all the things you can do with those fabrics, from printing to embroidery, knitting, weaving and more.

The career ladder

There are two main entry routes into textile design either through a degree course or by working as a textile

operative. Textile designers generally gain entry to their careers through internships with fashion brands, design agencies, retailers, or material manufacturers. Textile designers often specialise in a particular category, like knitwear, jersey, print design,

or digital printing and are usually based in an office or studio with a large part of their working day sitting in front of a computer screen or on the factory floor, checking their designs during production. They may also visit customers or trade shows and overseas travel is relatively common..

Daily tasks

Textile designers spend their time working collaboratively within a business to communicate the design team’s creations in real life fabrics. They’ll experiment with different techniques, design prints, liaise with suppliers and manufacturers, and research new trends in textiles, such as colours, prints, or effects to share with their team.

If you’re self-employed, you might spend some time updating your portfolio to attract new clients and marketing your skills.


A career highlight for a textile designer is getting to work with brands they love to create something new and exciting that the fashion industry can be inspired by.

What should you study? What skill do you need?

A degree in textile design is the perfect foundation to develop your skills and learn everything you need to become an amazing textile designer. This is a super creative role where you’ll need an eye for colour and form, as well as the ability to sketch and create with beautiful designs.

You’ll also need to work collaboratively, so a love of team work and strong communication skills will come in handy.


Textile designers are inherently curious, so they’re always experimenting with new ideas, researching techniques, trying out new design software, and most importantly, enjoying the creative process.

Want to learn more?

The easiest way to get started as a textile designer is to start drawing. Flex your creative skills and come up with a pattern or design that you could imagine being used for fashion. Learn to knit, embroider and sew, trying your hand at as many different ways of making fabrics to understand how they work. You can also research the properties of different materials and what can be done with them. Why not try buying some clothing dyes and experiment with dying a white t-shirt at home?

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