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How to be a head of design

This week Sally Dawson, design consultant at Success Appointments, tells you how to land a job as head of design.

“Ideally you will have gained a design degree in a Fashion Design/Fashion Marketing related course. During your degree (and possibly after) it will be paramount to gain as much solid experience through internships where you can begin to hone your skills, develop relationships and establish networks in the industry.

A career path would typically start from a junior/assistant designer level, progressing up through the ranks depending on the company - for example, designer, senior designer and design manager positions respectively. In terms of building a portfolio you will need to identify key trends/stories, knowledge of fabrics, key details, andsilhouettes which show taste level and translate into commercial product. Ideally this should evolve over time and indicate current and forward thinking work.

Coupled with a design background you will need to have strong track record with prior design roles and companies, having gained a broad knowledge of the entire design process from start to finish, as well as working collaboratively with different teams and external suppliers. International experience is certainly an advantage, and can set you apart in being adaptable to different markets and pushing your skills further.

As head of design you will need to bring gravitas and dynamism, be able to lead and inspire whilst developing and mentoring a team. In a competitive global industry you will need to be adaptable to changing market conditions, while maintaining a strong vision and understanding of the customer.

Overall communication and people skills, passion for product and vision is essential. Employers will want to see drive, creativity, strong commercial business awareness and to some degree a strategic thinker.

Salaries for this position range from £75,000 to £100,000.”

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