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How to be a senior designer

Katie Crowle, consultant for design and development at recruitment agency CVUK, tells you how to become a senior designer.

Where should they start?
They will need to have at least five years’ experience in design. This career path usually begins at assistant designer level before progressing to junior designer, then to designer, before reaching senior designer status.

Is a related degree important, and where should they train?
It is absolutely essential. A degree in fashion design is the only way to break into the very competitive world of fashion. Ideally they should look to do that at a college that specialises in fashion. London has some of the most renowned design courses in the world.

What sort of experience do they need?
To reach senior designer level they will need good fashion design experience, along with some management experience and a proven track record of best-sellers.

What skills do they need?
To do this job they will need excellent computer literacy, including being able to use Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative Suite. Attention to detail is essential, but they will also need to be able to work at a fast pace and be able to multi-task, whilst being efficient and highly organised. Design teams travel a lot so they will need inspirational leadership skills too. Finally, they will need to have technical know-how, and a good knowledge of pattern cutting to be able to understand limitations.

What do employers look for?
As well as all the above, senior designers must have global market awareness. They must be confident in predicting trends and with making decisions, because they are leading each collection and hold most of the responsibility for what is on the shop floor. Employers will also look for a passion and enthusiasm for fashion.

What can they expect from the job? International travel for inspiration, sourcing and production. Often being locked away in meetings, which means less time ‘on the job’ and then results in longer hours. Taking pride in developing designers; assistants and juniors are often only as good as their seniors. It is very much a mentoring role.

What are the salary expectations?
Dependant on business’ size, salaries should begin at approximately £38,000, and then the sky is the limit from there.

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