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How to be a Womenswear designer for a high street retailer

Advice from Moira Benigson, Managing partner of The MBS Group.

Becoming a high street designer is competitive, particularly in the current economic climate, as high street retailers continue to go head to head with luxury – the bar is set higher and higher.

The best place to start is at one of the top fashion colleges, doing so well that you get onto an MA course – preferably at Central Saint Martins or the Royal College of Art. Join a company that has a good training programme or at least a big enough team to give you the opportunity to work with experienced people.

Once you have left university it’s important to balance creativity with commercial awareness. Creating weird and wacky designs that are difficult to get made or to sell won’t work. If you are lucky enough to be so talented you eventually have your own label, then you can do way-out designs for a catwalk show – but remember, even the most talented still have to design a commercial ready-to-wear collection.

Once you’ve trained as a junior designer, depending on how good you are, you can rise all the way to creative director or design director. Employers look for creativity, good people skills and commercial ability.

Salaries begin at £35,000 and can rise to £500,000 design director.

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