Assistant Designer

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Jeni B

00:00:06 Hello. I’m Jeni. I’m a designer at Boden. I work on the girlswear range and I design all the jersey, which is all the t-shirts and sweatshirts and nightwear, swimwear and knitwear.

00:00:22 Day to day I’m doing all sorts. I’m communicating with people, with our factories and suppliers all over the world. There’s definitely a lot more to designing than designing. Like I was saying, there’s lots of communication. I only actually spend about, I would say, about six weeks of every six months cycle actually sitting down and drawing and designing and being really creative. There’s actually a whole lot of other things that have to go along with it.

00:00:50 I think I had quite a lot of interest when I was a youngster. I was really outdoorsy, I really like horse riding and riding my bike and then I was quite creative as well. I sort of had a sporty side and a creative side. There wasn’t one definite thing that I always wanted to be. It was more later when I got into education and I sort of went with my instincts for things that made me happy. I absolutely loved art and design as a subject, so I just wanted to wanted to do as much of it as possible. And that then led me on to do an art foundation course at Oxford British University, so I discovered where my sort of true talents and happiness lay.

00:01:33 The textiles element of the course was definitely the thing that inspired me most. The tutor on the course was actually from a textiles background as well which sort of may have influenced me as well because she was very passionate and had a lot to say about textiles and a lot of advice to give, so that was definitely an influence.

00:01:52 From my foundation year I went to university in Brighton. I did the fashion textile design with business studies course, which also had a year in industry, so it was a four year degree with the third year being in industry. And I actually worked for Marks and Spencer’s for a year as a girlswear design assistant. So I came out of university with some experience already, which really helped me get a job afterwards too. It makes you much more employable.

00:02:21 Half way through my final year I thought that I wasn’t good enough to pursue what I was doing outside of university and I thought, ‘oh!’ and started thinking about other things to cover my back if I couldn’t get a job, but then it was really fortunate to just get a phone call out of the blue from the design director from New Look, and they were looking for someone to help out for a couple of weeks.

00:02:44 It was actually my tutor recommended me. The design director at New Look had contacted my tutor and said, ‘oh, we need someone’, and she put me forward. And the lady called me up and I went for an interview and it was sort of out of the blue really, but it was a good start.

00:03:00 I got another random phone call out the blue from an agency about the Boden job, and that really was like striking gold. It was a bit of whirlwind. I sort of came in and had to go straight into designing the next season. So it was quite scary but it was probably the best way to start, to just sort of be chucked in the deep end and have sort of eighty styles that you need to design within about three weeks. So it was quite full-on.

00:03:26 Yeah, I would say there isn’t such a thing as a dream job. I don’t think, ‘right, I’ve arrived. That’s it. This is what my life is…this is why I’m on this planet’. But for now, it’s definitely something that makes me really happy and I really enjoy what I’m doing. But I’m sure at some point I’ll want to change it. Like I’m not sure if I want to live in London forever, which is quite difficult because most of the fashion industry is in London. So I think there’ll be some change there eventually, moving out of London and sort of pursuing a similar thing but from a slightly different angle, from a different place.

Jeni B is a designer at Boden. She designs girlswear – t-shirts and sweatshirts and nightwear, swimwear and knitwear. She did art foundation, “the textiles element of the course was definitely the thing that inspired me most.” She thinks the industrial placement on her degree was a huge help in getting a job.

More information about Product, clothing and related designers

average salary

The UK average salary is £29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

37%  male 
63%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Future employment?

? Product, clothing and related designers plan, direct and undertake the creation of designs for new industrial and commercial products, clothing and related fashion accessories, costumes and wigs, and for building interiors and stage sets.
Entrants have usually completed a foundation course, BTEC/SQA award, degree and or postgraduate qualification. NVQs/SVQs in Fashion Design and Design are available at Level 2, as are apprenticeships at Levels 2 and 3.
  • Liaises with client to determine the purpose, cost, technical specification and potential uses/users of product;
  • Undertakes research to determine market trends, production requirements, availability of resources and formulates design concepts;
  • Prepares sketches, designs, patterns or prototypes for textiles, clothing, footwear, jewellery, fashion accessories, set props, wigs, ceramics, plastics, motor vehicles, domestic appliances and engineering products;
  • Prepares sketches, designs, mock-ups and storyboards for consideration by theatre/film director or client;
  • Submits design to management, sales department or client for approval, communicates design rationale and makes any necessary alterations;
  • Specifies materials, production method and finish for aesthetic or functional effect, and oversees production of sample and/or finished product;
  • Observes and manages intellectual property issues.
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