Explore: Fashion

Textile Designer

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Nicola B

00:00:04 My name’s Nicola B. I work as a textile designer at Boden. I design everything from traditional florals to spots, geometrics, we work on stripes, colour woven checks and jacquards for things like coats and skirts.

00:00:20 Probably the most enjoyable part of the job is at the beginning of the season when we research like the trends, the colour pallets, start looking at what sort of shapes are coming through, new designs, and we shop sort of around the world for inspiration for vintage prints, and then bring all that information back to the office so that we can start designing.

00:00:40 As a child I think looking back, I loved clothes but I didn’t have very much taste. Most of the things I look back on now, I say to my mother, ‘why did you let me wear that?’ And she says, ‘well you picked…that’s what you picked. That’s what you wanted to wear’. So I think it’s lucky that my taste has grown and developed with study, because I think I was into clothes as a child but I think maybe I put things together in quite an unusual way, which maybe is helpful now.

00:01:03 I had a pink and white striped puffball skirt with white knee high socks and open-toe pink sandals. That was quite special. My dad was really into art at school and has always done a lot of drawing with us when we were younger. My mum’s family, a couple of them are painters. My grandfather worked at Sanderson, he was actually a textile printer for many years. So he was actually there cutting, you know, cutting the screens and printing the fabric rather than, where I design the prints.

00:01:35 But I didn’t really realise that until I was much older what he really did, so it didn’t influence me when I was younger. It wasn’t ’til I started doing it that I really understood what his job was.

00:01:45 I think probably the biggest influence in…like when I got into art was from my art teachers at school rather than from home necessary. Their enthusiasm and like encouragement, we have quite a small art class. Especially at A level, I think there was only four or six of us in our class that did art, so we had quite a lot of attention and they really pushed us into sort of areas that we were going to go into, and I think most of my class ended up doing some sort of art degree that were in that A level art course. So they were quite a big influence.

00:02:17 Going into fashion isn’t something that I wanted to do necessarily when I was younger. I was always interested in drawing and art. I did GCSE and A level art. And then my tutor recommended that I did an art foundation course, and part of that course was textiles and fashion, and that was all looking at colour, shape, form, textures, and that was the one I enjoyed the most. So then you have to specialise in an area, so I more fell into fashion and textiles than sort of something I planned.

00:02:44 I’d say the biggest impact on my career was when I did my placement here at Boden, ‘cos I think that’s when it confirmed to me that I wanted to do design, and that I felt confident enough that I could do it as a career. Boden also sponsored me my final collection. That showed their confidence in me so I think that gave me more confidence to go back and just get on with what I wanted to do and put some good work together that I could be proud of. Hopefully they feel they’ve got a good return on their investment. I’ve been here four and a half years now.

00:03:14 Outside of work, we actually have developed a Boden running team, so we trained last year for the Race For Life 5K in Richmond and the company sponsored us. And then we’ve continued that this year in our print team, we go running twice a week, and we’re training for a 10K in May.

00:03:35 In ten, twenty years time, I’ll probably still be designing textiles, I would imagine. I don’t think I can give it up now. I don’t think I could have a better job than I’ve got now, personally. Because as much as I try and say I don’t get paid to shop and read magazines, that is a big part of my job. So, you know, to actually go shopping as a girl for your job, part of your job is brilliant. I don’t think there’s anything else I’d rather do.

Nicola B is textile designer at Boden. She says “to actually go shopping, as a girl, for your job, part of your job is brilliant”. She says “we research like the trends, the colour pallets, start looking at what sort of shapes are coming through, new designs, and we shop sort of around the world for inspiration for vintage prints” and then comes back to the studio to design.

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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