Textile designer

fabric designer
Design, arts and crafts

Career outlook for textile designer

UK Salary Ranges





Currently employed in Scotland


Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would create designs and patterns for woven, knitted and printed fabrics used to make products such as clothes and furniture.

You would:

  • Make sketches by hand or on computer, using computer aided design (CAD) software
  • Adjust designs until they meet customers' requirements
  • Make up samples or have them made by technicians
  • Research design trends to decide what is likely to sell
  • Work closely with colleagues as part of a design team
  • Meet with clients and technical, marketing and buying staff
  • Keep up to date with developments in manufacturing technology

You could work for a manufacturing, retail or design company. You could also choose to freelance.

As a freelance designer you would normally split your time between designing and marketing your work. You may also need to supplement your income with other types of work, such as teaching.

Working conditions


As a textile designer with a manufacturer, retailer or design company you would usually work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, with additional hours at busy periods. As a freelance designer you would choose your own hours.


A lot of your time will be spent at a computer, designing fabrics and manipulating patterns. You may sometimes go to meetings and trade fairs outside your place of work.


You may need to travel within the UK or overseas, for example to exhibit at trade fairs, or to visit clients and manufacturers.

UK employment status





Self employed


Create a qualification route

We've found some examples of the qualifications that could help you get this job.

Discover my route

Search course options

Thinking about your future? There are lots of courses available that could interest you. Use our course search to explore course options.

Find courses

Search job opportunities

If you're looking for your new career our job search can help you. Discover interesting opportunities and decide your next steps.

Find a job

Here are some of the skills needed for this job. Sign in to see how your skills match up.

  • Cooperating
  • Verbal communication
  • Working with technology
  • Creative
  • Designing
  • Evaluating
  • Researching
  • Attention to detail
  • Taking initiative

Skills Explorer

Your skills can help you choose the career that's right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

Our Skills Explorer tool will help you understand what skills you have and match them to jobs that might suit you.

Use the Skills Explorer tool

Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.


Most textile designers have a degree (SCQF level 9/10)  in textiles, fashion or art and design.

Some have a Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7), Higher National Diploma (SCQF level 8) in this area. 

You can enter a Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7) or Higher National Diploma courses (SCQF level 8) with National 4/5 qualifications and one to two Highers or equivalent qualifications.

To enter a degree (SCFQ level 9/10) requires National 5 qualifications and a minimum of four Highers or a relevant HNC/HND.

Useful subjects

  • English (required by many courses) 
  • Art and design (required by many courses)
  • Maths 
  • Fashion and textile technologies.
  • Other design-centred subjects
  • Social studies subjects

You will also need

A portfolio of your work when applying to courses and to jobs.

Helpful to have

Qualifications that show creative and practical craft skills and industry knowledge such as Skills for Work Creative Industries (SCFQ level 5)

Work-based qualifications such as a Scottish Vocational Qualification in Fashion & Textiles (SVQ levels 1 to 3) may also be of value.

It is possible to progress from a textile operative or textile design assistant role, usually after entering with a relevant National Certificate or Higher National Certificate.