I want to do something with fashion: More than just fashion design

More than just fashion design

I want to do something with fashion

More than just fashion design

“Something with fashion” – for many young people who are interested in fashion trends, chic clothing, hip or sustainable textiles, this is often still a vague career goal. In fact, the fashion industry offers a multitude of different training occupations and courses of study, which can be interesting both for creatively gifted young people and for those with commercial and technical skills.

Larissa Blau had already decided in her school days that she wanted to do something with fashion. “I started tailoring at an early age and was interested in everything to do with fashion,” says the 23-year-old. After graduating from high school in 2015, she initially completed a two-year school education as a tailor. “During this time, however, it quickly became clear to me that I wanted to go deeper. I am particularly interested in management and strategic decisions in the industry.” So she decided on the bachelor’s degree course “International Fashion Retail” at Reutlingen University. “The university is internationally oriented and has a very good reputation for textile professions. That appealed to me”.

Only 20 study places are allocated per semester. The course combines business knowledge with a focus on trade and textile management and aims to train future managers for the fashion industry. “The fact that we are so few students in the year means that we can train our team and organizational skills particularly well in joint projects,” explains Larissa Blau, who studies modules such as accounting, investment and financing as well as human resources management. The special requirements of the fashion industry are specifically addressed. After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree, the 23-year-old would like to continue with a Master’s degree in International Business. Later, she would like to work for an international fashion group as a buyer or in sales.

Wide access routes

“The training and study opportunities that lead to a career in the fashion industry can be roughly divided into three areas: the creative, the commercial and the technical area,” explains Jan Cordes, Career Advisor at the Düsseldorf Employment Agency. For example, it is possible to train as a fashion and design manager in the creative sector or as a textile laboratory assistant in the technical sector. At the same time, however, one has to bear in mind that a specialised profession is not necessarily necessary in order to work in the fashion industry later on. “It is conceivable, for example, that apprenticeships might be offered by an employer in the textile or fashion industry in the form of a clerk for office management or in retail.

The same applies to the range of courses on offer. The study opportunities range from the more technical and industrial fields of textile and clothing technology to creative courses such as fashion design, textile and clothing management or the teaching profession for household and textile. “You can also study business administration in the classic way and then apply for a job in the fashion industry,” explains the career counselor. It is interesting to note that there is a whole range of dual courses on offer in the fashion sector, which combine practical training in the company with academic studies at a university. (You can find out more about training and study opportunities in fashion in the overview “From Designer to Engineer”; links to the overview)

Specific requirements for applicants

According to Jan Cordes, anyone interested in an artistic-creative profession or a design course in fashion should note that in most cases work samples and entrance examinations are required and the Abitur grade often does not play a decisive role.

The demands placed on applicants vary greatly depending on their specialisation. “Of course, you should have an interest in fashion and the special features of the industry in all areas. In the creative sector, an eye for colours, proportions and aesthetics as well as a certain creative talent are also required. If you are interested in a technical profession, you should of course have technical understanding and a basic scientific knowledge. In addition to good math skills, sociability and negotiating skills are important for the commercial sector,” recommends Jan Cordes.

Great competition among career starters

Thanks to the generally good labour market, the number of unemployed in textile and fashion occupations fell by eight percent year-on-year to around 16,000 in 2018. “Nevertheless, unemployment is high compared to other occupations and employment subject to social security contributions has fallen compared to the previous year,” says Claudia Suttner from the labour market reporting team of the Federal Employment Agency. “In the course of 2018, 7,000 new jobs were registered, six percent fewer than in the previous year.

According to the Federal Employment Agency, around 105,000 women and men were employed in textile and fashion occupations subject to social insurance contributions in June 2018. With 43,000 employees, the largest share was entrusted with tasks in textile production and textile technology. This includes, for example, the profession of machine and plant operator – textile technology as well as textile pattern designer or engineer – textile technology. A further 34,000 people were employed in clothing production, for example as moderators or tailors.


The information portal of the Federal Employment Agency on training, studies and further educationwww.berufsfeld-info.de


The network for occupations of the Federal Employment Agency with over 3,000 current job descriptions in text and picture (search term: fashion and/or textile)www.berufenet.arbeitsagentur.de


Information portal of the Foundation for Higher Education Admissions in cooperation with the Federal Employment Agency. Here you can search in the “Finder” for courses of study all over Germany. (Keyword: fashion and/or textile)www.studienwahl.de


The film portal of the Federal Employment Agency

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Christina Cherry
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