Positions in Fashion

Below, please find an overview and descriptions of job positions in the fashion industry

Account Manager

The general duties of an account manager include costing products, researching the market, negotiating prices and deliveries and briefing designers on the requirements of the customer. In addition to these tasks, an account manager is expected to have a good level of commercial awareness gained through competitive shop visits and keeping up to date with reading material, for example trade press, to develop the business.

Developing and maintaining a broad base of suppliers is essential in this role, as a successful relationship between supplier and account manager can be vital. Effective communication is essential to this relationship, as is a sharp eye for using the right supplier for the right product area. A good account manager should not be afraid, however, to continually explore new supplier opportunities to get the best result for their customer.

As an account manager, you will be expected to use negotiation effectively using your natural ability to influence internal and external parties. You will be able to work within a team, offering support where necessary, but also be able to work on your own initiative and prioritise your own workload. A successful account manager will be self motivated and able to motivate and inspire others as well as being highly driven and able to work under high pressure to meet deadlines.


Retail buyers work for retail stores, including department and variety stores, specialty shops and chain stores. They buy the goods that a store sells to its customers. Buyers who work for large department stores usually specialize in one type of merchandise such as home furnishings. Those who work for small stores may buy a variety of merchandise, and those who work for chain stores often purchase goods for a number of the store’s outlets.

Buyers must be able to choose items that are appropriate for their store and its clientele. For example, a budget department store will need low-cost goods, whereas a clothing boutique may specialize in relatively expensive clothes for young customers. Buyers usually purchase merchandise about six months before it is shown in the stores. Therefore, they must be able to anticipate trends in fashion and consumer needs. Retail buyers familiarize themselves with available merchandise through catalogs and by traveling to trade shows that display new consumer goods. Fashion buyers attend seasonal fashion shows held by clothing manufacturers that feature the latest designer styles. In order to choose items that will sell, buyers must know their customers. They do this by examining computerized sales records and by spending time on the selling floors.

Buyer Assistant

In this role you will expect to perform following duties in connection with purchase and sale of merchandise to aid the Buyer and you will need to verify the quantity and the quality of stock received from manufacturer. Perhaps even authorizes payment of invoices or return of shipment. And possibly approves advertising copy for newspaper. You may give Markers (retail trade; wholesale tr.) information, such as price mark-ups or mark-downs, manufacturer numbers, season codes, and style numbers to print on price tickets. And possibly inspects exchanged or refunded merchandise. And finally you may sell merchandise to become familiar with customers’ attitudes, preferences, and purchasing problems.

Communication Officer

The communication officer job can be found in many areas of a company: corporate headquarters, major divisions, marketing, human resources, public relations, international and so on. The communication officer works with people across the organization and must be able to manage large and small projects. Communications officers must demonstrate strong writing and editing skills; understand and be fluent in the use of software applications, such as Word and PowerPoint; understand and be able to apply Associated Press and Chicago style guides; have the ability to multi-task and set priorities; manage time efficiently; prepare and manage project budgets; demonstrate strong teamwork skills; manage and work with internal and external business partners and vendors; maintain project calendar; and deliver communications within assigned deadlines.

Customer Service Manager

The customer service managers work for the satisfaction of the customer needs. The customer service manager’s may work at various levels right from managing and dealing the customers directly or to the higher level offices where they’ve to make the officers and seniors aware about the customer needs and expectations. Another important facet of the customer service manager job description is that they have to manage a team of customer services staff and chalk out a customer service policy for the entire organization. The daily tasks of the customer service manager are spread through a wide spectrum of duties that may include, managing the tasks, working arrangements, staff meeting, training and development programs. Some bigger organizations may assign the job of financial responsibility and stock ordering.


What roles does a fashion designer play in the production process?

Fashion designers work on the design of a clothing range. While many are generalist, working across a wide field, some fashion designers may focus completely on a specialist area, such as sportswear, childrenswear, womenswear, menswear or accessories.

The main markets you will work in as a fashion designer are haute couture, designer ready-to-wear and high street fashion. Developments in technology mean that a designer ready-to-wear product can be produced as a high street version in less than six weeks. Depending on level of responsibility and the company, a fashion designer may work to their own brief or be given a brief to work towards (including specifications in relation to colour and fabric) and develop a product from this.

Tasks depend on the market the fashion designer is producing for, but core responsibilities include creating/visualising an idea and making a sketch by hand or using computer aided design, keeping up to date with emerging fashion trends, liaising closely with sales, buying and production teams to ensure the item complements other products, negotiating with customers and suppliers and overseeing production.

Experienced fashion designers with larger companies may focus more on the design aspect, with pattern cutters and machinists preparing sample garments. In smaller companies these, and other tasks, may be part of the fashion designer’s role.

Graphic Designer

A graphic designer produces visual solutions to communicate messages for their clients. Most work is two-dimensional and used within a range of media, including advertising campaigns, book covers, magazines, posters, corporate communications and websites. Some graphic designers work on three-dimensional designs, such as product packaging, exhibitions and displays.

Working to a brief agreed with the client or account manager, a graphic designer will develop creative ideas and concepts, choosing the appropriate media and style to meet the objectives of the client. The work demands creative flair, up-to-date knowledge of industry software and a professional approach to time, costs and deadlines.

As a graphic designer, you will be expected to have a good knowledge of design programmes such as Quark, Xpress, FreeHand, Illustrator, Photoshop, 3D Studio, Acrobat, Dreamweaver and Flash. As you may have to proof the copy in your work, literacy skills are required and some training in proofreading may be necessary.

Head of Design

This position generally requires a 4-year degree plus industry experience as a fashion designer. The head designer is responsible for the clothing line from concept to the finished marketable product. Where heads of design run an entire department of designers, they must not only possess strong artwork skills, but leadership and communication traits as well. They need to be highly innovative and organized, often taking someone else’s idea for a look or feel and then perfecting it. In other words, heads of design should be persistent in perfecting their art and be able to work well in a team environment.

Generally, Fashion/clothing designers design clothes, accessories and shoes. Some design expensive one-off pieces. Others work in a team creating a whole range of mass-produced fashions, or specialise in particular areas such as sportswear.The responsibilities of a designer may include, producing concepts, making sketches by hand or on the computer, developing patterns, overseeing production, analysing trends in fabrics, colours and shapes.

Designers normally work from 9am to 5pm, but they may work longer hours when preparing samples for buyers or collections for fashion shows. Fashion designers usually work in a studio or small workshop. They may attend fashion shows, prediction fairs and exhibitions, as well as visit clients. Travel is often required. Fashion/clothing designers need to be creative, have an eye for colour, texture and pattern, the ability to visualise things in three dimensions, technical skills in areas such as pattern cutting, grading and garment construction and most of all to enjoy following trends in fashion and clothing.

Head of Marketing

You will be working closely with the marketing team, you will create all season printed marketing materials, manage all product facing materials – ensuring these communicate brand values, and manage and lead all PR activity, including International Trade Shows. You must have solid marketing experience in a range of of media, from digital, online and offline including guerrilla marketing and social networking. You will have a proven track record in project management, delivering projects and campaigns on time and on budget.

HR Manager

What are the duties of an HR manager?

The duties of an HR Manager will vary from company to company. You could be an HR manager of a small company and cover all HR disciplines or work in a larger organisation where your main focus will most probably centre on resourcing and employee relations.

It is likely that you will be managing a team and be responsible for their development. The main focus will centre on complex situations, and probably involve working with senior managers. A HR advisor will handle all the day-to-day issues for the wider team but anything above this which is deemed serious or sensitive comes within the HR manager’s purview. The role of the HR manager tends to focus more on influencing key players who are typically mid-management level straight up to director level. You will be central in developing new strategies or updating existing policies and procedures to ensure the business is line with legislative changes.

Influencing people and credibility are two key attributes and having strong technical HR skills is a pre-requisite. The HR manager plays an ambassadorial role within the business, demonstrating the real impact of HR to the commercial success of the organisation.

An HR manager will demonstrate success with results. If they have improved resourcing as a function, an organisation will either see a reduction in recruitment costs or higher retentionrates. Although a strong HR manager will demonstrate success by achieving both!

HR Administrator / Assistant

This is an entry level role for those wanting to enter the Human Resources sector. An HR administrator / assistant will be involved in every level of administration through all of the main disciplines (recruitment, training and employee relations).

At first, the role of the HR administrator/ assistant will involve basic administration, such as data entry, filing, answering the telephone and maintaining up to date employee information. You could also be involved with sending out offer letters and contracts and giving first line advice to employees who have queries around policies and procedures. This could range from basic payroll and holiday queries to advising on maternity / paternity benefits.

Once you have demonstrated a basic understanding of a company’s procedures and way of working whilst honing these administrative skills, you could be involved in some more substantial tasks such as taking part in a disciplinary or grievance in the capacity of note-taking and gathering information or evidence for investigations, and may even progress to offering advice to line managers or employees regarding employment legislation.

More often than not, when an HR administrator / assistant is comfortable managing their administrative tasks whilst juggling these new skills and demonstrating a real passion to learn and develop, they will be promoted to the next level.

Ideally you should be in this role between 18months - 2 years before progressing. It is anticipated by future employers that for an HR administrator/ assistant to progress to the next level, they can not only demonstrate a breadth of experience in their technical skills and the confidence to take on more accountabilities, but must also demonstrate other key interpersonal skills such as building relationships and managing client expectations.

HR Advisor

What role does an HR officer / HR advisor perform in an organisation?

As an HR officer / HR advisor your role will be advisory and coaching-focused, and will involve a close working relationship with your client base.

An HR officer or advisor is more than likely to be the first port of call for recruitment in head office or retail. Depending on the organisation, the role will be either to advise line managers on how to effectively fill their vacancies, or could involve taking over the entire process once a vacancy has been raised. You will also be involved with employee relations and managing performance within the organisation through the disciplinary and grievance process and by advising on serious matters such as performance and capability.

Furthermore HR officers / advisors could take on a further challenge by managing a region of the UK and being responsible for all HR issues in that area. Regional HR officers / advisors are adopted by many retail and leisure organisations to really test the abilities of their HR Staff. This will give good exposure in terms of dealing with a high volume and wide range of HR activities, with anything from potential redundancies to high volume recruitment.

Jewellery Designer

What skills will I need to become a jewellery designer?

Practising one of the oldest crafts, jewellery designers create pieces which can have great sentimental significance or symbolic meaning. Jewellery designers must be able to relate well to their clients in order to understand design specifications, as well as master the creative and practical skills needed to make a product. A mixture of creative skills and commercial awareness is vital in designing original pieces of jewellery. The design process is complex and involves a series of stages, each requiring different abilities on the part of the designer.

Typical everyday activities for a jewellery designer include mounting (making the framework for the piece), setting (adjusting the frame) and casting (making a decorative detail by pouring molten metal into a mould.) Additional responsibilities include polishing, stamping, electro-plating and wire working.

In order to become a successful jewellery designer, you will obviously need to be a creative individual with excellent people skills. A jewellery designer’s work involves holding consultations with commissioning clients, discussing a client’s range of options and formulating original ideas as well as sketching out ideas to help the client visualise the finished design.

Promoting and developing the business is crucial for success as a jewellery designer. Many designers try to boost their reputation by networking and entering competitions as well as consulting with galleries, store buyers and suppliers and researching trends and developments in the fashion industry.

Junior Buyer

Junior buyers carry out various entry-level tasks related to the specific merchandise their company or employer is involved with. Junior buyers may be required to purchase goods, supplies and other relevant services, as well as participate in the more complex areas of contract negotiating and agreements. Their work is supervised by the higher-level buying staff. Basic responsibilities of a junior buyer include reviewing purchase orders, conferring with other departments to verify orders, contacting vendors and evaluating bids offered by suppliers, aiding with various purchasing procedures, inventories, accounts, proposals and similar preparations.

Junior Designer

This position typically requires a 2-year or associate’s degree in a fashion-related course of study. A design assistant will have the chance to design clothing; however, they mainly assist with finding fabrics, doing needed research and helping with finishing touches of the fashion collection. Generally, Fashion/clothing designers design clothes, accessories and shoes. Some design expensive one-off pieces. Others work in a team creating a whole range of mass-produced fashions, or specialise in particular areas such as sportswear.The responsibilities of a designer may include, producing concepts, making sketches by hand or on the computer, developing patterns, overseeing production, analysing trends in fabrics, colours and shapes.

Designers normally work from 9am to 5pm, but they may work longer hours when preparing samples for buyers or collections for fashion shows. Fashion designers usually work in a studio or small workshop. They may attend fashion shows, prediction fairs and exhibitions, as well as visit clients. Travel is often required. Fashion/clothing designers need to be creative, have an eye for colour, texture and pattern, the ability to visualise things in three dimensions, technical skills in areas such as pattern cutting, grading and garment construction and most of all to enjoy following trends in fashion and clothing.

Junior Stylist

Junior stylists work with professional stylists in order to learn the fashion and wardrobe trade. Through working as an apprentice, a junior stylist will be able to gain a position as a professional stylist usually upon completion of an internship program. Personal stylists educate their clients about all things related to fashion. Often, the task of a stylist is to dress a client either for a special occasion or on a regular basis. Most celebrities rely upon stylists to produce outfits for important gatherings, though many other people use stylists as well. Stylists also often work within the modeling and film industries as wardrobe producers. A junior stylist may be hired by a professional stylist to work as an intern. Junior stylists who secure this type of position will be able to learn about shopping, client analyzing, and selecting products suited to client needs. Designers and agents may also hire junior stylists to perform various tasks related to fashion styling and merchandising. While a junior stylist does not need to have any special degree in order to secure this type of position, those with fashion or merchandising degrees often have an advantage over their competition. This field is a highly competitive one that can only be tapped into with the right skills and connections. Therefore, obtaining a degree that pertains to the fashion industry is the best way to ensure a job as a junior stylist.

Knitwear Designer

What is the specific role of a knitwear designer?

A knitwear designer plans and produces clothing and other items, such as accessories and soft furnishings, in a range of yarns and wools. They combine an innovative approach to textiles with a practical view of the end-products as usable garments. Knitwear designers are usually involved with overseeing the production and manufacturing of their products. Many knitwear designers progress to running their own labels and providing goods direct to customers through a shop or e-commerce outlet. A smaller number of these designers are employed by large commercial companies to design clothing and other products on a larger, commercial scale.

Typical work activities for a knitwear designer include

  • Applying a practical knowledge of a range of wools, yarns and other materials in producing specific designs and products.
  • Working with equipment, such as domestic or commercial knitting machines and specialist PC software.
  • Managing and overseeing all business activities, if self-employed.
  • Liaising with outlets and shops and organising delivery of products.
  • Meeting with individual clients to plan and design a piece of work.
  • Providing workshops and courses on knitwear design and production techniques.

Pattern Maker

To work on the development of own label garments from a given design brief. Ensuring that patterns and grading are produced to the required standards of the business whilst adhering to the critical path. Experience using CAD systems (modaris/lectra) is advantageous. You will be able to use your initiative, think laterally and be innovate in order to make the patterns work. A well rounded individual who is highly motivated, enjoys working as part of a team, has a real passion for fit and deliver what the customers wants and needs.

Production Assistant

To assist with the management of the production cycle, manage the critical path from concept through to delivery. The role will oversee all administration for this process, to include coordination of all shipping and freight schedules. As a production assistant you will be involved in organising and monitoring samples. Placing production orders and keeping factories updated on sales, required deadlines and working closely to solve problems that may arise during production. Key attributes would be fashion experience, good at multi tasking, computer literate, numerate and very organised.

Product Developer

The Product Developer will be responsible for managing development of the styles from design stage through to shipment and monitoring sales once the styles are in-store. As a product developer you will be responsible for distributing technical packs to relevant factories, managing samples and trims etc. Ensuring they are fitted, approved and comments sent within the desired timeframe. You will be a strong communicator working closely with designers, buyers and QA. An excellent negotiator liaising with factories to achieve desired target margin and a person with first rate organisational skills.

QA Manager

What roles does a QA manager have?

A quality assurance, or QA, manager aims to ensure that the product or service an organisation provides is fit for its purpose and meets customer expectations. The QA manager co-ordinates the activities required to meet this aim.

The QA manager monitors and advises on how the quality management system is performing and publishes data and reports regarding company performance against set indicators. QA managers also liaise with managers and staff throughout the organisation to ensure that the QA system is functioning properly. Where appropriate, the QA manager advises on changes and their implementation and provides training, tools and techniques to enable others to achieve quality. Since maintaining quality demands constant change to meet customer expectations, QA managers employ a variety of measures to place quality at the heart of an organisation. These include management systems such as ISO 9000, philosophies such as total quality management, and methodologies such as continuous improvement.

The work of the QA manager varies with the organisation but is likely to include some or all of the following activities

  • Working with purchasing staff to establish quality requirements from external suppliers.
  • Considering the application of environmental and health/safety standards
  • Agreeing standards and establishing clearly defined quality methods for staff to apply.
  • Identifying relevant quality-related training needs.
  • Collating and analysing performance data and charts against defined parameters.
  • Ensuring tests and procedures are properly understood, carried out and evaluated and that product modifications are investigated if necessary.
  • Supervising technical staff in carrying out tests and checks.
  • Bringing together staff of different disciplines and driving the group to plan, formulate and agree comprehensive quality procedures.
  • Establishing standards of service for customers or clients.
  • Preparing clear explanatory documents such as customers’ charters.
  • Monitoring performance through gathering relevant data and producing statistical reports.

Regional / Area Manager

A Regiona l/ Area Manager is responsible for ensuring that store managers and their staff keep stores to the highest possible standards, being well organised and properly merchandised at all times; and that all policies, procedures, and controls are followed. This will also include stock control to ensure store shrink is within company guidelines so as to protect company property and assets.

The difficulty is that an area manager’s time has to be split between a number of stores and the managers of these stores, who may require different levels of support and time.

In many cases, area managers will be in an organization that is expanding or contracting depending on their success and economic cycle at that time. Therefore, the ability to understand and adapt to change management initiatives is vital to developing their own career.

The area manager job is likely to comprise many duties and responsibilities, but one of the key ones is the setting of sales and operational goals and expectations, and then ensuring that those goals and expectations are achieved through regular monitoring. This goes as far as overseeing the performance management of the entire store management team to achieve the desired results in supporting the business.

Responsible for ensuring that all customer service initiatives are in place, dealing with issues quickly and courteously, area managers need to be well organized and schedule regular store visits to ensure compliance in all areas of customer service, store operations, and loss prevention. They will be expected to train, challenge, motivate, encourage, and provide constructive guidance to store managers and the team related to all areas of effective operations.

Sales Manager

You will be expected to maximise business growth and brand integrity through the development of your own key accounts and sales team. You are likely to manage a team of Sales Executives and encourage them to grow and develop their own accounts, usually across the independent sector and/or multi door businesses. Each season you will be instrumental in devising a sales strategy to ensure company targets are met and will review the sales teams budget proposals making adjustments where required.

You will oversee and sign off new customers ensuring they are the right representative for the brand and manage the brands positioning in the market place. Management of the sales team will include training, reviews and appraisals and ensuring they are providing an excellent customer service.

Store Manager

While seemingly obvious, the job of store manager is a job title with many connotations. A store manager can also be called a branch manager or general manager and the size of business unit being managed can also vary massively.

Store managers will often be involved in a number of disciplines such as advertising campaigns and sales promotions. It is likely that they will be involved, to varying degrees, with the recruitment and training of personnel. The store manger job may also include responsibility for stock control and stock levels, budget drafting, and the recommendation or implementation of store procedures and policies. Managers may also oversee the refitting or opening of a store, plan store layouts and design displays, decide selling strategies, and in some cases, represent the store in negotiations with manufacturers.

In some companies, the store management job includes the requirement to stock shelves and work in a very “hands-on” way. A good manager, will work with their team, organising their time so that everyone is working together.

Shop Manager Assistant

As an Assistant Manager, you will be responsible for leading your team and supporting the Store Manager to ensure your store contributes to the success of the company. You will also ensure your team continues to provide excellent levels of customer service in this busy and dynamic environment. Experience of retail management is essential, along with a personable and hands on approach to the retail environment. Ideally from a fashion background you will use your flair and commerciality to maximise sales potential.


Fashion stylists create visual images, such as photographs used in magazine articles or videos used in the music industry. Working from a design brief, stylists work with teams of people such as photographers, art directors, designers, lighting technicians and set builders. Their work involves planning creative solutions to the design briefs, selecting the most suitable accessories to complement garments and arranging these appropriately. A typical weeks work can include, contacting public relation (PR) companies, manufacturers and retailers; or finding the best range of merchandise to be used in a shoot; or hiring, borrowing or purchasing garments and props, getting these garments to the studio or location and deciding which works best. It can also include dressing people, such as models, used in the shoot; building up a network of contacts and keeping a keen eye on every emerging fashion trend. Companies who employ stylists include magazines, newspapers, retail organisations, advertising agencies, publishers, media design companies and music production companies. Some stylists are self-employed and some work part time alongside another job. It is also interesting to note that, Stylists may progress from editorial assistant work on fashion magazines where there is constant contact with PR companies, manufacturers and retailers.

Stylist Assistant

An assistant fashion stylist aids the senior fashion stylist during fashion photoshoots, runway shows and at major retail stores. It is also the assistant fashion stylist’s responsibility to catalog all clothing, make sure they are returned on time and keep them from becoming damaged or lost. It is definitely a big responsibility considering that the borrowed clothes are often expensive and one of a kind, but the final result is always rewarding.

Visual Merchandiser

Merchandising is about planning and developing a strategy to enable a company to sell a range of products that delivers sales and profit targets. A Merchandiser will work closely with a Buyer to ensure the product that’s bought will enable them to achieve the sales plan.

It is essential that you have the following

  • A numerate degree i.e. Maths, Statistics, Finance, Business Studies, Geography, etc.
  • Some solid retail experience
  • Analytical Skills
  • Communication Skills
  • Resilience under Pressure
  • Commercial Awareness