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My job explained: Fashion designer

Alex Noble’s career as a fashion designer has been as glittering as the gowns he’s designed for Lady GaGa and Florence Welch. Read on as he explains that while styles may change, certain skills you’ll need will never go out-of-date.

Could you tell us a bit about your job?

I’m a designer and producer of fashion and art. This could be clothes, costumes or artworks.

Can you describe a typical working day?

Every day is as varied as the work is. Sometimes I'm working on projects I’ve generated on my own linked into my company and name, or I'm working on a commission from a client. It usually starts with a good breakfast to get my brain working, then briefing my assistants and getting started on the various jobs. It may also entail going out sourcing materials, having meetings with clients and running the administrative side of the studio.

Why did you choose to be a fashion designer?

It had always been one of my main interests growing up, but even whilst studying fashion I wasn't sure where I would fit into the industry. I had a huge passion for music and the imagery attached and was lucky enough to gain experience working with a fashion for music designer. This was where I positioned myself mainly until I started full collections for London Fashion Week.

What qualifications do you have?

I received a 2.1 BA Hons in Womenswear design from the London College of Fashion and have completed advanced pattern cutting classes since completing my degree.

What other skills do you need?

You need to be a good communicator, when meeting clients, presenting your ideas and also negotiating fees.  Have some basic business skills. Know how to keep your books and receipts so you can figure out your tax returns.

What's the best bit of your job?

The process of creation, having an idea and following it through to a finished object.

What’s the most challenging bit of your job?

There isn't much security, even when you’re massively in demand. You can’t be lazy as you only have yourself to rely on. This is challenging and rewarding, but hard work too.

Was it hard to get your first job?

Getting my first job wasn't so hard, but maintaining constant work is the bigger challenge.

What advice would you have for people who want to follow in your footsteps?

Get some experience with a designer or with a label that is going to be a good exchange of your time for a rewarding experience. Try to learn about everything when you’re there: design, cutting, studio management, ordering fabrics, suppliers. Make as many contacts as possible along the way. Stay true to your tastes and visions and take all opportunities offered to you - even if they don’t work out you will learn something from them.

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