How To Become A Textile Designer Without Going To School

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The world of learning is changing, and like many career paths, you don’t need to go to school to become a textile designer. There are so many online courses that will teach you the essential skills in a fraction of the time and for a LOT cheaper.

One of our most successful students inside Freelance Accelerator: from Surviving to Thriving (FAST), Katerina Dimovska from Macedonia, is crushing it in her career. Katerina didn’t have any experience in textiles (and didn’t get a textile degree), yet in her first year freelancing as a textile designer, she earned more than she had in her previous year as a full-time employee.

Consistent income as freelance textile designer

Better yet, Katerina is happier in her career than she’s ever been.

“For the first time in my life, I feel like I am on the right path.”

FAST grad Katerina Dimovska, textile designer, Macedonia

Bottom Line, You Don’t Need A Degree To Be A Textile Designer! 

You just need to learn the 3 essential skills (repeats, speccing for production, and the basics of fabric + print types) and put together a simple portfolio.


What Qualifications Do You Need To Be A Textile Designer?

While going to fashion school and learning can look great on your resume, and it can be a way to network your way to a job, it’s really not required. Fashion school will set you back years and tens of thousands of dollars.

So, what qualifications do you actually need to be a textile designer, if it’s not a textile design degree on your resume? 

It depends on what kind of work you want to do and how you want to sell your designs and make money as a textile designer. So, what are the general qualifications?

What brands care most about, whether it’s a fashion brand or a home decor brand, is that your aesthetic matches theirs. They are going to instantly judge you by your designs – does your portfolio match what they want to create? If you visually connect with a brand, they could care less about fashion school or experience on your resume.

Beyond that, having a base understanding of the different types of printing techniques and how they will translate to different fabrics will be valuable. And last, understanding how to technically prepare the artwork for production and manufacturing is really helpful. This may include prepping one repeat tile at the correct scale and adding color callouts.

As long as you follow the 3 steps to becoming a textile designer, you’ll be in pretty good shape!

Keep Reading: What To Put In A Textile Design Portfolio (With Examples)