International demand for UK fashion designers and developers

London is recognised as one of the fashion capitals of the world, and with renowned centres for fashion learning across the UK, it’s no wonder our designers and developers are sought overseas. Michael Page Design & Development discusses what relocating to Europe could do for your career.
Because UK-based fashion designers and developers/technicians have an excellent global reputation, European organisations actively look to attract them. If you’re looking to develop your career, experience abroad can give you a great insight into global trends and demands.
Due to the cost and investment involved in relocating, the appetite for international talent is generally greater for higher level roles, rather than at the assistant/junior level.
European organisations are particularly attracted to fashion design and development specialists who’ve established their careers in the UK due to the following factors:
1. Trend focused, competitive market – candidates have experience working within one of the fastest moving, most dynamic fashion centres in the world.
2. Reputation of colleges and universities – UK-based fashion designers and developers have been well trained technically because of the amount of fashion-specific colleges and universities with excellent reputations.

What are the benefits in relocating for UK-based fashion designers and developers?

If you decide to relocate internationally, make sure you’ve thoroughly researched and properly planned your move. Taking this leap might sound overwhelming but consider the following ways it will add value to your CV and develop your current skill set:
  • Potential for market growth – the fashion industry in many European countries is on the up, so the chance to make a big impact to an organisation’s strategy and drive double-digit growth is a reality.
  • Exposure to international customer base – you’ll get hands-on experience of the design and technical variances of different countries. This is particularly useful as many EU businesses trade across multiple markets.
  • Influence decisions – being recruited from the UK because of your track record, knowledge and expertise should mean that you’re given the opportunity to influence an organisation’s development. You might also be required to educate and communicate best practice.
  • Career development – if you decide to return to the UK market, you might be better placed than a candidate with no international experience. Many UK businesses are encouraged by professionals with exposure to multiple markets as it shows you’ll have different perspectives and a versatile skill set. There is often the opportunity to progress in an organisation quickly with the added experience.

Research your options

Demand is wide-spread, but you should decide carefully where you’d be best placed, because European countries are in varying stages of fashion development. Western markets have demonstrated more development and growth than in central and eastern European countries.
Thinking long-term, if you want to be successful in a market that operates internationally, you need to have an understanding of the global market’s trends and demands. If you’re a designer you will become more rounded with exposure to an international customer base. As a developer or technician you will gain an understanding of different technical specifications, such as sizing and grading, across different continents. Working in international markets can be very lucrative, not to mention the fact it can be a very enjoyable and fulfilling experience.
Michael Page Design & Development works with our international offices to recruit and place fashion design and development candidates in Europe, making use of our global sourcing network and sharing relocatable candidates. Our global office network is particularly useful during the interview process; we understand that line managers in the sector often travel worldwide, so you’ll need interviews to fit in with your schedule.
For more information on progressing your fashion design and development career internationally, please get in touch with the Michael Page Design & Development team. Or for more advice on relocating for a role, read our article on the matter in the Career Centre.