The Student Room Group

A level product design or textiles?

I’ll probably do a designing degree when I go to university but I don’t know which one to choose for a levels. I haven’t done textiles like ever in my life because I missed those lessons during lockdown and I never chose it for gcse. I chose resistant materials for my gcse and I would say I’m good at it but I don’t particularly enjoy it. I’ve always wanted to study textiles and like design clothes and stuff but I don’t think I’ll probably choose that as a career path.
I’ve watched lots of choosing your a levels videos and all of them have said to choose subjects that you will enjoy but I don’t even know if I will enjoy textiles or not.
And I’ll probably study like architecture or interior design when I’m in university so I don’t think textiles would be very useful so I should choose product design. But idk what to do now. If you were in my position what would you do?
Original post by anonymous7070
I’ll probably do a designing degree when I go to university but I don’t know which one to choose for a levels. I haven’t done textiles like ever in my life because I missed those lessons during lockdown and I never chose it for gcse. I chose resistant materials for my gcse and I would say I’m good at it but I don’t particularly enjoy it. I’ve always wanted to study textiles and like design clothes and stuff but I don’t think I’ll probably choose that as a career path.
I’ve watched lots of choosing your a levels videos and all of them have said to choose subjects that you will enjoy but I don’t even know if I will enjoy textiles or not.
And I’ll probably study like architecture or interior design when I’m in university so I don’t think textiles would be very useful so I should choose product design. But idk what to do now. If you were in my position what would you do?

My standard procedure for picking A Levels is:

1.

Look at the job requirements for the roles that you're interested in (e.g. https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/explore-careers)

2.

If they require a degree, does the degree need to be accredited? If so, which degrees are eligible? If not, it doesn't matter so skip this step

3.

From the degrees requirements for the degrees that you need to do (if you need to do them), look at the subject requirements for A Level subjects. If there are no such requirements, skip this step. If there are, just make sure the essential subject(s) (should only be at most 2) are in your subject choices.

4.

For any number of A Levels that you are not required to have in your choices, pick subjects that you are either very good at and/or you really want to do. I would prioritise grades over enjoyment, so long the subjects are acceptable for the uni that you want to apply for (some are picky about whether the subjects are considered academic or not).

5.

If the desired job roles don't require any particular degrees, or A Levels, then it doesn't matter which subjects you pick. I would try to get work experience, look at apprenticeships, or apply for internships whilst you do your A Levels. Even if A Levels are not required for your job role, it's usually a lot cheaper to do your A Levels when it's free and available as opposed to doing them privately after 18 or 25.

6.

As far as I know, there are usually no specific subjects required at A Level for any professional qualifications issued in the UK except for actuary where they ask for A Level Maths.

To my knowledge, architecture, interior design, textiles, and product design don't usually require specific subjects. The only exceptions that I know of are some specialist unis that ask for Art and Design for some degrees in architecture and interior design. There is one RIBA accredited architecture degree that's based in engineering in the UK, and there are some product design degrees that are more akin to engineering; both of which would be asking for A Level Maths and Physics.
Furthermore, doing degrees are usually not helpful for getting into textiles or interior design, neither of which should require any particular qualifications (just skills and talent). You can do apprenticeships in architecture and product design (highly recommended), but there are degrees if you need them. For architecture, the degree needs to be RIBA accredited be it through a degree apprenticeship or degree.

If you want to design clothes, I don't think doing textiles would be of benefit. You would typically need a portfolio of designs for designer roles, but usually they make you work your way up from the bottom (and usually make you beg for the role due to the level of competition). The theory in textiles, I would argue, doesn't really help you that much in the role unless you're bad at sewing.

If you're adamant about working in a design related role, then I recommend doing Art and Design at A Level, even if it's not a required subject for any of the degrees that you want to do. The design skills tend to be great for a lot of the roles, and it gives you a better idea whether those sort of jobs would be something that you would want to do as well as giving you the opportunity to put together a portfolio for uni applications.
The only time I wouldn't recommend Art and Design is if you would end up with a bad grade in it and you can get good A Level grades with other subjects. The grades are important for most degree applications.

However, that's just my take.
Original post by MindMax2000
My standard procedure for picking A Levels is:

1.

Look at the job requirements for the roles that you're interested in (e.g. https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/explore-careers)

2.

If they require a degree, does the degree need to be accredited? If so, which degrees are eligible? If not, it doesn't matter so skip this step

3.

From the degrees requirements for the degrees that you need to do (if you need to do them), look at the subject requirements for A Level subjects. If there are no such requirements, skip this step. If there are, just make sure the essential subject(s) (should only be at most 2) are in your subject choices.

4.

For any number of A Levels that you are not required to have in your choices, pick subjects that you are either very good at and/or you really want to do. I would prioritise grades over enjoyment, so long the subjects are acceptable for the uni that you want to apply for (some are picky about whether the subjects are considered academic or not).

5.

If the desired job roles don't require any particular degrees, or A Levels, then it doesn't matter which subjects you pick. I would try to get work experience, look at apprenticeships, or apply for internships whilst you do your A Levels. Even if A Levels are not required for your job role, it's usually a lot cheaper to do your A Levels when it's free and available as opposed to doing them privately after 18 or 25.

6.

As far as I know, there are usually no specific subjects required at A Level for any professional qualifications issued in the UK except for actuary where they ask for A Level Maths.

To my knowledge, architecture, interior design, textiles, and product design don't usually require specific subjects. The only exceptions that I know of are some specialist unis that ask for Art and Design for some degrees in architecture and interior design. There is one RIBA accredited architecture degree that's based in engineering in the UK, and there are some product design degrees that are more akin to engineering; both of which would be asking for A Level Maths and Physics.
Furthermore, doing degrees are usually not helpful for getting into textiles or interior design, neither of which should require any particular qualifications (just skills and talent). You can do apprenticeships in architecture and product design (highly recommended), but there are degrees if you need them. For architecture, the degree needs to be RIBA accredited be it through a degree apprenticeship or degree.
If you want to design clothes, I don't think doing textiles would be of benefit. You would typically need a portfolio of designs for designer roles, but usually they make you work your way up from the bottom (and usually make you beg for the role due to the level of competition). The theory in textiles, I would argue, doesn't really help you that much in the role unless you're bad at sewing.
If you're adamant about working in a design related role, then I recommend doing Art and Design at A Level, even if it's not a required subject for any of the degrees that you want to do. The design skills tend to be great for a lot of the roles, and it gives you a better idea whether those sort of jobs would be something that you would want to do as well as giving you the opportunity to put together a portfolio for uni applications.
The only time I wouldn't recommend Art and Design is if you would end up with a bad grade in it and you can get good A Level grades with other subjects. The grades are important for most degree applications.
However, that's just my take.


Thank you for your reply. I don’t want to do art and design for a levels because i chose it for gcse. I am really good at it but the coursework was too much for me and I know I will struggle even more with a levels.

Also I’m confused about the designing clothes thing. I thought that textiles a level involves having a portfolio/coursework of designs
Original post by anonymous7070
Thank you for your reply. I don’t want to do art and design for a levels because i chose it for gcse. I am really good at it but the coursework was too much for me and I know I will struggle even more with a levels.
Also I’m confused about the designing clothes thing. I thought that textiles a level involves having a portfolio/coursework of designs

I don’t want to do art and design for a levels because i chose it for gcse. I am really good at it but the coursework was too much for me and I know I will struggle even more with a levels.
I think I can safely say it's going to be similar for any design related A Level involving coursework, even though I haven't done a design based A Level (disclaimer). Design based A Levels as far as I can see aren't supposed to be project free and pure theory.

Also I’m confused about the designing clothes thing. I thought that textiles a level involves having a portfolio/coursework of designs
They do. The following are the specifications for possible UK exam boards in textiles:
https://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/design-and-technology/a-level/design-and-technology-fashion-and-textiles-7562/specification-at-a-glance
https://www.ocr.org.uk/qualifications/as-and-a-level/design-and-technology-h004-h006-h404-h406-from-2017/specification-at-a-glance/
No matter which of the 2 above that your college picks (not you unfortunately), you will be required to complete an NEA project i.e. coursework/portfolio of designs.
I am not sure what you are confused about.
If you want to design clothes, I don't think doingtextiles would be of benefit. You would typically needa portfolio of designs for designer roles
I was confused about this bit because u said that textiles isnt really useful and I need a portfolio of designs but texiles does involve a portfolio of designs.

I have done Dt coursework before and I was more organised and better at that than my art coursework. I know that all of the design a levels will require coursework, but I struggled with my art coursework but not my Dt
Original post by anonymous7070
If you want to design clothes, I don't think doingtextiles would be of benefit. You would typically needa portfolio of designs for designer roles
I was confused about this bit because u said that textiles isnt really useful and I need a portfolio of designs but texiles does involve a portfolio of designs.
I have done Dt coursework before and I was more organised and better at that than my art coursework. I know that all of the design a levels will require coursework, but I struggled with my art coursework but not my Dt
I was confused about this bit because u said that textiles isnt really useful and I need a portfolio of designs but texiles does involve a portfolio of designs
Sorry, should have been clearer.

As far as I know (disclaimer: I don't work in the industry), fashion design tend to focus more on the portfolio of art designs i.e. more art and less about actual finished fabrics (you can still take photos of your finished products though). The A Levels in Textiles do cover both design and finished fabrics though.

See the following for example:
https://www.retailappointment.co.uk/career-advice/finding-a-job/interview-tips-for-fashion-designers
https://uk.indeed.com/career-advice/finding-a-job/portfolio-fashion-design
https://www.fashionretailacademy.ac.uk/news/how-to-make-a-fashion-portfolio
https://www.fashiondesignacademy.co.uk/blog/designing-your-fashion-portfolio
https://beyondtalentrecruitment.com/blog/fashion-designer-portfolio-for-job
Original post by anonymous7070
I’ll probably do a designing degree when I go to university but I don’t know which one to choose for a levels. I haven’t done textiles like ever in my life because I missed those lessons during lockdown and I never chose it for gcse. I chose resistant materials for my gcse and I would say I’m good at it but I don’t particularly enjoy it. I’ve always wanted to study textiles and like design clothes and stuff but I don’t think I’ll probably choose that as a career path.
I’ve watched lots of choosing your a levels videos and all of them have said to choose subjects that you will enjoy but I don’t even know if I will enjoy textiles or not.
And I’ll probably study like architecture or interior design when I’m in university so I don’t think textiles would be very useful so I should choose product design. But idk what to do now. If you were in my position what would you do?


For architecture, any creative A level is fine (art, product design, textiles, etc.). Textiles is a good choice if you do want to pursue it. The following quote is from an uni architecture lecturer who was giving advice about creating a portfolio:

"Think about how you might demonstrate 3D thinking and making. (Personally I really like to see portfolios from textiles courses - taking something 1D and making it 2D, taking something 2D and making something 3D. Architectural design is essentially spatial / void rather than volume / solid, so I think textiles are the closest you can get to studying architecture before studying Architecture in the UK.) We will want to see your thought processes (and how you approach a ‘problem’)."

Also, have a look at the following A levels for Architecture thread:

https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=7361710
Original post by normaw
For architecture, any creative A level is fine (art, product design, textiles, etc.). Textiles is a good choice if you do want to pursue it. The following quote is from an uni architecture lecturer who was giving advice about creating a portfolio:
"Think about how you might demonstrate 3D thinking and making. (Personally I really like to see portfolios from textiles courses - taking something 1D and making it 2D, taking something 2D and making something 3D. Architectural design is essentially spatial / void rather than volume / solid, so I think textiles are the closest you can get to studying architecture before studying Architecture in the UK.) We will want to see your thought processes (and how you approach a ‘problem’)."
Also, have a look at the following A levels for Architecture thread:
https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=7361710
Do you think it’s okay to do textiles a levels if I’ve never done it before for gcses?
(edited 3 weeks ago)
Original post by anonymous7070
Do you think it’s okay to do textiles a levels if I’ve never done it before for gcses?


I can't advise on that sorry - ask the teacher who runs the course. :smile:
Reply 9
Original post by anonymous7070
Do you think it’s okay to do textiles a levels if I’ve never done it before for gcses?

hi! i came from an IB school before moving to do A-Level Textiles in sixth form so didn't do GCSE Textiles or any equivalent in my own school. it is definitely okay to not have done it for GCSEs as all the coursework and theory starts from the beginning - obvs prior knowledge is good but not necessary! hope this helps xx

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