Career as a Textile Designer
Updated: Oct 9
As you look around you, you will see the work of a textile designer no matter where you go. Clothing, blankets, curtains, linens, towels, carpets - all these items have come to actualization with the help of a textile designer. A textile designer is an artistic soul that plays with an amalgamation of designs, patterns and colours to create works of art using fabrics.
It is a creative field that involves creating designs from fabrics. The products created can be used for day to day items like apparel, household items but they can also be used to design protective equipment like bulletproof vests, sturdy helmets, and cut-proof gloves used by soldiers. To be useful, these fabrics must have a combination of properties such as moisture control, abrasion resistance, strength and flexibility.
What does a Textile Designer do?
A textile designer is a creative individual with a unique eye for colours, patterns, textures and attention to detail. Along with that, a textile designer has a working knowledge of current fashion trends and textile techniques.
As a textile designer, you will be working out of a studio or an office, and overseeing the production work on a product. You could be working at any of the following positions including fabric engineer, colourist, stylist, and designer, and you will be employed in-house at large apparel manufacturers, product developers, home furnishing companies, and other textile related industries.
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A Day at Work as a Textile Designer
Depending on the stage of production, your efforts will be aligned in that direction. While you will be working out of an office space or studio mainly, you can also be involved in trade shows which will require travelling, keeping up with deadlines and understanding the requirements of your customers. Once you have finalized the requirements of a design with a customer on the basis of performance, usage, weight, flammability and strength, you will need to participate in the production process and bring the design to life. In the daily life of a textile designer, you will need to adjust your workings according to deadlines and budgets along with production techniques. You will also be learning software and design tools that will enable you to bring your designs from start to finish.
Education and Training as a Textile Designer
In today’s day and age, there are plenty of career positions and opportunities as a textile designer. Although you don’t require an official college degree to start your professional journey as a textile designer, the field does have a tremendous amount of competition. Owing to the competitiveness of the field, it would be good to get an undergraduate degree, vocational training or a degree in a design equivalent course to gain an edge.
If you want to gain a strong foundation in textile designing, we encourage you to take up a bachelor’s degree in any of the fashion courses. The fashion industry currently utilizes a vast majority of textiles and the classes will be based on varieties of fabrics and textiles that are used for design purposes. In a course like this, students are going to learn more about the history of textiles, usage concepts in theory and aesthetics as well. The course work includes theory and practicals, and under practicals, the students will be completing designs, working with materials, and completing textiles and structures by using colour dyes, silks, leathers etc.
If you’re a student of textile design and you wish to study further, you can opt for any of the master’s degree courses in arts with textile design. You could go for marketing, apparel management and supply train management. These courses will help you plan your professional trajectory for the future.
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Scope in the Industry
Once you have completed your bachelors and/or masters, you will finally start your professional journey into textile designing. Relevant work experience after campus placements is important to give your career a head start. After you begin internships in relevant companies and brands, you will form relationships with designers, fashion experts, manufacturers and fashion houses which will immensely help you get ahead.
While you work in companies or under fashion houses, we urge you to enter competitions, showcase your designs in trade shows, and visit exhibitions to keep up to date with your industry. The world of textiles is always evolving and you will need to keep up with trends if you want to keep climbing the ladder. With textile design being a global industry, you can apply to an international brand or company if you wish to work abroad. Many designers also choose to work as freelancers because it gives them flexible timelines and they can participate in product shows or start their own business on the side.
Source: Photo by SI Janko Ferlic on unsplash
Opportunities as a Textile Designer
Once you complete your textile design course, there are various paths you could take to channel your creativity better. Here are some of the opportunities that you could opt for as a textile designer -
1. Designer - As a designer, you get to take two routes. Whether you work as a designer in the fashion industry or the interior design industry, you will be getting your creative freedom to create art. You will be working with fabrics, yarns and prints to design rugs, linens, towels, fabrics for furniture, etc. Your starting salary for this role can be anywhere between INR 20,000 to INR 30,000.
2. Embroidery Designer - If you are good with the needle, you can opt for a job as an embroiderer. You could even apply for specific training programs to help you learn embroidery. For this job, you need to be good at paying attention to detail and create fabrics from scratch. Your starting salary for this role can be around INR 20,000.
3. Fabric Resource Manager - As a fabric resource manager, you can get started as a fabric stylist, fabric designer and design assistant. You may require a bit more training (specific courses) for this role. You might also need to add relevant experience to your portfolio if you are applying for this job. You can apply to public and private firms for a role under Fabric Resource Manager. Your starting salary for this role can be anywhere between INR 40,000 and INR 50,000.
4. Fabric Analyst - If you love keeping up with fashion trends and culture, this one could be for you. As a Fashion Analyst, companies will hire you to give your insight on what’s trending in the market and create art using the insight. Your starting salary for this role can be anywhere between INR 50,000 to INR 65,000.
5. Design Consultant - This job is for the ones that can create aesthetically pleasing art. As a design consultant, you will be adding finishing touches to art to beautify them. Any design that needs edits, alterations or modifications is where you will come in. Your starting salary for this role will be anywhere between INR 50,000 to INR 60,000.
To be successful in the textile design industry, you need to have a keen eye for colours, patterns and fabrics. Professionals in this industry have a tremendous scope of growth owing to the demand in recent times and it’s definitely one of the most coveted jobs globally!