Textile Designer Education Requirements and Career Information
Textile designers create patterns and prints in fabrics for furniture, rugs, bed linens, towels and apparel. They typically specialize in either clothing or interior textiles. Most employers require textile designers to hold a bachelor's degree.
Education Requirements for Textile Designers
Textile designers often hold either an associate's degree or a bachelor's degree, such as a Bachelor of Fine Arts, a Bachelor of Arts in Design or a Bachelor of Arts in Textile Design. In a textile design degree program, students explore the basics of color, texture and form, while learning about the properties of different yarns, fibers, dyes and fabrics. They also study textile history and the philosophy of design and create sketches and sample prints.
Students pursuing textile design degrees attend lectures and work in studios, creating their designs on weaving or printing equipment. They also study trends and learn about marketability. Additionally, some students may participate in professional internships during their course of study. Graduate programs in textile design are also available and provide more in-depth coverage of marketing, visual communications, product development, digital imaging and costume design.
Textile designers create designs for printed, woven and knitted fabrics. A textile designer may work with teams of designers and purchasing staff for design agencies or as a freelancer. Communication skills are essential for teamwork and for translating clients' ideas into sketches and samples. To stay current and produce marketable designs, textile designers also attend trade shows.
While most textiles designers are employed in the fashion industry, they may also be able to find jobs in interior design, where their work may include patterns for rugs, furniture, bed linens and towels. Designers are likely to specialize in printed, knitted or woven fabrics, and their job duties may include a variety of different activities. For example, as described in a job posting, a company that is looking for textile designers to develop fabrics, yarns, trims and prints may also expect them to supervise and manage production time lines, create artwork and test materials. Designers may find employment with major retailers or product developers for apparel or interior textiles. They may also find work as style directors, teachers, fashion critics, design writers or independent designers.
Textile designers must be creative and well organized. They should possess the ability to work collaboratively, meet deadlines and work well under pressure. Due to evolving technology, the industry is in a state of constant change, and textile designers must stay up-to-date with both fabric and fashion trends.
Designers create and present design sketches, so they must understand color, fabric and texture. As detailed in job postings, textile designers should be knowledgeable about relevant software, such as Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, CAD (computer-aided design) and Web PLM fabric-tracking systems. They must also be able to maintain deadlines and use their networking skills to develop and maintain business contacts.
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), the textile, apparel and furnishing occupations are expected to decline rapidly in the U.S. from 2008 through 2018. This is because a majority of manufacturers are moving overseas, where labor is cheaper. During the same period, the BLS also expects little to no change in opportunities for those in the fashion design business. As of 2008, the median salary for designers in the fashion industry was $61,160.
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