Clothing and textile technologist: job description
Textile technologists work with a variety of materials including man-made and natural textiles, leather, fur, plastics and metals. They may be responsible for developing fabrics for furnishings, clothing, household items, medical supplies, or textiles for use within the automotive industry. Responsibilities include:
- liaising with and providing technical advice to design, marketing, purchasing and production staff
- creating products in response to given briefs
- amending designs where necessary
- producing samples
- dyeing and printing textiles
- evaluating, identifying and selecting fabrics/products from suppliers
- ensuring that products meet set requirements and specifications (eg colour fastness, durability etc)
- checking products for suitability and testing for performance under various conditions
- controlling production and quality standards
- problem solving
- dealing with customer queries and complaints
- keeping up to date with trends and innovations
Employers of clothing and textile technologists include manufacturers of industrial textiles, small textile companies, retailers, research and development organisations and clothing manufacturers.
Jobs are advertised by careers services and recruitment agencies, in national newspapers, and in trade publications including Drapers, Knitting Trade Journal, International Dyer and Apparel.
Networking, job shadowing and speculative applications may be helpful. Directories such as Textile Source and The Fashion Index can provide useful contact information.
Suitable degree subjects for entry into the profession include: clothing and textile technology; materials and polymer sciences; mechanical, manufacturing and production engineering; physical, chemical and applied sciences and mathematics.
A postgraduate textiles/clothing qualification can be helpful for graduates from other relevant disciplines, as can industrial experience gained via vacation work, placements and final year projects or by working at a junior level.
Key skills required include creativity and a good knowledge of fabric and materials. Commercial awareness and good teamworking and interpersonal skills are also highly valued.