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Clothing and textile technologists design, develop and manufacture natural and synthetic yarns, fabrics and textiles.

Textile technologists need to keep up to date with trends and innovations.

What does a textile technologist do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

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

You can find out more about what life might be like as a clothing and textile technologist by reading our overview of product technology and food technology.

Typical employers

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, International Dyer and Apparel. You can find these online, and could also look at the Careers in Textiles website.

Networking, job shadowing and speculative applications may be helpful. Directories such as Textile Source and The Fashion Index can provide useful contact information.

Qualifications and training required

Although there are routes into this area of work for school leavers, most applicants will need a degree or a Higher National Diploma (HND). This should be relevant – such as clothing and textiles technology or materials and polymer sciences. A postgraduate textiles/clothing qualification can be helpful, as can industrial experience gained via vacation work, placements and final year projects or by working at a junior level. Take a look at our guide to retail work experience to help you explore your options.

To find out about how you can get into this career via a school leaver programme (eg an apprenticeship or school leaver training programme) see the retail, buying and fashion section of TARGETcareers, our website aimed at school leavers.

Key skills for clothing and textile technologists

  • Creativity
  • A good knowledge of fabric and materials
  • Commercial awareness
  • Interpersonal skills
  • The ability to work well in teams

For more information on the skills you'll need, read our article on the five skills retail employers look for – and how you can prove that you possess them.

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