Textile designers focus on knit, print, or weave, and work within a specific industry such as apparel or home furnishings. Designers must keep up with current trends and be knowledgeable about computer design software. Travel to other locales is often necessary to meet with manufacturers and suppliers of materials. Long work hours and pressing deadlines are common in this profession.
|Experience||Portfolio; some jobs may require up to 6 years of experience|
|Training||Proficiency in design software such as Illustrator, Photoshop|
|Key Skills||Good sense of color; awareness of current trends in fabrics and fashion; creativity|
|Median Salary (July 2016)||$51,995 annually|
Sources: Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com job postings in August 2012, O*Net OnLine, U.S. Bureau of Labor Satistics
Now, let's explore the steps involved in becoming a textile designer:
Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree
A bachelor's degree in textile design, graphic design, or a fashion-related field is often required to obtain a position as a textile designer. A number of colleges and vocational schools offer bachelor's degrees in textile design. Bachelor's degree programs cover a wide range of topics, including knitwear, surface and woven design, computer design software, and design history. Additional coursework may include training in drawing and illustration techniques. Graduation requirements can also include completion of a portfolio and an internship.
Complete an internship. An internship in textile design can provide hands-on experience and on-the-job training to those looking to enter the field. Interns can also learn more about specific industries, which can help students focus on a specialty within the textile design industry. The Textile Society of America maintains a list of current internship opportunities. Some colleges and vocational schools offer internship assistance to their students.
Get involved with student associations. Some schools offer student clubs for individuals studying textile design. Participating in club activities is a great way to collaborate on projects, exchange ideas, and network with other students.
Create a portfolio. Most potential employers want to see a portfolio. New textile designers often create the samples in class. Working designers should update their portfolios on a regular basis.
Step 2: Gain Experience
One way to break into the textile industry is by working as an assistant to a professional designer or applying for an entry-level position at a design firm. Some individuals may find employment through their internships.
Join a professional organization. Joining a professional organization, such as the Textile Society of America, may be beneficial to a designer just starting out in the field. Membership benefits include professional development resources, symposia, and access to publications. These associations may also provide access to a professional network of designers that could lead to job opportunities.
Consider a Master's Degree
A master's degree program in textile design can help designers advance in their careers and stand out in a challenging job market. A master's degree in textile design may include training in advanced computer applications, textile designs for apparel and home fabrics, and textile technology. A final thesis or design collection may also be required.
Let's review. If you'd like to become a textile designer you'll need to complete a bachelor's degree program in textile design, graphic design, or a fashion-related area, after which you may earn a median annual salary of $51,995.