Wow, those velvet cushions in Gucci’s new homewares collection look amazing!
Did you instantly relate to the sentence above? Do you often find yourself obsessing over fabrics and prints? Do emerging trends in the textile industry drive you? Well, if the answer is yes, then you might enjoy an exciting and rewarding career as a textile designer.
From fibres to fabrics, the design and development of textiles are key in the world of fashion. If you’re someone who is creative-minded and a divergent thinker then you will be able to do wonders in the field. Understanding more about the job of a textile designer and how to become one may help prepare you for your career in the textile industry and let you decide whether it is the right path for you. So keep scrolling!
What is textile design?
Textile design is the process of planning and producing a fabric’s appearance and structure. The job of a textile designer entails creating patterns and designs for fabrics. These fabrics can be used in the fashion industry or the field of interior design, and their designs could appear on anything from clothing to curtains to towels to other soft home goods.
Textile designers are required to collaborate with design teams, fashion houses, fabric manufacturers, retailers, and buyers.
Courses to pursue a textile design career in India
If you have completed your class 12th in any stream then you are eligible to pursue a bachelor’s degree or diploma in textile design, which will help you kickstart your textile design career in India.
A bachelor’s degree in textile design will provide you with a foundation in the field through theoretical learning and practical exposure. The course curriculum will offer classes covering topics like the creation and design of different types of fabrics, design and development of textile sculptures, constructed textiles, and surface textiles. Studio classes will provide hands-on experience, including colour usage, textile design processes, repeat patternings, computer-aided textile design, and knitted and woven design.
After pursuing a bachelor’s in the field, if you want to earn a master’s degree, then you have the option to choose from a master of arts in textile and apparel design, a master of arts in textiles and marketing, or a master of arts in textiles and supply chain management.
Basic foundational knowledge of computer software, mathematics, patterning, and design is important before applying for these courses. Many institutes offering these courses in India require candidates to clear an entrance exam which is based on the above-mentioned subjects.
While in college as an aspiring textile designer, you might get several opportunities to gain real-world experience in the textile industry through workshops and internships where you can get to interact and network with some of the leading professionals in the field. You can get a chance to build a portfolio, which will add weight to your resume while applying for textile designer jobs.
Here are some of the top colleges where you can enroll and take the first step towards your textile design career in India:
- National Institute of Design (NID) Ahmedabad
- National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), Mumbai
- International School of Design (INSD), Pune
- Pearl Academy, Delhi
- Amity University, Noida
Apart from professional courses and learning, there are certain skills required to become a successful textile designer. They are:
- Ability to work under the constraint of deadlines and budgets
- Artistic and creative thinking
- Attention to design and detail
- Good communication, presentation, and negotiation skills
- Knowledge of design-related software
- Problem-solving skills
- Understanding colour, shape, and form
How to start your career in the field?
Textile designers begin their careers with internships/training and entry-level jobs. Here are a few tips on how you can start and grow your career in the field:
The first and most crucial step is to get formal education through a bachelor’s degree in textile design. You can hone your skills by taking up additional free certificate courses like digital printing, surface design, graphic design, or textile pattern design that will sharpen your skills and set you apart from the crowd.
Take up internships
Get valuable experience as an intern while you’re in school. Internships offer great opportunities to learn things hands-on and are an excellent way to build industry networks and start your career. Internships might also help you figure out your specialty or area of focus.
Find entry-level jobs
If you excel at your internship and can learn well on the job, then it might land you your first entry-level job. If you don’t pursue the internship route, it’s a good idea to hunt for entry-level jobs when you get close to graduation. Talk to your professors and teaching assistants for leads, and turn to professional networking sites like LinkedIn to find opportunities on your own. An entry-level job will give you deeper insights into the field and give you a host of networking opportunities.
Tips for becoming successful as a textile designer
The field of textile design is highly competitive, and to gain an edge over other candidates or open your own business you need to continuously upgrade your skills, keeping an eye on the latest fabric trends, design technologies, etc. Here are some tips that you can use to excel in the field:
Research different types of textiles
It is essential to understand the construction of weaves and handmade or machine-made fabrics, how certain dyes and designs will look on specific materials, and how designs will look over time. You also need to learn about different design techniques and which ones work best on the fabrics that you are working with.
Build a solid portfolio of work
It is ideal to have both a physical and a digital portfolio to showcase your work and what you’ve learned. Your portfolio can have illustrations, sketches, images, concept notes, and the techniques used to achieve them. Explain your ideas well to the clients that you’re pitching to. You can also collaborate with professional designers to incorporate your fabrics into their designs for more exposure of your work.
Network with industry experts
Making connections is essential to finding work opportunities in every field. Get to know fellow designers in your training program and build a network online to increase your chances of finding good textile designer jobs.
Follow trends in textile design
Research famous historical trends in textile and keep up with current ones. Keep a collection of designs you love for inspiration. You can search for inspiration online and save it for future reference.
Continue to upskill
Keep your design skills up to date by learning new printing and fabric design techniques. You can take online courses in textile design or digital design to keep your creations fresh and gain a competitive edge in the field. You can also get a master’s degree to get deeper insights into the field of textiles. The key to success is never stop feeding your passion.
Textile designer job description & work environment
A textile designer’s job involves working a regular work week. However, there might occasionally be a need to work overtime hours to meet a deadline. As a textile designer, you are also required to travel to meet with suppliers and manufacturers.
The job will also require you to have excellent negotiation skills and the ability to work within a budget while meeting deadlines. You will also have to keep up with the latest trends and production techniques.
There are several careers in a variety of industries for graduates of a textile design program other than weaver or textile pattern designer jobs, which include:
- Freelance textile artist
- Home furnishings textile design artist
- Interior designer
- Product developer
- Quality inspector
If you have completed your master’s degree in the field you can quickly move out of an entry-level position and enter a managerial role. A few choices might include:
- Textiles production manager
- Quality assurance manager
- Research and development analyst
- Textile supply chain manager
- Textile marketing manager
Textile designer jobs: Salary insights & scope
With an increasing population comes an increase in purchasing power, and the textile industry is growing by leaps and bounds, creating several opportunities for professionals in the field.
There are various sectors where textile designers are in high demand. Some of these are:
- Hand-loom industry
- Textile industry (domestic & exports)
- Crafts industry
- Manufacturing industry
You will be required to collaborate with fashion designers, and interior designers to create unique designs and patterns.
However, to get a job in the field, acquiring your degree or a diploma is not enough. It is also imperative that you gain some hands-on experience through internships and on-the-job training programs. You can also get some experience by working in a small business in your city while you are in college. Another way in which you will be able to polish your skills will be through attending workshops and exhibitions arranged by different organizations.
Bear in mind that if you get your degree from any of the prestigious institutes in the country, you can expect on-campus recruitment with a handsome salary package.
If we talk about remuneration, it will vary greatly depending on education, geographic location, industry, and experience. Pay also varies depending on the reputation of the individual. Someone who has many years of experience and a stellar reputation in the industry as a successful independent designer can make up to a 7-figure salary.
Pros and cons of being a textile designer
Like with any career choice, there are pros and cons. Here are some of the benefits and some not-so-pleasant features of working in textiles:
- A very competitive market for those who love challenges
- Fame and recognition
- Handsome salary and a lot of freelance work opportunities
- Tasks and projects can get stressful
- Unintentional copyright lawsuits
- The constant pressure to be creative & tight deadlines
Still confused about whether textile design is the right career choice for you? Let’s find out together.
Book a 1-on-1 session with LaunchMyCareer today and seek expert guidance from our career advisors.