How Do I Become a Textile Designer?

Silk, a type of textile.
Sateen fabric.
A closeup of satin cloth.
Polyester fabric.
A folded square of linen.
A finished textile.
Article Details
  • Written By: Jessica Reed
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 17 July 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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A textile designer, sometimes referred to as a fabric designer, is responsible for creating two dimensional patterns that appear on a variety of different fabrics. The fabrics might appear in clothing, as part of a tablecloth, or on another fabric item like a bedspread. To become a textile designer, a person needs to have strong fashion sense, research skills, and design skills. Classes and degrees are available to help a student become a textile designer, but no formal education is required. Often only a high school degree is needed and on-the-job training provides the necessary skills.

Those who want to become a textile designer should consider their artistic skills and how interested they are in keeping up with current trends. Whether the fabric is used for clothing or not, knowing what patterns and colors are in style plays an important role in textile design. An interested person will need to constantly research the market for trends and keep up-to-date on developments both in style and on the manufacturing end.

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After completing high school, a student interested in textile design should consider a degree in textile design from a university. Alternatively, she may consider an art degree or an associate degree in a computer-related field. Computer-aided design (CAD) skills are important, since the student will need to both sketch her designs by hand and recreate them on a computer. It is strongly recommended that a student who wants to become a textile designer take a few art or design classes even without seeking a degree. Understanding color theory and understanding key design principles will aid in creating popular textile patterns.

Bachelor's degrees in fashion design and textile design are offered through certain universities. If the student is interested and can afford it, she may consider earning this four-year degree before breaking into the textile market. If she wants a job with a large company, this degree can help. If the student is interested in starting out freelance and exploring the field, taking a few classes and waiting on earning a degree may provide better direction for her career path. While a degree impresses employers, design skills and a strong portfolio is the key to earning a good textile design job.

Whether a student decides to pursue some college education or decides to start out with the skills she has, it's important to research the current trends in the market and to understand the manufacturing process. Knowing the cost and process of manufacturing different fabrics, along with how well the fabrics fit a client's needs and budget, is crucial. Working as an assistant or intern to a textile designer can increase a student's awareness and skills.

Anyone who wants to become a textile designer should keep a portfolio of her work. This portfolio should include hand drawn sketches and pattern designs, computer created sketches, and any finished or sample products. Most textile designers start working at part-time or even temporary jobs to build their skills and portfolio. As their work experience grows, they can seek employment with higher paying businesses.

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