Garment Technologists ensure clothes and other types of garments meet production standards and customers’ functional preferences. If you would like to work in the technical side of the fashion industry, this could be the job for you.
1. What Do Garment Technologists Do?
Their duties include:
- Collaborating with garment/fashion designers, pattern cutters and other professionals to ensure designs meet production needs
- Identifying and sourcing fabrics for various clothing designs
- Determining the dying and printing techniques to use on various garments
- Performing research and giving technical advice to the manufacturing team (they can advise production managers on how manufacturing processes can be tweaked to improve product quality)
- Evaluating samples of finished products before they are distributed or sold (fabric testing)
- Addressing product complaints from customers or wholesalers
- Staying abreast of trends in garment production technologies
2. Work Environment
Although manufacturing is often a 24-hour process, garment technologists typically work from 9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday.
When they are not on the production floor giving technical advice to the production team, you can find them in design studios working with designers, or in testing labs for clothing and textiles.
According to the National Careers Service, entry-level garment technologists earn between £16,000 and £18,000 annually. Experienced and senior technologists earn around £25,000 and £50,000, respectively.
4. Entry Requirements
To become a garment technologist, you will need a bachelor’s degree in garment or fashion technology. Some of the courses you will study include:
- Fashion materials and form
- Pattern cutting
- Manufacturing techniques
- Woven fabric technology
- Fiber science
- Knitting technology
- Garment analysis
Institutions offering these programs include:
- Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh
- Birmingham City University, Birmingham
- Wigan and Leigh College (in partnership with Manchester Metropolitan University), Wigan.
You can also get started through an advanced-level garment technology apprenticeship program. For more information on apprenticeships in the fashion and textile industry, visit GOV.UK.
5. Career Development
To be a competent garment technologist, you need:
- Excellent analytical skills
- Excellent technical skills
- A good level of creativity
- Commercial awareness
- Good teamwork skills
- Research skills
- Good client management skills
- Good time management skills
- A methodical and innovative approach to tasks
- A sound understanding of manufacturing processes
- Good negotiation skills
- Good computer skills
- Good problem-solving skills
- Good decision-making skills
- Practical skills
6. Career Advancement
After getting hired, you will undergo on-the-job training to familiarize yourself with the company’s manufacturing processes and techniques.
To enhance your chances of moving a step ahead in your career, consider:
- Pursuing an ABC Level 3 Certificate in Apparel Manufacturing Technology (If you entered the profession as an apprentice)
- Obtaining a professional certification from the Textile Institute – The institute also offers membership opportunities
- Pursuing a master’s degree in garment technology, like the one offered at the University of the Arts London.
7. Job Opportunities
The employers of garment technologists include:
- Garment manufacturing companies
- Private garment testing laboratories
- Fashion design companies
- Large high-street retailers
- Research facilities
As an experienced garment technologist with advanced qualifications, you can progress to become a senior technologist, and later on, technical manager.
Although there has been a drop in the manufacturing industry in recent years, the British Fashion Council expects that higher productivity in the fashion sector. This in turn they expect will create more employment opportunities for professionals whose work combines fashion and manufacturing knowledge, such as garment technologists.
So if you are passionate about fashion, and you have strong technical skills, then maybe you could become a garment technologist.