A guide to lesser known careers in the textile industry

Beyond the obvious, the textile industry is a treasure trove of unique professions

February 10, 2024 02:52 pm | Updated 02:52 pm IST

Beyond traditional roles like textile designer and engineer, emerging positions reflect the industry’s evolution toward innovative fabrics. 

Beyond traditional roles like textile designer and engineer, emerging positions reflect the industry’s evolution toward innovative fabrics.  | Photo Credit: Freepik

The world of textiles extends far beyond the familiar images of spinning mills and fashion designers. In recent years, an array of lesser-known job opportunities has emerged, offering exciting and fulfilling career paths. From colour-matching specialists to textile conservationists, the textile industry is a treasure trove of unique professions waiting to be explored. However, the key lies in obtaining the right qualifications and skills to unlock these hidden gems. Here’s how interested students can obtain the necessary credentials for these rewarding roles.

The first step is self-discovery. Identify your specific interests within the broad spectrum of textiles. Whether it’s sustainable practices, technical innovation, or historical preservation, understanding your passion will guide your educational and professional choices. Attend industry events, as they provide a spectrum of opportunities and information that might spark new interests and bring clarity. These events not only offer valuable insights but also expose you to diverse facets of the textile world.

Education

Once you’ve pinpointed your interests, explore specialised fields in the textile industry such as technical textile engineering, colour science, and sustainability analysis. The textile industry presents diverse opportunities like fashion technologists, sustainability consultants, and technical textiles specialists that play pivotal roles in connecting design and production while guiding the industry toward eco-friendly practices.

Beyond traditional roles like textile designer and engineer, emerging positions reflect the industry’s evolution toward innovative fabrics. Additionally, accessible short-term skill development courses like Machine Operator and Electronics and Instrumentation, some with eligibility criteria as low as Class 8 pass provide entry points without a graduate degree. Roles like textile buyers, merchandisers, and quality control inspectors necessitate a robust understanding of technical intricacies, emphasising the varied skill sets valued in the textile landscape.

While exploring higher education programmes, seek out universities and institutions offering courses tailored to your chosen niche. Look for renowned textile schools with a strong reputation in your area of interest, as this lays the foundation for a comprehensive understanding of the field. While choosing a programme, consider factors such as faculty expertise, industry connections, and the comprehensiveness of the curriculum. While traditional education is valuable, be open to alternative paths like online courses, workshops, and certifications. These offer flexibility and targeted learning, allowing you to create a well-rounded education that suits your needs and preferences.

Build a network

Establishing robust connections in the domain is pivotal for professional growth. Actively participating in industry events, seminars, and webinars is imperative to network with seasoned professionals. Seeking mentorship from experienced individuals provides invaluable guidance, fostering insights crucial for success. Internships further help bridge the gap between theoretical education and practical industry demands, challenging preconceived notions about textile education in India.

Looking ahead, the future of textile education is intertwined with technology and sustainability. Emerging fields like smart textiles and circular fashion demand specialised skills. Stay attuned to these trends and consider additional qualifications that align with the industry’s trajectory.

The path to lesser-known but rewarding careers in textiles involves a thoughtful blend of education, exploration, networking, and practical experience. With the right qualifications and a proactive approach to learning, aspiring professionals can unlock the doors to a world of exciting possibilities within the vast landscape of the textile industry.

The writer is Founder and CEO, The Yarn Bazaar.

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