4
The Textile Designer

The term ‘textile designer’ no longer has a simple definition - the role comprises a myriad of descriptions, including: engineer, inventor, scientist, designer and creative. Textile designers have to comprehend the requirements of the textile manufacturer and the intricacies of the marketplace. Starting with a consideration of the eventual use of a fabric, they develop ideas and realize their concepts. Marketable fabrics are created on the basis of informed decisions about colour, construction, composition, surface, pattern and yarn structure. Depending on the textile designer's area of expertise, be it creative or scientific, design outcomes can range from fabrics for use in fashion and interiors to highly complex, technologically advanced, performance materials. Areas of application range from aerospace to the world of sports. A textile designer has to find the right balance between creativity, innovation and commercialism.

Career options in textile design vary around the world but they can include selling designs directly to companies or other types of designer; selling through textile agents; working in a company that specializes in textile design; working in a special design section of a product manufacturer. Company environments are typically described as a ‘design studio’. Designers who sell directly, sell through agents or have no fixed employment would generally be classified as ‘freelance designers’. Categories or types of textile designer within the fashion and interior worlds range from the conceptual to the commercial and the chemical to the creative. Each is found in a variety of environments, working from home, in a studio or agency, in industry or a laboratory, linking them to parallel worlds of arts, culture, industry, science and commerce. In a country like the UK a large number of textile design graduates seek to establish themselves as freelance designers, many within a year of leaving higher education. This vocation always proves to be a popular choice and is seen as a flexible and glamorous career option: possibly the potential reward of fame and recognition among peers is the driving force behind decisions to enter this type of employment.

There are various levels of entry into the world of textile design, and the idea of market segmentation, of a high, middle and low, is shared with other sectors of the textile industry. Distinctions between these levels are based on issues of creative quality, exclusivity and costs. The status and recognition, which is associated with entry at the higher level, is probably that most desired by design graduates. This is

-37-

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The Textile Book
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Part I - Overviews *
  • 1 - What is Textiles? 3
  • 2 - The Culture Place of Textiles 7
  • 3 - Perceptions of Fabric 21
  • Part II - The Creative *
  • 4 - The Textile Designer 37
  • 5 - The Designer Maker 49
  • 6 - The Craftperson 63
  • 7 - The Textile Artist 77
  • Part III - The Social and Industrial Context *
  • 8 - Globel Textiles Tradition 91
  • 9 - Ecology 107
  • 10 - Industry 121
  • 11 - The Role of Trends and Forecasting 133
  • Part IV - Related Disciplines and Studies *
  • 12 - The Buyer 145
  • 13 - Journalism 157
  • 14 - Science 167
  • 15 - Research 179
  • Bibliography 191
  • Index 201
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