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Textile Design Degree

The textile industry revolves around the production of yarn, thread and fabric. These range from fashion items to fire hoses. Manufacturing generally includes the art of manipulating the appearance of clothing materials using traditional or digital techniques. These techniques could include weaving, knitting, embroidery, embossing, beading or lacing.
Students, who wish to pursue textile designing as a career, should look into textile design degree programs. They not only teach traditional aspects, but also look at the subject from a cultural, aesthetic and technical point of view.

Textile Design Degrees

There are various educational levels you could go for in the field of textile design. The program you should choose will be based on your prior educational qualifications for the most part.

Textile Design Associate Degree

An associate degree in textile design typically lasts around two years, and can provide hands-on technical training in construction, design and tailoring. You will learn not only freehand illustrations, but will also be exposed to computer-aided design (CAD) applications.
The textile design courses included in this program may deal with:

  • Textile production
  • Fashion illustration
  • Pattern design
  • Apparel analysis and selection
  • Computer-aided design
  • Apparel construction

In addition, there might be courses on mathematical concepts to help develop design proportion skills, and classes in merchandising and business subjects. This is to help understand the marketing aspect.

Textile Design Bachelor’s Programs

A bachelor’s degree in textile design typically leads up to a Bachelor of Fine Art (BFA). This degree lasts for four years and is offered by various colleges around the US under slightly different names.
As part of this program, you will be exposed to a combination of studio and lecture based courses. You will be given a basic understanding and training in drawing and design, to help you grasp the concept of form and shape, color theory, texture design and 2-D and 3-D design. You will also be studying the practical and theoretical aspects of weaving, screen printing, felt-making, garment production and dyeing.
The lecture based courses will help you with an understanding of textile and art history in general. Different eras of textile arts are likely to be covered as part of the curriculum, along with innovations and artistic movements that influenced modern trends.  

Textile Design Graduate Programs

If you are looking for more advance textile design programs, you ought to look into graduate programs. These programs will revolve around concepts of a greater degree of complexity and might involve complicated research projects as well.

Textile Design Masters

Textile design masters programs would typically last around two years, and would require 30-36 hours of study and a thesis, independent study or a capstone project. To enroll in a master’s program in textile design, you will typically need a bachelor’s degree, from a regionally accredited college or university. An additional admission requirement might be a curriculum vitae (CV), portfolio, letters of recommendation and writing samples. Most textile design masters program require a separate application to the department of textiles.
The coursework in a master’s program in textile design would revolve around the following study areas:

  • Costume history
  • Social and psychological theories of clothing
  • Fabric identification
  • Flat pattern construction
  • Archival and museum management

Within these courses and others, you will also cover various design problems, draping, textile evaluation, history of textiles and pattern making. Some college programs might even offer classes in fiber art and multimedia design, along with product development, digital techniques training and computer aided design (CAD).

PhD in Textile Design

A doctoral program in textile design looks at the subject from a very advance point of view, focusing on the historical, behavioral, social and psychological perspective. It tries to analyze how human behavior overlaps with subjects such as marketing, distribution and demand of textiles.
A master’s degree would typically be required for enrollment , but some universities also accept individuals with a bachelor’s degree as long as they have majored in a relevant subject area, or have taken related courses. Besides prior degree qualifications, universities will also require you to have taken the GRE or GMAT, provide transcripts from all previous schools and write a statement of purpose.
The coursework for a PhD in textile design might include the following courses in its curriculum:

  • Methods of research in textile marketing
  • Consumer science of textiles
  • Theories of consumerism
  • Global textile market
  • Global textile production

In addition to the textiles-relevant aspect, a doctorate would typically also expose you to subjects such as the science of consumerism. Students will be taught statistical and other methods to conduct research and derive conclusions based on observations, regarding textiles and marketing of textile products.

Textile Design Online Degree

Due to the nature of this degree, the equipment required and the practical aspects involved, it is very rare to find an entirely online degree in textile design. Tools such as large floor looms, digitized screen printing equipment and huge dye bins are items are difficult for students get their hands on. For this reason, most online textile design programs require students to visit the studio to complete certain requirements such as printmaking or 2D design, to earn their degree.

Careers with a Textile Design Degree

The textile industry is expanding. You can work in various capacities, either directly relevant to your degree, or indirectly related to the concepts of textile design. Here are a few positions you could pursue:

  • Clothing/textile technologist
  • Interior and spatial designer
  • Fashion designer
  • Textile designer
  • Further education lecturer
  • Museum/gallery conservator
  • Printmaker
  • Industrial/product designer
  • Rug manufacturer

With a degree in textile design, your typical employers would include design studios and consultancies; private clients, manufacturing companies, retail organizations and processing companies. Designers often specialize in fashion fabrics, accessories or soft furnishings. In this case, fresh undergraduates are often employed as apprentices or designers in major fashion houses across the United States.


Frequently Asked Question(s)

Q:Can you tell me about the areas of study in textile design programs?

A:In a textile design program, you will learn about different knitted and printed textiles, design processes, and industry demands. The curriculum will highlight different areas of study such as the following: repeat pattern design, digital print design, silkscreen print, dye methods, history of textiles, machine knitting, fashion décor, and color theory.

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