As a clothing technologist, you will be responsible for creating pre-production garments that will be used for making clothes for public consumption.
This entails looking for and using the fabrics that will be used for the garments, assessing the materials used for the process of making the garments and, in turn, assessing the final product before they are manufactured into the actual clothes sold in the stores.
The general role of the clothing technologist is to handle garment production, making sure that the equipment is working efficiently, the production risks are minimized, and that the products being made are of good quality. In some cases, they work closely with the supplier of the fabrics and materials (to assess both the quality of materials and oversee the cost).
In most cases, the clothing technologists also work with the designers to ensure that the proposed production method will effectively produce the garments as specified on the design.
Salary & benefits
The discrepancy between the salary of a trainee and an experienced clothing technologist is huge. Trainees can get an annual salary from £14,000 to £20,000, while experienced clothing technologists can get as much as £70,000.
However, the biggest salary is reserved for the clothing technologist involved in research and development.
In essence, the job requires a high technical knowledge and good understanding of computer technology. Again, the job is, for most parts, about making sure that the garments are produced properly.
This means that as a clothing technologist, you will need to assess the equipment, the system, and the technology involved in producing the garments. You also need to apply your technical knowledge to meet the demands of the designer.
One possible hurdle here is the location of possible sources of employment. The companies that are involved in clothing (and even textile) technology are located in specific areas (such as London, Scotland, and West Yorkshire), so you may need to be a bit mobile to gain employment.
This field requires applicants to have a background in chemical science, textile science, and clothing technology. However, since clothing technology is largely immersed in the production of the clothes (which means that the majority of the job roles are about the process of production more than the specifics of the fabrics used), applicants with an engineering background will also be considered.
Employers will consider applicants with no degree in these fields, but they will definitely look for relevant work experience. In some cases, technicians progress into the clothing technology field by virtue of their specialisation.
Training & progression
The bigger manufacturers provide formal training to new employees, but most manufacturers focus more on work-based training.
As you gain experience, your job responsibilities will shift from technical to managerial. Depending on your technical credentials, you might be assigned to a higher position related to your area of specialisation.
However, most senior positions are managerial-based by nature. There aren’t too many senior technical positions in the clothing technology field.