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Textile Artist - Fashion Career Profile

Written by FS StaffJanuary 4, 2012

What do Textile Artists do?  Where do Textile Artists work? FS takes a look:

About Textile Artists

Textile artists generate ideas and creative designs for printed textiles, patterned surfaces, knitted textiles, and woven textiles. The designs textile artists create are mass-produced for fabrics used in industries from fashion to packaging. Also called textile designers, textile artists typically choose a specialty such as fashion fabrics, but many work in multiple areas. This makes them more of an asset to companies that produce a wide range of products.
Textile Artist Jobs

Textile artists use technical, creative, and design skills to create designs for fabrics, printed textiles, patterned surfaces, and knitted or woven textiles. In the fashion industry, they design fashion fabrics for accessories, handbags, shoes, clothes, coats and jackets, and even lingerie. Depending on the industry, textile artists may create fabrics of surface patterns for toys, packaging, plastics, furniture, carpet, linen, wallpaper, or tiles.

Because textile artists are so versatile, they may work in a number of different industries. In addition to fashion, they work in industries such as the automotive industry, technical textiles, interior design, toy manufacturing, packaging, furniture design, and production. Some textile artists work for design firms that attract clients from all industries, while others are self-employed.

Textile Artist Salaries 

While textile artists might start at the lower end of the pay scale, it doesn’t take long for salaries to increase. A textile artist with zero to three years experience averages $35,000-$45,000 per year. With four to ten years’ experience, a textile artist can earn $43,000-$74,000 per year. Once you reach the 10+ year mark, you can expect to earn anywhere from $75,000 up to $150,000 or more per year.

Programs to Consider: 

Becoming a Textile Artist

Many employers prefer applicants with a degree in textile design, apparel and textiles, fiber, textile and weaving art, fine art, fashion and textile management or fashion design. Experience through an internship, apprenticeship, or paid position is required, as well as experience with Illustrator or PhotoShop. According to the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, solid technical skills in working with yarns, fiber and fabric structures and performances, dyes and printing, end uses, chemical compositions, flat pattern drafting, and technical sketching are a must.

Fortunately, in the U.S., there are 300 National Association of Schools of Art and Design accredited postsecondary institutions that offer art and design programs. Most, if not all, offer internships with textile companies, design studios, art studios, and more. An internship can help you develop all of the skills needed to excel in the industry.

Job Trends for Textile Artists 

Thanks to an increase in importing in the U.S. and advances in technology, employment in the textile industry is expected to decline by 15 percent for the 2008-2018 decade. This doesn’t mean you can’t find a job in the industry. What it does mean is that positions are competitive, so the more education and skills you have, the better. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the most skilled workers are expected to experience little or no change in employment.