What is textile design?
Do you have a cozy sweater with a perfect cable knit or a favorite shirt with a unique pattern? Do you notice the texture of a shag carpet or the elevated look of a luxury car’s upholstered seats and contrast stitching? Do you own a backpack that you’ve taken on a thousand hikes that still hasn’t ripped? If so, you’ve admired the work of a textile designer.
Textile designers make all the choices that decide the look, feel and performance of memorable and functional fabrics and trims.
Design principles and fiber art are just the beginning of what our students learn. A focus on consumer research and textile science sets us apart from textile design programs at other institutions and makes our students valuable hires for interior design, apparel, performance fabric development and research positions.
In the textile design concentration of our B.S. in Fashion and Textile Design, students:
- Learn how to work from a creative concept to a physical prototype.
- Engage both sides of the brain to develop fabrics that meet industry demands and appeal to the consumer.
- Gain hands-on experience and valuable connections through juried competitions and internships.
- Develop a global perspective on the industry through study abroad opportunities at design institutions.
Our curriculum balances traditional hand techniques like tufting, tapestry weaving and rug hooking with modern techniques like Computer-Aided Design (CAD), digital textile printing, electronic weaving and Whole Garment ™ knitting. You’ll develop a portfolio, and ultimately an entire collection, using our industry-level knitting, weaving and digital printing labs filled with state-of-the-art equipment and software.
You’ll learn about:
Textile pattern design (by hand and digital methods); Development of knitted, woven and printed fabrics; embroidery, beading and other surface ornamentation techniques; Computer-Aided Design (CAD) for textile design, development and production; trend and market research; color theory; fiber science; dyeing and color chemistry
Making a difference through textile design:
Because textiles are used just about everywhere, your options for making a difference through textile design are nearly endless.
Denim dyes, which are often toxic, mix with the gallons of water used to treat each pair and get dumped into our waterways. Our faculty are advancing digital printing to develop a more “green” blue jean.
Inclusivity and Universal Design
Texture, color and material can have an impact on how we think and feel. In a recent scholarship competition, our students were challenged to create cotton products that would improve quality of life without losing aesthetic appeal.
What can I do with my degree?
From art galleries to Nordstrom and The North Face to MIT, our textile design graduates are sought out by leading employers in just about every industry. Here are just a few of the places our alumni work.
Apparel: The North Face, Kohl’s, J. Crew, Nordstrom, Abercrombie & Fitch, St. John Knits
Home Textiles: Valdese Weavers, Glen Raven, Mohawk Flooring
- (Assistant, Associate) Textile Designer: Develop printed or woven fabric designs that align with the larger creative direction of a brand or line. This includes trend research, mood board development, and yarn and color selection before developing a Computer-Aided Design (CAD) file for review. Associate and lead designers have more say in setting the creative direction than assistant designers.
- Print Designer: Create surface print designs for fabrics used in apparel, interior design and more, work with the creative team to make sure those designs fit within the company’s larger brand, and then communicate those designs effectively to overseas vendors.
- Knit Designer/Knitwear Designer: Develop knit fabric designs – taking into account yarns, colors, stitches – for home and apparel uses.
- Woven Designer: Use knowledge of yarns, textile processing, woven technology and more to develop woven textile designs for home, apparel and other applications.
- Product Designer/Developer/Manager: Design products (eg. backpacks, scarfs, pillows, shoes) with a special focus on the textile and raw materials and work with merchandising, production, technical design and more to ensure the product design is executed correctly.
- Materials Developer: Develop the custom material and fabric for a product while considering technical performance needs, testing, sustainability and sourcing.
- Trims Developer: Design trims (zippers, piping and more) and branding elements (how logos are displayed) for apparel, home and automotive industries.
- Color Specialist: Conduct consumer research and apply knowledge of color theory, fiber science, and color science to build a brand’s color palettes and make sure those colors are represented correctly in a product.
- Studio or Lab Manager: Makes sure all machines are operating, oversees purchasing of studio materials and equipment, and ensures students, artists or other employees reach their production goals.
- Freelance Designer/Entrepreneur