- Aileen Yu |
Besides being a fashion designer, there are many less known positions in the creation of clothing before it hits the shelves. Garment Technologist is one of these roles that is crucial in ensuring the manufacturing of the final product runs smoothly. As fashion companies keep outsourcing production to other countries there will always be the need for garment technologists. Acting as the communicator between brand and factory, the garment technologist is responsible for making sure that the vision of the product is aligned and as expected. If you are a practical and more hands-on creative person, being a garment technologist might just be the fashion job for you.
How to become a garment technologist
Starting as a pattern cutter at a supplier is one way to gain the experience you need to become a garment technologist. Since suppliers usually have machines, it offers an opportunity to understand construction and see first hand how garments are made and pieced together. Learning how to use garment technology such as Gerber is also beneficial in developing the necessary pattern skills to be a professional garment technologist.
What to study
Studying fashion design and development at an art college as well as gaining experience in pattern cutting is important for a garment technologist. You need to know about body types, fabric performances, construction and basic maths to do the job well.
An international brand versus a startup
Global companies usually invest in young talent and may have numerous free courses you can take which is amazing for junior roles, but progression can be slow. If you are the kind of person that would like to advance quicker, try applying for a position at a smaller company. As a team member at a startup, your input can have more weight and you’re also able to implement ideas and new ways of working.
What it takes to succeed in this field
To succeed you need to be very driven and be able to see the bigger picture. You also shouldn’t just work within your area and always be willing to learn. For example, even if you start off as a part-time pattern cutter at a supplier, if you show initiative and make connections, you could end up with a garment technologist position at an international brand from one of the client contacts you build.
The role of a garment technologist
A garment technologist is responsible for the correct fit and performance of a garment. Working closely with the design team and factory, a garment technologist instructs on garment measurements and construction to enable the production of prototypes. An important role, the garment technologist also liaises directly with factories all over the world to communicate feedback. Here are example job descriptions and skills that fashion companies are looking for in a garment technologist.
Key duties and required skills:
- Work closely with Buying, Design, Merchandising and supply base.
- Risk assess products in terms of safety and analyse test reports.
- Evaluate quality of materials and checking of the final product.
- Learn through fit days, wearer trials to ensure product is competitive and ahead of market trends.
- Experience in pattern cutting and grading is essential.
- Establish and maintain relationships with suppliers, sourcing regions and technical labs.
- A good understanding of manufacturing capabilities and ability to conduct factory production assessments.
- Familiarity with PLM (product lifecycle management) systems and Adobe is desirable.
According to Kate Berry and Sally Blaxall of technical recruitment consultancy QHQ ltd,“Garment Technologist jobs do vary depending on Retailer, Supplier or Manufacturers.” Therefore, it’s important to think about your personal skills and areas of interest and then decide which type of technologist job would suit you best.