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How do I Become a Technical Designer in Fashion?

By Carol Francois
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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Someone who is interested in fashion might want to become a technical designer. The primary responsibility of a technician designer in fashion is to work on measurements, pattern development and fit issues. He or she takes the initial design and creates the detailed pattern that is used by the production staff to create the item. The technical designer is responsible for minimizing waste and costs by arranging the pattern on the material in the most efficient way possible.

The first step required to become a technical designer in fashion is to complete a post-secondary training program in fashion, pattern-making technology or technical design. These programs are available only through dedicated fashion schools. The competition for admissions is very intense, because there is a very limited number of positions available each year.

Additional courses in sewing and garment construction are very important for anyone who wants to become a technical designer. The skills developed here will improve the communication with the designer and the ability to quickly evaluate the issues with a pattern. Advanced computer skills with illustration and pattern-creation programs is essential, because this work is now done on computers. The final file is provided to the factory electronically, minimizing errors.

Gaining experience in the fashion industry can be a challenge. The most effective way to do this is through an internship. These three- to six-month opportunities normally are arranged through the fashion designer school, based on relationships with local fashion design companies. Related experience can include working for a fabric supplier or clothing manufacturer company. Positions in these companies provide insight into how the instructions should arrive from the technical designer and the challenges that can occur.

Securing a full-time position as a technical designer requires a combination of experience and an excellent portfolio. The portfolio is not a series of fashion designs, rather it is samples of patterns, production packages and proposals. This is a position that requires a great deal of accuracy and precision. Mistakes are very costly, and someone who can demonstrate the appropriate attention to detail will have a better chance of success.

The career advancement opportunities for someone who has become a technical designer include working as a senior designer, technical director or production manager. These positions offer excellent compensation packages, as well as the opportunity to work with people from around the world. The vast majority of fashion is actually manufactured in Asia, creating opportunities for travel.

Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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