Textile Design and Engineering

The textile sector in India can be likened to that huge billboard at the signal you just cannot ignore. It not only provides for one of the most basic physiological needs of the people in the country, but is also responsible for enormous economic development. According to the Government of India’s website it is one of the most capital and labor intensive industry that contributes four per cent to the country’s GDP and 13.5 percent to the annual export earnings. Responsible for the direct employment of 35 million Indians, it is the second largest employer after the agricultural sector in the nation. This is further supported by India’s rich and varied heritage of textiles that makes a career in textile design an exciting proposition.

What is textile designing?

Any material or surface comprising of fibres made by weaving, knitting, crocheting or pressing together fibers (felting) is called a textile. Different textiles can be created by altering any of these techniques or creating an entirely new technique. We change to surface of a textile by dyeing, printing, texturing or embroidering. A good course in textile design should mainly equip you with an understanding of all these areas so as to create a textile and also manipulate these techniques to create completely new textiles altogether.

Opportunities Abound

A textile designer can be employed in the garment fashion, home furnishing and the interiors segment among other industries. The textile industry in India is evolving from the handloom, power loom, and craft sectors to newer areas, like the paper and automobile industries.

Automobile textile deals with the fabric used in car interiors. A car company say a General Motors or Maruti, designs the interiors of a car keeping certain aesthetics in mind. The brief then goes to the automotive textile company which creates a fabric as per the client need’s for the seating of the car with the textile and sends it to the car company. Automotive textiles need to be designed keeping the end use in mind – durability, comfort and visual aesthetics. Technological innovations play an extremely important role to suit the use. For example these days water repellant fabrics are being developed for car interiors.

The skill required to succeed in the textile field, be it the core industry or a high end design studio are quite similar.

Textile designers need to understand fabrics, their behaviors and properties extremely well, They also need to possess a good sense of the visual and design principles like color, composition, patterns etc. Weaving forms a very important part of textiles. Apparently then, a course in textile designing includes a module that introduces students to various weaving methods so that they can experiment and create new weaves. This is because every weave delivers a different fabric. The candidate should also be well versed in the design language and have a thorough understanding of the fabric. An equally important requirement for aspiring textile designers today is the need to be sensitive towards the environment and society. Keeping abreast with trends is also part of the job requirement as the textiles industry caters to global markets. Textile is one industry which religiously follows international forecast in terms of color, prints, textures etc. If one shirting brand comes up with a particular color, checks or stripes for a season all shirting brands will come up with a similar stock. Indian companies also take part in textile fairs like Texworld in Paris so as to keep themselves updated with technology and innovtion.

Today, a host of degrees as well as diplomas are offered at the graduate and post graduate level to equip you with these skills. However, an inclination towards design with a willingness to always be surrounded by loads of fabric is mandatory to make your mark in this Industry.

Remuneration in the field ranges depending on the level at which one enters. For example, if you want to start off in the fashion industry, working with a designer would call for an unpaid internship or assistance at a basic stipend, However, joining a well known firm as a fresher could pay you around 15,000 – 20,000 per month. This figure can go up to even 30,000 per month for students of prestigious institutes.

Excerpts from The Times of India