Textile Designer

Textile designers are responsible for the creation and development of designs or patterns which are either woven, knitted or printed on to or into cloth. They need artistic skills and sound knowledge of fabric characteristics and factory reproduction techniques to design exquisite and marketable textiles.

Textile designers work within a field where media, materials, production methods, finance and public taste all have a bearing on their work. Designers need to understand and exploit these limitations so that the fabric is readily identified with a specific need and its acceptance is facilitated.

Creative artists use their skills and experience to produce designs and colourations, not only by traditional sketches and painting techniques, but also using high-tech computers. This offers aspiring designers a totally new dimension in the exciting world of textile design.

Textile design moves with current fashion and reflects many moods and cultures. International travel, to capture design ideas and trends, becomes part of skilled designers’ work when part of product management teams. With backgrounds of expertise and specialised knowledge, designers can fulfil important roles on the marketing or colouring side too.

Textile designers are mostly employed by the fashion fabrics and home textiles industries. They are sometimes expected to travel from one country to another to study fashion trends.

Personal Requirements

  • artistic, creative and practical
  • basic drawing skills
  • creative imagination
  • excellent feel for colour
  • aware of fashion trends
  • understanding of all marketing avenues
  • hard working
  • able to work under pressure
  • friendly and tactful when dealing with clients
  • able to subdue personal taste to meet those of particular markets

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

Compulsory Subjects: Art or a related subjects is highly recommended
Recommended subjects: Art, Design Studies, Engineering and Graphic Design


  • An art portfolio is required to demonstrate your creativity, abilities and commitment.
  • If you intend studying towards a degree in Fine Art at university, you will need to a Bachelor's pass in matric. If you intend studying a diploma in an art-related field, then you will need a Diploma pass in matric.
  • Meet the admission requirements (APS) set by the university or requirements set by the college.

What to Study

Many large home textile and fashion fabric manufacturers offer in-service training.

Diploma: The three-year N.Dip. Textile Technology and/or the N.Dip. Textile Design and Technology can be obtained at CPUT, DUT and TUT. A fourth year of study will culminate in the BTech Textile Design and Technology degree. After completion of the fifth year of study, students can obtain the MTech Textile Design and Technology.

Certificate: TVET College

Most universities of technology require a portfolio, the specifications of which differ from one institution to another.


  • studios
  • textile companies, as a merchandiser or stylist
  • chain groups
  • boutiques
  • garment manufacturers
  • self-employed, as a consultant or doing freelance work

Further Information

Textile Federation 
40 Seventh Avenue
Edenvale, 1609
Tel: (011) 454-2342 

Getting Started

  • maintain an interest in current fashion trends and try creating your own
  • speak to people in the fashion industry, including models
  • read extensively about interior design and fabrics, i.e. clothing, upholstery and carpets
  • arrange to speak to textile designers about this type of career and ask permission to observe them at work

Programmes by Study Institutions

Related Occupations

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