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Fashion director

A textile fashion director is responsible for determining the trends, colors and themes. This article explores the career path and challenges.
Two women looking at different fabrics on a large table, and there is a board with T-shirt designs next to them.

A fashion director for a textile company is responsible for determining the trends, colors, themes, and textures for piece goods or fabrics that the firm will feature for a specific season.

Fashion directors are primarily interested in identifying the most important fashion trends for their companies and communicating these trends to textile designers, production managers, and customers. Fashion directors often work with trend forecasting firms to determine trend possibilities in color, form, theme, and fabric needs for each season.

Qualifications

The following is a list of qualifications for a career as a fashion director for a major textile firm:

Education

A bachelor’s degree in textiles, fashion design, fashion merchandising, visual arts, or a related field is a minimum requirement for employment as a fashion director.

Experience

The majority of fashion directors moved up the ladder from within the ranks. Many of them were textile designers, product developers, buyers, or assistant fashion directors before obtaining key positions as fashion directors.

Personal characteristics

The fashion director often has similar characteristics to the trend forecaster: curiosity, strong communication skills, a strong visual sensibility, leadership abilities, a good understanding of who the customers actually are, and the ability to work with a variety of constituencies—from designers to production managers to technical assistants.

Career challenges

The challenges of the fashion director’s career relate to two primary areas: securing the job and keeping it. Fashion directors are expected to have a strong foundation of work experience in the industry. It takes time, skill, and effort to be promoted through a variety of positions, for example, from technical textile designer to product developer to buyer. The best and the brightest climb quickly up the career ladder.

Once in the position of fashion director, there is a great deal of pressure to be right—to be accurate about the color, pattern, style, and theme trends. If, for example, a fashion director determines that olive green is the color for a season, and it bombs at the retail level, then the company may lose a great deal of money from high investment in olive green fabrics. As a result of this error, this fashion director may be searching for a new job. Additionally, the fashion director must collaborate successfully with a wide variety of people—designers, production personnel, and clients. It takes a person with a solid educational foundation in textiles, a well-balanced personality, and excellent communication skills to work effectively with so many different people.

In the next step, we explore the role and functions of the textile designers who create the images, patterns, colors, textures, weaves, and knits of the fabrics we wear and use.

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Careers in Fashion: Trend Forecasting and Textile Design

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