Most technical designers work in the fashion manufacturing industry, creating quality control guidelines for apparel and accessories to ensure items fit properly. A technical designer is an integral part of a fashion design team, working closely with designers, manufacturers and merchandisers to create a high quality product. A keen eye for fashion and a strong understanding of pattern-making is required to excel on the job.
Specific duties of a technical designer vary by position but generally involve ensuring that products meet brand standards. A technical designer measures all garments and accessories to ensure they align with product specifications. Attending product fittings and collaborating with vendors on all issues is a key component of the job. The technical designer identifies potential problems with products and follows through to ensure all glitches are resolved prior to scheduled releases.
Required Skills and Education
A technical designer is typically required to have a degree in fashion design or a related field, but applicable experience may be substituted for education in some cases. Most companies require candidates to have at least three years of technical product design and pattern-making experience. Knowledge of industry-relevant software, such as CAD and PDM is preferred. The fashion industry is constantly evolving, so a technical designer must be highly adaptable, extremely organized and an exceptional communicator.
Work Environment and Advancement Opportunities
The fashion industry is fast-paced, so a technical designer may work overtime occasionally to meet demands, especially before major deadlines. Travel, both domestic and international, is typically required for a technical designer to meet with manufacturers, designers and vendors. A technical designer can advance to supervisory roles, such as senior technical adviser. A minimum of 10 years working in the field is often required to be considered for a senior-level role.
Indeed.com reports that the average salary of a technical designer is $82,000, as of September 2014; however, this varies greatly by location. For example, technical designers earn an annual average of $112,000 in New York City, $88,000 in Los Angeles, $99,000 in Chicago and $78,000 in Miami.