Clothing, Textiles and Material Culture Careers

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When you enrolled in a clothing, textiles & material program, you may not have had an idea of what sort of career you could pursue. Luckily with this degree, there is no shortage of options.



Many employers see the value in having employees on their team who's artistic and scientific education has provided them with a unique perspective to solving problems; the ability o use logical and scientific methods, as well as "outside of the box" thinking gained by the broad range of coursework studied.



In addition, the wide range of coursework that you are subject to with a major in this field gives you a malleability that allows employers to teach you a variety of job specific skills.



The way many employers see it, if you can learn to research and compose an analytical essay regarding the fashion of American women in the 1920's, as well as compose an interior design scheme for a newly built condominium, you can be taught to perform a variety of work functions. 





What You’ll Learn as a Student

There are two main areas of study within clothing, textiles & material culture: physical and social. Each of these areas has a separate set of educational goals.


Physical Area

In the physical area, discussion, reading, project work and experimentation focus on:


• The inter-relationships among properties of fibres, yarns and materials and garment & product design, assembly processes, and performance

• Human body measurements in relation to garment fit, design, processes and performance

• Evaluation and acceptability of apparel and materials


Social Area

In the social area, discussion, reading, research and project work focus on the following areas:


• Definition, classification and meaning of dress within a cultural and historical context

• The social, cultural, historical and economic functions of dress

• The dress as material culture

• Apparel manufacturing, marketing and distribution



Areas You’ll Gain Knowledge In

As a result of studying these areas, you will gain career-applicable knowledge in areas such as:


• Design Principles

• Material Culture

• Textile Science

• Historic Dress

• Fashion Industries

• International Trade

• Apparel Design

• Product Development

• Quality Assurance

• Culture and Costume

• Textile Conservation 



Employable Skills This Major Can Teach You

Because of your studies, you’ll gain a set of employable skills. Although these skills may not apply directly to every career that you wish to pursue, they will apply to positions that are directly related to your field of study, such as textiles production planning manager, or fashion designer.


• An understanding of the influences of textiles and clothing in people's daily lives

• An understanding of the marketing, management and consumption of clothing in the contemporary retail environment

• An understanding of the fibres, yarns and fabrics that affect the performance of clothing and textiles used in everyday life

• Knowledge of how to apply design and material culture theory to creating comfortable and appealing home environments



List of Careers Directly Relevant to This Degree

The knowledge and skills you can gain by studying clothing, textiles and material culture at the university level serve as an excellent foundation for the following careers (not an inclusive list):


Art Gallery Curator

Costume Designer

Creative Director


Exhibit Designer

Fabric Designer

Fashion Buyer

Fashion Designer

Fashion Illustrator

Fashion Journalist

Fashion Merchandiser

Furniture Designer

Interior Decorator

Interior Design Consultant

Interior Designer

Layout Designer

Magazine Designer

Museum Curator

Product Manager

Quality Control Specialist

Retail Buyer

Retail Sales Associate

Sales Representative

Set Designer

Textiles Production Manager

University Professor

Visual Merchandiser

Wallpaper Designer

Web Designer



Please Note: Some of the above listed careers require additional education, training and/or experience. Click on careers that are of interest to you to find out more about the qualifications you’ll need.



Job Postings Related to Your Degree!

Whether you're a clothing, textiles and material culture student looking for a job to help you pay for school, or a graduate looking for an entry or mid-level job, our job board has opportunities directly and indirectly related to your degree.


Search Clothing, Textiles and Material Culture Jobs





Career Success Tip: Work an Internship

If you’re thinking of pursuing a career related to your clothing, textiles and material culture degree, you should do everything you can to get work experience in the field before you graduate. Working an internship (also known as a practicum, co-op or field placement opportunity) is the best way to gain such experience, because of the many benefits:


Meet other people who share your professional interests

If you are lucky enough to land an internship in a career related to your degree, you will meet others who share the same professional interests. You can see them operate on daily basis, you can ask them what it is they like about what they do, you can learn how they got where they, and you can get idea of the dynamics of the environment they work in.


For example, if you intern with an interior design studio, you may be surprised to find out how closely the designers work with suppliers and clients on a weekly basis.


Make your own conclusions about a career

Have you heard a career in related to your degree might involve much more paperwork than you’re willing to do? Have you been warned not to pursue a career in clothing, textiles and material culture because it consumes your personal life?


If you’re interested in a career in your field, gaining practical experience before you graduate can help you either prove or disprove such rumors, and even if they’re proven you may have such a passion for what you are doing that you may decide that’s where you want to be anyway.


Get your foot in the door with an employer

If you’re fortunate enough to have earned an internship, you may have already begun your career without knowing it. This may be a little bold to suggest, but it’s true that many employers offer their interns a full-time, or even part-time, position upon graduation if they are satisfied with the work of the intern.


Hiring an intern upon graduation is a very efficient financial move for employers, as it saves them from bearing the cost of recruiting, interviewing and hiring someone new. 





How Do I Find an Internship?

Your college or university may or may not require you to participate in an internship or other form of work experience program. However, if it is an academic requirement, you will likely have the opportunity arranged for you.


If it is not a requirement, speak with your professors, other Clothing, Textiles and Material Culture department staff as well as your school’s guidance and career counselors to help you find a suitable opportunity.


Please Note: If you’re seeking an internship from an outside source, be cautious. Many internship opportunities operate in the grey area of employment law, and are designed to use students as free labour in order to perform mundane tasks.



Relevant Scholarships

If you’re looking for help in paying for school, then you’re in luck! Our scholarships database has scholarships that are specific to your field of study, as well as scholarships that are open to students in any field of study.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any and all scholarships for which you qualify, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships in Canada and the United States that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants.



Average Salary Levels of Graduates

The salary you could earn with a Clothing, Textiles and Material Culture degree varies based on a wide variety of factors, such as:
• The type, size, and budget of your employer
• The discretion of your employer
• Your level of education and experience
• Your level of certification (if applicable)
• The region in which you work 
• How much overtime you are able to work (if applicable)
• The amount of responsibility inherent in your position
• Your level of experience (it’s worth noting that people with several years worth of experience can often earn substantially in their profession more than what’s listed below)
The salary you could earn as a graduate of this field is also highly dependent on the occupation you pursue. Below is an overview of the average earnings of people in a few career fields that are relevant to a degree in clothing, textiles and material culture (some careers may require further education and training). Please note however, that the salary information listed below is meant only to serve as a guideline. In many cases, workers in these fields can earn a much lower, or much higher salary, than what is listed below. 

Art Gallery Curator
Alberta: $72,973 (ALIS)
Canada: N/A
United States: $47,360 (BLS)


Costume Designer
Alberta: N/A
Canada: $74,774 (PayScale)
United States: $50,545 (Glassdoor)


Creative Director
Alberta: N/A
Canada: $74,038 (PayScale)
United States: $87,638 (indeed)


Exhibit Designer
Alberta: N/A
Canada: N/A
United States: $59,590 (BLS)


Fabric Designer
Alberta: N/A
Canada: $39,526 (PayScale)
United States: $49,690 (BLS)


Fashion Buyer
(See “Retail Buyer”)


Fashion Designer
Alberta: N/A

Canada: $50,128 (PayScale)
United States: $67,420 (BLS)


Fashion Merchandiser
(See “Visual Merchandiser”)


Interior Decorator
Alberta: N/A
Canada: $35,460 (PayScale)
United States: N/A


Interior Design Consultant
(See “Interior Designer”)


Interior Designer
Alberta: $60,599 (ALIS)
Canada: $51,937 (Interior Designers of Canada)
United States: $51,500 (BLS)


Magazine Designer
Alberta: $58,099 (ALIS)
Canada: $44,000 (PayScale)
United States: $48,700 (BLS)


Museum Curator
(See “Art Gallery Curator”)


Quality Control Specialist
Alberta: N/A
Canada: $55,114 (PayScale)
United States: $37,340 (BLS)


Retail Buyer
Alberta: $45,891 (ALIS)
Canada: $56,066 (PayScale)
United States: $60,040 (BLS)


Retail Sales Associate
Alberta: $24,206 (ALIS)
Canada: $23,180 (PayScale)
United Sates: $23,370 (BLS)


Sales Representative
Alberta: $62,683 (ALIS)
Canada: $61,624 (indeed)
United Sates: $60,340 (BLS)


Set Designer
Alberta: N/A
Canada: $46,542 (PayScale)
United States: $59,590 (BLS)


University Professor
Alberta: $74,877 (ALIS)
Canada: $157,610 (indeed)
United Sates: $76,000 (BLS)


Visual Merchandiser
Alberta: N/A
Canada: $25,040 (Glassdoor)
United States: $42,729 (BLS)


Wallpaper Designer
(See “Graphic Designer”)


Web Designer
Alberta: $67,808 (ALIS)
Canada: $45,899 (indeed)
United States: $67,540 (BLS)


The name in brackets next to the salary data for each region refers to the sources from which the data was obtained. Please note, the salary data that is sourced from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) represents median salary figures, rather than average salary figures. 


Please Note: The figures from the sources of BLS and ALIS are representative of the larger occupational group that the occupation is part of. For example, “Fashion Buyers” are part of the larger occupational group “Retail Buyers” for the purposes of the salary information provided.

Salary Data Reference Information

ALIS: Alberta Learning and Information Service (, sponsored by the Government of Alberta. For an overview of their salary survey methodology, please visit here.

PayScale: Private organization owned by PayScale Incorporated ( For an overview of their salary survey methodology, please visit here.

BLS: United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (, sponsored by the federal government of the United States of America. For details regarding their salary survey methodology, please visit here.

Glassdoor: Glassdoor is a private organization owned by Glassdoor incorporated ( For an overview of their salary survey methodology, please visit here.

Interior Designers of Canada: Founded in 1972, Interior Designers of Canada (IDC) is the national advocacy association for the interior design profession. For an overview of their salary survey methodology, please visit here.





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