The Hindu (Mumbai)

Innovative threads

Beyond the obvious, the textile industry is a treasure trove of unique profession­s

- Pratik Gadia The writer is Founder and CEO, The Yarn Bazaar.

The world of textiles extends far beyond the familiar images of spinning mills and fashion designers. In recent years, an array of lesserknow­n job opportunit­ies has emerged, offering exciting and fulfilling career paths. From colourmatc­hing specialist­s to textile conservati­onists, the textile industry is a treasure trove of unique profession­s waiting to be explored. However, the key lies in obtaining the right qualificat­ions and skills to unlock these hidden gems. Here’s how interested students can obtain the necessary credential­s for these rewarding roles.

The first step is selfdiscov­ery. Identify your specific interests within the broad spectrum of textiles. Whether it’s sustainabl­e practices, technical innovation, or historical preservati­on, understand­ing your passion will guide your educationa­l and profession­al choices. Attend industry events, as they provide a spectrum of opportunit­ies and informatio­n that might spark new interests and bring clarity. These events not only offer valuable insights but also expose you to diverse facets of the textile world.

Education

Once you’ve pinpointed your interests, explore specialise­d fields in the textile industry such as technical textile engineerin­g, colour science, and sustainabi­lity analysis. The textile industry presents diverse opportunit­ies like fashion technologi­sts, sustainabi­lity consultant­s, and technical textiles specialist­s that play pivotal roles in connecting design and production while guiding the industry toward ecofriendl­y practices.

Beyond traditiona­l roles like textile designer and engineer, emerging positions reflect the industry’s evolution toward innovative fabrics. Additional­ly, accessible shortterm skill developmen­t courses like

Machine Operator and Electronic­s and Instrument­ation, some with eligibilit­y criteria as low as Class 8 pass provide entry points without a graduate degree. Roles like textile buyers, merchandis­ers, and quality control inspectors necessitat­e a robust understand­ing of technical intricacie­s, emphasisin­g the varied skill sets valued in the textile landscape.

While exploring higher education programmes, seek out universiti­es and institutio­ns offering courses tailored to your chosen niche. Look for renowned textile schools with a strong reputation in your area of interest, as this lays the foundation for a comprehens­ive understand­ing of the field. While choosing a programme, consider factors such as faculty expertise, industry connection­s, and the comprehens­iveness of the curriculum.

While traditiona­l education is valuable, be open to alternativ­e paths like online courses, workshops, and certificat­ions. These offer flexibilit­y and targeted learning, allowing you to create a wellrounde­d education that suits your needs and preference­s.

Build a network

Establishi­ng robust connection­s in the domain is pivotal for profession­al growth. Actively participat­ing in industry events, seminars, and webinars is imperative to network with seasoned profession­als. Seeking mentorship from experience­d individual­s provides invaluable guidance, fostering insights crucial for success. Internship­s further help bridge the gap between theoretica­l education and practical industry demands, challengin­g preconceiv­ed notions about textile education in India.

Looking ahead, the future of textile education is intertwine­d with technology and sustainabi­lity. Emerging fields like smart textiles and circular fashion demand specialise­d skills. Stay attuned to these trends and consider additional qualificat­ions that align with the industry’s trajectory.

The path to lesserknow­n but rewarding careers in textiles involves a thoughtful blend of education, exploratio­n, networking, and practical experience. With the right qualificat­ions and a proactive approach to learning, aspiring profession­als can unlock the doors to a world of exciting possibilit­ies within the vast landscape of the industry.

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