The Canadian apparel industry is a major economic sector that is largely concentrated in urban centres like Toronto. The industry is comprised of manufacturers, vertically integrated retailers who develop their own product, private label, contractors, design labels, logistics, wholesale distributors and retailers. Canadian brands have found success in many specialty product categories, such as workwear, athletic gear, bridal, outerwear and knitwear.
While women's wear is the largest segment of the industry, men's wear is the fastest growing segment. Current Canadian industry trends are influenced by global shifts such as changes in trade agreements, reshoring manufacturing to North America, adoption of technology, fast fashion versus local and artisanal, concern for environmental and social sustainability, mass customization and development of a skilled workforce to remain competitive.
Whether companies manufacture offshore or locally, they require the services of a Technical Designer to translate designs to products that can be manufactured. The development of clear, accurate and complete technical packages is critical in order to communicate product characteristics to factories that often operate in other languages and to ensure expectations of quality are met. As production shifts back to Canada, the Technical Designer role provides an opportunity to improve lead time to market, reduce errors and therefore cost, evaluate and correct, and maintain greater control over product development.
Depending on previous education and work experience, combined with completion of the Apparel Technical Design program, graduates of this program may choose to pursue job opportunities such as:
- Technical Apparel Designer
- Fit and Specification Technician
- Apparel Designer
- Apparel Quality Control Technician
- Fit Technician
- Technical Package Coordinator
- Computerized Pattern Maker/Fit Specialist
- Product Development Manager
Technical Designers work with fashion design teams and manufacturing staff to develop and monitor technical standards and specifications for garments. This process includes finalizing production-ready patterns, solving fit issues, size grading, sourcing and building of materials components, construction details and sequence, setting quality standards, and communication of the technical details and changes through the entire production process.
Technical designers in smaller companies may be required to be conversant across all parts of the process, whereas in larger companies they may be specialists in one aspect.
Technical design is required for all categories of apparel production, regardless of where the product is manufactured. As companies strive to compete globally, they require Technical Designers who are able to utilize technology and manufacturing knowledge for precise, accurate, complete and timely communication of product details to ensure speed to market, quality standards and management of cost.