Browse job titles : Technical

Technical employees job description:

Working in the technical industry means working on the materials that make up a lot of our clothing. The department plays a major part in the product development cycle, alongside designers and the production department to create safe, good quality fabric and/or garments for the retailer or supplier. You can work for a manufacturer, supplier, fashion retailer or fashion brand.


Did you know?

Job titles in the technical industry include:
Pattern grader
Pattern cutter
Fabric technologist
Garment technologist
Technical manager/director
Quality assurance
Quality control


Responsibilities include:

Pattern grader

As a pattern grader, you will reduce or enlarge patterns, referring to size charts, in order to give the manufacturer a range of sizes in which to produce the designer’s original pattern.

The job of a grader sits within the pattern room of the fashion company and the grader is part of the technical team working closely with the pattern cutters.

Pattern cutter

There are two main types of pattern cutters: creative pattern cutters and production pattern cutters. Creative pattern cutters work from a designer's sketch to create first patterns whilst production pattern cutters tend to work from blocks, make amendments and be more involved in the fit process.

As a pattern cutter you tend to specialise in a certain product area. For example, wovens, jersey, knitwear, tailoring, lingerie etc. and this could be across womenswear, menswear or childrenswear.


The fashion industry employs many technologists, either fabric or garment technologists. However, other industries such as home, gifts, accessories, jewellery and food also employ technologists and progression will very much depend on your product area. However, here is a brief rundown of the most common types of technologists.

The textile and clothing industries are inextricably linked, starting with the production of fibres, yarns and fabrics, and ending with the sale of finished products, which is mainly clothing but also includes household and industrial textiles. Technologists in smaller organisations are usually responsible for both clothing and textiles but in some large companies, these functions are split.

Clothing/garment/product technologist

Clothing/garment or product technologists are involved in all aspects of garment or product construction and clothing or garment technologists are expected to keep up to date with technical innovations. The selection of materials they work with is wide. Tasks typically involve liaising with designers, adapting designs to suit production methods, sourcing materials and accessories, undertaking quality evaluations of materials and responding to product queries, including complaints, from wholesalers and customers.

Textile/fabric technologist

A textile or fabric technologist would be responsible for development and quality assessment of both natural and man-made fibres. This includes spinning fibres into yarn and knitting or weaving yarn into fabrics as well as producing non-woven fabrics. A textile technologist would also be responsible for identifying the latest fabric trends, developments and innovations and ensuring quality in areas such as strength, durability, colour fastness and water/chemical resistance.

Technical manager/director

The technical manager/director means you are responsible for ensuring process improvement and efficiency within the sample room, head office or manufacturing environment. They also oversee the day-to-day activities of the technical staff and provide technical and advisory support to internal and external departments of the fashion/retail company- this could cover garment technology, pattern technology and/or fabric technology.

Quality assurance

A quality assurance associate will oversee the process by which a product is developed and aim to prevent defects with a focus on the process used to make the product. It is a proactive quality process. The goal of QA is to improve development and test processes so that defects do not arise when the product is being developed.

Quality control

Unlike quality assurance, quality control ensures the quality of the product itself, rather than the process. The goal of QC is to identify defects after a product is developed and before it's released.


Key skills needed:

Pattern grader/cutter

Thorough knowledge of a CAD system such as Lectra, Gerber, Veti-graph or Investronica.
An interest in fashion and trends
The ability to interpret a designer’s drawings
Technical drawing skills (computer and hand)
Technical or design qualifications
Ideally a design room/pattern room placement.
Relevant product experience.

Garment/fabric technologist

Strong technical knowledge regarding the garment construction process
An understanding of manufacturing processes and textile properties
Excellent attention to detail
The ability to work in a fast-paced environment.
Relevant product experience.

Technical manager/director

Great people and process management skills
Strong technical knowledge regarding garment construction,
Problem solving and trouble-shooting abilities
Understanding of project requirements
Familiarity with AQL standards
Relevant product experience.

Quality assurance associate

Good knowledge of legal changes/developments across the markets where your employer operated
A passion for safety and legal compliance
Ability to prioritise and make decisions under pressure
Competency with breaking a product down to its chemical composition to help determine if it is safe and legal to sell
Relevant product experience.

Quality controller

Knowledge of management systems such as ISO 9000, AQL, social & ethical compliance and factory audits
Experienced in people management, including coaching, training, performance management
Experience of working with multiple partners across many areas of the business, sometimes with conflicting priorities.
Strong IT skills - MS Office and Warehouse Management Systems.
Competency in writing technical reports
Relevant product experience.



Pattern grader

The typical starting salary of a pattern grader is between £11,500 and £15,000 a year. This increases to between £16,000 and £20,000 a year with some experience and increases with your skills and experience.

Pattern cutter

The starting salary of a pattern cutter is between £11,000 and £18,000 a year. Experienced cutters earn over £20,000 a year and salaries rise with experience and skills.

Garment/fabric technologist

Starting salaries can be between £16,000 and £18,000 a year, rising to £25,000 or more with experience, whilst senior technologists can earn around £50,000 or more.

Technical manager/director

Salary will very much vary depending on your experience, the role and the company. However, approximately £45,000 to £55,000 is a general ballpark figure.

Quality assurance

Trainee salaries can be up to £15,000 a year. Qualified and/or experienced technicians can earn up to £25,000 a year and senior quality assurance roles can pay £30,000 and over, depending on the type of company.

Quality controller

Trainee salaries can be between £12,500 and £15,000 a year. Qualified and experienced technicians can earn between £18,000 and £25,000 a year, rising to £35,000 and beyond depending on the type of company.



Pattern grader

The usual route into this work is to begin as a pattern grading assistant. With training and experience you can progress into the role of pattern grader. With experience, it may be possible for you to become the head grader, overseeing a team of pattern graders.
With the relevant training, you could also move sideways into a related career, such as pattern cutting, design or buying.

Pattern cutter

With the relevant experience, you can expect to be promoted from pattern cutting assistant or sample machinist with a clothing manufacturer or fashion design company to pattern cutter and then head pattern cutter. You may also be able to move into a related career, such as a pattern grader or with training you may be able to move sideways into design or even buying.

Garment/clothing technologist

In order to get a job in fashion as a garment technologist you will need a fashion specific technical degree. You will start as an assistant garment technologist, and then progress to a junior garment technologist and then garment technologist. From there you can progress to a technical manager or head of technical within a fashion/retail company.

Textile/fabric technologist

To get a job in fashion as a fabric technologist you will enter in at graduate level, following completion of a relevant successful fabric/textile fashion degree, to be employed as an assistant fabric technologist where you can work your way up to become a fabric technologist.

Technical manager/director

To get a job as a technical manager/director within the fashion or retail industry you will have previous experience as a senior garment technologist/quality controller within a head office, supplier or manufacturing environment.

Quality assurance

For some positions a postgraduate qualification or a technical background may be beneficial. You will need experience and/or qualifications relevant to your industry to work in quality assurance. In addition, most employers will ask for some GCSEs, A levels or equivalent vocational qualifications related to your field.

Quality controller

You will need experience and/or qualifications relevant to your industry to become a quality control technician. Most employers will ask for some GCSEs, A levels or equivalent vocational qualifications related to your field.

Other jobs available in the technical industry include:

Sample cutters

The sample cutter is responsible for laying out the pattern onto the fabric and cutting out all the needed pieces in order to complete the sample. One of the most complicated jobs in the garment production process, their job is to lay out the pieces most efficiently and make careful notes regarding the needed amounts of fabric. They work to minimise waste and keep an eye on overall efficiency of fabric use.
Not all companies employ sample cutters, depending on the size and location of the company.

Sample machinist/maker

The job of a sample machinist/maker is to physically sew the design from the sample pattern in order to map out any problems prior to the production of the garment as any wastage missed at this stage can cost the company millions. Not all companies employ sample machinists/makers, depending on the size and location of the company.

Career advice for the technical sector:

7 Mistakes to avoid when writing your CV

20 must-read tips for before your interview

Preparing for an assessment centre? Take this advice

Which company is right for me?

Check out our company spotlight features here for a behind-the-scenes look at working with the UK’s best-known brands.

If you would like to search or apply for technical jobs, please click one of the below links.


Select a different category