Garment Technologist Roles Explained: Part 2 – A Retail Garment Technologist

What does a Retail Garment Technologist do?

Retail technologists usually sit in with and form an essential part of the buying team consisting of Buyers, Merchandisers, Designers and Technologists so you need to be comfortable working within a team environment.

You will be involved in buying department strategy meetings and required to provide technical expertise so excellent communication skills and confidence in what you do are a must.

This can be a less practical job than a supplier technologist job – you are still involved in fit sessions but generally managing the process.

Knowledge of the brand’s standards will be essential – you need a great eye for detail and a meticulous work ethic.

Supplier management and development will be part of your remit  – you will work closely with supplier technologists developing products to suit the brands so you will need to be able to develop good working relationships and communicate easily.

Testing knowledge will be required.

Management of critical path with a buying team 

Relevant Legislation knowledge is becoming increasingly important.

You will still be expected to have a thorough knowledge of manufacturing techniques so experience in this area is always an advantage.

The job varies depending on level, but generally this is a more strategic role – especially as you progress up the career ladder. You can progress to manage a technical department or team - and this role usually involves travel to offshore manufacturers.

A sample job advert for a Retail Garment Technologist:

Madam Butterfly, the established British high-street retailer is looking for a garment technologist to join the Casualwear department of their Womenswear technical team. You will be responsible for taking new Womenswear products from design concept right through to production. You will also be responsible for improving standards of fit and garment construction and product consistency in line with our Client’s brand standards. Central London, up to £40K + benefits

Key areas of responsibility include:

  • Set and deliver clear specifications to suppliers including key construction, fit, component/materials and performance standards
  • Managing fit sessions in close co-operation with product designers to achieve a product consistency and maintain Client’s high quality standards
  • Improving process and product specification.
  • Building and developing technical brand manuals.
  • To drive garment / fabric innovation, working closely with the buyer and supply base
  • Supporting the senior technologists with project management.
  • Supplier Management and development including regular risk screening of products and manufacturing routes
  • Work closely with the regional offices to ensure garments are manufactured to Client’sspecification
  • Build and maintain strong working relationships with the sourcing team, and suppliers to achieve high quality product at the optimum price
  • Manage product performance and RTV ( Return to vendor) reviews
  • Benchmarking exercises with high street competitors

The candidate will have:

  • A textile degree and experience of product development, fit and manufacturing standards.
  • Relevant experience working in the apparel industry preferably alongside design, buying and sourcing teams although candidates from a supplier, retail or manufacturing background will be considered
  • Expert knowledge of the product area, legislation and testing.
  • Excellent computer skills and demonstrable knowledge of Illustrator.
  • Great communication and project management skills.
  • The ability to work within teams and build relationships.
  • The ability and desire to travel and work with off shore manufacturers.
  • Experience of maintaining good working relationships with suppliers.

You can also read this article on FashionUnited