Textiles, Clothing Footwear & Allied Servicessuar
About Textiles and Clothing
This sector covers a diverse and complex range of industry activities from processing natural fibres and producing synthetic materials, to the manufacture of quality textile products. The sectors employ over 3,000 people in WA and contributes over half a billion dollars towards the state's economy.
About Allied Services
This sector includes allied industry such as clothing and footwear repair, and laundry and dry cleaning operations.
The Textiles, Clothing, Footwear & Allied Services industry offers a diverse and interesting range of rewarding career opportunities. People wishing to pursue a career in the industry can choose to work in any of the following key industry sectors:
Early stage production
Fashion design and technology
Workers in the area of clothing production are often specialists in the areas of pattern making, sample making, machining, tailoring, millinery and merchandising. While much of the manufacturing of Australian clothes is done off-shore, there are still many jobs available in both small and larger mass production organisations.
A dry cleaning operations worker is involved with the caring for, cleaning, repairing and rejuvenating clothing, curtains, bedding and furnishings along with operating dry cleaning and ironing machines and will have a thorough knowledge of how fabrics and their blends react to the various stages of the dry cleaning process. In this sector a worker could expect to sort and examine articles, identifying those that may need hand spotting, or treatment of stains, sort articles into lots of equal weight, colour and type and load into computer-operated dry cleaning machines and unload, iron and press clean articles, or dispatch them to the finishing section where the garment is pressed by steam and vacuum, operate a boiler, check and inspect garments to ensure customer requirements have been met, make minor repairs to clothing, waterproof garments and apply other finishes, operate wet cleaning machines, perform basic maintenance on dry cleaning and pressing equipment along with assemble orders and dispatch goods.
Early Stage Processing
Before the raw materials such as wool, cotton and leather can be manufactured, they are processed to remove impurities and prepare them for use. Wool needs scouring, carding, combing and spinning before it can be processed. Cotton fibre is cleaned and combed at a cotton gin, where it is classed and graded. Animal hides are processed in tanneries where they are soaked, limed, pickled and tanned. These high volume processes use a range of sophisticated machinery, and you could become one a the high level operators, supervisor or a specialist mechanic in this area.
Fashion Design & Technology
Working as a Fashion Designer, you will be required to develop new styles and products for clothing and accessories and then cutting and machining sample garments based on your designs. You will be involved in the research and development of fabrics and creating patterns. With a high level of skill and an understanding of the manufacturing process, you could find yourself fitting samples, estimating costs and approving items for production.
While larger footwear producers in Australia generally import components for assembly locally, there are a few smaller companies that specialise in making custom shoes or have taken advantage of niche markets such as ballet shoes, ice skating boots, ugg boots and therapeutic and industrial footwear. There are opportunities for footwear makers, machinists, finishers, pattern makers, clickers and tableworkers, along with an increasing demand for skilled footwear repairers.
A laundry worker can expect to be involved in controlling washing machine operation, performing linen rewash, conditioning and drying processes, minor maintenance, repairing damaged products, operating finishing equipment, preparing products for storage or dispatch, controlling production, monitoring and coordinating waste water treatment and participating in and leading work teams.
With a large range of products still utilising the special qualities of leather, workers in this areas may design, make and decorate leather goods. With duties ranging from selecting suitable types of leather, drawing patterns and cutting leather to size on specialised machinery, to assembly with rivets, threads or adhesives or decorating with eyelets or stamping patterns, to finishing by applying dye, stain or polish, you could be involved in the manufacture of bags, jackets, wallets, gloves, saddlery, whips or shoes.
This area is primarily involved in the production of industrial products such as pool covers, awnings, tents, vehicle covers, shade cloth, bags and camping accessories. Textile Fabricators are required to read and interpret technical drawings, create patterns, cut materials and sew them together using specialised machinery. Specialist areas exist in weaving, felting, embroidery, stitchery, quilting, dyeing or printing. As a Textile Technician you would be responsible for the design, production, and quality control of the product.
Textile production is one of the oldest skills in the world, however today it is more technical and employees are required to be highly skills and qualified. In this sector you could be involved in spinning, knitting, weaving, carpet making or producing technical textiles or non-woven materials. Specialist areas such as dyeing, finishing, textile technologies, technical consulting and textile designer also exist in this evolving industry.
To learn more on how to obtain skills at school, download a copy of the 'Create A Future' brochure.
Links & Resources
Please refer to our Links & Resources for information on Careers, Industry Associations and Employee and Employer organisations within this industry.