Couturiers and Tailors Jobs!

EHC is training Couturiers and Tailors – specialists in fashion production

According to a 2011 Canadian Labour Market Information Study, prepared by Milstein & Co Consulting Inc for Apparel Human Resources Council in March 2011:

The (Canadian) apparel industry could require possibly as many as 7,000 trained production personnel in the next 18 to 24 months (Production means the various jobs in making or creation of something – and of that group are fashion Couturiers and Tailors). Considering the impact of the various demand scenarios (as well as the retirement challenge), the industry will face serious labour demand challenges over the next several years, and could be required to hire between 6,000 and 21,000 new employees (excluding normal turnover and excluding the need to replace retiring executives).  

The challenges at the moment are:

  • Vocational programs for skilled apparel production workers have, by and large,been discontinued;
  • Students in post-secondary institutions seek service jobs in the industry as opposed to production jobs;
  • There is an overriding sentiment in the country that apparel production has largely moved offshore and as a result, is not a viable occupation to pursue;
  • Immigration policy is not focused on attracting skilled apparel production workers;
  • Provincial employment programs often encourage displaced apparel production workers to retrain into other occupations

Parents of young people wanting to enter the fashion profession are very skeptical about their futures in the business. Fashion as a viable career, has received some valid criticism – no thanks to TV programs such as Project Runway and the overabundance of ‘fashion designers’ out of work. ‘Fashion’ is hard work requiring a spectrum of expert skills. The jobs are indeed available locally, not all fashion related jobs are in retail sales or overseas.

From an article in The Association of Sewing and Design Professionals April 2012 members newsletter, (an American association which includes Canadian members) written by Mimi Jackson, a MSDP Board Member

Couture sewing is indeed a worthy profession. Constructing clothing by hand has a future, and as those with couture sewing skills are retiring, passing away, and leaving the profession, new hands are desperately needed.  As the owner of, I have my finger on the pulse of what skills are being sought across the United States.

In New York City, I can assure you, the search has become frantic. At the highest levels in the sample workrooms of the top design firms (whose names we all know), there are empty seats where sample hands once sat. One very well established Madison Avenue boutique can seat (and would hire) 30 tailors in their alteration room and only 12 of those seats are filled.

A high end women’s custom clothing firm in New York City recently placed an online search ad for a women’s tailor/fitter and has not received A SINGLE RESPONSE.  Movies which are shooting in other parts of the country scramble to find willing, capable, flexible, and custom sewing professionals whose skills run the gamut from simple to complex. These jobs can pay quite well, since much of the work requires expertise and a willingness to be “on call”. Yes, even in this (USA) economy!

While people simply willing to sew are not quite as hard to find, locating those who know the value, beauty, and techniques required to turn a delicate rolled hem on bias chiffon properly, fortify a corset, invisibly join pieces with delicate hand stitching, understand proper zipper insertion, develop a pattern, and skillfully fit a figure have become like trying to find needles in haystacks.  As anyone in this profession knows, this work requires your head, your heart, and your hands. It is a talent, requiring years of practice and education.

Ecole Holt Couture offers a 4 year program for Couture, Ladies and Men’s Tailoring.

Resource for posting and finding fashion related jobs in Canada and abroad.
Online portfolio advantage for fashion graduates.

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