A labor market survey was conducted in June 2012, by Ecole Holt Couture, for the purpose of collecting current prime source information from the fashion industry regarding dressmaking, tailoring, couture, and fashion design jobs in Alberta.
- The questions asked were concerning industry growth trends, proof of job market, barriers or problems to employment, time estimations and job/availability of part-time, full-time and contract work, and included other considerations.
- An indication to whether the market is regional or province wide was reflected by the returns and responses which were mainly from Edmonton and Calgary.
- Surveys were sent to professional tailors, dressmakers, and fashion designers across Alberta
- Respondents replied to the first question – do you see a growth trend in your business, and if so, in what area?
44% – Requests for Custom work
78% – Requests for Alterations
11% – Retail Sales
Along with the steady increase in retail sales there is a significant increase in requests for alterations – no surprise there as ready-made clothing requires alterations to fit reasonably well, but the increase in request for custom work is also on the rise. Most of the skilled workforce is nearing retirement or even working beyond retirement to fulfill this need.
Two things become apparent. One that there is a void of up and coming skilled labor for custom Dressmaking, Tailoring and Couture work and secondly, this type of work can be continued by skilled workers way beyond the shelf life of a typical career. We are seeing many more individuals working past the age of 65 for the reason of extended and cumulative skills and creativity.
Couture in particular is highly creative and fulfilling as a career, plus the increase in requests for custom work flies in the face of rampant consumerism for ready-made cheap clothing.