The apparel industry produces a wide range of garments for consumers and for specialized industrial and military use. Products include outerwear, sportswear, specialized gear, ready-to-wear clothing, and accessories. Canada is recognized for producing high quality clothing and gear for outdoor and “extreme” activities.
The Canadian apparel industry has transformed itself over the last five years, evolving from a blue-collar manufacturing sector to a primarily white-collar knowledge- and innovation-based industry.
Working in the Apparel Industry
The industry has work opportunities ranging from entry-level positions to highly-skilled positions requiring graduate degrees in science, engineering, production management, and design.
While there are a few large manufacturing companies, most employers are small- and medium-sized garment manufacturers that value and recognize creativity, imagination and innovative spirit.
Workplaces vary greatly and include environments for office, production/manufacturing and logistics work. Travel abroad is common for occupations such as buyers, sourcers and quality control managers.
The industry has occupations in:
- Design: product and materials researchers, fashion designers
- Business administration: plant managers, administration managers, accountants, finance mangers
- Sales and marketing: sales and marketing representatives and managers
- Engineering: engineering production specialists, engineering technicians
- Information technology: programmer analysts, information systems managers
- Human resources: human resource clerks and managers
- Logistics and production: raw materials control clerks, sewing machine operators, costing technicians, import/export clerks, logistics coordinators.
As Canadian apparel makers become more efficient and production costs in Asia-Pacific countries rise, much apparel production that was once moved to those countries is now returning to Canada. As a result, many firms are looking for young, talented and creative workers.
Skills & Training
Community colleges and universities across the country offer programs of study that relate to the industry, in areas such as design, business and administration, sales and marketing, information technology, human resources, and logistics/production. There are also several technical high school programs and apprenticeship programs for some occupations.
Cultural and language skills are valued for their use in communicating with other employees, travel, and developing products or adapting the sales or purchasing process for other markets.