What is a major in Clothing, Textiles & Material Culture?

This major covers how textiles and clothing are designed, produced, distributed, and used, and examines issues such as sustainability and fair labour practices in the global fashion and textile industry. You’ll develop an understanding of how textiles and clothing affect our comfort, sense of wellbeing and identity, and how they’ve been used throughout history. This major does not focus on the business of fashion, but does examine the textile supply chain from design and manufacturing to evaluation and consumption.

Is this program for me?

Ever wonder where your clothes come from? Explore the creative, technical, historical, social, and applied aspects of clothing and textiles, products and interiors. Study textiles and clothing with a focus on the impacts and applications for people. Examples include using textile science to help protect workers in hazardous workplaces, or interior design that accommodates older adults and persons with disabilities.

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Featured Courses

Fashion Industries (HECOL 241)

An introduction to the soft goods industry including an overview of the apparel sector, apparel production, channels of distribution, fashion oriented products, global competitive influences, and career opportunities.

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Apparel Design and Construction Fundamentals (HECOL 254)

In this studio course students develop fundamental awareness and skills for the textiles and clothing field including machine operation, design and construction terminology, pattern manipulation and fit, and quality construction techniques. Students construct samples and garments with a focus on professional standards in problem solving and production.

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Dress and Culture (HECOL 360)

The complex phenomenon of bodily adornment is explored in relationship to values, attitudes, activities, beliefs, and forms of knowledge. Clothing is considered in terms of how it is expressive of various aspects of culture. Students develop analytical skills to help them understand the role played by clothing in different times, places, and contexts.

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Research Methods for Material Culture and Design Studies (HECOL 465)

Explores how to do research into the relationships between people and objects (from clothing to buildings). Students will learn how to conduct primary research through a range of methods, approaches, and theories associated with material culture and design studies.

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Feature Careers

Conservators plan, coordinate, and participate in the preservation and conservation of natural and cultural heritage. This may include contemporary, historic and prehistoric objects, Indigenous materials, natural history specimens, archival materials, and works of art. They also study and manage environmental influences on artifact preservation. Average Salary: $81,979.00

Fashion designers and product developers create clothing and accessories. This can include jewellery, belts, shoes, gloves, uniforms, costumes, and hats. Using specialized equipment, they develop and construct patterns for garments in various industries.

Source: Government of Alberta, Occupations in Alberta



  • Conservator 
  • Sustainable Interior Designer
  • Marketing Manager
  • Design Consultant
  • Textile Production Manager
  • Exhibit Designer
  • Fashion Merchandiser
  • Sustainable Product Developer
  • Clothing Supply Chain Managers
  • Apparel Manufacturing and Production Manager
  • Museum Collection Researcher

Check out the U of A's Human Ecology Career Guide for more options.


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