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The International Textile and Apparel Association promotes the discovery, dissemination, and application of knowledge and is a primary resource for its members in strengthening leadership and service to society. The mission of ITAA is to advance excellence in education, scholarship and innovation, and their global applications. ITAA supports the development of competent professionals in post-secondary textile and apparel programs. In 1995, the organization adopted a set of recommended core competencies for voluntary use by member institutions for curriculum planning and review. In 2006-07, ITAA membership and industry professionals reviewed the original competencies for relevancy and currency. ITAA Council then approved the revised program meta-goals presented in this document.


The goal of four-year college and university textile and apparel programs is to develop creative, knowledgeable, and effective professionals who are able to contribute to organizations in the global textile and apparel complex1 and to society, and who are able to continue to grow personally and professionally following graduation. The guiding principle in the development of the program meta-goals presented below was to provide a structure that supports a variety of missions in textile and clothing programs. To that end, ITAA endorses these broad goals as a means of curricular development leading to a textile and apparel-related baccalaureate degree at individual institutions. These broad program goals represent a general framework of knowledge, skills, and behaviors that ITAA members believe are necessary to competently and ethically perform the activities necessary for success in the textile and apparel industry. Content and process knowledge goals address students’ understanding of the nature of the industry and the theories, concepts, principles, and processes that are used to design and deliver products and ideas to consumers successfully. Professional attitudes and skills relate to the personal behaviors and abilities that are necessary to be successful in a career in the textile and apparel industry. These meta-goals are intended to be flexible enough to adapt to a dynamic industry and environment and to meet individual program needs.



Graduates of four-year baccalaureate textile and apparel programs should demonstrate ability in the following areas:

1. INDUSTRY PROCESSES, including the ability to:

  • Understand and apply knowledge about the roles and functions of various industry sectors in which products are developed, produced, marketed, sold, and consumed, including construction, sourcing, manufacturing, marketing, and merchandising processes.
  • Identify and interpret needs and wants of consumers and how industry processes are applied to plan, develop, produce, communicate, and sell profitable product lines.
  • Evaluate product quality, serviceability, and regulatory compliance standards.
  • Use industry terminology in appropriate ways.
  • Understand social, economic, and political boundaries as they relate to the diffusion of products, services, and ideas.

2. APPEARANCE AND HUMAN BEHAVIOR, including the ability to:

  • Apply theories, concepts, and research regarding appearance and human behavior to industry and societal problems.
  • Understand and apply knowledge about the role of dress as it reflects and shapes intra and inter-cultural interactions.
  • Understand and apply knowledge about the interrelationships among historic, sociocultural, and psychological factors of dress and their impact on human behavior, including the effects of life stages, change across time, and culture.

3. AESTHETICS AND THE DESIGN PROCESS, including the ability to:

  • Understand and apply knowledge about aesthetics2 and the design process in relation to dress and appearance management.
  • Use the design process to create products that meet marketplace needs.
  • Understand how aesthetics and the design process can support quality of life, social responsibility, and sustainability 3
  • Relate the elements and principles of design to product development, use, and evaluation.
  • Understand the role of historical, socio-cultural, and psychological factors in aesthetic expression.

4. GLOBAL INTERDEPENDENCE, including the ability to:

  • Understand how dynamic and diverse political, cultural, and economic systems impact industry processes.
  • Understand how theoretical perspectives on markets, trade, and economic development can be applied to historical and current data on production, consumption, and disposal of products.


Graduates of four-year baccalaureate textile and apparel programs should demonstrate ability in the following areas:


  • Identify and evaluate issues of social responsibility, professional behavior, and ethics related to the impact of individual, organizational, and corporate decision making.
  • Analyze and evaluate issues related to environmental sustainability and environmental impact as they relate to industry activities and processes.

2. CRITICAL AND CREATIVE THINKING, including the ability to:

  • Demonstrate critical and creative thinking skills, including the ability to critically evaluate and compare diverse perspectives.
  • Identify and understand social, cultural, economic, technological, ethical, political, educational, language, and individual influences on industry issues.
  • Apply quantitative and qualitative skills to problem solving within the textile and apparel complex.
  • Use appropriate technology to facilitate critical, creative, quantitative, and qualitative thinking within the textile and apparel complex.

3. PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT, including the ability to:

  • Communicate ideas in written, oral, and visual forms using appropriate technology.
  • Function as team members and leaders within professional and culturally diverse environments.
  • Demonstrate the ability to critique one self and others constructively.
  • Apply career planning concepts and job search strategies to the diverse industry opportunities.


1 Global Textile and Apparel Complex is defined as the interaction of the design, product development, and merchandising processes, to retail organizational structures and formats, and to channels of distribution in a global market place.
2 Aesthetics is defined as the branch of philosophy concerned with the study of beauty and the psychological responses it evokes, the quality of an object or event, and why it is pleasurable to the senses.
3 Sustainability is defined as keeping something in existence or maintaining it without destroying or depleting.

Copyright 2008, International Textile and Apparel Association