Preeti Arya Trains Major Textile Testing Firm

Faculty member teaches students wearing blue T-shirts at large table
Arya trained the Vartest employees on identification of woven fabrics. Photos by Smiljana Peros.

On Oct. 19, Preeti Arya, assistant professor of Textile Development and Marketing (TDM), trained 18 employees from Vartest, a New York City lab that tests textiles for industries including health care, hospitality, law enforcement, and the military.

Textile testing is crucial to ensure that a manufacturer’s promises—regarding durability, flammability, water-resistance, anti-microbial properties, and much more—are accurate. In some industries, the consequences of inaccurate claims could be fatal.

In the four-hour training, Arya taught the Vartest group how to identify various fibers and woven textiles by sight, and how to determine which side is the technical face versus the backside, an essential detail for testing.

“If the testing is done wrong, the data can be wrong,” Arya explains.

Kathryn Malik, a TDM classroom assistant, showed the Vartest group FIT’s knitting lab and educated them on identification of knitted textiles.

One trainee was Rado Rine, a TDM student who is now employed by Vartest. Adam Varley, the owner of the lab, is an FIT alum; he sponsors a $7,500 scholarship through the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists that TDM students often win.

Arya says that TDM faculty occasionally train industry professionals, but not groups of this size.

“It’s certainly the first time I have trained so many people from one company together,” she says.

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