Here are some of the highlights of places in BC and across Canada where you can study textiles and related fields:
Maiwa Handprints -- the go-to people for supplies for dyers and printers all across Canada via their online & mail-order stores. We are lucky that we can actually VISIT their amazing stores on Granville Island. They run a textile symposium every year, and an extensive series of workshops every other year. The symposium and workshops feature internationally recognized textile researchers and practitioners. Spots for the more popular workshops can fill up within hours. Take them if you can, especially intro to dyeing and intro to natural dyes, as foundation courses for further study.
Capilano University -- a 2yr textiles diploma program, very reputable. I have friends who've done this program and have gone on to Concordia to complete their BFA. Generally a program for the more fine craft & academically minded type I think, although I think some people also go into film and costume from here. My understanding is that there isn't much emphasis on designing for industry.Talk to an advisor or a prof at Capilano to get a better idea.
Kwantlen University -- a 4yr bachelors degree program in Fashion Design, gaining a good reputation. If you want to study fashion design and be technical about it and have it as a trade, then study here and you will be well prepared for a career, corporate or small business routes both. Designers at small businesses need to be able to 'do it all', both technical and merchandising and, of course, design.
But, if you are more strictly interested in images and not technical, then you will probably be better off to take a 1yr program at Blanche Macdonald or the Art Institute or something. The competition for the creative design positions is strong, though, and success in this area depends on having a thick skin and having an extremely keen sense of what the customer wants, and being able to draw and present well.
Emily Carr -- they have an industrial design program and some people are working in textiles, but they do not have a textiles department per se. A well-known and successful local independent designer, Kathryn of Sans Soucie, completed some further education there and also helped to develop the textile expertise there.
NOTE: they have (or had?) a 1yr applied graphic design program in conjunction with BCIT that turned out very proficient graduates. If you want to specialize in surface design for a larger company, then I would recommend checking it out.
Kootenay School of the Arts has a textiles program in their craft department, and I think it's pretty good. My friend Frances Dickinson of Frances Felt went there. It's a 2yr diploma program, I believe, not a degree program.
Alberta & Prairies -- no textile highlights, though I think that U of A in Edmonton has a fashion design masters program, as part of their Dept of Home Ec. I met a bridal couturier who had done it.
ONTARIO -- Sheridan and the Ontario College of Art both have textiles/ surface design programs; the one at OCA has the reputation of being very strong. I think (not sure) that they might be more plugged into industrial textile technology there because Ontario has a much stronger manufacturing sector than we do here; I think that there might even still be some textile mills there!
Dalhousie Costume Studies -- really cool 2yr program, extremely intense; basically turns out grads who are snapped up by film & theatre companies because they know so much about costume history, techniques, and tricks of the trade -- they do lots of research.
Nova Scotia College of Art and Design is in Halifax; they offer textiles and now also fashion design, and of course, the mix of the two. They didn't offer fashion when I was there (I graduated in 2000); but they do have an exchange program and I went to Ghana, in West Africa, to study textiles for a semester. That's a whole other story!
Ok, now for the industry lay-of-the-land....
Fine Craft jobs: if you want to be an artisan, and make beautiful objects for people, then you can talk to Rosanna Hille because she actually did that, I think she was successful at it and she can tell you more about her business model. If you want to be an artisan, then knowing at least the basics about business and marketing is really important because no one in this field is going to give you a well-paying job; the margins are too small. There are jobs for apprentices, giving help around the studio, etc. After that, you're on your own. Lots of people who do this (like me, and Venessa Bentley) also teach, or have a related job to provide a stable income.
Check out Etsy.com -- if you sign up for an Etsy store (which it's free to do), then you'll get lots of email tips about how to set up your store, make it look good and professional, and market it effectively. They really set their sellers up for success, and if you do what they say, then whether you actually make a living will depend on whether your product 'strikes a chord' in the culture at the time, and whether you can price it according to the people that it appeals to and still make a profit.
And since everybody and their dog now has an Etsy store, you can see the 'best of the best' at this edited site: http://market.poppytalkhandmade.com/
Here's a lass who is making her living full time from Etsy: http://market.poppytalkhandmade.com/author/ekra/
Film & Theatre Jobs -- I've never worked in this industry, but I understand that the hours can be long and unpredictable, the work is varied and interested, and the pay is very good. Being able to do lots of different things and improvise and create order amongst piles of duplicate costumes is good, and minor alterations; skills like knitting or block printing probably wouldn't be used that often, if at all. Venessa Bentley has done knitting for films, as a contractor (and she was supplanted by a knitting machine). I would be interested in getting into film except that it's pretty incompatible with maintaining a household with small children and a husband with a full-time job.
Commerical/Industrial Textile & Apparel Manufacturers --
small -- eg. Sans Soucie, Chulo Pony, Alison Wonderland, Smoking Lilly, Frances Felt ... basically any label sold at the Block or Dream Designs in Gastown. If you're not familiar, go check them out. Some of them do some surface design, others are more into fabrics or construction. If they do use surface design, they're probably doing screen prints or novel transfer prints (like iron filings)
Medium -- Maiwa. This is a tight-knit family of women running an amazing company. Staff turnover is basically zero, as far as I can tell; it must be an amazing place to work. They travel to India and collaborate with the dyers & printers and tailors to create the designs.
large -- Lululemon, Sugoi, Arc'Teryx, West Coast Apparel -- if you want to specialize in a field, or even specialize in surface design at one of these companies, then you'll need to pursue training in graphic design. Adobe Creative Suite (Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign) are basic, along with basic textile science understanding. (AATCCAmerican Association of Textile Colourists and Chemists has an online program that looked good -- that kind of expertise isn't available in Canada anymore).