Raising A I Q

AIQ (Apparel Intelligence Quotient) Defined

We all know what this is when we hear it - a person's proficiency in or knowledge of the apparel and textile industry.  We all have it - some more than others.  No set of exams to test AIQ. Some from formal education but most from experience.

A traditional intelligence quotient (IQ) is a total score derived from one of several standardized tests designed to assess human intelligence.

The following traditional IQ definition is a composite from various authors and can be applied to AIQ. Intelligence is a combination of the ability to:

  1. Learn.  This includes all kinds of informal and formal learning via any combination of experience, education, and training.
  2. Pose problems.  This includes recognizing problem situations and transforming them into more clearly defined problems.
  3. Solve problems.  This includes solving problems, accomplishing tasks, fashioning products, and doing complex projects.

This definition of intelligence is a very optimistic one.  It says that each of us can become more intelligent through study and practice, access to appropriate tools, and learning to make effective use of these tools.  It can be defined in these ways:

  1. Practical intelligence.  The ability to do well in informal and formal educational settings; adapting to and shaping one's environment; street smarts.
  2. Experiential intelligence.  The ability to:  deal with novel situations; effectively automate ways of dealing with these situations so they are easily handled in the future; think in novel ways.
  3. Componential intelligence.  The ability to process information effectively. This includes metacognitive, executive, performance, and knowledge-acquisition components that help to steer cognitive processes.

Now apply these definitions to the examples of individual components of a career within our industry:

Textiles & Mills         

  • Yarn processing
  • Fabric production & finishing

Design, Product Development & Technical Design

  • Technical garment construction
  • Interpreting trends

 Merchandising & Retail

  • Supply chain & Wholesale
  • Brick & Mortar and E Commerce


  • Trims & components
  • Cut & sewn garments

Sales & Marketing

  • Fabric, trims, garment
  • Retail

Sourcing & Planning

  • Quality & cost
  • Compliance & sustainability

High AIQ people possess expert understanding in several of these areas, and are fluent in the balance – finding the common “thread” in all categories.  Understanding the global apparel market and having the ability to make sound retail decisions, knowing how to evaluate quality and determine commercially acceptability are all trademarks of high AIQ.