Saturday, 30 October 2010

Learning and the future of fashion.


I am continually impressed by the standards of work our students are delivering this year. We are incredibly fortunate to have learners who want to research and develop their skills and ideas. There is a lot of varied and creative activity from all of our programme groups. Its just a pity that we don't live in a perfect world with unlimited resources to take all of this creativity as far as it could go. What we do instead, is develop creative and committed students and show them how with effort and planning and practice, they can open the doors to their own futures.

Lofty ideals? Too ambitious? Unrealistic? Not at all. Creating fabulous assessment work leads to good grades and final qualifications. What the students are really good at is generating something brand new from a simple idea. Anyone who has ever spent time in such a fast changing industry knows the importance of innovation, generating new concepts that will have enough mass appeal and team working to get the garments to the customers. Its not at all about becoming the new Primark or Topshop, even though some of our learners do have that potential. Its about making a living from something you love doing, either in employment or self employment.

Is fashion, art or a business? Is it both? Does a garment have to be worn to be appreciated? How will sustainability affect the fashion industry in the future? How do you go about researching, designing and making for customers of a different age, gender, nationality to yourself? Do you want to wear any of the garments you have designed yourself? Indeed, what is the future of fashion in these times? These are only some of the challenges that face students and staff in any College or University? How will the fashion industry develop and thrive over the next few years?

I am very fortunate to teach within a team of extremely talented individuals who all bring something very different to the table. It is a brand new team who have been brought together specifically. Our students are lucky to have such hard working and inspirational staff to lead them, they tell me that, which I am grateful for. We believe in all of our students. It is an exciting time for our department and we look forwards to the future as all fashion people have to do.

The staff talents and experience reflect exactly the activities that take place in industry from the creative design and textile developments, pattern and manufacturing developments and buying, merchandising and promotional developments. Not one of these activities is more important than the next, they are each a part of an on-going process that leads from one activity to the next. Ask anyone in industry and they will tell you the same. Because the markets and industry constantly change and move, the skills and competencies we develop, help to cope and respond to these changes. Negotiation, compromise and understanding are all a huge part of it as well. The more a student puts in to each of these processes, the more they will get out. It is that simple. There is never only one answer to a problem. Its about what you want to do and how to get there. Your qualification is only the first step. Good luck to all of you. Work hard, we are here to help.

This week alone, I have been approached by 2 ex-students for career advice on which opportunity they should follow next as choices have come up. A nice situation for them to be in. Yesterday, one of our current students has approached me for advice on how to start preparing for self employment. Off her own back, she has started a facebook/blog and asked me to inform my facebook contacts. It merits more than that. This is the link, please follow her.

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