June 14, 2006
So… I’ve been thinking a lot about the fashion education/apparel industry disconnect. It’s a subject that I have a lot to say about, but also a subject I find overwhelming. It is so simple to point out the shortcomings of the system but doing that won’t change anything. Somehow solutions and ideas must be developed, and I want to write a piece that will inspire, not alienate, the twin towers of the fashion establishment.
It seems like much of the research I’ve done and my own pavement-pounding keeps leading me back to this one issue. I tend to resist activism like most members of Generation Myspace, I am used to being politically ambivalent. Yet somehow this particular subject resonates within me, even making me feel things… I’m not used to feeling so strongly about something. I resent how a lack of communication and connection at the top is contributing to the decline of my industry.
The most intimidating aspect of these feelings is how they are pushing me towards dealing with large, established organizations. These infrastructures are often resistant to change and as an individual (and a young person), I think I lack the necessary authority to be able to motivate multiple levels of beaurocracy.
My tactic therefore will remain grassroots and based on individuals. I know that I have individual visitors from my university, from Industry Canada (this gives me a lot of hope!), and from my provincial and federal governments, and also professionals representing the apparel industry. Shoutouts to all of you – you rock! I’d love to hear your responses and your ideas – let me know what you think. I’m at a stage where I’m collecting information and trying to organize my thoughts, so points of view from all corners is welcomed. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
One individual who consistently inspires me is Julian Roberts, who as a professor, designer, and a free-thinking individual has a unique perspective on this subject. In a recent post on the fashion spot his comments resonated…
University has to encourage students way beyond their education.
To be resourceful, committed, excited, confident, respectful, communicative & opportunistic.
Students have to graduate with their eyes open,
too many fashion students leave university disorientated by graduation.
Thrown out after the catwalk show party is over into an industry that doesnâ€™t actually need a load of upstarts thinking theyâ€™re â€˜designersâ€™.
What the industry needs is hard workers, people with more than one skill, creative people who are a safe pair of hands, and who appreciate that there is creativity beyond the garment, in the promotional, marketing & business sides of fashion, that you have to make money & balance the bread&butter work with the high art creative statements.
Knowing who you are talking to & who your audience is high on the agenda.