In addition to traditional skills, fashion design students need to acquire technical skills. | Image source: Freepik
Lynne Murray, director of the Digital Anthropology Lab at the London College of Fashion, emphasized the need to understand the impact of digitalization on the fashion industry. As business models shift to faster production technologies, students must keep pace with technological advancements to meet growing consumer demand.
Students pursuing fashion design deal with all aspects of art, science, and technology, and can explore a variety of career opportunities. There is an urgent need to keep them informed about all these segments and the evolution in terms of technologies, behavioral patterns, current trends, etc. This will allow them to identify and create products based on requirements.
There are two undergraduate programs open to fashion majors. The Bachelor of Design involves designing fashion accessories, clothing, stitching, styling and making dresses, while the four-year Bachelor of Fashion Technology is a combination of creativity and technology, combining fashion trends with various production techniques.
From design and production to sales and marketing, the incorporation of technology is reshaping the way we think about fashion. This includes changing the runway to the retail cycle and enhancing e-commerce offerings and promotions on social media platforms to track and evaluate customer preferences and behaviour.
Computer Aided Design (CAD)
Today, students, especially those pursuing B.FTech, need to master Computer Aided Design (CAD). It teaches them to compare traditional fabrics, their fibers and trims, and to consider various design techniques in a short period of time. The chance of error is greatly reduced or even eliminated. It reduces requirements and increases output for hand sketching, floor drawing, pattern making, hand marking planning and other related tasks, allowing students to handle multiple color variations and complex series development.
social media influence
Another aspect that students need to understand is how fashion is viewed in the world today and the influence of social media influencers on consumer choices. Universities need to increase their interaction with technology to allow students to shape their designs so that they are customer-centric. Familiarity with 3D printing and general design software is essential. Students are also expected to understand the latest digital printing technologies and global trends in the field. Traditional screen printing is indispensable, and they must also be familiar with facilities such as digital dyeing rooms and digital vats.
Fashion students need skills such as drawing techniques, understanding fabrics, understanding body structure, size, colour, pattern and collection inspiration. Adding technical skills will add an extra dimension to this, and universities need to bridge the gap by setting up innovation labs to keep students up to date.
The author is the dean of Jingdong Fashion Institute of Technology.