I’m a Vocational Trainer at a Fashion School and I’m also a PhD Student in the Design field, focusing on Fashion Sustainability, and I’m researching on how to extend the use phase of garments from a fashion designer point of view. The challenge on how fashion education can equip students for a new reality relates directly to my research focus, because I my work is based on the believe that designers are the role agents to promote behaviour change among consumers, through big retailers. While recycling progresses are being made, with still need to address the amount of textile waste created every year, so addressing the use phase is of most importance.
The key challenge I see in the field is the fact that students learn sustainability skills as if they would be fit for niche businesses, for their own brands, or as something they fit for semester projects and then they forget after entering the fashion industry. The challenge, for universities, is to foster a different mindset right from the beginning, as students are learning the “alphabet” of fashion design (and not only later on, when they’re learning “Shakespeare” fashion design). If universities work closer with the industry, they can equip students with feasible skills for bigger brands, where major change is needed. Skills to work on a bigger scale can also be useful for smaller businesses, but the contrary isn’t necessarily true. Key opportunities rely on the synergies university can create with big players in the industry, preparing students as the future game changers within product development teams. And while
I see myself playing a role through the contribute I hope to give with my PhD research and, most importantly, through my role within fashion design education.