INTERNATIONAL FOUNDATION OF FASHION TECHNOLOGY INSTITUTES (IFFTI), 23rd Annual Conference
Fashioning Resurgence: Our Time is Now
26 – 28 October 2021
Pearl Academy, India
I will be presenting a paper on research at the upcoming IFFTI 2021 conference with my colleagues Verity Prideaux, Dr. Sonya Kraan, Dr. Rebecca Van Amber, Emma Yench, and Associate Dean of Technology, Dr. J Underwood from RMIT University’s School of Fashion and Textiles.
Abstract: Reflecting on Place and Materials: Interdisciplinarity Practices for Fashion
The fashion and textiles sector is undergoing a moment of deep reflection. Technological innovations and improved environmental, social and ethical practices are transforming the global fashion and textiles industry, fundamentally changing how clothes are made, consumed and experienced. Simultaneously, society and consumer behaviour and expectations are changing. Conscious consumers are buying less but better and are wanting more meaningful experiences. Various industry reports (such as the Global Fashion Agenda, 2020) highlight the challenges, as well as opportunities, facing the industry. These challenge the global fashion and textiles education community to rethink how it prepares graduates for industry. What knowledge and skills will graduates need? As educators, how do we adapt and transform curriculum offerings to provide graduates opportunities for meaningful employment, meet the needs of industry whilst ensuring that we work within planetary boundaries and strive for best ethical and social practices.
When considering future employability of graduates, three key considerations will inform and shape the fashion and textiles industry: (i) Sustainability and the shift to a circular fashion system require new ways of working; (ii) A new material intelligence is needed that will support the analysis and development of the next generation of materials within a framework of sustainability, and (iii) Interdisciplinarity through a multi-stakeholder approach to support ‘Age of entanglement’(Oxman, 2016) ways of working.
This paper outlines the conceptual philosophy for the learning design of the two courses co-delivered to all first-year students in the School of Fashion and Textiles These courses seek to scaffold and complement students’ discipline-specific learning of design (fashion design and textile design), enterprise (fashion enterprise) or technology (sustainable innovation). Both courses seek, in different ways, to promote interdisciplinary learning which enables students to develop shared language sets around sustainability and materials, and to recognise and establish relationships between disciplinary sectors. Furthermore, it is argued that interdisciplinary courses can provide opportunities to explore diverse strategies for actioning sustainability locally and in connection to global issues.