Break into Fashion
How to bridge the skills gap at the workplace through hands-on and experiential learning
The world of fashion and design is highly competitive but also diverse in terms of approaches and the creativity involved. The way institutes prepare their students form the fundamental pillar on which an individual can express themselves and be successful in this dynamic and ever-changing industry.
Educational Institutions need to ensure that students’ mastery of the fundamentals — whether it’s in sketching, mood boards, cutting or stitching — is strong, as all these steps are needed to design their own collections.
Students must become comfortable with all the different methodologies and techniques, and mastery comes with practice. Hence, the teaching methodology has to be lab- and studio-oriented as the subject matter is extremely practical. This is the first step in ensuring that an institution prepares its students in the right manner, offering hands-on training from an early stage.
The next extremely important pillar for educational institutions is to provide their students with real-world exposure. It is critical for the students to collaborate and learn from designers — local, regional and international. Institutes must ensure there are key partnerships in place with designers and companies to create opportunities for hands-on learning.
Institutes must ensure there are key partnerships in place with designers and companies to create opportunities for hands-on learning.
– Jessica Galeano, Marketing Manager of The College of Fashion & Design
Participation in events also provides students with a platform whereby they can work backstage and, as they progress, even on stage by showcasing their designs.
This not only strengthens their confidence but also gives them exposure to what designers go through in real life. Similarly, internships at major fashion houses provide students with a 360-degree exposure of the big brands’ business.
Whether it’s the supply chain for a big fashion house, customer service or the pricing strategies, platforms and channels to select, a young designer must be well acquainted with all these areas before taking the big step. Hence, a well-articulated internship programme allows for students to experience the real-life work environment in different departments of big retailers and fashion houses.
In today’s age for fashion start-ups, e-commerce is the way forward, allowing young professionals to launch their businesses with minimum investments.
The rise of e-commerce and influencers launching their merchandise in the market has disrupted the traditional brick-and-mortar models of fashion retail and the credibility of design in some cases.
As a result, while the barriers of entry are now much lower, the survival and sustainability for a designer is more challenging.
At the College of Fashion and Design (CFD), we believe in the experiential teaching methodology and have created an environment to ensure that we provide the necessary platform for all our students to truly express their creativity.
— The writer is Marketing Manager of The College of Fashion & Design