To prepare graduates for the new age professional landscape, fashion design education is taking a realistic approach as design and design education are intricately linked. The future role of the designer, will not only be to simply create aesthetically appealing objects, but to develop complex narratives through the fashion design process for capturing the overwhelmed audience.
During the 1960-1990's, the only educational institutes having concepts like dress and fashion in their title, were design school and technical training institutes. It was only in the last decade of the 20th century that various approaches were integrated across disciplines and institutions, making it possible to talk about fashion studies.
Fashion has always played an important role in defining personalities. It is a powerful tool of influence. For example, before the Supreme Court has scrapped Section 377 of the IPC, the 158-year-old colonial law which criminalises consensual gay sex, our students did a set inspired by the LGBTQ community and designed an athleisure collection, stating that the latest trends are all-gender. Such designs are encouraged to generate awareness, as it has the potential to fundamentally transform the way people think about gender equality.
Today's generation of students and future professional have the power to change social-cultural, environmental and economic, and political practices worldwide. Cited by many, as the most challenging and exuberating career option in modern times, fashion designing and textile industry has led to innovation and new prospects in an existing sphere of garments.
The environment we live in influences the style of clothing that people wear. Not just the physical geographical or climatic, but rather the less tangible aspect of social culture at that time. It is also an expression of identity and reflection of culture. Constant improvement in technology has also become an aid to fashion design aspirants. And designers tend to make full use of these tools for their designs.
Fashion Schools are rapidly evolving and have become highly volatile in the academic landscape. Institutes are rethinking their long-standing philosophy of design education. The Fashion Design Industry's evolving future and high-end demand is affecting the mode in which education is delivered. As the world demands a better solution for environmental sustainability, educators are providing opportunities for students to begin future agents of change.
Students must acquire skills, interdisciplinary experiences and conceptual development throughout their learning. Fashion designers must, therefore, become familiarized with the research methodologies used in other fields so they can discover similar, successful research data that drive the design processes. Hence, the importance for designers to acquire deeper forms of research becomes more meaningful when considering the excessive costs needed to build and sustain a brand today.
The ability to collaborate and to communicate, a capacity for empathy, and an ability to articulate design insights shall be encouraged in design institutes to act strategically. And to ensure this, fashion design institutes must enable design cross-fertilization with areas such as science, business, education for innovation.
The evolving future is largely credited to the globalized fashion industry. The world has become smaller and designers need to be aware of cultures, global markets, resources and technologies. Fashion is a cultural phenomenon in a social and historical context. Also, craft-based education should not be lost and neglected, nor should it be replaced by academic traditions that do not provide the specific need of fashion design education.
Craft learning is an intrinsic part of the design education curriculum. Interactive, experiential learning is the core of the teaching pedagogy at our institution. Recently, a session by Mr Mohan Kumar Verma, one of the few remaining custodians of Sanjhi and a fourth generation Sanjhi artists spoke about the origin, motifs, tools and techniques of the craft. It was a hands-on workshop, where our students learnt to use special hand-made scissors and cut out detailed patterns to apply this knowledge in creating and developing new designs.
The new curriculum aims to provide students with contextual and pioneering cross-disciplinary engagement. Through this broader academic approach, design students will become versatile and able to succeed in the increasingly accelerated and knowledge-based professional environment.
Rupal Dalal serves as the Executive Director of JD Institute of Fashion Technology, which is an education division of JD Image Promotions Ltd. Supervision of all academic departments, curriculum development, academic development, pedagogic growth, academic systems planning and designing & academic quality assurance has been her share of developments at JD Institute of Fashion Technology. She is the Chair person of Board of examination, Kuvempu University. She has been awarded with "Smt.Sushila Agarwal Memorial Award" for her exemplary services to senior citizens for arranging fashion show every year. She believes that her contribution through education is a means to build the design future for the country.