Design students need to equip themselves with technological skills in addition to traditional skills. | Image credit: Freepik
Lynne Murray, director of the Digital Anthropology Lab at the London College of Fashion, emphasized the need to understand how digitization is affecting the fashion industry. As business models shift to faster production techniques, students must keep up with technological advances to meet growing consumer demands.
Students studying fashion design are exposed to the various dimensions of Art, Science and Technology and can explore a wide range of career opportunities. The urgent need is to expose them to all these segments and their evolution in technology, behavioral patterns, current trends, etc. This will enable them to define and build their products according to their requirements.
There are two undergraduate programs for students in fashion. A Bachelor of Design focuses on fashion accessories, clothing, tailoring, pattern making and dressmaking, while a four-year Bachelor of Fashion Technology is a mix of creativity and technology that combines fashion trends with various production techniques.
From design and manufacturing to sales and marketing, the presence of technology is changing how we perceive fashion. This includes changing runways in the retail cycle to track and evaluate customer preferences and behaviour, and strengthening e-commerce offers and promotions on social media platforms.
Computer Aided Design (CAD)
Today, students, especially B.FTech students, need to learn Computer Aided Design (CAD). Traditional fabrics, their fibers and embellishments are compared and taught to consider different design techniques in a short period of time. The chance of error is greatly reduced or even eliminated. It reduces the need for manual drawing, flat drawing, pattern making, hand marker planning, and other related tasks while increasing output, allowing students to develop multiple color variations and complex collections.
The influence of social media
Another aspect that students should understand is how the world views fashion today and the influence of social media influencers on consumer choices. Colleges need to increase their engagement with technology to create models for students so they are customer-centric. Familiarity with 3D printing and universal design software is essential. Students need to know about the latest digital printing technologies and global trends. Traditional screen printing should not be left out, but they should know all about facilities such as digital paint rooms and digital tanks.
Design students need skills such as drawing techniques, understanding fabric, understanding body structure, measurement, color, design, and collection inspiration. Adding technology skills will add an extra dimension to this and colleges need to bridge the gap by setting up innovation labs to keep students fresh.
The writer is the director of the JD Institute of Fashion Technology.