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European Journal of Sustainable Development (2018), 7, 1, 365-373 ISSN: 2239-5938
Doi: 10.14207/ejsd.2018.v7n1p365
| 1
Sustainable Fashion Education in changing World
Scenario
Vishaka Agarwal1
Abstract
With the changing world scenario, information technology is hitting all walks of life , the globalised
phenomenon along with alarming environmental concerns have led the world to innovate ways and
methods to address various concerns in a sustainable way. Fashion education also needs to undergo
change in its pedagogy and develop newer knowledge source and materials which are eco-friendly
,leaving less carbon footprints on the earth .The fashion Education curriculum needs to have more
“Free Thinking” orientation and interaction and information of technological advances of materials
and processes which consume less energy and less waste post production. Looking at current
trends, the future would require Fashion Designers to have multidisciplinary knowledge of Design,
Technology and managerial skills to evolve and compete in the Fashion Industry. Questionnaire
would be made to collect the perception from Fashion experts, professionals, Academia and
students to assess the kind of knowledge they would like to be incorporated in the Fashion
curriculum which has sustainable concepts incorporated in keeping tandem with the future trends.
Keywords: Fashion , Curricula , Sustainable, Education
1. Introduction
Fashion today has become a most dynamic aspect in the world hitting all walks
of life. And all the strata of society. We find fashion involved in everything we see
around in terms of Colour, shape forms and material. As fashion has pervaded all
economic and social strata of society across the world , so this gives challenge to the
designers to produce and think of ideas which are economical and which addresses
environmental concerns. Thereby making Fashion Education accessible to all interested
and having the design skills so that these can be further developed into design creativity
to create new ideas which are environment friendly.
Teaching pedagogy has to come out from the walls of classroom and give space and time
to the „New Thinker‟ to think about new ideas in the way the brain his /her brain can
think of. This requires the Fashion curriculum to be more diverse and open to allow the
„New Thinker „to come up with ideas and solution which are sustainable and economical.
They should be given time and space to explore on ideas in an liberalised environment
.As the New Learner is technology and social media savvy they have a wider exchange
platform to share and develop ideas. International Technology and design exchange
should be promoted by institutes so as to expose the new learner to the latest updated
technological advances so that they are able to create new ideas which are competitive
on world platform and are able to do frugal innovation by consuming less resource and
produce more.
366 European Journal of Sustainable Development (2018), 7, 1, 365-373
Published by ECSDEV, Via dei Fiori, 34, 00172, Rome, Italy http://ecsdev.org
2. The Teacher as Designer
The main aim of Education is to provide knowledge to the society. Traditional
methods of education which involved classroom teaching and assignments is not what
the generation today require. Activated sensibilities towards creative innovation to solve
ambiguity and complexity are now the main focus of learner‟s todays. Kalatinzis and
Cope (2010) states that the todays learner do not want to be just passive listeners of the
textbook knowledge. They want to be participative, innovators, risk takers creative
learner who want to give solution to problems.
The curriculum should motivate them to actively engage them in real life practical
challenges. The New Learners is ready to take greater responsibility for their learning if
they are given autonomy and self-control. They will become knowledge producers and
resource instead of only being consumers who will read the just the book .They would
work effectively in groups beyond classroom and use the social media and e media to
learn anytime and anywhere. The New Learner as well as the „New Teacher‟ has to
change. The New Teacher has to deliver knowledge authoritatively without being
authoritarian. The New Teachers needs to be liberal and needs to assess the students as
they are progressing even if they are not on the same page at one time. It is a continuous
assessment which the new teacher has to do depending on the learning level and need
of the student. So the new student needs more „ free thinking mode of curriculum
deliverance and knowledge in a free environment where they are left free to think and
find solution to their creative thought process.
3. Current Design Curriculum
The Fashion Design curriculum delivered around the world involves a
Foundation year of curriculum in which design fundamentals are delivered. Then the
students enter the core program of 3 years. In the core program emphasis is on
imparting technical skills and knowledge of different types fabrics, surface
embellishment, pattern making and garment construction techniques along with knowing
fashion forecast and different markets .Also the curriculum delves in marketing and
display techniques to enhance sell. Along with this theoretical and practical deliverance,
there are visit to the industry to enable students to know the current industry and
working procedure. Also experts from industry are invited to share their experience and
requirement of the industry.
In India at the National Institute of Fashion Technology , in order to have the future
designers be connected to their country craft and culture they are sent to craft clusters to
interact with the artisans and understand how they make the products using different
techniques.
Computer aided designing using updated latest software are part of the curriculum in
each semester so that students can use e media to design and give various effects to
design at a faster and easy way.
Semester Abroad Exchange Programs are also floated to allow the students to have
international exposure to design and learn about the design concept happening
internationally. The aim of this undergraduate design curriculum to prepare the graduates
V. Agarwal 367
© 2018 The Author. Journal Compilation © 2018 European Center of Sustainable Development.
for the industry some of whom enter the industry immediately after the graduation as
assistant designers and some look ahead to some higher studies to management and
design programs to enhance their skills.
Faerm(2012) refers to Marshall (2009) states the German state school „The Bauhaus‟
(1919-1933) had strongly influenced the primary structure of the American art and
design education. He further states that many fashion design programs of America
duplicated the Bauhaus education format of „learning by doing .The students learnt
various design fundamentals in the foundation year before choosing their specialisation.
Faerm(2012) states that many American design schools like the Parson school of design
had their academic curriculum similar to the Bahaus , based on vocational industry
oriented approach(Wolff& Rhee,2009). The other Fashion Design Institute „Fashion
Institute of technology‟ was launched by government support to supply the apparel
industry with qualified labour.today the fashion design curriculum aims to develop
practical skills and creative sensibilities so that they may cater to industry needs.
4. Current Industry Requirement
Environmental concerns are today the most important area where the entire
world is thinking and focusing on. Industry is demanding better eco - friendly solutions
therefore designers have to look for better alternatives to the product processing and raw
material sources. These new breed of designers would be the „vehicles of change‟ in the
industry for which the educator‟s and the curriculum has to be updated accordingly.
Faerm (2012) quotes “………to foster a new generation of designer citizens: productive,
engaged, inventive businesspeople, policy makers, and community activist, many of
whom also make beautiful and useful thing” ( Wolf & Rhee , 2011).
Academicians have to think of how to make these new designers suitable to the shifting
professional scenario? How they can prepare the graduates to be suitable for the all the
varied kind of opportunities and challenges lying in the professional world.
5. The New Education Curriculum
As fashion is globalised phenomenon hence it has a very unpredictable future.
As fashion caters to different economy, culture, societal values of the world therefore the
fashion designers require to know the nuances of the different culture and societies of
the world along with the evolving technological innovation and new resources which are
being identified for the sustainable future. The fashion curricula needs to prepare the
curriculum which is interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary which would prepare
graduates to develop capability to synthesize with other discipline and technology to
innovate new products. Faerm (2012)quotes Joel Towers, Dean of Parsons school of
Design that there are moments when narrowness of academic studies makes sense
when specific expertise is necessary but today the issues that we have to address and
their complexity require a breadth of knowledge. Faerm states that Parsons the New
School of Design has created a transdisciplinary Design in which students from diverse
fields work as design team.
As design has pervaded in all the products that we see and use along with the
368 European Journal of Sustainable Development (2018), 7, 1, 365-373
Published by ECSDEV, Via dei Fiori, 34, 00172, Rome, Italy http://ecsdev.org
environmental concerns hitting the world deeply, therefore designers have a key role to
play to attend to this issue. „Frugal innovation‟ is a solution to this contemporary needs
which aims to produce more from less resource‟. The curricula need to be designed
with this concept of Frugal innovation so that the future designers are able to create and
innovate new products.
Wahl and Baxter (2008) mentions that Sustainability requires widespread participation of
communities worldwide at local, regional and across international borders to achieve the
vision into reality. Therefore, in order to achieve universal acceptable design which is
sustainable, we need to develop a system in which everyone participates and is a member
in its creation and is ready to adapt the socio-cultural processes of change. Such a
process of Trans disciplinary and integrative design process will have holistic solution
that promotes sustainability across different culture and economies of the world meeting
the needs, values, attitudes and desires.
Wahl and Baxter (2008) states that Design is the core element of all human needs and
designers should have the potential to act as trans disciplinary correlational and co-
ordinating agent. Designers can act as facilitators in integration of the various trans
disciplinary attributes.
Venkataraman(2009) states that in 2002 at the World Summit on Sustainable
Development , the conference emphasized the need for the concern and linking
education with sustainable development. The decade 2004-2015 was declared as the
‘Decade of Education for Sustainable Development’
(DESD) by the United Nations
General Assembly in 2002.The main aim behind „Education for Sustainable
Development „is to involve education in the development of the society with the core
essence of sustainable development.
Design institutions and faculties should design curriculum which should have Cross
breeding of design, science, business and technology to innovate products for our society
which is driven by social media, technology and environmental concerns. Wahl and
Baxter (2008) states that Design is the core element of all human needs and designers
should have the potential to act as trans disciplinary correlational and co-ordinating
agent. Designers can act as facilitators in integration of the various trans disciplinary
attributes.
Wilber (2001) states that a framework is required to consolidate the understanding for
acknowledging and co-relating different perspective and worldviews.The need of the
hour is to determine the ideal balance in curriculum of conceptual education including
research and experimentation with practical application to prepare the grounds for
students to nurture originality and creativity..
Faerm(2012) refers to Joel Towers who states that students must acquire the skills that
will help them sustain in the current market as well as train them to improve and upgrade
the future industry. The paradigm shift therefore thinks over making in design education.
Industry must define „design expert‟ attributes as that will help the academia to develop
the Curriculum accordingly which will satisfy the future needs of the industry.
6. The Attributes of the Emerging Generation
The redesigning of the fashion curriculum also requires looking into and
V. Agarwal 369
© 2018 The Author. Journal Compilation © 2018 European Center of Sustainable Development.
understanding the psychology of the future design student. What do these students like
and how they perceive future?
Today‟s youth is exposed diversity in culture, religion and ethnicity which the young
adults face in academics and community. These youth have to learn to survive in the
integrated environment even if their parents were not exposed to such experience.
In this age group of 19-23 years, Youth have to come out from the protected
environment of the parents, change from a „taker‟ to a „self-reliant‟ person and adopt a
realistic lifestyle and become more responsible. This kind of change from a dependent
person to completely independent person may be difficult for new fashion designers as
this field is highly competitive with limited job vacancies. For making a niche in the
society is an advantage available to only few who are at the top of class.
7. Results
A field survey was conducted with a structured questionnaire of closed ended
question among Academicians, Professional and students of sample size 60 respondents.
The students size was 40 and professional and academician size were 10 each .The
results received from the field survey is detailed below.
i)
Theory and process based subjects
: From the response,
‘Academicians ‘
suggested that the theory subjects should be reduced to 20% and 80% process
based subjects should be given weightage.
’Students’
feel that there should be
only 15 % of theory subjects and 85% should be process based while
‘Professionals’
feels that there should be only 10% theory based subjects while
90% feel that more of practical subjects should be there in curriculum (Fig.1).
Fig 1.
ii)
Classroom, Field visit and interaction with faculty
: 45 % of the respondents
suggested that the Classroom hours should be reduced and more field research and
personal interaction with faculties should be promoted so that the students can discuss
their ideas on one to one basis with the faculties as this is a creative field and there are
more chances of ideas being swapped by others if discussed openly. Field vsit would
give them more update practice knowledge of the industry.(Fig.2)
370 European Journal of Sustainable Development (2018), 7, 1, 365-373
Published by ECSDEV, Via dei Fiori, 34, 00172, Rome, Italy http://ecsdev.org
Fig. 2
iii)
Assignment
Type:
87% of the respondents were of the views that the subject
assignments should be open in the area of topic so that students can exercise creativity
within the scope of the subject under close reviews by the subject faculty to have a
creative output.(Fig3)
Fig.3
iv)
Sustainable Concepts
: 85 % of the respondents are interested in the concept of
sustainability while 10 % are not clear as to how to implement the concept of
sustainability in design process. Rest 5% are not quite aware of the sustainability
factors.(Fig.4)
Fig.4
V. Agarwal 371
© 2018 The Author. Journal Compilation © 2018 European Center of Sustainable Development.
v
) Free Thinking
: 40% respondents „agree‟ that Practical Classes and field visits hours
should be increased so that more practical understanding can be attained as
professionals.25% agree‟ that more of field visit to design houses , fairs and industry
should be emphasized only while 35% agree that more practical classes should be
conducted.(Fig5)
Fig.5
vi)
Communication Technology
: 65% respondents feel that more of Communication
technology should be introduced so that virtual classes may be conducted where they
can attend classes through skype fro national and international exposure.30% „do not
agree that virtual classes would be beneficial while 5% „partially agree that virtual
classes would be helpful in design creation .(Fig.6)
Fig.6
vii)
International Exchange program
: 60% respondents „agree‟ international experts
exchange will help in developing professional who are able to meet the challenges of the
profession in a globalised manner and serve the society in better way.35 % „partially
agree „ that Exchange programs would be more beneficial where students spent a
semester in international university.5% disagree with both.(Fig.7)
372 European Journal of Sustainable Development (2018), 7, 1, 365-373
Published by ECSDEV, Via dei Fiori, 34, 00172, Rome, Italy http://ecsdev.org
Fig.7
viii)
Student Faculty ratio
: 85% of the respondents „fully agree‟ that Design institutions
should work out on faculty student ratio so that faculties are able to give good
guidance to students .15% „ partially agree‟that the student faculty needs to be improved
as this is creative field.(Fig.8)
Fig.8
ix)
Faculty workload
: 95%% respondents agree that the workload of faculties should
be reduced so that they are able to do good research and be updated which would reflect
in their updated good deliverance .5% partially „ agree „ .(Fig.9)
Fig.9
V. Agarwal 373
© 2018 The Author. Journal Compilation © 2018 European Center of Sustainable Development.
x)
Faculty Exposure and Training:
97 % agree that faculty exposure and training
should be emphasized by head of institution by allowing them to attend workshop,
seminars and national and international by making provision for monetary support and
other assistance as required for upgradation of knowledge so that they can give updated
knowledge to the students.
8. Conclusion
The Fashion Design Curricula needs to undergo a paradigm shift to
accommodate the concept of „Sustainable Future‟. The curriculum needs to be modified
with the inclusion of social media, technology and e-communication tools so that the
new generation which is Tech savvy and active on social media finds the education easy
and interesting to learn. This would give more confidence to both the teacher and the
student to understand creative thought which the students express and the teacher to
give proper direction to the students thought. Classroom hours needs be decreased so
that students get free thinking spaces and exploration time .The assignments should be
designed including the concept of sustainability. The Curriculum should give freedom to
the students to express their creativity with the utilisation of the Subject Concepts.
Institution should ensure that the Teacher student‟s ratio is worked out in a manner
that the Faculty is able to do research and guide the students in an organised and
freeway. The workload on the Teachers also needs to be worked out by institutions so
that teacher gets enough time to give to the student query and assistance when required.
The International Exchange between various institutes of the world will help students in
understanding globalised fashion requirements .Also faculty exchange through special
workshop and seminars will help students have multidisciplinary and Trans disciplinary
understanding. The interaction between the Faculty Student needs to be increased
through more of mentoring sessions so that there is closer understanding between the
teacher and students.
Thus the fashion curricula need to undergo paradigm shift due to society‟s relationship
with design and the requirement of the sustainable future for existence.
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digital media,(7), 3.
Venkatraman, B. (2009).”Education for sustainable development”,Environment , (51),2.
Wahl,D.C. and Baxter,S.(2008). “Designers role in facilitating sustainable solution”. Design issues, (24) 2.
Wilber.A.(2001) .”The theory of everything: An integral vision of business, politics, science and spirituality”
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Towards a future pedagogy
  • S Faerm
Faerm, S. (2012)."Towards a future pedagogy", International Journal of Humanities and Social Science, (2) 23.
The teacher as designer: pedagogy in the new media age
  • M Kalatinzis
  • Cope
Kalatinzis.M and Cope.B(2010)."The teacher as designer: pedagogy in the new media age",E-learning and digital media,(7), 3.