Styling and e-learning

Aspiring designers can learn and show off their designs in a web-friendly format

As the world grapples with a health pandemic, economic depression and a global movement for social justice, Bill Cunningham’s quote – “Fashion is the armor to survive the reality of everyday life” – has become inspiration from the fashion and design fraternity. From adapting to the new normal to navigating through it and achieving creativity, the fashion industry has once again set trends. In the modern world, creativity has never been all about learning in the classroom. Today, with the “anything anywhere” approach to the digital world, learning fashion design has entered a transformative revolution. When FHCM’s Couture Week 2020 went digital, the fashion industry was in awe. FHCM stands for Federation of Haute Couture and Fashion, which brings together fashion brands that promote creation and international development. However, with Gucci’s partnership with art auction house Christie’s on the NFT “ARIA” video, the industry realized that we had just scratched the surface of technology. Fashion design institutes have taken advantage of the pandemic to innovate in old-fashioned teaching methods and adapt to the rapidly changing digital world. Being a student-centered process allows the learner to customize procedures and processes according to their needs. With digital platforms for budding designers to learn and show off their creations in a web-friendly format and accelerated customization in digital tools to personalize their virtual studio, now has never been a better time to give free rein to creativity. The importance of exploring global perspectives through international fashion shows, exhibitions and webinars that reflect the global context of education and the fashion industry cannot be overstated. Design education colleges were quickly adopted and started hosting virtual events and platform during the 2020 lockdown, where they allow students to showcase their learnings and creations. These institutes also use a social media platform like Facebook Live where students showcased their work online.

The field of technology is developing every day and hence it is impacting the education, teaching and learning processes with its innovative solutions and sustainable methods. The increasing use of technologies such as AI, IoT and AoIT is effectively helping to reduce costs, time and energy in the education sector, especially in the creative fields. In 2020, due to the pandemic, all educational institutions introduced many innovative teaching and learning methods in order to maintain the quality of education and content. According to the InTech 2017 report, design learning needs digital or online learning to have a progressive future. There is a great need for active interaction between humans and technology through activities using creative intelligence for a bright future in design. Even though we were in a digital utopia with digital equity and no technical issues, imagining virtual styling learning is difficult. From the feel of the fabric to aesthetics and design, the physical interaction is as essential as the terrain itself. The physical return of Paris Fashion Week to the catwalks, including industry heavyweights from Chanel and Hermès to Louis Vuitton and Yves Saint Laurent, proves that fashion cannot survive without being inferred by the senses. Rethinking decades-old teaching models requires a more precise balance between physical and digital education in order to function successfully. Combining face-to-face lessons with technology can result in blended learning, thus increasing the learning potential of students. The need of the hour is for institutes to become omnichannel and build an effective e-learning model and for the fashion fraternity to come together as a community and use technology as a place for sustainable fashion culture.

(The author is Founder and Director, ARCH College of Design & Business. The opinions expressed are personal.)

Joseph E. Golightly