The umbrella and mission of my work is mindset change and growth for both leaders as professionals to align with the future of fashion. Changing mindset requires a cultural shift, which cannot be done overnight. But now, more than ever, companies and professionals in the fashion and luxury industry should examine potential near and long-term possibilities for shifting towards re-imagining our industry altogether and future-proof our business models or careers. I believe that in 5 to 10 years’ time, the industry will have changed significantly due to the speed of technology and fashion education can shift that mindset so we have to realign and refocus for this future. As a result, I feel we must disrupt the education model and think and act more out of an education eco system model, which allows for all involved, to be adaptable and open to new skills, new knowledge and new markets.
Technology is crucial.
Technologies such as artificial intelligence, 3D printing and augmented reality are set to cause even deeper transformations in society over the next ten years, requiring fashion professionals to update their skill set. The fashion industry is already suffering from a lack of skilled professionals, as demonstrated by a recent study conducted by Alvanon, pushing universities and companies to improve their training. Although self-taught talents such as Virgil Abloh, the Olsen Twins with their brand The Row and Victoria Beckham demonstrate one does not necessarily need a degree in fashion to succeed in the industry, universities still play and will continue to play a major role in preparing the next generation of professionals. As I see it, many fashion degrees offered by universities focus too much on the design and marketing aspects of fashion, failing to teach students technical know-how and skills which are just as useful. It is also crucial for universities to inspire the next generation to follow technical career paths.
We need to involve the business community
Fashion United published an article on the need for change in education by having interviewed a variety of prominent names in the industry. In this article, the experts were unanimous: only by teaming up with the business side, can the fashion industry face the challenges and establish a digital and sustainable mindset. Therefore, one can expect fashion schools to collaborate more with fashion businesses and other schools. Also companies themselves should invest more in the learning and development of their employees. A fashion education degree used to set you for life. Not anymore. Technology changes so fast now that continuous learning has become more important today than it’s ever been.
A learning ecosystem and partnership
Just as I was working on a special digital mindset program for one of my clients ‘Nine & Co’ I received an invitation from Saxion University of Applied Sciences to join their SOM project pressure cooker online edition for changing their Fashion and Textile Technologies curriculum. SOM means ‘Samen Onderwijs Maken, which means: creating eduction together. This is why Saxion took an initiative to create this education together with the business community and students. In a well organized morning long online Teams co-storm session, representatives from the schools’ education management, the student population ánd the business of fashion helped Saxion to get started with this change. “I hope and think that we will see a growth of more and more academic-corporate partnerships. Companies will help universities to create curriculums and course materials, and universities will equip companies with learning tools so employees can be continuously trained and remain relevant.