PARIS — March 3, 2015 – Lectra recently hosted its 7th Education Congress in Paris. The 2015 Lectra Education Congress brought together over 60 professors, department heads and directors from 33 international fashion schools and universities, around the theme of change and transformation in the fashion industry. The event was held on the banks of the Seine river at the French Fashion Institute (IFM) which is housed in Paris’ Cité de la Mode et du Design.
“This congress organized by Lectra and welcoming fashion schools and industry players helps highlight the importance of technology in fashion today. Our industry is both creative and traditional. Development techniques and information systems are constantly evolving and becoming increasingly sophisticated, thus allowing us to combine these aspects in an optimal way, while better managing the supply chain and the integral management of all processes,” said Dominique Jacomet, Dean of IFM.
The congress highlighted transformational shifts in the industry and the impact on both fashion companies and also on fashion education. Major industry trends were explored: globalization, the digital disruption, new consumer expectations and the continued rise of luxury. Stéphane Wargnier, Executive President of la Fédération Française de la Couture presented a study on the changes now occurring inside the industry, such as the emergence of new job roles and thus the need for new competencies. “Every brand uses collaboration as part of its strategy today,” he noted, “and thus companies need talent who know how to work in a collaborative, yet innovative, manner.”
“Students have changed a lot over the last 10 years. It’s our role as teachers to adapt to these changes and this new generation who no longer have same way of behaving vis-à-vis teachers and education in general. They are much more active in their learning; they challenge teachers’ knowledge, because with the internet, they feel that they can check everything the teacher says. Education and teaching has become more a concept of support and co-operative learning,” explained Chantal Fouqué, Director of French fashion institute La Fabrique.
The importance of industry in education, was underlined by Michael Ernst Professor of Textile Product Development at Germany’s University Niederrhein “At universities you can bring students to a certain level but they need to do internships or start working together with companies so it is not just a university thing or otherwise there is a gap.“
This observation was illustrated by the UK’s De Montfort University as their delegates joined French lingerie company Aubade to present their joint student competition using Lectra solutions. While representatives from French companies agnes b. and Paule Ka participated in discussions providing insight into the current challenges faced by their companies and gave schools the opportunity to hear what companies are looking for in today’s graduates.
“Lectra has done that great thing of bringing together industry and education. We can cross over and pollinate ideas and talk about the future and the past to aid and benefit education and our students,” concluded Sharon Blackford, Senior Lecturer at the London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London, UK. Fiona Dieffenbacher Director of the BFA Fashion Design program at Parsons, USA agreed, “It is an opportunity for us as international peers to come together and share with those who are may be grappling with similar issues.
From the presentations we saw how other curriculums are run and gained an overview of the issues facing the fashion design industry from the perspective of Paris.”
Posted March 10, 2015