The novel coronavirus, COVID-19, has made a lot of industries including the fashion industry look for alternative solutions to forge ahead amidst the pandemic. Due to this, some of the top fashion schools all over the world have resorted to working remotely. Working remotely surely has its disadvantages especially to the fashion students. Practically all of them won’t have access to industrial machines such as, professional knitting machine, sewing machine etc, used to learn in school. The fact that they have to make do with whatever tools they have at home is a big worry.
Considering the fact that world experts don’t have the slightest idea of when this pandemic will end, fashion schools have to be proactive and settle for less rather than nothing.
At the DeTao Masters Academy in Shangai, Patrick Gottelier, one of the fashion design undergraduate coordinators, and some of his colleagues have employed the use of Wechat, which is a mobile text and voice messaging communication service to teach their fashion design students. By watching demos to explain certain fashion design techniques, and sharing their progress through the Wechat multi-screen chats, the students have been able to learn progressively. One of his students stated that, “The online class atmosphere is very encouraging, but not being able to go the the fashion design studio affects our learning, because we dont have access to some machines”.
Technology definitely has its advantages and people at the DeTao Masters Academy have been able to utilise it properly. Also, at the University of Creative Arts, Hong Kong, Layla Sailor who is a lecturer on fashion promotion and images had to encourage students to turn in photography and imagining assignments, by shooting on their phones. With this same energy, she has plans of organising a virtual exhibition using Adobe Aero, which is an all-in-one Augmented Reality authoring and viewing platform that makes it easier for designers and developers to design, collaborate and publish interactive immersive experience in the real world. The issue of class grades, and final fashion design projects is a thing to worry about because the students don’t have access to all the materials they need. Fashion lecturers are however looking for a way around it.
Other top fashion schools employing the use of virtual and online teaching include The Central Saint Martins, London; The Fashion Institute of Technology, New York; The Polimoda, Italy and many others. Many fashion schools can also make use of this initiative to promote learning in their students.