How can the fashion industry support students during technical education?

Technical education in the UK is now at the forefront of the government’s agenda. A new ‘T-Level’ system, which overhauls how technical education is delivered aims to put technical courses on an equal footing with academia and improve Britain’s productivity.

Philip Hammond said, during his UK budget speech this month: “There is still a lingering doubt about the parity of esteem attaching to technical education,” he said. “England’s technical education system is confusing for students, with around 13,000 qualifications available – many of them of little value.” The new T-level courses will include catering & hospitality, construction, social care, engineering and manufacturing.

With future investment in education afoot, the question remains, how can the fashion industry support students in the acquisition of technical skills and ensure that the skills gap in manufacturing is closed for future generations? Perhaps the answer lies in a collaborative approach from both education providers and the industry itself. Colleges and universities can provide students with improved technical training through their courses and the industry can in turn contribute by offering support via bursaries, prizes, site visits and work experience opportunities.

QHQ, the leading technical resource to the fashion industry have recently awarded a £1,500 bursary to student, Natasha Osaro-Osaghae to enable her to progress onto the Level 2 Perfect Pattern Cutting Course at the Fashion Technology Academy in London.

How can the fashion industry support students during technical education?

Sally Blaxall, Director QHQ commented:

‘As technical experts in our field, we are so passionate about the industry and we are absolutely thrilled to be in a position to provide this opportunity for Natasha. We want to give something back to the industry and by supporting Natasha through this process, she will be able to acquire the correct technical skills to drive her career forward.’

Natasha will learn to use an array of tools, techniques and methods to produce perfect blocks and patterns that fit as well as an introduction to lay planning during a 10 week course.

Natasha commented:

How can the fashion industry support students during technical education?

“I have always had a strong interest in the fashion industry and even with a desire to have my own label, I knew that an understanding of the construction of garments and components of the fabric was just as important as the design side.”

Retailers truly need the next generation of technical experts to have outstanding skills. With the soaring popularity of online shopping and the resulting increase in product returns impacting negatively on profitability, it is crucial the industry invests in improving technologies for correct fit and sizing.

Five further students at Fashion Enter’s garment manufacturing training centre in London have been awarded £1,500 bursaries this year by Alvanon, Global Apparel Business Expert. Alvanon was founded in 2001 when it developed a unique and innovative data-driven objectives. The company has research, development and manufacturing facilities in Dongguan and Shenzhen in China to explore the challenges of sizing and fit inherent in the modern apparel industry.

Alvanon hopes to improve the industry by providing research, tools and training to future generations entering the fashion industry.

“In the past 15 years, we have lost technical skills and seen a lean towards the creative aspects of the fashion industry,” Janice Wang, Alvanon CEO. “We hope to support the companies and academia that are teaching and training the practical, technical and tactile: the patternmakers, the technical designers and the sewing professionals.”

Back in 2014, Alvanon also donated £50,000 in technical fit forms – AlvaForms – to Fashion Enter’s London-based garment manufactures and training centre. The tools and resources were donated as part of Alvanon’s initiative to restore technical skills to global fashion hubs.

Jenny Holloway, Fashion Enter Founder and CEO, whose academy produces for retailers including Mark & Spencer, ASOS and Finery London, says: “Garment manufacturing today needs a skilled workforce and this is why we developed the Fashion Technology Academy to run intensive courses that are specifically skills related. We are also the leading fashion apprenticeship provider in England for Garment Technology.”

Sally Blaxall believes that the industry can secure its future by investing in young talent and supporting technical education providers. Sally and her QHQ colleague, Jane Duncan visited the University of Northampton in January this year, during ‘Subject Futures Week’ to speak to fashion students about working as a garment technologist in the industry. The QHQ team had a clear aim - to inspire students to consider technical roles as a good career choice.

How can the fashion industry support students during technical education?

Caroline Southernwood, Senior Lecturer in Footwear and Accessories, said that their visit gave Fashion students a “valuable insight in to the role of the garment technologist.”

Sally said: “Students are the next generation of home grown talent that the industry must nurture to ensure that UK garment manufacturing continues to thrive. This is the time to drive technical skills forward and with companies like QHQ and Alvanon recognising the importance of technology skills, we can work collaboratively with technical education providers to secure the future of British manufacturing.”

The Association of Suppliers to the British Clothing Industry (ASBCI) has a student membership package offering students industry support and awards.

Dr Alistair Knox, Chairman ASBCI commented: “The ASBCI has the largest active student section of any trade association in the UK fashion and textile sector. We have organised conferences, seminars and factory visits that provide students with direct links to industry and technical expertise. All student members receive a free copy of our Yearbook, generous discounts on our technical publications, and access to member-only reports on our web site. ASBCI competitions with industry sponsors help students to aim for excellence in their studies, with respect to design collections, innovation projects and final year dissertations.”





In Pictures: Tu x Graduate Fashion Week collection

Sainsbury’s Tu clothing line has launched its first Graduate Fashion Week collection designed by Genevieve Devine, winner of the 25th Graduate Fashion Week anniversary Tu Scholarship Award.

Devine, a fashion design graduate from Northumbria University, was awarded a year’s scholarship and paid employment with Tu at Sainsbury’s at Graduate Fashion Week’s annual award ceremony last June.

In Pictures: Tu x Graduate Fashion Week collection

The promising designer has been working within Sainsbury’s head office alongside its team of in-house designers and she has received guidance to repurpose her winning final year collection for the consumer market.

In addition to receiving advice and support from Sainsbury’s, Devine has also been mentored by Scottish designer Holly Fulton, who she worked closely with to create the unique graduate fashion week collection.

In Pictures: Tu x Graduate Fashion Week collection

The collection explores “fashion as a form of fantasy with functionality” Devine explains, with oversized workwear silhouettes adorned with feminine detailing in a muted colour palette. Key pieces include a boiler suit, an embroidered dress, oversized dungarees, a long sleeve top with oversized cuffs, and wide-leg trousers.

The Tu x Graduate Fashion Week collection is available now from 140 Sainsbury’s stores across the UK and online, which includes an additional five pieces. Prices range from 25 to 45 pounds.

Images: courtesy of Tu at Sainsbury's

Tibetan fashion hits the Beijing runway

Face painted yellow and white with long braids draping her shoulders, a model in voluminous grey robes walks down the runway -- an image of Tibetan grace in the heart of China's political power.

It was the first appearance of an ethnic Tibetan designer's creation at Beijing's twice yearly fashion week, now in its 20th year. Aj-Namo, who hails from a predominantly Tibetan area in the southwestern province of Sichuan, first made her name as a singer, but has since branched out into clothing.

Today she is known for her eponymous AJ-NAMO brand and is based in Beijing. At the show, not far from Beijing's vast Great Hall of the People next to Tiananmen Square, the centre of the universe in Chinese politics, a stream of Tibetan and Han Chinese models paraded colourful outfits inspired by Tibetan attire but altered to suit contemporary tastes.

It was a moving moment for Aj-Namo, whose face trembled with emotion as she took her bow and audience members expressed their approval by jumping on the catwalk to wrap traditional Tibetan scarves around her neck. "Tibetans have many talented designers, but there's no platform to promote them," Aj-Namo told AFP Thursday after her debut.

China has 56 officially recognised ethnic groups, but the vast majority of the country's more than 1.3 billion people are Han. Tibetans number roughly 6.3 million, with most living in China's western half -- the autonomous region of Tibet, as well as the provinces of Gansu, Qinghai, Sichuan and Yunnan.

Many ethnic minorities live in relatively poor areas, where limited education, language barriers and a heavily agricultural economy provide scant opportunities for young people to pursue a career on the national stage. "I hope that thanks to this experience, more ethnic minorities, more Tibetans -- especially models -- will be inspired to put themselves out there," Aj-Namo said.

Expressions of Tibetan ethnic pride can be fraught in China. Beijing says its troops "peacefully liberated" the region in 1951, but many Tibetans accuse the central government of religious repression and eroding their culture. The Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader who has been exiled in India since 1959, has accused the Chinese government of committing "cultural genocide" against the Tibetan people. (AFP)

Foto: Nicolas Asfouri / AFP

New Jersey-based manufacturer Tumi just teamed up with a British brand for a new travel collection. Pairing with Orlebar Brown, the two have launched an exclusive capsule entitled Tumi by Orlebar Brown.

Bringing together the two brand’s signature styles, the collection infuses Tumi’s laidback style along with Orlebar Brown’s beach-inspired vibe. “They are known for black, nylon ballistic travel bags,” founder of Orlebar Brown, Adam Brown, told WWD. “We’re always in a sunny climate; we never go into the everyday type of world. [Yet] we both have this thread defined by travel.” While Tumi is known for its luggage, the collection reflects a sense of wanderlust including a photographic print as the design for one of the totes.

The collection consists of four various totes in unique styles. The travel collection includes a large tote in khaki, a printed tote available in two sizes, and a smaller navy tote. The totes range within a color palette including blue and earthy tones. Ranging from 295 to 395 dollars in price, the collection will be available at select locations for both brands starting next month. The totes will also be available for purchase online for both Tumi and Orlebar Brown websites.

J.W. Anderson to design range for Uniqlo

London - J.W. Anderson is to follow in the footsteps of Christophe Lemaire and Jil Sander to design a capsule collection for Japanese high street giant Uniqlo.

The collaboration will see Anderson's gender fluid aesthetic merge with the minimalist design of Uniqlo and debut in store this autumn.

Uniqlo's Life Wear has garnered a loyal following across the world, producing some of fashion's best-loved basics at affordable prices. The company's aim is to create perfect staples made from good fabrics with thoughtful details to create 'the basic building blocks of personal style.'

The J.W. Anderson brand may be out of budget reach for many consumers, allowing the collaboration to reach a new consumer demographic.

Anderson stated: "Collaborations are incredibly important in design. When I think of Uniqlo, I think of things that are perfect made, that people have spent a lot of time considering. It's a difficult job, and I think Uniqlo does it very well. With with Uniqlo is probably the most incredible template of democracy in fashion, and it's nice that my design cane accessible to anyone, on all different levels."

“Much of the clothing we wear today has a long history, and many styles originated from uniforms or workwear. The British Isles constitute a treasure house of such apparel,” Yuki Katsuta, senior VP of fast retailing and head of research and design at Uniqlo told New York Magazine. “In partnering with J.W.Anderson, one of Britain’s most innovative and creative brands, we will tap into traditions while pursuing progress in designs and fabrics, to craft styles that are enduringly appealing.”

Photo credit; Uniqlo.com

The industry is coming home - how after 3 centuries shoe production has come full circle

INTERACTIVE TIMELINEThe shoe industry has reinvented itself over the last 3 centuries. The production process of shoe making started with tailor-made pairs, with shoemakers producing shoes by hand until the early 19th century. Almost a century later, the production process had become less customised and almost completely automated. In the 20th century, the production process became even faster by using new techniques like, for instance, injection moulding. In the 1990’s, most Northern European production had been outsourced to southern Europe and Asia to decrease labour costs. Nowadays, the introduction of speed factories, in-store production, renewed interest in craftsmanship and the biotech revolution, which is just around the corner, enables shoe production to return to Northern Europe and America once again.

Use the arrows to navigate through the events ordered by date or click on a timeframe to learn more.

SLEMinars 2017: The Future of Footwear Manufacturing

Will footwear come back to Europe and the USA through high-tech factories only operated by robots? Will in-store manufacturing of tailor-made shoes be the solution for brick and mortar retail? Will we be able to have computers and scanners simply generate the shoes we need so we can 3D print them at home? These questions and many more will be discussed during the Future of Footwear Manufacturing SLEMinars. A must for everyone who wants to stay on the forefront of the industry!

Book your ticket now and keep updated about the future of the footwear industry! Use your discount voucher for Fashionunited readers and get a 10 percent discount: SLEMXFASHIONUNITED.

Photo credit: Feetz

COS marks 10 year anniversary with a capsule collection launch

London - It may be hard to believe, but this year marks a decade since COS, the big sister brand of H&M, opened its first store on London's Regent Street.

Back in 2007 COS first launched as a modern brand which aimed to offer consumer high quality garments that consisted of both wardrobe staples and classic timeless piece. Since then COS has expanded its global presence and is now presence in 33 markets, counting just under 200 stores across Europe, Asia, North America, the Middle East and Australia. COS launches its first online stores in 2011 and is now available online in 19 countries.

COS marks 10 year anniversary with a capsule collection launch

“We are proud of how the brand has grown over the last ten years," commented COS Managing Director Marie Honda. "We are pleased and humbled that our customers have continued to appreciate our approach and engage with our collections, stores and collaborative projects with the art and design world.”

COS marks 10 year anniversary with a capsule collection launch

In honour of COS 10 year anniversary and its first store opening in London, COS has developed a limited-edition,10 piece capsule collection consisting of key pieces for women, men and children. What makes the collection unique is that each garment pattern was developed similar to a jigsaw puzzle, with the full width of the fabric used to dedicated the shapes, which decide the next thereby limiting any excess.

“The design team took the opportunity to play and experiment in the pattern-cutting process, re-imagining the methods behind the design," explained COS Creative Director Karin Gustafsson in a statement."The pattern-cutters and designers worked in parallel, referencing historical techniques that maximised the use of materials. As we look to the future we will continue to focus on the efficient use of fabrics and forward-thinking techniques.”

COS marks 10 year anniversary with a capsule collection launch

This resulted in a "clean and considered collection" which includes collapsing volumes and rectilinear silhouettes. A long-length shirt dress features soft double layered panels, whereas a men's technical jacket offers functional double pockets. The collection also features Japanese influences, seen in the square-cut proportions of a men’s top and a women’s coat featuring kimono-style sleeves. The collection consists of light fabrications of crisp cotton and technical polyester in a pared-back palette of sand and white.

COS marks 10 year anniversary with a capsule collection launch

The 10 year capsule collection, which includes 2 childrenswear pieces, as well as 5 womenswear and 3 menswear items, is currently available in COS stores globally and online at cosstores.com.

COS marks 10 year anniversary with a capsule collection launchCOS marks 10 year anniversary with a capsule collection launchCOS marks 10 year anniversary with a capsule collection launchCOS marks 10 year anniversary with a capsule collection launchCOS marks 10 year anniversary with a capsule collection launchCOS marks 10 year anniversary with a capsule collection launchCOS marks 10 year anniversary with a capsule collection launchCOS marks 10 year anniversary with a capsule collection launchCOS marks 10 year anniversary with a capsule collection launchCOS marks 10 year anniversary with a capsule collection launch

Photos: Courtesy of COS

Sweaters on demand: Adidas introduces "Knit for You"

Who hasn't experienced it - buying the seemingly perfect sweater in terms of colour, fit and cut, only to realise at home that the sleeves are much too long! Unfortunate, but this could soon be a scenario of the past. After the 3D printer, there is now the high-tech knitting machine that knits tailor-made sweaters while customers wait. Sounds like a future vision? Not for German sportswear giant Adidas whose Berlin pop-up store "Knit for you" offers just that since the end of 2016.

The pop-up store is part of the Storefactory project sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy and implemented by Adidas' in-house agency Act3. The store houses a mini factory where some of the steps involved are handled by the customers themselves, such as design and bodyscan. "It is very individual. It is like knitting your own sweater," confirmed Christina Sharif, a customer who ordered shorter sleeves on her electric blue sweater than the standard model.

Sweaters on demand: Adidas introduces "Knit for You"

Adidas offers tailor-made sweaters in only four hours

After Adidas' Speedfactory, "Knit for You" is another project that is about store and production models of the future. In both cases, speed is of the essence, be it in the production process or when reacting to customer demands, which are becoming more and more important. With conventional production and design methods, it takes between 12 and 18 months until a garment finally reaches stores. Compared to just four hours, this is quite a long time. Too long in any case to finally catch up to competitor Nike, which is why Adidas has to be innovative.

Specifically, manufacturing of the future works like this: customers first get their body scanned via laser and use gestures to project different patterns onto their torso to see which one suits them best. Then, they select the desired colour combination on the computer (for now, the material is limited to merino wool) and wait for a period of four hours, in which the sweater is knitted in store, finished by hand, washed, dried and provided with tags.

Sweaters on demand: Adidas introduces "Knit for You"

Considering the relatively high price of the sweater at 200 euros (around 215 US dolIars) and the relatively low customer frequency (a maximum of ten sweaters per day during peak periods), Adidas is certainly not concerned with sales and mass production - at this stage at least. For now, customer data and feedback is what counts, which is now being evaluated before the company decides whether to pursue the project or not.

Feedback is also important in terms of reacting to customer demands. And this will speed up production times and customer satisfaction, in turn leading to an increased proportion of products sold at full price, which Adidas wants to increase from currently 50 to 70 percent by 2010. "If we can give the consumer what they want, where they want it, when they want it, we can decrease risk ... at the moment we are guessing what might be popular," admitted Adidas brand chief Eric Liedtke when speaking to investors mid March.

Photos: Adidas

Uniqlo launches collab with street artist Mr. A

Los Angeles - Japanese retailer Uniqlo recently launched a new collection with Paris-based street artist André Saraiva. The graffiti artist’s capsule collection has now officially made its way onto Uniqlo’s apparel for its own spin on streetwear.

Recently, Saraiva introduced a capsule collection of his tees with some of its unique designs. Known for by his alias, Mr. A, the artist has grown reputable for his iconic smiling, winking face. Also known for his monochromatic style, his concept of street graffiti is mostly centered around “Love Graffiti,” meaning that he incorporates people’s names “commissioned by their loved ones in pop color near where they live,” stated on his website. In his recent venture, his newest collection is available now at Uniqlo, introducing a line of tees with his designs.

According to the website, the collection ranges from approximately 12 t-shirt designs ranging from his iconic smiley face to various scripted words and sayings. Averaging at 14.90 dollars per shirt, the shirts have a monochromatic theme with mostly matte black, pastel pink, or baby blue color elements. The t-shirts are available in stores as well as through the Uniqlo website currently.

Photo: Uniqlo.com

In Picture: five upcoming designers X NikeLab

Nike has selected a handful of students from some of the world's premier fashion and design schools to translate the thematic concerns of the shoe into their unique designs.

Azar Rajabi, Liam Johnson, Paula Canovas, Wanbing Huang and Shize He - students from Central Saint Martins, Domus Academy and the Parsons School of Design - all took the iconic Nike Air VaporMax as their inspiration. Each of them has created unique garments which simultaneously honor the essence of the new Nike Air VaporMax and push new boundaries in construction and material.

Azar Rajabi (Domus Academy)

"My work drew inspiration directly from the VaporMax as I wanted to best represent the essence of the footwear. The sole, a flexible product made of a single, inflatable airbag, inspired my research and material.” In Picture: five upcoming designers X NikeLabIn Picture: five upcoming designers X NikeLab

"'Pearlized' neoprene mesh and texturized vinyl allowed for both flexibility and for a larger silhouette, allowing air to flow freely in and out of the coat. The idea of air in harmony with the body, and the connection between the human body and space; tying those two together with lace was another design detail I felt was important. A large, adjustable hood with shirring details or pinches, suggests the idea of bendability. The reaction of the laces and their extension from the body exaggerates the human form in motion. As a designer, the idea of reaction is something I always incorporate into my work."

Liam johnson (Central Saint Martins)

"I thought about how buoyancy and lightness could be expressed through air. I liked the idea of the piece feeling like a vortex or a dense, black cloud swirling around the body. This led me to think about an expressive, abstract shape — tall like the clouds and wrapping around, encasing the upper body, creating an arresting visual. This would also allow for a reveal on the lower half of the body that offers movement to the legs and feet, completely encasing the upper half of the torso including the upper shoulders, neck and head.

In Picture: five upcoming designers X NikeLabIn Picture: five upcoming designers X NikeLab

Paula Canovas (Central Saint Martins)

"The project surrounded the idea of garments that change shape through air and that interact with the environment. I have incorporated the idea of knots with a floatier feeling, and I have also documented the way the shapes change when air is introduced. I wanted to capture how the shape changes with movement and how it adapts to both the body and to air.”

In Picture: five upcoming designers X NikeLabIn Picture: five upcoming designers X NikeLab

"I chose a subtle monochromatic palette of red and orange so that the focus remained on the structure of the garment and the VaporMax. The fabrics chosen are of different qualities of nylons, and the knotted drapes are padded with wadding to give an inflated effect."

Wanbing Huang (Central Saint Martins)

"The first idea came to life as an ode to all things airborne, with the lightness and flexibility of the Nike Vapormax providing a direct reference. The transparent air cushioning unit that acts as a standalone outsole inspired me to create a flawless outfit that creates harmony between body and environment.”

In Picture: five upcoming designers X NikeLabIn Picture: five upcoming designers X NikeLab

"A sense of movement is evoked using a structural fishbone piece that floats around the body — an idea reinforced with a headpiece that was carefully woven, allowing a variety of shapes presented through emotions to slowly build a picture of texture and motion.

Shizhe He (MFA Fashion Design & Society, Parsons School of Design)

"Innovation and creativity require bravery. Success hides behind the continuous experience. "For this piece, I used plastic packaging film as the material, which protects furniture from being damaged during moving. I chose this material because it is not a traditional clothing fabric. Design must be brave in this same way — to try a different way or angle, and to re-think and experience the process. Nike has this very spirit of innovation. The Nike Air VaporMax breaks with tradition by using new technology, structure and air to make the soles lighter and softer and provide consistent cushioning.

In Picture: five upcoming designers X NikeLabIn Picture: five upcoming designers X NikeLab

"Visually it may seem hard, but touching the VaporMax gives a completely different feeling. My dress is meant to provide the same effect, which looks like a solid sculpture. But it is, in fact, very light and flexible, allowing the body to easily move with the garment.

Photos: via Nike