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The Future of Fashion Education


Monday, 7 July, 2008

The Future of Fashion Education

Industry and tertiary fashion experts will gather at Bay of Plenty Polytechnic next month for a thought provoking two-day fashion education conference organised by Fashion Industry New Zealand (FINZ).

Now entering its seventh year, the ‘HP: FINZ Education Conference’ provides a national forum for the exchange of new ideas and perspectives on fashion education at tertiary level.

“This year we’ll look at ‘The Future of Fashion’ within a local and global context; examining emerging technology and fresh approaches to education and the business of fashion,” says Mapihi Opai, executive officer at FINZ.

Prior to the event, little communication existed between New Zealand’s fashion schools, which developed and delivered fashion curriculums in relative isolation from one another and, in part, the industry.

“The FINZ Education Conference has been instrumental in forging links between fashion educators and the apparel industry throughout New Zealand,” says Mandy Smith, head of fashion at Auckland University Technology.

“This type of regular discourse between tertiary educators and industry is entirely unique, resulting in fashion graduates that are far more employable.”

More than 50 fashion educators from around the country will converge in Tauranga for the ‘HP: FINZ Education Conference’, an unparalleled industry-driven initiative that facilitates cooperation and alignment between the tertiary sector and apparel industry.

“The focus of this year’s conference [The Future of Fashion] is particularly significant for the education sector in helping to ensure that we remain current and aligned with industry needs in a rapidly changing global market,” says Debra Laraman, fashion programme coordinator at Bay of Plenty Polytechnic.

In-keeping with the global trend towards eco-fashion and sustainable business, Ecostore founder, Malcolm Rands, will deliver this year’s keynote presentation.

“Our fashion industry has a great opportunity to get more creative around sustainability,” says Rands. “We can show real leadership in this area by sourcing organic and fair trade fabrics and dyes, and by reusing fabric off-cuts.”

Other key speakers on day-one include Dr Joan Farrer, an associate professor in fashion, textiles and sustainability, and acting director of the Textile & Design Laboratory at AUT. With extensive commercial expertise in the UK and Europe, Farrer has held academic and research posts at London’s Royal College of Art and Central Saint Martins College, and will discuss international directions in fashion education.

Kiwi fashion publicist, stylist and event producer, Chris Lorimer from Mint Condition, will examine the future of fashion PR and marketing.

“PR and marketing has become increasingly pivotal to New Zealand fashion, with the continuation of Fashion Week and an increase in media outlets; not just print and television, but more importantly online,” says Lorimer.

“From the forum to the blog, from Facebook to their own website; a designer’s presence online is the way of the future.”

The first day will conclude with a much anticipated industry panel discussion on ‘The Future of Fashion’, led by event founder and director of Fashion Personnel, Donna Whittle, who will be joined by a dynamic cross-section of industry representatives.


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