by Zulfi Ali, Academic Head and Creative Director of JD Institute of Fashion Technology
The new year began on a somber note with the onslaught of the pandemic. Fashion Design schools faced a number of challenges as a lot of modules are practical and they had to deal with a lot of confusion and questions from students and parents alike. Just like the way the fashion industry has embraced technological advancements in various gamut of its multi-faceted operations, it is high time for fashion design schools to embrace digitization to provide a more dynamic learning approach. The suddenness of the pandemic left the teaching staff and students in a lurch. Heralding a new chapter in education, technology has proven to be a boon especially for students to continue normal classes without impacting their studies.
Transitioning from classroom learning to online medium was faced with initial skepticism. Without any hope in the near horizon, virtual learning became the New Normal. Though theory classes were easily dealt with, creative solutions were developed for practical subjects. The kind of position that the teaching staff and students were put in helped with creating truly sustainable practices. Students were encouraged to make do with materials found within the confines of their homes for practical modules. The pandemic also came at an inopportune time when the graduating students prepare for the final showcase of their collections. However, this was pushed until the recommencement of the college. Though a virtual showcase is possible, the feel of the fabric and fall is difficult to understand and the thrill of presenting to a live audience has its own charm.
Does this mean that fashion design education is inching towards a digital future?
With institutes opening up, the pandemic has taught that education can definitely benefit with a combination of on-campus courses and online learning. This will prove beneficial for social distancing and ensure less number of students. The blended approach is an amalgamation of a conventional classroom education by using technology as a vantage point. It also provides a breath of freshness into an breathe life by helping to adapt to 21st-century challenges. How will this benefit students?
This opportunity strikes as a win-win situation for students. They can attend classes from their homes without the bother of travel, thus ensuring the guarantee of full attendance. The only time they would need to attend would be during practical classes especially like sewing. The other advantage of online classes is saving time, money and energy. Online classes also help student become self-motivated learners. This method proves beneficial in the long run, especially when they opt for higher studies. It is imperative to construct new methods of learning that makes use of technology effectively. However, offline learning cannot be replicated for the online, as this method may not work.
The Covid-19 pandemic has acted as a motivator for change. Though the conventional implementation of fashion will continue to exist, the blitzkrieg of the digitization has led to a demand re-learning in fashion education. This will help to bring about new methods of learning that can continue post the pandemic.