Digital roundtables - reflections

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Three digital roundtables were organised by the E4FT team on October 17th a 11.30-18.00 CET. See the full programme here.

The conversation engaged teachers and learners, start-ups, independent designers and companies that will share their perspectives on fashion-tech possible futures for education and industry.

The roundtables focused on:

  • Fashion-Tech Today (led by UAL)

  • Educational Tools (led by HB)

  • Future Scenarios (led by POLIMI)

Recordings of the roundtables can be found on the project's YouTube channel.

The first roundtable “Fashion-Tech Today” was based on highlighting the findings from IO1 for a better understanding of the meaning of the 3 main areas of fashion-tech to create a more comprehensive definition, supported by the view of young start-up companies for the need to address a more expanded definition of fashion-tech. Short presentations were given by the panel members of this roundtable: Teresa Boell (flow.studio), Zhanna Naymankhanova (SENSTILE) and Chitra Buckley (DeFine), followed by a discussion on what the field of fashion-tech means today, and how to support knowledge sharing, community building and innovation in the field. The discussion touched upon points such as designers and their knowledge and skillset being the bottleneck of the industry, notion of collaboration between industries, understanding customer experience, and the knowledge and skillset required by professionals working in fashion-tech. While the field is very broad and multidisciplinary, there is a need for hybrid professionals that besides having a main focus, for example fashion design, should be able to “speak the language” of other disciplines relevant for developing innovative products, such as coding and 3D modelling. The roundtable ended with a conclusion that defining fashion-tech is up to us as the community, and an emphasis on the importance of collaboration and openness to bring the industry forward on the European level, instead of competition.

 

The second roundtable “Educational Tools” was based on the resources developed in the project in order to evaluate and receive feedback on their relevance and quality, along with a discussion on concrete measures required to implement fashion-tech higher education in the EHEA. HB presented the resources, followed by a discussion including teachers and students that participated in the project’s activities (Polimi: Daria Casciani and Chiara di Lodovico; HB: Delia Dumitrescu and Ann Vellesalu; UAL: Michèle Danjoux and Douglas Atkinson; students Carla Bellisio – UAL and Beatrice Rossato – POLIMI). The discussion touched on points such as interdepartmental and interinstitutional collaboration, experimental and experiential approaches, finding common language between industries, and the importance of inclusivity in light of social and cultural backgrounds, as well as disciplines and neurodiversity. The audience showed interest in how to prepare students for entering the workforce, aligning with discussions from the first roundtable on encouraging students to be open and curious to new ways of working. This aspect is further investigated in the Erasmus+ funded FT Knowledge Alliance project involving the same consortium. Furthermore, the relevance of opening fashion-tech hackathons to people outside of the industry was discussed, and adding topics such as leadership and teamwork into the curriculum was emphasised. In terms of concrete measures, more flexibility is required from both HEIs and students that at a MA level should take more responsibility in their education and its specialisation, along with inclusivity measures in terms of educational and cultural backgrounds, as well as neurodiversity.

 

The third roundtable “Future Scenarios” was based on the continuation of the research carried out from IO1 to IO6 detailing the current state and future scenarios involving both the society in general and the fashion tech industry. The developed scenarios, that also act as guidelines for developing fashion-tech curricula by informing relevant disciplines and skillsets, were discussed in detail by a variety of stakeholders. The participants included Carina Bucspun and Ann-Britt Dittmar (Trashy Muse), Manuel Muccillo (SpaceHuman Project), Jasna Rokegem (Jasna Rok Speculative Design Lab), Francesca Rosella (Cute Circuit), Anouk Wipprecht, and Liam Young (Tomorrows Thoughts Today). The discussion focused on aspects such as the importance of involving the user in development processes, sustainability and other socio-political issues, and future developments in the industry.