On Teaching: Integrating Wearable Tech into Fashion Curriculum

In 2009, Sabine Seymour, the CEO and Chief Creative Officer of Moondial, described fashion technology as “…the intersection of design, fashion, science and technology” (Seymour, 2009). With the continual advances in this area, it does not appear fashion technology is not going away. Clothing has incorporated electronic fibers and nanotechnology. Several wearable-tech accessories have been marketed, tested and are still being developed (Tortora, 2015). For an industry that has a reputation for being for averse to adopting technology, it appears the last few years have witnessed and encouraged a major shift in the field.  With this shift, has fashion education made the change as well?

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Photo courtesy of CLLBR

Parsons in New York offers a course in Sustainable Systems which introduces students to scientific issues in design of resilient urban futures (Parsons). Fashion Institute of Technology in New York offers a course where students examine the relationship between high-tech fibers in design (Fashion Institute of Technology). The Academy of Art in San Francisco does not offer a technology-specific course (The Academy of Art University). While Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia offers a course in Fashion Technology, it appears the course is an introduction to standard sewing techniques and equipment, not a focus on emerging technological advances in fashion (Savannah College of Art and Design).   It appears some colleges have embraced technology and some have not.

Does it make sense to incorporate this new advancement into a traditional fashion degree? Creating new technology, fibers, and fashion trends is a lot to incorporate into a single degree. Within the programs at my college, no courses are offered that incorporate emerging technology into the curriculum. With seeing the opportunity and advancements, it only makes sense to add in some focus regarding this topic. How to incorporate technology is the new challenge!

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Photo courtesy of Brewed

Preliminary ideas include;

  • Create assignments which incorporate fashion technology research and development into already established courses.
  • Collaborate with technology industries to solve potential design problems.
  • Encourage students to explore wearable technology product development.

Does it make sense to encourage these changes within an established, “traditional” curriculum? Should fashion education also embrace technology as the industry has over the past several years? What other ways can emerging technology be added to a curriculum which already exists?

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Photo courtesy of Clausette



Academy of Art University, Class Search and Registration, Retrieved on 12/27/2015 from: https://catalog.academyart.edu/catalog?6

Fashion Industry and Technology, School of Art and Design, Fashion Design, Retrieved on 12/27/2015 from: http://catalog.fitnyc.edu/undergraduate/majors/baccalaureatedegreeprograms/fashiondesignsportswear/

Parsons, Undergraduate Fashion Design Curriculum, Retrieved on 12/27/2015 from: http://www.newschool.edu/parsons/bfa-fashion-design-curriculum/

Savannah College of Art and Design, B.F.A. in Fashion, Retrieved on 12/27/2015 from: http://www.scad.edu/academics/programs/fashion/degrees/bfa

Seymour, S. (2009). Fashionable Technology. New York: Springer Wien.

Tortora, P. G. (2015). Dress, Fashion, and Technology: From Prehistory to the Present. New York: Bloomsbury Academic. Retrieved on 12/27/2015 from: http://eds.b.ebscohost.com/eds/ebookviewer/ebook/bmxlYmtfXzk0NDUxMV9fQU41?sid=66078240-5d13-4ecb-8994-ef3c85db7510@sessionmgr110&vid=10&hid=117&format=EB

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