Lectra, the world leader in integrated technology solutions dedicated to industries using soft materials—fabrics, leather, technical textiles and composite materials—recently hosted a seminar in London dedicated to Lectra’s education partners in the United Kingdom.
The event brought together over thirty professors, department heads and lecturers from thirteen fashion schools and universities, including the London College of Fashion, Ravensbourne and the University of Manchester. The event was held on the premises of one of Lectra’s key partners: the Royal College of Art, ranked N°1 post graduate university at Global fashion school rankings 2015 by Business of Fashion, a leading digital authority on the global fashion industry.
During the event, Lectra presented the major industry trends, including the digital revolution and changing consumer expectations, as well as global fashion evolution including the rise of emerging markets.
Key emphasis was put on lean product development and 3D virtual prototyping, as many Lectra education partners have recognised the importance of this new technology and have added Lectra’s Modaris® 3D to their pattern cutting and fashion technology courses.
When used in the industry, 3D virtual prototyping not only helps fashion brands reduce sampling, thus saving valuable time and money, but it also enables them to capitalise on trends quickly, reducing mark-downs and increasing profitability. In schools, the solution also allows students to experiment with design and pattern cutting and innovate beyond traditional methods.
One of the guest universities, the Art University of Bournemouth (AUB), a Lectra partner for nearly ten years, explained how they have combined creativity and technology and successfully attracted many students to focus on the technical aspects of garment creation as well as CAD technology to complement creative design, resulting in a high graduate employment rate.
“We have a responsibility to help our students release their creativity whilst keeping in touch with the industry to ensure that graduates have the right skills and are employable. Students pay high university fees so it is imperative that we prepare them for the industry with realistic expectations of the skills that are on demand,” said Anne Chaisty, Subject Area Leader for Fashion, AUB.
Alexa Hedges, a recent graduate from the AUB who now works for Tesco F&F as a Pattern Technologist, gave a good illustration of employability by recounting her own story. She emphasised how important it is to have a thorough understanding not just of traditional pattern cutting skills, but also of the latest technology. According to Alexa, her knowledge and experience of such technology allowed her to stand out from the crowd when looking for employment.
Fiona Graham, Head of Quality Assurance at Debenhams, was another guest speaker at the event and gave valuable insight into the role of garment technologists today. She re-emphasised the importance of technical proficiency in bringing good quality products to market quickly and profitably, and stressed how these skills are in high demand in the industry.
The seminar emphasised the importance of technology in fashion today, and the need for schools to combine manual, technical and technological knowledge. The partnership developed by Lectra with its education partners, as well as its close links with fashion customers, help schools to ensure their graduates have the skills the industry requires.