Frankie Ng, Crease Xia, Phoebe Wang
NOURISHING THE FUTURE GENERATIONS OF FASHION DESIGNERS
Prof. Frankie NG, PhD(RCA), MDes(RCA), EMBA, FCSD, CText FTI, FRSA, FHKITA, MDRS, Life HKDA
Dr. Crease XIA, PhD, MA, BA
Miss Phoebe WANG, PhD candidate, MA, BA
Institute of Textiles and Clothing, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong
LiPACE, The Open University of Hong Kong – 201-203 Lai King Hill Road, Kwai Chung, New Territories, Hong Kong
Fashion is dynamic in nature. The multifariousness of fashion, with its interactions with many an aspect in life, is best seconded by a statement of Lau (2006): “a good design is whatever works. A good designer must know a lot about whatever”.
As design educators, whose aspiration is to nourish designers who are to better the way we live, we need to be aware of how the future will be like in the foreseeable future and thus to provide our students with the right kind of design education which equips them with the appropriate skill set.
Nowadays, our life is getting more complex and sophisticated than it was ever before. Designs will need to be “multi-disciplinary” (e.g., design to do with science and technology, business, economy, psychology, etc.) and “inter-disciplinary” (design to do among art, sculpture, fashion, graphics, interiors, product, textiles, etc.) for optimal functions and performance. Already in fashion, we have seen creations that borrowed knowledge from other fields of knowledge.
Examples include the “Collective Wear” of Orta (1994), the transforming dress of Chalayan (2007), the BioCouture of Lee (2015), the “Cathedral Dress” of van Herpen (2013), to name but a few.
Fashion designers too, have been more proactive in collaborating with experts from other branches of knowledge and expertise to create work which any of them alone would not otherwise be able to create. The creative process advances too, from the classic concept between the left-side brain and right-side brain activity to one that activates both of them at the same time (Wanjek, 2013).
Subsequently, the content and definition of creative work draw upon knowledge from the cognitive, affective and psychomotor domains. Even the design curricula and their contents with which to nourish today’s designers are becoming more heterogeneous than homogenous in nature. Many design schools are moving toward all-round design education than mere advanced design practices, putting emphasis on soft skills (e.g., creativity, problem-solving ability, critical thinking, analytical thinking, leadership, entrepreneurship, etc.) in addition to professional skills. Thus, the authors reckon that the future fashion education should be one that encourages and enables students to explore and invent creations well beyond the traditional concept of fashion design and production.
In this talk, the authors are to share, with illustrations, their beliefs with a plethora of inspiring fashion endeavors already driving towards such burgeoning direction, and will invite like-minded as well as the otherwise to discuss along the line.
He is the first person in the world to have earned a practice-led PhD in fashion design as well as the first in the long history of the RCA, London since 1837. He was appointed a United Nations fashion expert subsequent to a worldwide recruitment in 1994. He spearheaded fashion design at the Institute of Textiles and Clothing of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
The Institute was ranked No. 1 in the world on its research performance and citation impact in the fields of textiles and clothing by Thomson Reuters. Concurrently, he is adjunct and visiting professor at a number of universities in mainland China.
He was Past Hongkong Chairman and Advisor of Chartered Society of Designers, UK and Fellow of various professional bodies.
He has published extensively in indexed refereed academic journals and conference proceedings and has reviewed papers for top-notched journals.