REDEFINING FASHION EDUCATION
Professor Sakorn Suksriwong, DBA – President of Chanapatana International Design Institute (CIDI Chanapatana)
Is it time to redefine fashion education? In our opinion, current situations jeopardize the global fashion industry’s growth. First, the perception of fashion trend is limited. Second, culture is not sufficiently embedded as part of fashion. Third, fashion has limited ability to reach mass market. Therefore, we believe that it is the right time and propose 3 main strategies with 2 enablers to redefine fashion education for the better growth of global fashion industry.
“Mass access” is the strategy addressing the issue of fewer designers produced from the traditional fashion education. This strategy focuses on creating alternative design education channels to produce more designers around the world. “Culture as means”, the next strategy, aims to solve the issue of origination of trends by small group of trendsetters and lack of understanding of the trends by its followers. Culture will originate new styles through assimilation of individual and local ideas to drive dispersion. Furthermore, the aforementioned issue results partly through the dependency of traditional marketing media, this accentuates the need to enhance emerging styles that integrated cultures around the world. We then present “Shared value” strategy to promote social exchanges of experience and ideas among consumers and designers to achieve a genuinely global fashion trends.
Two enablers – structure and system – are required to support strategies. First, the alternative structures will provide opportunities and improve designers’ competencies. Traditional model rely on private and public institutes. While private institutes are charging high fees, lower fees public institutes are unable to admit additional students due to budget limitations. Unlike traditional model, the alternative structure should provide more variety of affordable courses for more students. The first alternative, social venture model, can bring quality fashion education and charges lower fees to students yet sustainable for the institutes. CIDI Chanapatana in Thailand, for examples, has successfully implemented this model. Tuition fees are one-third lower than market rates with hundreds of graduates produced over 15 years. Another alternative is the free online course model. Coursera, for example, offers free online courses with verified certificates offered to graduates. Unlike traditional structures, Coursera’s model is generating revenue from corporate and headhunter rather than earning tuition fees or subsidies.
The next enabler is the systems. Technology advancements allow greater access to information and sharing of ideas becomes easier with social media. Today the idea of global classroom can be implemented. Collaborative classroom setting in different parts of the world will help disseminate ideas. Consumers and designers can discuss design ideas on social media platforms, which can range from gathering and seeking inputs to the initiation of trends. Through the collaborative platform, a new norm of social value can be achieved to embrace the fashion trends, the social value driven by truly global consumers and designers. Sharing ideas on the platform will also bridge the gap between design and manufacturing mindsets on different parts of the world. In summary, the platform will enhance sharing the ideas across the globe and piece together process of fashion from education, trend setting, to manufacturing.
Sakorn Suksriwong is the president of Chanapatana International Design Institute (CIDI Chanapatana) in which he has worked on a pro-bono basis. Professor Suksriwong has transformed a small temple school founded by a Buddhist monk, Lord Abbot Viriyang into Thailand’s leading international design institute and fulfilled the school mission in elevating design education standard in Thailand with the aspiration of moving Thailand toward creative economy.
Professor Suksriwong has also served as management at several private and public organizations. Currently, he is CEO of Bangkok First Investment and Trust Public Company Limited, a public listed financial institute; Managing Director of Phufa Shop, a social enterprise under initiation of HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn; and Professor of Business Administration at Chulalongkorn University. Some of his previous experiences include Thaland’s Board of Investment (BOI), Board of Directors of several state enterprises and advisor to ministers.
Professor Suksriwong earned his DBA at University of South Australia. He completed his MBA in International Business Management from The George Washington University and his BBA in Banking and Finance from Chulalongkorn University. He also completed several executive education programs including Advanced Management Program (AMP) from Harvard University.