A group of industry leaders and fashion educators kicked off Japan Fashion Week with a symposium about the best ways to cultivate young design talents with an emphasis on breaking down the barriers between academia and the industry.
Dean Stadel, a professor of fashion design at Parsons The New School for Design, was one of the panelists and spoke enthusiastically about the school’s recent design competition with LVMH, called ‘The Art of Craftsmanship Revisited: New York,’ in which students collaborated with artisans in fields such as wood conservation, neon lighting and stained glass window restoration to produce fashion pieces. pieces. “This is the kind of in-depth involvement between partners that is the future of education and preparing students for the industry,” Stadel said.
The panel moderator Nobuyuki Ota, the president of Issey Miyake, Inc. and chairman of Japan Fashion Week, said he was impressed to see top designers like Donna Karan and Ralph Lauren attending a Parsons’ graduation show in New York and complained that Japan’s industry leaders aren’t attending similar events here. “To see important members of the industry paying $10,000 per table to attend a black tie event that showcases students’ work was really remarkable to me,” he said.
Sanae Kosugi, a professor at Tokyo’s Bunka Fashion Graduate University in Tokyo, also lamented that Japanese students often don’t get a chance to use their creativity or share their opinions while they are interning at fashion companies here. Instead, their jobs are limited to menial tasks, she explained. “Japanese companies tend to think that next season’s designs should be confidential, so at a certain point of the process interns are cut off for reasons of confidentiality.”