Service Couture at the Opera House atelier specialists work at the Opera atelier in Paris on June 28, 2016. Dmitry Kostyukov for The New York Times

“Future of fit” solutions firm Alvanon said it recently launched Motif, an apparel knowledge and e-learning hub, that aims to fill the apparent “skills gap” in the fashion industry. Targeted to apparel industry professionals — particularly brands and corporations — Motif will provide expert-level training, professional development and mentorship from seasoned professionals via various courses and tools available on its platform.

To answer growing demand for more technical and vocational training in the fashion industry, Motif launched with four interactive courses — Apparel Costing, Mechanics of Fit, Sustainability in Fashion and The Fit Form: A Critical Standard for Product Development — delivered by three course publishers, including Alvanon, the Textile and Fashion Industry Training Centre and Pratt’s Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator. As the platform gains traction, its list of course publishers is expected to expand, and Motif anticipates future partnerships with universities and related associations, the company said.

Its courses are self-paced and employ mixed medias such as on-demand videos, interactive exercises and assessments. Future courses will include topics such as 3-D, sizing, textiles and product development. To start, Alvanon said it enlisted the support of 50 large brands and specialist players across the fashion supply chain to interact with its beta platform and test its Motif courses, as well as the user-learning experience. Collective feedback and insights were used to “fine-tune” the platform prior to its launch.

Image courtesy of Alvanon. 

Catherine Cole, executive director at Motif, explained, “Motif’s mission is to empower industry professionals with critical skills to readily apply in their job and to further their careers, as well as helps apparel organizations with onboarding and upskilling training materials and assessment tools suitable for new and old employees.”

Cole also referenced a “critical industry need” that Motif identified in Alvanon’s 2018 State of Skills Report. “As the war for talent continues, apparel businesses must make more of an effort to attract people back into roles that may have been perceived as unglamorous. There is now an opportunity for the apparel industry to rethink their supply chain talent and skills. Businesses have the opportunity to get ahead by rejuvenating traditional roles and ways of doing things, while also rethinking employee talent and h.r. management,” authors of the report noted.

Seventy-three percent of people surveyed said employee learning and skills development is a key business issue. Training barriers identified in the report include time constraints, for 54 percent of respondents; inaccessibility at 17 percent; lack of support at 21 percent, and 31 percent stating that training simply isn’t offered, all according to Alvanon’s report. And in a separate Learning Workplace report authored by LinkedIn, 56 percent of employees surveyed said they would spend more time learning if their manager directed them to complete a specific course to gain or improve their skill sets. Angie Lau, ceo of intimate manufacturing company Clover Group, said, “There is a huge gap between what our employees learn in school and what real life is like in the factory,” noting that graduates are entering the workforce without a comprehensive skill set.

“Education has long been part of the DNA of Alvanon,” explained Janice Wang, the ceo of Alvanon. “Technology has always been a catalyst for transformation in apparel. Alvanon’s founder, Dr. Kenneth Wang, was fascinated by the power of technologies to transform the world of sizing, lift limits on creativity and commerce, and open vast new horizons of opportunity.” She added, “I’m delighted to announce the launch of Motif — it uses the most advanced technologies to deliver an e-learning environment that will develop and nurture the skills our industry so desperately needs and will help future proof businesses in a rapidly evolving world.”

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