For the past five years, Chalayan has been working with the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, but he told WWD that the new “foundation of design and process” classes he’s teaching in Berlin will be very different. Chalayan is to deliver his first lecture to students on Nov. 11.
The Berlin institute is more of a technical one, Chalayan explained, “more science-based, with a bigger emphasis on technology and sustainability.”
Because of that, Chalayan said he was looking forward to being able to work with different departments there in new ways. “A lot depends on which departments are interested in collaborating. It’s not something you can force. But anything to do with AI [artificial intelligence], anything to do with VR [virtual reality] and just anything to do with technology that can enhance fashion,” he enthused.
“Mr. Chalayan was enticed by the broad choice of interdisciplinary research and project work that’s facilitated by the 70 different courses of study at our school,” Katrin Hinz, dean of the department of design and culture at the Berlin university, told WWD. “These range from aeronautics to physics to cultural studies. And that convinced him that this is the right place for experimental creativity.”
There are eight lecturers and around 300 students in the department Chalayan will be part of this semester. There is also a broader focus on how to make the fashion industry sustainable.
Hinz was enthusiastic about what Chalayan, who’s known for his experimental and esoteric work, would bring to the department. “Fashion designers always think ahead. The odd of today will be the mainstream of tomorrow,” she noted. “And before accepting the position, Mr. Chalayan gave a trial lecture. The students were fascinated and enthused by his highly focused way of teaching, which gets the very best out of everyone.”