Fashion Education and Gender-The Pearl Point Of View

NANDITA ABRAHAM

Pearl Academy is re-elected as a member of the executive committee of the International Foundation of Fashion Technology Institutes (IFFTI) for a third time. Nandita Abraham discusses what it means for the institution and how it guides the pedagogy, learning environment and research at Pearl Academy.

Illustration by/ Mehandee Dureja
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Education is often considered to be about learning content, skills and developing employability. However, it is much more than that – good education helps develop one's outlook towards the world by inculcating a way of thinking, doing, and creating to make a difference. It is thus the responsibility of the educational institutions to develop an environment that empowers students to be the best version of themselves.

In 1999, the leading fashion colleges in the world came together to set an agenda for fashion education and International Foundation of Fashion Technology Institutes (IFFTI) was created.

Pearl Academy is a founding member of IFFTI and has been re-elected for the third time to represent Asia on its executive committee. Other members of the committee include Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), New York, London College of Fashion, Bunka University, and Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), Australia.

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At IFFTI, we offer an opportunity to share knowledge and intercultural understanding to inform, develop, shape, and direct the fashion and textile curricula and research agenda. IFFTI believes that the fashion and textiles sectors have the potential to become a global force for positive change and progress.

The annual research conference of IFFTI sets the theme for discussions and a look at these themes will indicate how important the issues of gender, identity and inclusion are: between 2017 and 2020, the themes were Breaking the Rules (2017), Fashion Futures (2018), Fashion ID(entity) (2019), and Social Justice (2020).

Through these conferences, IFFTI has set the pedagogy, learning environment and research direction for fashion education around the world. The impact of these in-depth but expansive approach is visible in our classroom content, faculty outlook, research projects and overall student approach and outcomes.

The conversation around gender and understanding the changing dynamics is not possible without including it in our education systems. These conferences set the bar for higher education to grow up with the times.

The installation in the picture is by illustrator artist Mehandee Dureja, who was inspired by the women of the Rabari Tribe from Kutch in India.

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