At Revver we want to start a new conversation about Fashion and Education.
We believe that the next generation is shaping a new demand for Education in design in order to pursue Fashion creativity.
The future of social impact in Education starts now and we want to be part of it…
Family provides a sense of belonging: SU YUN I is a member of our family. She is a Fashion Design student from the Shih Chien University in Taiwan.
As a young generation of Asian designers, she is ready to embark on a challenging fashion path. Below, SU YUN I reveals the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Fashion industry.
My name is SU YUN I, a very contradictory person who always impresses people but also stays low-key and calm at the same time. My creative inspirations are coming from my personal experiences. I think when you are a designer or for a fashion brand, you need to put your character into your work, this is the most important thing: what is more interesting than a unique and unpredictable individual?
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has swept the entire world, and the fashion industry has been significantly impacted. For example, each year the major fashion brands held their Autumn/Winter fashion week events in the months of February and March but this year, due to the health situation most of those events have been either cancelled or have been postponed or they have been changed from the traditional fashion week format to a digital/virtual event. Indeed, the digital online format is an excellent solution in order to meet the new health security measures imposed by the pandemic situation. As a result, the organization of major fashion week events, in Paris, Milan and London has officially been turned into a digital fashion show event. For New York fashion week event, no announcement has been made yet.
I am a student majoring in Fashion Design at Shih Chien University in Taiwan and I have been very much affected by the pandemic situation. Broadly speaking, the entire fashion industry is affected from upstream to downstream: from business to academia. In a narrow sense, we have been through enormous changes in our learning process such as online classes for those who have been infected or just simply wearing a mask in class when you can attend in person.
BEING A FASHION DESIGNER
The Shih Chien University fashion week, which is usually held in Taipei, Taiwan in April is an important event for our fashion department. For the sophomore year, we need to create an experimental series of fashion works in groups and for the junior year, we have to create a solo series of fashion works, and for the senior graduation year, we can choose to produce any kind of fashion works we want to create and it could be more experimental or more commercial, all options remain opened. Before the climax of the fashion week, everyone’s works would be selected within a preliminary round and then, the finalists can move forward to participate in the final.
I just participated in the 2020 fashion week finals as a sophomore, which was very different from the previous years. What have we learned in that process? Basically, from the initial ideation and creative direction, to production, to contact photographers and studios to execute the photo shooting and to arrange models and to work out backstage activities, we all have to complete those steps by ourselves. If you ask what we have learned, in short: we have learned all the fundamentals of being a fashion designer.
DIVERSITY IN TALENTS
In fact, we have been able to bring our self-understanding to another level with this experience. How did we do it? When looking at the initial concept to create a clothing fashion garment to the final stage when a customer can actually let your wear it, one can realize how this process is quite long and complicated, involving a variety of professionals and skillset. I would name this entire process as “supply chain” process because the supply chain is divided into four main stages: firstly, research on markets and trends, secondly design and development, thirdly production and finally sales. In these four stages, each stage requires different expertise and knowledge. In our fashion week students’ projects, we haven’t been involved in the back-end sales work, that’s the only area that we haven’t fully experienced. The first three stages have been covered and we looking forward to face commercial aspects of the industry. During this long four-stage process, we will gradually realize what are our strengths and weaknesses. For example, some people are not very keen on design but they have skillful techniques for sewing clothes, eventually they may become an outstanding tailor in the future for example; some people have an excellent understanding of the clothing structure, pattern maker is the perfect career for them to exert their talent; some people also always come up with new design ideas that amaze everyone, and some people have a great passion for photography… We will figure out where we can show the best of ourselves in order to achieve a career in this creative process. I think this is the biggest and the most precious reward for us.
THE PANDEMIC EFFECT
Given the impacts of the pandemic on this year Shih Chien fashion week event, especially the very strict anti-epidemic attitude of the Taiwan government prohibiting all the school’s large gathering, I think we need to recognize that all of this has been unprecedented. Just like the whole world, the fashion schools have also beenforced to cancel the traditional catwalk show. With the efforts of several excellent teachers and school department heads and with the support of the graduate associations, we have finally ushered in the first online fashion show.
We have used dynamic video to present our work. We have used space in a different way, for example the backstage have been turned into an art installation. During the whole process, the show director led models to perform with different body language to interpret the special temperament of each work. The photographer has used various shooting angles, and we have also used some drones to capture this incredible and creative dynamic. Besides, the shooting period was divided into the morning and evening sessions, and the night scene was set with more amazing stage design, including psychedelic lights and scattered smoke, which showcased and highlighted the artistic conception of the clothes. In the end, each different series of works have been visually captured into an independent short fashion movie. With the pandemic circumstances, we have adapted our communication and data sharing which means that the fashion school can send dynamic videos to designers, artists, and industry professionals around the world. The space constraints have been lifted and as long as they are willing to serve as jury, may experts all around the world can be consulted. This also means that our works can be exposed and assessed by a more diverse range of experts.
In the beginning, most of the students were full of fear in their minds to cancel the traditional fashion show, and I am no exception. After all, the event that should have been carried out has been suddenly hit by an unprecedented situation; hence people were scared to jump into something completely unknown. But after the whole thing has ended, gradually I have different opinion on things. Being digital is not just a trend in the fashion world; it is truly a transformation for the world. Isn’t the history of human development to advance technological progress whereby digital is simple a step toward a new normal: a lifestyle?
I regard this pandemic situation as a catalyst for development and innovation. In forced situations, the fashion brands must make tremendous changes in a relatively short period of time. With the rapid growth of digital technology, the fast development and widespread use of big data made the customers more powerful, they are not only satisfied with buying goods, but they also want to influence and interact with the brand they engage with. The role of customers has changed from passive to active. As a new generation, due to this sudden outbreak, we have been exposed to digital & online show during our fashion school design curriculum. I think this has laid a very good foundation for our future. Digitalization has always been in the fashion industry and it will absolutely be strong driving force for the whole fashion industry.
Author and translation by SU YUN I