Curriculum Research & Development: Fashion Education
‘The true power of forecasting… comes from participating in imagining our shared futures’ (Tham, 2015: 287).
The curriculum project ‘Trend Forecasting, Taste and the Production of Fashion’, was co-developed with Jay McCauley Bowstead (London College of Fashion) and trialled with the MA Fashion students at Goldsmiths University. Focusing upon the practice of trend prediction, the workshop explored the formation of trends and taste in the context of the production of fashion. Exercises were designed to conceptualise fashion as it relates to cultural production, cultural mediation (Bourdieu, 1984) cultures of consumption, and the aesthetic economy (Entwistle, 2009). Students occupied the role of ‘cultural mediator’ (trend forecaster), drawing on a variety of creative, social, economic, technological and environmental information sources to predict a trend for 15 years ahead.
Recent discussions of fashion pedagogy have questioned and problematised the boundaries between practice and theory (Fashion Praxis Collective, 2014: 77-80). These exercises sought to bring fashion practice and theory together by combining experiential and interactive pedagogic approaches, as students were encouraged to explore the problematics and potentialities of trend forecasting processes. According to Tham (2015), by reimagining forecasting, we can conceptualise alternative futures outside dominant commercial frames. In this sense, this exercise is about demonstrating to students the agency they have to question and reimagine social, cultural and fashion trends: not only to consider what is ‘likely to happen’, but also what they would ‘like to happen’ (Tham, 2015: 287).
Photography by Cyrielle Andre.
Bourdieu, P. (1984) ‘Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste’. Translated by Nice, R. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.
Entwistle, J. (2009). ‘The Aesthetic Economy of Fashion: Markets and Values in Clothing and Modelling’. Oxford: Berg.
Fashion Praxis Collective, (2014). ‘The Fashion Condition’. New York: SelfPassage.
Tham, M. (2015) ‘The Futures of Future Studies in Fashion’ In ‘Routledge Handbook of Sustainability and Fashion’. Fletcher, K. and Tham, M. Abingdon (eds.), Oxon: Routledge.