Transforming Fashion Education to Design with Intent



Fashion, Jewellery & Textile Design


  • design with intent, fashion design education, fashion design praxis, transformation

Two fundamental shifts are currently evident in design. Firstly, a growing call to integrate research and praxis is evident. Secondly, a call to move fashion design praxis to more relevant and value-adding environmental sustainable and user-centred design approaches is emerging. As such, fashion education should align itself to such shifts.

Conventionally, fashion education at fourth year placed greater emphasis on design and the making of products to culminate in a collection. This teaching and learning approach presented challenges. Firstly, the design of such collections predominately grounded itself in areas such as celebrity culture and fashion trends but with no value to fashion design praxis. Secondly, a disjuncture between research and praxis was evident even though they both focussed on a common theme. This presented a gap for the authors to decolonise fashion education by transforming teaching and learning approaches at fourth year to ensure that students are educated in a manner that contribute to more meaningful and value-adding fashion design praxis.

In this paper, the authors reflectively report in a three-fold manner. Firstly, a report on the rationale for decolonising and transforming fashion education at a fourth year. Secondly, a discussion on a research focus aligning to the notion of design with intent. Thirdly, a reflective discussion on how such a research focus informs and is applied to student praxis in the educational context.

The paper begins with arguments extracted from literature to support the two fundamental calls evident in design and fashion design discourse. The paper then shifts to contextualise the conventional scope of fashion education at fourth year and justify the reasons for transformation. The authors then move to contextualise the research foci, grounded in design with intent, and how research informs student praxis by drawing on student cases. The paper concludes with some delimitations and challenges of such a teaching and learning approach.

In transforming fourth year fashion education, design with intent underpinned research, which in turn informed student praxis opposes the conventional teaching and learning strategy. As such, this paper contributes to the larger discourse to ensure fashion design praxis and education is more relevant and value adding to current situations.


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