In addition to the international proliferation of courses and degree programs dedicated to the study of fashion in recent years, there has been an intensification in debates and discussions surrounding the matter of fashion design education. In a sense, fashion education has become a ‘fashionable’ topic as the merging of practice-based classes and theory-based courses within design schools and the simultaneous recognition of the theoretical scope of design-practice research have facilitated discussions about ‘how’ fashion is taught. This has raised questions about the ways in which theoretical perspectives may be more organically integrated into design studio practices, and, at the same time, has also pushed the idea that theoretical investigations are not simply paratextual to the design process but must become central in the practice of educating fashion designers beyond the studio.
This special issue of Fashion Practice aims to interrogate what precipitated this shift, while creating a space to explore the turn toward theory and practice in fashion design education, especially in relation to the consequent cross-pollination of fashion studies theories and methods within fashion design curricula.
Among the many issues this special issue will address, we aim to answer the following questions: How is ‘fashion thinking’ applied in the university today? What types of research, theoretical perspectives and methodologies are useful to the education of fashion designers today? How are fashion studies concepts and methodologies approached and applied in fashion design studio? In which ways does fashion studies research influence the teaching activities in fashion design education (for example, ideas of bodies/pattern making)? And finally, in which ways are universities shifting their educational programmes in order to respond to the changing climate of the fashion industry, especially in regard to the pressing matter of sustainability?