Over the past few years, Dubai has steadily positioned itself as the regional hub for fashion entrepreneurs, stylists, designers and international retail brands. UAE’s home-grown talent is synonymous with being highly dynamic and innovative and has managed to thrive in a constantly evolving fashion scene.
This growth is also being fuelled by up and coming local and regional designers, who are capitalising on the diverse cultural experiences to provide tailored product range for their customers. While ‘modest fashion’, a term coined by this region, is now being taken seriously by global brands as well with big names such as Dolce & Gabbana, Tommy Hilfiger to name a few who have launched their own modest collections.
Technology, from an e-commerce point of view, has also played a huge role in providing a platform to startups to reach their consumers directly at a much lower cost than they would have expected to bear about a decade ago.
All of these factors create an environment that is ripe for further disruption and evolution in the coming years and Dubai, as always, has set itself up at the forefront of this fashion revolution. But we must also understand that we are just beginning this journey in being taken seriously in the business of fashion globally. There is a long way to go for the region to fully establish itself as a fashion and design hub, but it is on the right track.
With the Vision 2021, the UAE has put forward an ambitious yet achievable target of creating a first rate education system, and this is where the College of Fashion and Design (CFD) steps in. Established in heart of the city, the mantra of CFD has been to equip their students with the skills and experiences required to succeed in this robust and ever-changing industry.
The growth spurt in the industry demands more talent and currently there is a clear gap in the market for skilled fashion professionals. CFD hopes to equip their students to fill this gap with international standard education and training in the business of fashion.
To achieve this, the students are provided hands on training from day one, whether its cutting, stitching, mood boards, all the steps needed to design your own collection. This experiential teaching mechanism allows the students to get comfortable with all the different methodologies and techniques. Mastery comes with hands on practice and hence that forms the core principle of CFD’s teaching methods.
Another important aspect that is stressed upon are the alignments of key partnerships CFD brings forward for their students. Collaborating with famous designers, local, regional and international, actively participating at fashion events and internships with fashion houses give them the desired exposure that helps prepare them to take on this industry. With these modules in place CFD students can truly understand the business aspect of the fashion which forms a core part of any industry.
Whether its supply chain for a big fashion house, customer service, pricing strategies, platforms and channels to select, these are all important questions that a young designer has to consider before taking the big step. The internship programme allows for students to experience real life work environment in different departments of big retailers and fashion houses. This allows them to make an informed decision on honing their interests.
In today’s age for fashion startups, e-commerce is the way forward and allows young professionals the ability to launch their career with minimum expense and provide business independence.
The rise of e-commerce on one hand and influencers launching their merchandise on the other have disrupted the traditional brick and mortar models of fashion retail and credibility of design in some cases. The result is that barriers of entry are much lower, but a consequence is also that survival and sustainability is more challenging. CFD, with their continuous series of Fashion Forum events, engages with successful designers and entrepreneurs to interact with their students.
The culture of ‘populism’ in every industry means that we have to incorporate these skill sets into our student training and internship programmes. This real time experience helps students to understand how to plan their launch as a fashion professional. CFD also realises that the industry and field is highly creative and there is no set path for anyone to take, hence it doesn’t limit anyone’s creativity. It offers flexible schedules for experienced professionals that may be interested in pursuing their career in fashion and design, but never got the opportunity to do so for whatever reason.
They make an effort to accommodate other commitments that prospective students may have, whether it be family commitments or professional commitments. There is also an academy that provides short courses focused on very specific topics. These courses run for a short period of time, either in evenings or weekends and is licensed by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA).
So if you always wanted to know how to create an Abaya, or get a photography class to help with your holiday shots, CFD has course for you. The idea behind CFD is simply to create a highly engaging, intellectual and creative environment for students to thrive and launch their careers. For more information please visit www.cfd-dubai.com
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