Why Is The Well Of Digital Product Creation Talent Running Dry
What happens when the current workforce does not have the right skill set to perform in a system that is changing faster than anyone could have imagined? What if the need and demand for experience and expertise are greater than supply? This is the current state of the fashion industry. Driven by transformative technologies, as we inch toward creating a better and sustainable eco-system for the fashion industry, one colossal piece of the puzzle remains the ‘talent’. How do we, as an industry, make sure that we are hiring, training, and educating talent in a way that’s fit for this brave new world?
One does not need to be a futurist to notice and suggest how rapidly the world around us is changing. Additive Manufacturing, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Cloud Computing, and many more technologies, collectively packaged as ‘Industry 4.0’, have foreseeable effects on every design and manufacturing industry. Fashion is no exception. Combined, these technologies are going to change how we design, manufacture, present, sell, and consume fashion. And employers are already seeking talent with a combination of competencies in these areas, and skills that are not traditionally taught together in colleges under one major.
This gap between what the industry clearly knows is coming (and is actively hiring for) and what education is preparing students for is growing. Fashion education has not seen any significant upgrades for decades. Fashion is a dynamic discipline and built on adaptation, yet there are only a handful of institutes with a progressive outlook that train students for future-proofed careers. With so many technology and industry solutions at their disposal, and technology vendors who are typically keen to work with educational institutions, we have to ask why.
Imagine an environment where fashion designers and pattern makers work alongside coders and textile engineers! That’s the reality that leading brands want, but it’s a vision that’s falling short because it’s proving difficult to source all that talent and bring it under one roof.
One area where talent is in incredibly high demand is digital product creation – and more specifically in 3D design and development, where the creation of digital counterparts of physical products is one of the most important tasks a brand faces. The advantages of conceiving and developing a fashion product in a 3D digital environment are innumerable, at every stage – right from the initial sketch to the production-ready sample. And those benefits have only become more pronounced during the pandemic, as the alternative options were taken off the table.
Lately, we have seen a surge in tech-driven fashion startups, many of them finding their roots in Silicon Valley. The creative minds behind them are not fashion designers, but they are able to disrupt fashion design all the same. As Edelkoort said, the fashion industry now needs to learn from and compete with the tech industry, or risk being overtaken by outside forces simply because we could not create inside forces quickly enough. This will not be possible without a radically novel approach to fashion education.
If 2020 has taught us anything, it is the value of and need for future-proofed sustainable business models, of products and systems that are unlikely to become obsolete. A core component of it is the people who we need to invest in and educate and train for the future. Because without this level of change, brands and retailers who need to bring digital product creation initiatives forward will keep finding themselves going back to a well of talent that’s slowly running dry.
Read the full article from https://www.theinterline.com/02/2021/why-is-the-well-of-digital-product-creation-talent-running-dry/