University of Fashion Blog

Posts Tagged: "online learning"

Meet MOTIF: An Online Fashion Industry Education Hub

(Image credit: MOTIF)

Since our founding in 2008, the University of Fashion has always recruited the best instructors from the best fashion colleges, such as FIT and Parsons, to teach our lessons. And, because we film in New York City, the fashion capital of the world, we have been able to tap the brain trust of our industry for our design and business lessons.

Going on 13 years now, we have partnered with the best dress form companies in the business (Alvanon and Wolf) and collaborated with several top tool and fabric suppliers as well as other industry resources (and the list is growing).

When we decided to add affordable computerized pattern making lessons, we forged a partnership with Tukatech so that we could offer a special, affordable rate to our subscribers.

Promoting another school’s content on our site may have seemed like a bad business decision, but our recent partnership with Upcycle Design School now provides our subscribers the opportunity to learn how to start their own sustainable fashion brand.

So, it therefore comes as no surprise that we are introducing our subscribers to MOTIF, a new learning platform aimed at the working fashion professional. I recently had the opportunity to interview Catherine Cole, MOTIF’s CEO, about their mission, the results of their survey on the skill level needs of the industry, and other relevant topics that affect today’s fashion and textile industry.

Our founder, Francesca Sterlacci, recently interviewed Catherine to learn more about MOTIF and their unique and much needed learning platform.

Catherine Cole – MOTIF CEO (Image credit: MOTIF)

Francesca: MOTIF is a relatively new fashion industry learning platform, can you give some background as to when and why it was founded and what role Alvanon played in its inception?

Catherine: The fashion industry is going through major disruption caused by changes in consumption patterns, increasing cost pressures, speed-to-market pressures, unwieldy and fragmented supply chains and then having to play catch up in things like sustainability and digitisation. These disruptions are making a growing skills gap more and more evident. The last generation that has production floor expertise is retiring in the next 5-10 years and add to that an urgent need for the next generation of skills that include data, 3D product design and development and digital marketing. MOTIF was started to meet the urgent need by fashion brands and other players in the supply chain, for an ability to onboard new employees effectively and upskill current employees. Originally an intrapreneurial venture within global innovations company Alvanon, MOTIF officially launched in October 2018 with a suite of online courses on motif.org, before becoming a separate legal entity in April 2019. Since then, we have received $2m in funding from The Mills Fabrica.

Francesca: What has been the impact of Motif’s recent increase in funding?

Catherine: The increased funding allowed us to launch new social and community features alongside our courses and also develop authoring tools for partners (experts across the industry) to launch their own courses in our marketplace. We continually strive to enhance our features and are building a state-of-the- art learning environment for our users.

Francesca: Is Motif’s learning platform offered to individuals as well as to school libraries?

Catherine: MOTIF’s courses are aimed at both individual professionals in the industry as well as corporate HR or business teams that need to make sure their workforce is equipped with sound fundamentals and cross-functional understanding. These courses cover technical skills as well as commercial and soft skills for the apparel / fashion industry. We publish our own courses and also distribute courses of partner publishers. These partners can range from academic institutions like LIM College, to organisations fostering the adoption of business best practices and technical standards in the industry such as WRAP, and even independent seasoned industry experts such as Roz McNulty who is teaching a series of superuser courses from beginner to advanced level on CLO 3D on MOTIF.  Currently our courses are also used by professors who are looking to supplement their teaching with course material taught by practitioners.

Catherine Cole – MOTIF CEO at 2018 Summit (Image credit: MOTIF)

Francesca: Alvanon conducted an industry survey back in 2018 entitled, The State of Skills in the Apparel Industry, and shared the results at a conference held in NYC. Can you discuss the findings of that survey, as it related to body sizing and the need for upskilling in the global fashion industry?

Catherine: MOTIF, with the support of Alvanon and 19 global industry associations, launched its second global State of Skills survey in early 2020 to see if anything had changed with regards to the urgency around skills and professional development since our first survey in 2018.  The results were just released in October 2020 and can be found in a whitepaper on our site.  The key findings were that the industry still views skills as a key business issue, but that budgets are not matching.  So, one of our big problems is that there is a major mismatch between priorities and investments, especially when it comes to topics like sustainability and digitisation.  Another key finding is the discrepancy between top management’s perception of how they are supporting their employees with continuous learning opportunities and how employees feel like they are not receiving the professional development they want.

Francesca: Does Motif’s curriculum reflect the needs of current fashion industry professionals? Does Motif recruit its instructors from the fashion industry?

Catherine: MOTIF exists to fill the skills gap in the industry on fundamental technical skills, as well as hot new skills that will enable professionals to be the best at what they do as well as future-proof their career in the industry. The first courses offered on the platform revolved around product development, fit and sizing, sustainability and then 3D. We’re progressively expanding our catalogue with courses covering training needs in the wider spectrum of the apparel and fashion supply chain. For example, we’ve recently published a course by AQM on how to safely resume operations and protect your factory workforce from Covid-19, and we will soon have a new course by WRAP on risk assessment in factories. All instructors teaching courses on the platform are highly experienced industry practitioners and experts, passionate and eager to share their knowledge for the betterment of business practices in the industry and committed to collaborate with our team to deliver enjoyable, efficient and highly applicable learning experiences.

Francesca: What importance does MOTIF put on having solid, hands-on, foundational knowledge in disciplines such as pattern making, draping, sewing and drawing before moving on to learn digital tools such as CAD, PDS and 3D?

Catherine: There are core skills that will always be critical in the industry. These are the fundamental skills that don’t change over time. They are also the “art and the science” or the craft in the industry.  Any newcomer to the industry needs to have these fundamentals.  Actually, it is not just the newcomers but even many seasoned professionals need refreshers in these skills as their careers evolve.  What has changed over time is how we apply some of these skills or the new digital tools that we are using with them.  You have many young start-ups looking for pattern makers with coding skills and it is this example of a new blend of skills that will be relevant in the future so that young brands and companies remain agile and innovative.

(Image credit: MOTIF)

Francesca: Alvanon recently hosted the first 3D virtual conference, can you tell us what the industry’s reaction was to the inevitability of a 3D digital transformation? What are the pros and cons of implementing 3D in the workplace and what companies are leading this transformation?

Catherine: Alvanon, with MOTIF as its “Learning Partner”, organised the first 3D Tech Festival for Apparel and Fashion in September 2020, as an open and agnostic platform for 3D tech leaders to discuss and re-imagine how we live, work and learn in an apparel world gone digital. With over 60 speakers and thousands of participants from 94 different countries, the four-day virtual event was a resounding success with an innovative format combining a full-blown conference, 3D Tech vendor virtual showcases and the launch of the MOTIF 3D Fashion Tech Community. Aiming at quenching the thirst for practical knowledge and exchange around 3D adoption and implementation in the industry, the live event was offered entirely free and is now available on-demand on motif.org, while the MOTIF 3D Fashion Tech Community is also continuously growing with new members and ongoing conversation threads.

Like for all other major disruptive technology trends, there is a mix of excitement and apprehension or mistrust around the adoption of 3D and its benefits. The question of the pros and cons of implementing or adopting 3D, isn’t really the right one though. There is little doubt now that 3D already does and will increasingly bring efficiency and sustainability benefits to the industry. The first and foremost question is the fundamental WHY each organisation would adopt 3D and embark on a transformative journey. How does it support and enable execution of the vision and development strategy of an organisation? It’s about core business goals, streamlined processes and fostering a culture where people are embracing change, adhering to values and objectives underlying it. It’s about equipping your teams with the right skills and confidence that they can execute on the vision and that all stakeholders have a place in the transformational journey. It’s about mapping out the steps, from pilot to enterprise-wide deployment, and being able to demonstrate the return on investment at each stage. To help those that want and need to take the leap, MOTIF has developed a course that helps teams and individuals alike raise and answer the key questions, engage the right people and establish the milestones that will ease the way to the successful adoption and implementation of 3D.

There are many companies, large and small, and even start-ups, in the footwear and apparel industries that have started experimenting, adopting or embedding digital tech as the nexus of their business model or operations. We get excited when we talk to some of the most progressive ones now looking at building internal 3D or digital skills competency centers with an explicit mandate to ramp up the training of the workforce on transformational change project management and new tools or technologies. At MOTIF, our vision is to support these endeavours with a tool kit of courses and resources that can then be customized for brands or manufacturers.

(Image credit: MOTIF)

Francesca: Do you think the industry is adequately addressing climate change? What more can be done?

Catherine: We would have to answer no to this question.  Many companies are struggling with the HOW of integrating the ethos of the circle economy into their supply chains and to expedite the transformation around efficiency and transparency – both critical to tackle the problems of overproduction and waste.  This is why MOTIF is launching a sustainability intervention in February 2021! We will be hosting a three-day event around this particular topic with speakers from across the supply chain in an effort to reconcile practices between design, production and consumer.  Alongside this we will be launching our Sustainability Communities so that we can support the ongoing conversation.  MOTIF is also launching a new virtual learning series in December of this year that will run monthly and bring in case studies around these key topics.  Stay tuned for more information!

Francesca: What more can we do as an industry to stop the promotion, production and over-consumption of clothing?

Catherine: Overconsumption and overproduction are the two sides of the same coin, and we need to change currency. The urgency is undeniable yet there is no magic or easy way out or solution. On the consumer side, a change of societal values and education to buy less and better quality products produced or sourced responsibly, to prolong the life of our garments by upcycling, swapping, donating, reusing or recycling instead of just dumping them in a landfill, is paramount. Studies seem to show that Millennials and GenZ consumers are increasingly ready to pay more for quality products and have a genuine appetite for sustainable fashion, so we are heading in the right direction. Many brands, large and small are embedding sustainability practices throughout the entire product lifecycle and facilitating responsible customer initiatives by developing new services tied to the end of life of their products.

For many brands or retailers, it is also about ethos, values and legacy. It does take courage and integrity to, like Patagonia, refuse to participate in the Black Friday or CyberMonday orgies and encourage your customers not to buy a jacket in your new collection if the life of your current one can be extended. And it is not something you can preach or pull off unless you walk the talk. While we see real progress in the industry, the staggering, record sales numbers just reported by Alibaba and JD Express for the 2020 November Singles day (all consumer product categories included) show that old habits die hard and there are many contextual and cultural elements that come into play so there isn’t a one size fits all solution.

The progressive digitization of the industry and adoption of new technology are also enablers of systemic change, with the emergence of more circular business models. There is a pressing need to upskill the current people the industry employs on sustainability so that change can happen at scale. Waiting for a fresh generation of designers, product developers and supply chain professionals can’t be afforded. The responsibility of picking up these essential new skills, not only lies with the industry or corporations but also with professionals themselves, if they wish to become agents of change and future-proof their careers in the industry.

Sustainability is a strategic area of course and content development for us. As mentioned, when we launched our platform, we already had a beginner course on Sustainability and we have just released a brand new intermediate course taught by LIM College faculty.

Francesca: There has recently been a focus on social justice and our industry‘s lack of inclusivity. Do you think the fashion industry has more to do in this area and what is MOTIF doing to help?

Catherine: MOTIF is actively seeking out and working with partners that are developing content around these topics. From driving diversity and inclusion in our workplace all the way to how we bring in diversity and inclusion when designing for consumers and building socially responsible supply chains. Our vision is to have a catalogue of courses and resources valuable for the industry, but also that all material is taught through these lenses.

Francesca: Since the pandemic, people have been working remotely and making use of online tools. Have you seen an impact in online learning at MOTIF?

Catherine: Pre-Covid, companies still preferred onsite training even though online learning had established itself years ago as a viable and efficient training solution for individuals and corporations alike. The current crisis has only increased awareness and receptivity to the value of virtual learning environments and accelerated the adoption with many corporations now fully appreciating the efficiency, flexibility and scalability that elearning offers with real shared benefits for employees and employers. Once the pandemic gets under control, we expect that organisations will resume offline training, but we’re convinced that they will converge on more of a hybrid training model, a blended approach leveraging the best of both offline and online learning experiences, which MOTIF has already started to offer.

We’ve undoubtedly seen an increased traffic on the motif.org platform and stronger engagement from learners taking our courses. As more corporations, non-profit organisations or academic institutions are looking at accelerating the digitalisation of their training or educational content, this has also opened a lot of collaboration opportunities for us and enquiries on our instructional design and courses development services offering.

The University of Fashion is happy to welcome MOTIF to the online learning community. Together we shall both help to promote online fashion education for years to come!

 

Sincerely,

Francesca Sterlacci

CEO/University of Fashion

START YOUR OWN PANDEMIC FASHION LEARNING POD

 

Looking for a new fashion career idea?

Start a Fashion Learning Pod

Pandemic learning pods, also called microschools or co-ops, are popular options for parents looking to fill in the academic and social gaps for children, teenagers or fashion college bound students, who will be learning virtually this fall.

How it works: Parents pool resources to hire YOU, a fashion professional, to preside over a small cohort of students directing their studies and providing general supervision so parents can work. Just reach out to your local grade school, high school or college and offer your services.

The benefits: Pods are a great way to: learn about fashion in small groups; help reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19; have better control over social distancing, mask-wearing and sanitizing.

The University of Fashion is the perfect teacher’s aide. With 500 videos in 13 disciplines from beginner to advanced, you can hold classes in your home or their home with the help of a phone, tablet or laptop.

Inspire you students to learn about a career as a fashion designer with our hands-on lessons in draping, pattern making, sewing, fashion art, product development, accessories, CAD Fashion Art, CAD Pattern making, menswear, childrenswear and knits. Our fashion business lessons teach students about fashion merchandising, buying and merchandising, licensing, branding and digital marketing. We also have a lecture series with lessons on color theory, textiles, sustainability, eco-textiles,  costume history, trend forecasting and what a career as a museum curator entails.

Students will love learning about fashion and our video instructors are all professionals, either teaching at a fashion college of in the fashion industry.

We’re here to help get you started.

Contact Myrna, our sales consultant, to learn more about how our group subscriptions work. MDorfman@UniversityofFashion.com

 

ATTENTION TEACHERS: Are you ready for remote teaching?

Are you ready for remote teaching? Do you have enough content to keep your students engaged?

If not, let University of Fashion help.

Now that the fall school term is rapidly approaching, the University of Fashion is reaching out to schools and teachers everywhere, reminding them of our educational content library of 500 videos in 13 different disciplines in the areas of fashion design and fashion business.

UoF is offering free, all access for 30 days so that schools and teachers have a chance to plan which lessons they would like to include in their curriculum.

We are aware that some schools are still uncertain about their fall enrollment or whether they will be conducting classes remotely or onsite and we would like to help. Once you’ve had a chance to peruse our content, via our free 30-day trial, and should you decide to subscribe, we are offering flexible subscription terms and special school group subscription pricing.

Just reach out to Myrna, our sales associate mdorfman@UniversityofFashion.com 

When Covid-19 hit back in March, the University of Fashion realized that schools were being forced to transition to remote teaching and we felt the need to step up. We offered free 30-day access to any school that asked. Over 100 schools reached out to us and we worked with them, helping to make the end of term an easier one, were you one of them?

Who We Are

The University of Fashion is the first and largest online fashion education video resource founded in 2008 by Francesca Sterlacci, a fashion designer, author, former professor & chair at the Fashion Institute of Technology and a graduate level instructor at the Academy of Art University, where she taught both onsite and online for six years. Francesca holds an MSEd in higher education administration and has designed, owned and operated her eponymous fashion label in New York City for 10 years.

At UoF, all of our teachers are either fashion college professors or industry pros. Each of our videos are professionally produced using the best videographers and editors.

Because we have been in the online business for over 12 years, we know a thing or two about how to recruit the best instructors and how to film & edit content in a clear, precise and effective way, that gets results!

Don’t take our word for it, read our school & teacher testimonials.

We are in the business of supporting educators around the globe by offering professional educational content. Let us help your school and your teachers by taking away the stress, time and cost of having to create original content.

 

An extra added benefit is that we offer books that are designed to work in tandem with our beginner draping, pattern making and sewing video lessons. Each book contains lesson objectives and learning outcomes for each lesson, required in today’s school/learning environment.

 

View hundreds of online fashion design and business video tutorials
from beginner to advanced

Draping Fashion Art Pattern Making
Sewing Menswear Fashion Business
Knits CAD Fashion Art Fashion Product Dev.
Fashion Lectures Childrenswear Accessories
CAD Pattern Making How Does the UoF Work Fashion Design Tools


 

Are you ready for remote teaching?

When Covid-19 hit and the University of Fashion realized that schools were being forced to transition to remote learning, we felt the need to step up and offer free access to our content library. As a company, we decided to help in any way we could, by providing a bit of a breather for schools to work towards the transition from classroom to remote teaching.

Over 100 schools reached out to us and we worked with them, helping to make their end of term an easy one. We were humbled by the expression of gratitude and the wonderful testimonials we received from both teachers and students.

We are making that same offer available again – free 30-day access to the UoF site.

Now that we are approaching the fall semester, we want to reach out again to let schools know we are offering a free 30-day trial access so that teachers and schools have time to plan their online curriculum before the term begins. And, we are now offering flexible subscription terms (to match up with their school’s semesters) and discounts, since we know all schools are uncertain about their fall enrollment numbers and whether they will be conducting classes remotely or onsite.

To get more information please contact Myrna at mdorfman@universityoffashion.com

The University of Fashion is the first and largest online fashion education video resource founded in 2008 by Francesca Sterlacci, a fashion designer, author and former professor and chair at FIT. All of our UoF teachers are either fashion college professors or industry pros, and all of our videos are professionally produced.

The UoF library consists or 500 lessons in 13 disciplines:

  • Draping
  • Pattern making
  • Sewing
  • Fashion Art
  • Accessories
  • Childrenswear
  • Menswear
  • Product Development
  • Knits
  • CAD Fashion Art
  • CAD Pattern making
  • Fashion Business
  • Fashion Lectures – covering topics such as color theory, textiles, trend forecasting, costume history, fashion law and more.

Many high schools and colleges around the world use UoF as a library research resource and/or as a source of teaching in their hybrid classrooms or online courses. Some schools use our hands-on technical lessons to supplement their existing design curriculum, while others are interested in our lecture series, which educates students on fashion careers such as fashion merchandising, buying, branding, licensing, fashion law, museum curatorial studies and costume history. Our lectures on color theory, sustainable fashion, textiles, trend forecasting and other relevant topics, have broad appeal even to students in non-fashion schools.

As you navigate the uncharted waters of remote education, the University of Fashion wants to be your partner. We have been in the online business for over 12 years and know a thing or two about how to recruit the best instructors, film content that it is clear, precise and effective and, that gets results. We also have books that work in tandem with our beginner draping, pattern making and sewing video lessons!

Don’t take our word for it, just read our school testimonials https://www.universityoffashion.com/about/testimonials/

Instructor spotlight: Martha Palaza

There’s nothing like the excitement (and sometimes nerves!) that accompany the start of a new school semester. As fashion design students, you’re busy gathering the supplies you need for your next draping class, researching inspiration for your next project and possibly beginning to put together your professional portfolio. Most likely, you are also building your professional network as you work with your classmates and get to know your instructors. Read More