What your curriculum should cover!

Less fashion, more business...

Professional pipelines, or relationships universities and corporations maintain for their mutual benefit narrow student focus and limit our ability to consider using acquired skills in a disruptive way. These branded relationships are a direct line of sight to future career opportunities for students, but pipelines drive students to approach postgraduate career decisions with a lens of limited awareness and “you can’t be, what you can’t see”. In the status quo, electrical engineers go work for GE, mechanical engineers can leverage these pipelines for roles at SpaceX and computer engineers come to companies like Amazon, but innovation is inevitable when students disrupt these pipelines and marry their skills with their passion.

A 2018 McKinsey & Co report, in collaboration with Business of Fashion (BOF) notes that the fashion industry is undergoing a transformation. Consumers have a higher expectation for customer experience and place higher scrutiny on convenience, price, quality, newness and a personal touch. Over 60% of the key trends and disruptions influencing this industry transformation are directly linked to technology. So, among other economic, consumer and industry changes, customers are focusing on personalization, looking to the web and platforms first for style inspiration and product research, mobile obsessed, benefiting from AI in product development and customer UX, caring more about sustainability and finding utility from the innovations in startups and startup culture.

This phenomenon points to a need the fashion education market has not recalibrated to meet. GiFT has identified that the skills gap in this industry will require computer science, project or program management and supply chain management to close. However, based on our research 40% of schools offer Computer Science as a major, 18% offer PJ/PG, and only 5% offer Supply Chain, diluting the possibility that students are gaining these skills while matriculating through the top 20 US merchandising programs.

Pipelining is responsible for the gap between talent and the industries that require it. We systemically push homogenous skills into specific companies and sectors, when we know that inherent and acquired diversity in the workplace drive innovation, increase return on investment and create free cash flow. Students in fashion should think about broad ways to incorporate interdisciplinary study into their curriculum to ensure a competitive advantage as they pursue their career!

 

Lights! Camera! Red LIpstick & Glamour!

I recently read "Can Lipstick Give you Super Powers?", in Glamour. It was super interesting because it addresses how society values women through the male gaze and compares our experimentation with fashion and beauty to personal empowerment and sense of self while examining the false tension that exist between beauty and feminism. The writer calls out that, "most things that are coded as female are dismissed as frivolous or lacking value...So much of what girls and women have been taught about our bodies and the way we look is a reflection of the male gaze. But it's up to every woman to wade through what that connection - how they feel and look to the world - means for them." It's a wonderful way to articulate the lens and limitations placed on women because of the patriarchal nature of our society.

 
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The things the world has told men about a woman's intelligence, beauty and source of self-esteem are the same values and derivations we teach to girls about themselves to discredit their natural and socialized interest...like fashion for example! Historically, the mainstream narrative around beauty and fashion was that they cannot coexist with intellect and innovation, but I'm hopefully that the world is starting to see that these thing are not mutually exclusive. Models aren't dumb because they are beautiful, designers can be both creative and business savvy, and not only have we learned that women can excel in math and science - but these disciplines are necessary to innovate in the fashion space! It's a strange conundrum I am still working to illustrate well, but I've come to understand through my personal experiences - whether it's reading the skepticism on faces when I come to a product development meeting in full makeup (red lipstick and all) and Louboutin's or the confusion felt in conversations when I try to explain to people what I do - but there is a gap between the perception around the things we value as women like makeup, skincare, fashion and beauty and the understanding that these are large multi-billion dollar industries that cater to women, but run by men.

The article ends reinforcing the idea that women have to define for themselves a new lens through which men can and should view us. Societies long standing tradition of telling us how to feel beautiful and to strive for the approval and affection of men is dated and coming to a close for women who are woke. The next step is to take control of the disciplines, industries and spaces that support our new ideaology.

 

 

 

Women of Color Fashion Tech Brunch - Coming Soon!

 
Photo from September 8 WOCFTB hosted at Ludlow House in NYC during Fashion Week with Special Guest Misa Hylton.

Photo from September 8 WOCFTB hosted at Ludlow House in NYC during Fashion Week with Special Guest Misa Hylton.

NEW YORK (August 28, 2018) Jessica Couch founder of Luxor and Finch Consulting, a fashion tech consulting company focusing on resolving the fit issue in fashion through technology, Brittany Hicks, Planning And Operations At Amazon and Founder of GiFT (Girls In Fashion Tech) and Ellie Zambrano Executive Producer, Pixel- Nerd/Geek Of Chic have announced an invite-only diversity and inclusivity based brunch for women of color in the fashion technology industry. 

On September 8, 2018, the first Women of Color FashTech Brunch will bring together innovators, entrepreneurs, gatekeepers and trailblazers in the FashTech world. The brunch will feature a panel of industry veterans including:

  • Kim Jenkins - Fashion and Culture Scholar, Lecturer, Independent Researcher and Consultant

  • Lisa Morales-Hellebo - Co-Founder of the Worldwide Supply Chain Federation and Founder of Refashiond

  • Gina Bibby - Partner at Brutzkus Gubner and Fashion Tech Attorney

  • Hellyn Teng - Co-Founder and Creative Director of Wearable Media

As a special Guest, Misa Hylton will be honored at the brunch as well as her Fashion academy for young women of color seeking to pursue careers in the fashion industry. Misa is the genius behind some of the most iconic trend-setting fashion moments for artists such as Lil Kim, Mary J Blige, Missy Elliot, Sean Combs, Kimora Lee to name a few with her latest custom MCM creation for Beyonce for the APES**T music video.  This unique event will give the opportunity to gather many brilliant women of color in one room with the intention of creating a community of support and inclusion. For more information visit: https://www.luxorandfinch.com/brunch.

 About Luxor + Finch Consulting

Luxor + Finch Consulting specializes in fit technology consulting for brands and retailers. Luxor + Finch  provides global expertise to companies assisting them with developing  fit based solutions for better garment production, online shopping experiences and loss management for the return issue.

About Girls in Fashion Tech (G.I.FT)

Girls in Fashion Tech mission is to empower young women with the awareness and language needed to influence change and explicitly address gender disparities in an industry where over 80% of graduates are women, but only 14% of senior leaders at relevant fashion companies are female.

About Geek of Chic

Geek of Chic is a groundbreaking fashion tech web series where fashion meets function. The show highlights the latest trends, techniques, talent and events in the fashion tech space. The weekly series features innovative products and services in fashion tech and wearables that benefit the everyday consumer - saving them money, time and even their lives.