Feeling anxious about going into education is extremely normal! (Especially during the current COVID-19 pandemic) The creative industry, in particular, is a sector of work that is being hit hard by the impact of the lockdowns & shut-down to “normal” life. Looking for a pathway into the fashion industry during this time you may think would be difficult… but, with the right school and/or right mindset, it is possible!
Choosing the right college or University can be a huge challenge and that may not get easier now with the current climate. What’s important to note down is the values and teaching of each institution as well as the facilities they provide not only on-site but off-site. Do some mega research on the different institutions, courses and COVID-safe features that they provide. It is really important to know your stuff and to understand what you need educationally, and which university/college may satisfy those needs. Research comes from ANYTHING, you could look into to their social media channels, dig through the info on their site or see where your favourite designer may have studied and go with your heart.
One college that stands out for its COVID proof courses is Morley College, London. The Morley College based in offers fashion courses for everyone, regardless of grades, knowledge and background. The college is known for its strong beliefs about inclusivity and diversity which goes way back to 1889! The COVID-19 pandemic may have turned most colleges and universities on their head, but the Morley College Fashion crew managed to craft some beautiful collections during the lockdown in March 2020 and have implemented some amazing COVID friendly systems that have really worked. Lynda Kinne the Programme Manager for Fashion: Advanced and Higher Education says, “our team worked closely with students to ensure they were prepared for the possible closure of on-site college facilities in order to shift seamlessly to an online learning environment.”
Being organised and motivated is another number one way to study fashion during a pandemic. Use your surroundings and make check lists, calendar reminders, maybe even stick post-it notes around your bedroom. Taking small breaks throughout the day and stretching your legs is also very vital for studying during a pandemic, go outside for a 10 minute walk every couple of hours and you’ll experience more energy, which equals quicker/for effective learning.
Have you also checked out some of the amazing fashion podcasts out there? Now during the pandemic more people are tuning in to podcasts and YouTube for a session of self-learning! Teach yourself simple pattern cutting or embroidery from behind the screen via these outlets. Clubhouse is another great platform to keep connected to the creative community and listen in on some amazing webinars!
The pandemic has brought a lot of challenges for so many students across the globe, regardless of which subject they study! Although, with fashion, it’s extremely difficult to study at home due to the professional equipment you need. Morley is able to teach students how to use the basic equipment as well as being able to supply them with this equipment if they need it. “Students successfully transitioned from using the industry-standard equipment of the undergraduate fashion workrooms to completing projects to graduate level in much smaller spaces at home using basic equipment. This will undoubtedly benefit them in future employment, whether they are making alterations to their collections backstage at fashion week or adapting to a constantly evolving retail market.”
For most educational institutions during this time, it’s important to create an environment that can provide high-quality learning for all students with access to resources, communication and independent learning. In Morley College’s case, they have implemented a hybrid delivery format fusing on-site delivery with virtual class sessions (called OnlinePlus) which enables them to shift seamlessly into a solely virtual learning environment in the event of any further lockdowns. “Some digital resources available to students include traditional programmes such as Office365 as well as industry-standard specialist programmes such as Adobe Creative Cloud and Grafis digital pattern cutting software.” Their digital learning facilities also include a lockdown perfected fashion library of resources with a focus on instructional video tutorials, research, exhibition catalogues and instructional handouts.
“We have been able to adapt and improve our course content and delivery on every level of undergraduate fashion study.”
Another known difficulty of studying during lockdown is the feeling of isolation and loneliness, with this in mind Morley are devoted to making the experience more communicative and connecting. “We encourage students to work together online via collaborative projects in their coursework and in addition we have developed a robust student support network accessible from home. This includes individual pastoral support, signposting to wider college services such as counselling and additional learning needs, online social events, a student-focussed Homework Helpers online forum, and digital gallery where students across all undergraduate fashion courses can share their work.”
Morley has “selected this delivery model because it works. It provides the stability and consistency required to ensure students can achieve their goals and progress to the next stage of their lives prepared to meet the needs of industry and to overcome challenges along the way.”
If you’re thinking of starting your fashion career during this pandemic, you CAN do it regardless of the challenges! There ARE institutions such as Morley College who are offering COVID proof courses that work & provide a fantastic education!