Intense creativity is underway on the second floor of the Textile Museum of Sweden. Colours, cords, hairdryers, lab coats, and textiles with unusual structures surround students in creative chaos.
Participants are halfway through a five-day workshop. Earlier, they viewed a presentation and design brief from the company Inuheat, which has developed a technology to control the temperature in garments.
Education4fashion-Tech (E4FT) is a collaboration between the Swedish School of Textiles, Politecnico di Milano – Dipartimento di Design and The University of the Arts - London College of Fashion. The project is funded by the EU Erasmus+ programme.
The E4FT will end in August this year after three years of collaboration.
The aim is to develop a foundation for a Master's education programme that combines fashion design and technology within the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), which is 48 countries that work together to achieve comparable and compatible systems in higher education in Europe.
Ann Vellesalu is one of the coordinators of the Swedish School of Textiles's part of the project. She explains that the students have been given the task of freely exploring the company's technology using their senses of artistic expression and all the opportunities available on site in the labs at the Swedish School of Textiles.
“The students have been exploring hand weaving and knitting, together with conductivity and how to connect their textiles or garments to a power source. Now they are exploring printing – an extra possibility that they can test for artistic expression.”
Students Matilda Falk, from the Swedish School of Textiles, and Diane Wallinger, from the London College of Fashion, paint with thermochrome paints on both sides of a textile they made. When we catch up with them while they’re working, it was still unclear what the result would be as the creative work was going on as they were creating the prototype.
Ann Vellesalu says that the purpose of the workshop was to explore the labs and smart textiles, to integrate technology into the design process, and to understand the process of using smart textiles in clothing.
"Students will also practice pitching their prototype to investors. To sum up, you could say that the goal is to integrate design, technology and entrepreneurship,” she explains.
A total of 15 students were to participate in the workshop, five from each partner university. Unfortunately, however, the students from Milan were unable to participate due to travel restrictions.
The ultimate goal of EF4T is to develop a Master's programme that combines fashion design and technology within the European Higher Education Area (EHEA).
What is happening with the project in the future?
"At present, we are developing guidelines on which subjects should be included in a Master’s level fashion technology programme. The aim is for the programmes to use fashion technology curricula in which we have summarised and critically analysed the experience of both teachers and students who participated in the project. The project ends in August this year, but the same consortium, including some additional partners, has already been granted and launched another Erasmus+ project FT Alliance based on the results of the E4FT.
Read more about the project.