Whilst in Beijing last month for the IFFTI conference, I was honoured to be awarded with a Distinguished Professorship from the Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology (BIFT). I thought I would share the speech I made upon receiving the award.
“I am delighted and very privileged to have been offered this great accolade.
Throughout my 30 years in creative education – 10 of which I have spent as Head of London College of Fashion – I have developed my passionate belief in the importance and significance of creative education.
In the 21st century we face many great challenges – economic uncertainty, migration, poverty, environmental impact, but also great opportunities – the possibilities of globalisation, of greater understanding, of huge technological advances.
My belief is that creative education and especially fashion can meet and lead solutions.
It is the education for 21st century – we understand how to analyse, design, communicate, and develop solutions that people want, that relate to and understand our humanity. This allows us to design not just beautiful clothes and accessories that people desire, but that also take account of the environment; your age; your disability and your income.
Fashion has always been and will always be about the new, it is inherently entrepreneurial and enterprising. That is why institutions such as BIFT and LCF are so relevant in today’s globalised world. They have much to offer.
We care about our students that they are well educated, but have the skills to survive when they graduate.
We are keen to develop, incubate and support their ideas through our incubation centres and work with the industry.
As intuitions I believe BIFT and LCF are alike. We have one foot in industry and one foot in education. We want to shape our industry, we want to be central to the work of our great cities.
Thank you for this great honour and opportunity. I am looking forward to working with BIFT in shaping fashion education and the fashion industry.”