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A Chef Lecture on an Educational Technology Journey

Mish Boyka

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A Chef Lecture on an Educational Technology Journey

Educational technology (#EdTech) – just the mere mention is enough to give colleagues anxiety and nightmares – but like Covid-19 its not going away anytime soon. Now, I’m not a digital innovator or a learning technologist or even a technology specialist I’m just a teacher, in fact a chef who’s learnt and got his head around and then in turn uses Educational technology as part of my approach to teaching, learning and assessment.

Is EdTech the be all and end all of a lesson?

No absolutely not, but your lessons, your students own learning, even your own personal learning and development and indeed your own workload and stress levels can be improved so much by using some simple strategies and techniques.

Can a teacher be replaced by technology?

In my view – no, learners NEED that interaction, that personal touch, that face to face for facial expressions, tone, context and warmth, however a teacher who is NOT using technology may very well be replaced with someone who is. Gone are the days where a Youtube clip and a PowerPoint slide or 2 with some animation features, (PowerPoint by the way has developed and evolved really nicely recently into a pretty cool piece of Edtech), the use of a digital camera or camcorder could be passed off as innovative teaching.

Nowadays we need to be a bit more creative – being creative doesn’t necessarily mean more work so before dismissing this little blog, stick with it and have a read, like me using Educational technology may just change your outlook, you creation and delivery of your sessions and your learners’ classroom or workshop experience forever.

I believe EdTech can be split into 2 categories:

    1. Gimmick, and

 

    1. Impactful

 

The differences? one is just for show the other really makes a difference to a learners education.

Some Edtech is used for information sharing, some is used for collaborative tasks and group work re-invention and the other for assessment. The overriding factor is that it enhances your students learning and keeps them engaged and interested whilst upskilling digital skills and trying to maintain pace in an everchanging world.

Has Edtech changed me?

Yes, and in turn I am doing what i can to ensure it changes or improves my colleagues practice too. A few years ago with the College heading in a very different direction I met a guy who is currently my Assistant Principal who really did change my life (Teacher wise) in fact maybe non teacher wise too!

Upon meeting him from that day until present I really haven’t been the same – a passion, a work ethic, a can do attitude – all branches from the seed and eventual tree of Educational Technology – and for that I will be forever grateful to him, a boss and a friend who has taught me that rather than bury your head in the sand and think you can just carry on as you were, instead embrace a new way of working using new techniques, tools and strategies really can improve your enthusiasm for your vocational subject there by improving your learners experience for the duration they’re with you, increasing in take year on year, finding new ways to make your life a little easier.

Yes its hard at first and there will be days where you think “is it worth it”? or even days where the wi-fi simply doesn’t want to play ball – I would say don’t listen to your head, don’t see these niggles as barriers – the minute you see them as a barrier, they become one.

My advice – keep going with it, light will appear in the tunnel and before you know you’re out the other side showing your team, your learners, your colleagues your other campuses and even the nation what you’ve learnt and achieved. Like with all new things, Edtech is only easy when you know how to do it, I was (and still am) the same with everything new on the technology front.

Once you’ve got your head around the basics and made some pretty useful connections both internally and externally with some of the best innovators and educators in the country and get into a habit and a way of testing new ideas out the rest just seems to “fall” into place.

Starting out, I died a death trialing new technology in many a class/workshop – did it deter me, yes for a few minute during and a few minutes after the session, did I give up? absolutely not! You can’t, you have learners waiting on your every word, waiting for you to go again, try the same thing, try something else – giving up isn’t an option.

My starting point on my Edtech journey after my day with Mark, was to join “Edu-Twitter”, not a new account I simply adapted my own Twitter account to include a lot more educational content – (I kept the @shanelegend23 name/handle of course!)

Social Media

Social media and its many platforms isn’t for everyone and can be as daunting as EdTech itself, but the connections, information sharing, collaborations, EdTech seminar opportunities that have arose solely from Edu-Twitter have been too numerous to count! Connecting and sharing practice together with visiting some of the finest educators and innovators in the country has been absolutely priceless – you couple that with simply “having a go” yourself and believe me you’re onto a winner!

When “shopping” for your Edtech toolkit remember that it isn’t one size fits all – there will be some things that work a treat for your area of expertise and your learners’ group profile that would simply be inappropriate for other vocational/HE areas. When you’re looking for gifts or presents or doing your food shopping, do you automatically go for the first product you see? I suspect not, I like to look at alternatives, I like to see what gives me the best value, see what has the biggest wow factor for its description and packaging – I believe that to be the same with Edtech.

Obviously as a Chef lecturer this piece will have a Hospitality theme to it and be written with the background tone of vocational learners learning to cook and serve food – Does that make a difference?

No I don’t think so, strategies and applications with the tutors/users own twist and differentiation are easily adaptable for both delivery and assessment purposes regardless of course, ability or academic level.

So – where do you go from here?

Well I believe the starting point is to familiarise yourself with your institutions main Edtech provider and there’s 2 really big hitters Google or Microsoft. Myself – I’m firmly on board with our Colleges Microsoft route and its suite of applications – having completed a wide range of online tutorials and courses from the Microsoft Education Centre (all of which you get awarded digital badges and/or certificates of achievements) have stood me well together with forming a strong relationship with our Network Services department – they are always willing and on hand to share tips/advice or help you in the right direction.

The Microsoft Education Centre again stemmed from a Twitter conversation initially so again the importance and impact of an Edu-Twitter account can not be understated, I’m not saying this lightly but a year on Edu-Twitter has given me more CPD and opportunities to learn and enhance my learners education than I ever could have imagined. Microsoft Teams increases productivity in our Hospitality area by making all our collaboration, conversations, chats, online meetings, shared files, tasks, etc. available in one single app and one single interface. In addition you have a wide range of 3rd party apps that integrate into Teams so that your users never have to leave the Teams app to get their work done. For example we integrate Flipgrid, Nearpod and Quizizz as “tabs” as part of each TEAM. The entire lesson can be launched from your Team. Additional tabs of class materials, social intranet timeline mean that all the handouts for that particular session can simply be “posted” to that team enabling the learner to be responsible for their own handouts, but can access them more easily than say through Moodle/VLE.

Microsoft OneNote – The more you learn about OneNote, the more likely you are to embrace it as one of the best teaching and learning tools available today. OneNote is often described as a digital ring binder. Its versatile and adapts to anyone’s note-taking preferences. You can organise digital notebooks by Sections and Pages in a way that makes sense to you. Some like to organise information based on time; Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, etc. Others like to organise by content; Chapter 1, Chapter 2. Chapter 3, etc. Others just throw everything together in a pile with little or no organisation at all, which is just as valid a choice in OneNote.

You can access notes easily and share them with other students to contribute together in near real-time through collaboration pages and accessed from a laptop, tablet, or even a mobile phone, long after the lesson is over. It’s like having your own copy of every note ever taken available, from any device that can hop online, any time and any day of the year.

Some of the technology and learning value added over the past few years in our Hospitality department has been phenomenal – QR Codes, Aurasma (HP reveal), session sharing platforms, collaboration platforms and pages, 3D printing of food (yes food), 360° virtual content and that’s all before we even mention Microsoft TEAMS, OneNote, Forms, FlipGrid, Nearpod, Greenscreen technology, Mentimeter, Sway, Stream – the list could go on and on. Now I say all those strategies and applications somewhat flippantly and believe me when I say its not meant to come across that way – I’ve put a lot of work and effort into learning each and every one of those applications but remember I’ve started at the beginning, I’ve been daunted, anxious even feeling physically sick learning about them, but delve into your Edu-Twitter, take each application away and have a play with it yourself, trail and error is a big thing to keep in mind, test things out on your work colleagues before you go live with them, and “if” (Like me!) it all goes south during a lesson you’ll be surprised to hear that my learners have actually on those occasions dug me out of an ever deepening metaphorical hole without too much lasting physical or psychological damage. – be brave! What’s the worst that can happen? So my own personal Edtech strategy and go to Toolkit consists of the following generic examples: I need a different session sharing platform – so in addition to the newer and very much revitalised PowerPoint I choose Nearpod and its fun and interactive assessment opportunities. Nearpod allows me to create presentations using the Nearpod website and deliver instruction to learners by swiping the content out to multiple devices at once. I control the presentation from a master device, while students follow along on a class set or their own devices. It can also be used for viewing video content, answering quizzes, viewing PowerPoint presentations, completing fill in the blanks, answer open questioning and other amazing interactive content. Nearpod Engages and through multimedia which retains students’ attention, keeping them focused and minimizing off-task behaviour. You can follow your students’ progress, monitor classroom activity and participation and easily control students’ devices. Nearpod can also be utilised for distance learning with a simple shared PIN number. I Need a way of checking understanding and learning, yes I could go with Kahoot (but isn’t that being done by EVERY other department in the institution? maybe – so you make yours bigger, better, brighter and fuller!), With it being used so much I also go for Mentimeter which allows me not only to check understanding but creates a “word cloud” visual that can be shared with your learners and also embeds English nicely too. I Need something for Collaboration and peer teaching opportunities so I go for a selection of either Greenscreen technology, Microsoft OneNote collaboration pages or the absolutely amazing FlipGrid. For more formal assessment I choose Microsoft FORMS which like Nearpod assessments you can set to “self mark” Yep self mark!! Microsoft Forms is a simple tool that lets you quickly create a form, collect responses in real time, and view automatic charts to visualise your data. You can build a form in minutes and respondents can fill it out on any browser without having to install a separate app. With Microsoft Forms, you can create: Surveys: Collect customer feedback, measure employee satisfaction, and organise team events. Create Quizzes/Polls: that measure student knowledge, evaluate class progress, and focus on topics that need improvement. Another advantage with Forms is it integrates nicely within Teams and OneNote.

For recording sessions or giving your learners reflective online recap learning opportunities or simply to record demonstrations, content etc I choose Microsoft Stream – an online recording platform that I use to record my practical demonstrations of dishes, preparation and cookery techniques and even lighting and correct use of equipment that can be shared with a couple of clicks of a mouse directly to your learners or embedded in what every you like really. So once you have your Toolkit outline that you’d like to develop you can then begin delving a little deeper into each one – seeing if its appropriate for you and more importantly your learners. Once you’ve conquered your dread and anxiety and got your first EdTech session under your belt its like a missing piece of a complex jigsaw has just been slotted into place, you’ll get more confident, you’ll try things that a few months ago you wouldn’t even have dreamed of – for example seeing your learners getting their phones out and instead of posting a snapchat or a Facebook post they record themselves recording a response to a question you set them earlier that they’ve accessed with a PIN code really is an amazing feeling, and then the mood of that session changes completely when you play a couple of these responses back to the group creating an impromptu peer teaching opportunity, then you can evaluate and feedback together and watch their confidence grow which is giving them belief and hope that they can talk in front of their classmates, increasing digital skills, increasing use of grammar and English now what I’ve just described to you is FlipGrid a Free app (Yes free!) for IOS and Android devices which allows users to upload their own video response to “topics” set online (Flipgrid can even be launched through Microsoft Teams). Flipgrid in our Hospitality area makes lessons come to life, it helps learners to participate and absorb knowledge at their own pace revealing information when they’re ready which I use to promote differentiation and autonomy of learning. Now imagine the learners using these new found skills on a job interview – you’re helping to change their lives and your doing it with some basic Educational Technology – Good luck and let your journey begin. Any questions, feedback or comments about either EdTech, approaches or even this blog and its content – drop me a message/connect at my Twitter page (DM or Post on the thread this blog link is posted) @shanelegend23

Fashion

Brown University Fashion Week 2021 Kicks Off with Lineup of Fashion and Lifestyle Royalty Including Sarah Jessica Parker, Gwyneth Paltrow, Stella McCartney, and More

Emily walpole

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Brown University Fashion Week 2021 Kicks Off with Lineup of Fashion and Lifestyle Royalty Including Sarah Jessica Parker, Gwyneth Paltrow, Stella McCartney, and More

PROVIDENCE, R.I., March 3, 2021 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — Brown Fashion Week 2021 will take place from March 4 to March 26 and features some of the biggest names in the fashion and lifestyle industries. Re-imagined by student organization Fashion@Brown (F@B) as a virtual celebration this year, the impressive 22-day program of events is free and open to students and fashionistas around the globe and not limited to the Brown University community.

“We were astonished and humbled by the positive response we received to our invitations to speak at Brown Fashion Week this year,” states Sasha Pinto, president of the student organization, Fashion@Brown. “We wanted to make Brown Fashion Week bigger than ever to spread some much-needed inspiration to students given the extreme isolation everyone has been experiencing — and the fashion industry responded in overwhelming numbers. It is a tribute not only to the kindness and generosity of the individual speakers but to the industry in general.”

Joining Fashion@Brown will be such renowned leaders as Gwyneth Paltrow, Sarah Jessica Parker, Stella McCartney, Kenneth Cole, Steve Madden, Emma Chamberlain, and Olivier Rousteing, among others. A complete list of all speakers and events follows.

Events are free and registration details can be found at https://fashionatbrown.com/events

Brown Fashion Week 2021 – Complete Speaker Lineup

Brown Fashion Week Distinguished Speaker Series kicks off on Thursday, March 4 at 7:30 pm ET with …

Sarah Jessica Parker: Actress, Entrepreneur, Civic Activist: SJP Does it All… and in High Heels” on Thursday, March 4 at 7:30 pm ET – Join F@B in conversation with the powerhouse whose latest bona fides include CEO of the SJP Collection, her booming shoe business; member of the Partnership for New York City, an economic council of NYC’s top CEOs; and vice chairman of the New York City Ballet… in addition to being a Golden Globe, Emmy, and Screen Actors Guild award-winning actress of the stage, silver screen, and television. Hear about SJP’s unique approach to retail, her myriad entrepreneurial initiatives, and her passionate dedication to the post-pandemic revival of New York City.

Next in the series is “Kenneth Cole: The Fashion Empire Visionary Shining a Light on Social Issues with Passion and Purpose,” on Monday, March 8 at 8:00 PM ET, featuring Kenneth Cole, who built a billion-dollar retail business while keeping in mind that “it’s great to be known for your shoes, but it’s better to be recognized for your soul.” Instead of being the company’s model, Kenneth Cole decided to be the company’s role model by lending his name to social issues like AIDS, homelessness, gun control, mental health and abortion. Cole will be interviewed by his daughter Amanda cole, Brown class of 2012.

On Monday, March 8 at 12:30 pm ET zoom in to “A Conversation with the World’s Foremost Fashion CEOs.” Isabelle Guichot, CEO of the chic Parisian fashion house Maje and former CEO of the renowned luxury maisons Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Balenciaga, joins Patrice Louvet, CEO of Ralph Lauren, for a dynamic industry leader fireside chat. As CEO of Ralph Lauren, which recently dressed Joseph R. Biden Jr. for the presidential inauguration, Mr. Louvet leads this hugely successful multi-billion-dollar company.

The series continues with “Steve Madden’s Wild Ride and Crazy Come Back” on Monday, March 9 at 8:00 PM ET. F@B is excited to host “the Maddman” himself who turned a fledgling startup launched in 1990 with $1,100 into a global, multibillion-dollar brand. But Steve Madden’s mistakes — from his battle with addiction to the financial shortcuts that landed him in prison — are as important to his narrative as his iconic shoes. Steve will share his uplifting story, the lessons he’s learned along the way, and how he hopes to use his hard-won platform to create positive change.

On March 10 at 2:00 pm ET: “Francesca Bellettini: The Powerhouse Behind the Billion-Dollar Brand” features the woman who has propelled the Yves Saint Laurent brand into the exclusive billion-Euro club, and in the process made herself one of the most powerful women in fashion where there are only a handful of female chief executives. Launching her career at Goldman Sachs before moving to prestigious fashion houses such as Prada, Gucci, Helmut Lang, and Bottega Veneta, Bellettini has shaped every form of luxury from the bags we carry to the clothes and shoes we wear.

On March 12 at 4:00 pm ET, F@B hosts internet phenomenon Emma Chamberlain: “The Most Interesting Girl on YouTube” according to the New York Times. Chamberlain, at just 19 years old, has created her own wildly successful brand as a Youtuber, social media influencer, Tik Tok star, podcaster, and owner of Chamberlain Coffee with a combined social media following of more than 30 million. Emma has also pivoted into the fashion industry, making her own merchandise and partnering with legendary Louis Vuitton. She has even recently entered the beauty world by becoming the global brand ambassador and creative director for Bad Habit Beauty Skincare. Emma has also had a huge impact on mental health, sharing her own struggles with anxiety and depression across all of her platforms.

The series continues on Sunday March 14 at 2 pm ET with “Olivier Rousteing: Transforming a Classic: Fashion’s Storyteller for a New Age.” Balmain’s wunderkind, Olivier Rousteing, will share what he envisions as fashion in the 21st century: a fresh, inclusive world of glamour and revolution. Bringing an innovative spirit of adventure and understanding of a digital generation, Olivier Rousteing’s creative vision has been integral to Balmain’s rapid growth as a brand and as a cultural staple on social media through his “Balmain Army.”

The next session, “Olivia Palermo: Style Authority, Tastemaker, and Instagram Case Study” on Thursday, March 18 at 7:30 pm ET is not to be missed. Palermo is a major force in the fashion industry; renowned designers invite her to collaborate, Valentino invites her to his yacht, Instagram uses her as a case study, and The New York Times published a feature story about her success. Olivia’s journey from an internship in the offices of Diane von Furstenberg in 2006 to an acclaimed international style authority and industry tastemaker today is a story that everyone with entrepreneurial ambitions will want to hear.

On Friday, March 19 at 12:30 pm ET, F@B presents “Stella McCartney: The Mindful Eco-Warrior of High Fashion.” Stella McCartney is one of the fashion industry’s most vocal champions of environmental issues and her company is a highly successful example of the commercial potential of sustainable, ethically minded businesses. Renowned not only for her successful designs, which included Meghan Markle’s wedding reception dress, Stella was also the first fashion designer ever to appear on the cover of American Vogue magazine in January 2020. A lifelong vegetarian, Stella has never used leather, feathers, skin or fur in any of her designs.

March 22, 7:30 pm ET, F@B presents – “Gwyneth Paltrow: The Oscar-winning Lightning-Rod, Trailblazing Lifestyle& Wellness CEO.” Join F@B for a chat with the actress-turned-powerhouse CEO who has taken the lifestyle and wellness market by storm. Providing a fresh—and at times controversial—perspective, Goop is one of the wellness industry’s most recognizable brands earning Paltrow millions of passionately loyal admirers (and, yes, a few trolls) through the simple premise that wellness is the new wealth. With Goop’s blend of aesthetic lifestyle digital media that touches on everything from beauty and wellness to fashion, food, home, and travel—along with its thriving e-commerce business, retail stores, events, and health summits, Goop is a worldwide phenomenon and Gwyneth Paltrow is just getting started.

Panel Discussions

In addition to the speaker series, Brown Fashion Week’s fascinating and thought-provoking panel discussions are not to be missed:

Changemaker Fashion Designers as Translators of Culture & Ethics

March 6 at 2:00 pm ET

Join this F@B conversation with Rome-based designer Stella Jean, Brooklyn-based Fe Noel, and Detroit-based Tracy Reese who are transforming the fashion landscape each in their own way, from using fashion as a bridge and translator of culture to using it as a way to uplift exploited communities. Hear about their journeys, efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in the industry, as well as efforts to expand sustainable design initiatives and ethical production.

Award-Winning Costume Designers Shaping Fashion in Film

March 13, 2:00 pm ET

We’ll hear from Oscar-winner Ruth Carter, six-time Emmy-winner Michele Clapton, and Emmy-nominated Heidi Bivens on their experiences within the fashion and film industries, as well as their processes, inspirations, and ambitions. Their work spans across all different genres, be it Clapton’s Game of Thrones and The Crown, Carter’s Black Panther and Malcolm X, or Heidi Bivens Mid 90s and Euphoria.

The Future of Fashion Journalism from America’s Foremost Editors

March 16, 7:30 pm ET

Join F@B for a live-streamed conversation with three of fashion journalism’s most celebrated editors and influential voices in fashion: Vanessa Friedman, fashion director and chief fashion critic at The New York Times; Chioma Nnadi, editor of Vogue.com; and Samantha Barry, editor-in-chief of Glamour. Editorial is how we discover the latest trends, unearth new icons, and define style as we know it. The future of fashion journalism today is in flux, however, between the dilemma of reporting on fashion during a pandemic, the rise of influencer-generated content, the shift to digital platforms, and disappearance of print magazines. Friedman, Nnadi, and Barry will join us to discuss and dissect the future of fashion journalism.

Disrupting Beauty: Supermodels on Representation & Empowerment

March 17, 3:00 pm ET

This fascinating conversation will explore how modeling can influence greater societal change, how media representation can center marginalized identities in the public consciousness and how their careers have inspired them to help empower others; while their faces dominate our magazines and feeds, few are aware of their social and philanthropic work. We will hear from Jasmine Tookes, Cindy Bruna, Jasmine Sanders and Tami Williams about their inspirational journeys.

Screening & Discussion of “The Remix: Hip Hop x Fashion”

March 21, 6:00 pm ET

Join F@B and the Brown Arts Initiative for a discussion with Lisa Cortés, the Academy Award-Nominated director, writer, and producer of the film, in conversation with award-winning filmmaker Yoruba Richen, Brown Professor of the Practice. The Remix is a story of hip hop’s influence on the fashion industry, which has led to the stratospheric and global rise of street wear. It is a story of African American creativity and limitless possibilities of this shift in culture, focusing on the journeys of fashion architect Misa Hylton, streetwear designer April Walker, as well as Dapper Dan and Kerby Jean-Raymond.

And finally, Brown Fashion Week 2021 culminates with their 11th Annual Runway Show…

The 11th Annual Runway Show on Friday, March 26 at 7:00 pm ET, presented virtually for the first time, will showcase the collections of the F@B team of twenty-six student designers from both Brown University and Rhode Island School of Design. The collections will be released in a high-fashion campaign film, accompanied by a virtual and print Lookbook.

To register for any and all of the aforementioned complimentary events, please click http://www.fashionatbrown.com/events for more information and registration.

Media Contact

Sasha Pinto, Fashion@Brown, +1 (609) 865-7399, SashaPinto@fashionatbrown.com

SOURCE Fashion@Brown

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Fashion

Meet the Institut Français de la Mode’s first-ever MA Fashion graduates

Emily walpole

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Meet the Institut Français de la Mode’s first-ever MA Fashion graduates

Johanna Imbach MA Collection. Image courtesy of Institut Français de la Mode.

We won’t lie; flipping the calendar page to March was a sobering moment, an unwelcome reminder that we’ve spent a whole year of our lives living through these unprecedented times. Our minds, naturally, drifted back 12 months to those pre-pandemic ‘last days of Rome’ — well, Paris, actually, where the city’s AW20 fashion week was in full swing. Meanwhile, in a neon green lightning bolt of a building on the Left Bank of the Seine, the inaugural cohort of the Institut Français de la Mode (IFM)’s spanking new MA programme had reached the halfway mark in the two-year course, cutting, draping and dreaming of their debut on the fashion world’s most prestigious stage just twelve months down the line.

You know how the story goes — a goddamn lot has happened since, and any plans that were in place then were swiftly put paid to. Still, despite the trials and turmoils that the past year has posed, the dreams of the 48 members of the IFM’ first graduating were yesterday realised, with their collections opening the AW21 Paris Fashion Week schedule. “This presentation […] is the first concrete expression of our project and our ambition,” says Xavier Romatet, the school’s dean. “It’s an opportunity to appreciate the creative level of this first graduating class of our new Master’s programme, to identify emerging talent for tomorrow and to contribute to rethinking fashion in light of the current disruptions.”

 

As you’ll see below, this fresh crop of young talent below has done a pretty good job of doing just that, presenting accomplished, thought-provoking collections even in (and in some cases as a reaction to) today’s hostile climate for fashion’s new faces. Here, seven of the graduates discuss their final collections, how they navigated the challenges of creating during the pandemic, and how the past year has shaped their perspectives on fashion.

Adam Kost

How would you introduce your graduate collection? My collection is a meditation on purity and smoothness; meadow and sky; moonlight during the night, sunshine during the day: things that make me feel I am part of everything and everything is part of me. What are its central themes? It’s about the eternal qualities of fashion, and how it interacts with the human body. I was trying to find a universal language, one that everybody can relate to, discussing basic topics and archetypes that are more or less the same for all of us. How did you find developing and creating your graduate collection during the pandemic? Creating during the pandemic meant creating a collection with limited resources. But this fact didn’t affect my creativity; it even forced me to dream more, be more generous, and more grateful that I still had the privilege to create garments. How has the past year shaped your understanding of fashion’s purpose? It’s taught me to question my designs much more; to ask myself if they should be made and if they are aesthetically sustainable.

Clément Picot

How would you introduce your graduate collection? My collection, titled “Dream Until the End”, is inspired by two of my favourite movies: American Psycho and The Shining by Stanley Kubrick. I always found that there was a kind of similarity between the two main characters. I wanted to pay tribute to these two films through a series of winks in the looks of the collection, but above all, I wanted to create my own narrative. What are its central themes? The idea was to show the evolution of a person, a transformation and descent to a hell that lies somewhere between the imaginary and the real. I tried to translate this idea through the different looks in my collection, starting with ‘the dream’, with powerful but disturbing silhouettes inspired by Patrick Bateman’s wardrobe, and the last looks ending at the border of the nightmare thanks to hybrid silhouettes inspired by Matthew Barney’s movies. How has the past year shaped your understanding of fashion’s purpose? I remember dreaming in front of Alexander McQueen’s shows more than 10 years ago — I was amazed by the beauty and the almost infinite creativity of his work, and I think this is part of a kind of magic that fashion has and must continue to have in the future. Especially in these difficult times, it is always important to keep dreaming. Fashion is an art like any other, an art that was disappearing more and more under the increasing numbers of collections, and in a world where fast fashion takes up an increasing amount of space. Nowadays, fashion exists more and more as a form of entertainment and inspiration for people who can’t leave their homes anymore, to visit an exhibition in a museum, for example. In the space of a year, fashion has really managed to carve out an important space in people’s daily lives, giving us hope for the future.

Jimin Kim

 

How would you introduce your graduate collection? My collection maps my symbolic journey towards finding a balance between reality and daydreaming in the process of achieving my personal goals, mixing the traditional craft of crochet with 3D technology to create silhouettes which question the real and the imagined. My real-world experience is represented by the knitted fabrics made from mohair and monofilament, while my tendency to daydream is represented through transparent 3D structures sculpted in PLA, biodegradable plastic made of corn starch. How did you find developing and creating your graduate collection during the pandemic? I’ve had a hard time during the pandemic, but, on the other hand, it has enabled me to develop new approaches that aren’t typical knit. I found the first lockdown period very hard mentally, and couldn’t do any work. Afterwards, though, I completed a 4-month innovation project called ‘Sound of Shape’. In Korea, we were able to go out relatively freely, but, as in Paris, there was limited access to knitting machines, so I had to find a new method. The project’s theme was to discover my own innovation, so I decided to make clothes through a creative new method. I researched how knitting and crochet were practised in the past, when people couldn’t use machines. Furthermore, when I searched for a new material, I came up with the idea of working with a 3D pen, and weaving the PLA plastic like a knit structure. You’re graduating at a time when conversations around race, gender, sexuality and wider issues of identity have never been more prominent in fashion. How do you position your work with respect to these conversations? I wanted to reflect on the current situation in my collection. Previously, in my Parsons MFA collection, I tried to symbolically express my experiences as a woman in Korean society and my attitude against prejudice and discrimination. Although this collection is more concentrated on my inner side, it still expresses a desire to counteract negative stereotypes about me. As a Korean, I grew up in a society that was not part of the fashion mainstream, and I’ve worked very hard to overcome the skeptical gazes of people around me — it’s an effort that continues even to this day. I hope that diversity will become more common in the fashion world, and that young designers who make new attempts to cross barriers of race and nationality will receive greater support in the mainstream.

Jisoo Baik

How would you introduce your graduate collection? My collection, titled ‘Personal Space’, mostly involves incorporating everyday objects that anybody can relate to in order to convey the idea of a safe space where you can be yourself. It was inspired by how individuals carry their possessions with them, each in their own way, when they walk on the street. How did you find developing and creating your graduate collection during the pandemic? The first time Paris went into lockdown, I was so panicked, I couldn’t imagine how I would develop my final collection without any fabrics and materials. The city was like a ghost town. But then I realised that I couldn’t just stop everything and worry. I just kept saying to myself, ‘I’m doing my best that I can.’ The new trials this brought were actually really freeing. Ironically, they’ve given the fashion world even greater freedom, allowing it to escape from the reliance on fashion shows, for example, something that seemed like it would never changed. How has the past year shaped your understanding of fashion’s purpose? Before I started my MA course, I was focused on finding my own voice and identity in my designs. I tried to challenge myself by using unfamiliar materials to making garments, digging deep inside myself to answer questions ‘Who am I?” and, “What do I like?”  Now, though, I’m more focused on responding to a customer’s needs, and thinking about how  I communicate with them. I’ve become much more careful about not getting stuck in my own world.

Johanna Imbach

 

How would you introduce your graduate collection? My graduate collection is a technical and creative exploration of knitwear. It is above all a collection that questions the perception of the spectator, proposing new experiences between garments and bodies. What are its central themes? I wanted to create an almost virtual vision, one of garments without any mass. My three-dimensional approach is above all a sculptural process. This allows me to create graphic and kinetic looks where the body and the garment become one, proposing a new anatomy. I wanted to present a womenswear collection that questions anatomy, perception and proportion; to question the female body and its relationship to clothing through allure and curves. Ultimately, I seek to redefine knitwear, to push it beyond the ideas that we have of knitting and its construction. How did you find developing and creating your graduate collection during the pandemic? The most difficult part of the past year has been living in uncertainty. Being a knitter, and being away from our materials and workspace, was a huge disadvantage, even though we all have domestic machines. We had to leave the workshops for 5 months, putting our minds, and our creativity, to a tough test. We also had to be understanding and responsive to government restrictions. It was a year that seemed insurmountable, but, now our collections have launched, it now feels like it passed quickly.”

Mathieu Goosse

How would you introduce your graduate collection? My collection, titled “I’d like to see you”, is like an image plane, a series of objects in suspension above reality. Short of breath, out of strength, stripped back to the bare essential. It revolves around the ideas of reducing, exhaustion, love, and fragility. I don’t work with mood boards of images, but with emotions, sensations, and objects that I craft and which act as starting points. What are its central themes? It’s about obsession: what fuels it, what brings it alive, and how it triggers our impulses to build and to destroy. I often work with materials I have right next to me, and I like to make them feel new and different. They are sanded, washed-out, and worn-down. There is a frailness in the razor-sharp precision of the handwork, and a roughness in the sensation of sanded silk, peeling python skin, the worn feeling of recycled denim. You’re graduating at a time when conversations around race, gender, sexuality and wider issues of identity have never been more prominent in fashion. How do you position your work with respect to these conversations? Through my choice to not work with ‘images’ and focus on the essence of elements from my personal point of view, I’m trying to build my garments as objects. Pure, detached and independent, they can speak to or touch everyone; they’re essential forms that can belong to anyone. As a menswear student, my collection was presented on boys in the show, but the garments are completely non-gendered. For me, the best way to discuss issues of diversity in my work is to reduce things to the point where they lose any socialised associations, while maintaining a strong presence. How has the past year shaped your understanding of fashion’s purpose? This year of isolation has shown me how fashion is necessary and how much it connects people. It always seems so far from everything — extreme, intense, arrogant, or from another world — but it’s so close to us all, and at all times. Garments are the first things we receive when we’re born, and we keep them with us until the end. They’re what hold us.”

Soyul Kim

How would you introduce your graduate collection? It’s about fierceness layered with softness; being playful in a cut-throat world. I was very much influenced by the inspiring women mentors I had when I started my career in NYC. When we think of ‘strong women’, we only think of their boldness. But you soon realise that they are who they are today because they were willing to fall, accept and learn from their experiences — just like a kid who’s willing to fall because they’ve learned how to pick themselves up again. And everybody has that inner kid, they’re just usually too busy ‘adulting’ through the world. What are its central themes? A central theme throughout my collection is the undeterred presence of a child living in an adult body. Using hard silhouettes like armour-shaped shoulders and hard materials like leather against soft fabrics and lace, or by crocheting structured metal thread into seemingly-fragile fabric, I wanted to express the coexistence of strength and vulnerability. There are also elements that blur the line of being a kid and being an adult, like Furby bags hanging from power suits, or a print with abstract shapes taken from Disney films. I see my collection as a balance of something rough and delicate, masculine and feminine, serious and playful – something adult-y, and youthful at the same time. You’re graduating at a time when conversations around race, gender, sexuality and wider issues of identity have never been more prominent in fashion. How do you position your work with respect to these conversations? I tend not to say it out loud, but I create to put feminine power on equal grounds with masculine power. It’s not about a competition between the genders, but rather about acknowledging underlying historical discrepancies, appreciating each other, and working towards the same goal of closing the gap. I hope to inspire other women and girls through my work – just as I have been inspired by the female mentors in life – that we should never settle for less, and that we should also not be intimidated by competition; rather, we should be inspired by it. It’s about embracing the authentic power of your inner female identity, and being true to what makes you feel comfortable.

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Fashion

Adult Minnesotans rediscovered the comfort of snow pants, fashion be damned

Emily walpole

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Adult Minnesotans rediscovered the comfort of snow pants, fashion be damned

Brandt Williams of Minneapolis has spent 53 years in the Upper Midwest, but hadn’t worn snow pants since being zipped into a one-piece suit he described as “the iron maiden of clothing for children.”

Then one day last December, while shopping at Costco, Williams spotted a snow pants display. He bought a pair on a whim, thinking they’d be less hassle than adding and removing long underwear.

During the February cold snap, Williams wore his snow pants for daily walks, outdoor reporting assignments for his job with Minnesota Public Radio, or just sitting around a fire pit.

“Having this layer of protection makes you feel like you’ve somehow mastered the elements,” he said. “You have this feeling of invulnerability.”

While snowsuits and coveralls are a staple of ice fishing, snowmobiling and other outdoorsy pursuits, the pandemic has spurred more Minnesotans to join the cozy club of adults who wear the padded pants. They’re remembering childhoods spent sitting in snowbanks, undeterred by dampness or cold, and wondering why their adult selves hadn’t reembraced snow pants sooner.

For some, donning snow pants has been an act of self-care in a time when so many of the usual ways we treat ourselves — from happy hours to hitting the mall — have been curtailed.

And once they’ve crossed over to the warmer side of winter life, snow pants converts can’t stop talking about how great they are — fashion stigma be damned.

“Being warm is cool,” Williams said. “It doesn’t matter how you look. And plus, they’re not bad-looking pants.”

The snow pants gospel

For Luke LeBlanc, adopting snow pants improved his outdoor experience dramatically. The 25-year-old Minneapolis singer/songwriter admits that prior apathy about winter gear meant he was constantly underdressed; his heaviest coat was a windbreaker.

This year, anticipating he’d be spending more time outdoors, Le-Blanc invested in a big, puffy jacket and a pair of waterproof snow pants.

“I don’t mean to blow it out of proportion and say it’s life-changing, but you can go and do stuff outside and not be in pain the whole entire time,” he said.

He’s hesitated to wear his snow pants when he’d like to project some semblance of style, such as at a brewery patio. And while he showed up at the outdoor photo shoot for his new album wearing snow pants, he removed them before the camera started clicking. “But the grocery store — I don’t care who sees me in snow pants,” he said.

LeBlanc has also worn his new gear on walks, to an outdoor concert, deer hunting with his dad, and tinkering on his car.

“As naive as it sounds, I didn’t realize I could be outside when it’s 10 degrees and feel like I’m walking around inside,” he said.

Now, LeBlanc regularly extols the virtues of a warm lower half.

“I’ve been preaching the snow pants gospel, and we’ll see how many converts I get,” he said.

Fueling a ‘pantsdemic’

Among Minneapolis’ biggest snow pants evangelists is Charlie McCarron, organizer of an outdoor activity club he calls “Snowpantsdemic.”

This winter, McCarron busted out a pair of snow pants he hadn’t worn since high school (“a lot of my clothes are from high school, even though I’m in my 30s,” he admitted) and invited his friends to bimonthly outings, including snow kickball, sledding, and a game he invented that’s a sort of cross between boot hockey and golf. (McCarron dabbles in board-game design alongside his work as a composer.)

While McCarron has been using snow pants to inspire his friends to embrace their inner child, Hannah Aderinkomi bought her new snow pants simply to stay as warm as her kids.

In the past, when Aderinkomi took her young children sledding, she’d add a base layer beneath her pants. The last time she wore snow pants was grade school. “It’s almost like it didn’t occur to me to buy them for myself, even though I was buying them every year for my kids,” she said.

This season was different: If she was going to fully appreciate Minnesota winter, Aderinkomi wanted to be comfortable. So she ordered a pair of snow pants online and wore them on the family’s next trip to the sledding hill. Her husband, Thompson Aderinkomi, then decided to upgrade from double-layering pants to his own pair of snow pants. Since then, the couple have been as cozy as their kids every time the family has played outside or gone snowshoeing.

“I’m always cold, so the fact it took me so long is sort of fascinating — I’ve lived here my entire adult life,” Hannah Aderinkomi admitted.

In some ways, she said, buying snow pants was an unlikely form of pandemic self-care, not so different from the services that clients of her Minneapolis laser hair removal/skin-care business use to treat themselves. “Maybe adult snow pants were just something that I did for myself,” she said.

In any case, Aderinkomi is happy to have embraced a new era of outdoor warmth. “We built a snowman the other day and I think old Hannah would have done that, too, but this Hannah was a bit more comfortable,” she said.

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