I am Textiles and Apparel

This video is a recent joint effort by faculty in the textile and apparel (T&A) programs across the country with the hope to inspire critical thinking on the future of the T&A academic discipline and help others know better about what we are doing in terms of teaching and scholarships.

How should the T&A academic discipline define itself in the 21st century? What are our unique contributions to the university community, the society and the world? How are we different from programs such as “Art & Design” and “Business”? What is your vision for the future of the T&A academic discipline? Please feel free to share your view.

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Author: Sheng Lu

Professor @ University of Delaware

22 thoughts on “I am Textiles and Apparel”

  1. I think the T&A academic discipline is unique because it combines so many different things. Students under this discipline get the creative side of an “art & design” major, while still learning the business side of things. We get the best of both disciplines. Students under T&A provide the world with the innovative ideas it needs, but stays practical since they have some grasp of how business works. Even as an apparel design major I am taking classes that give me some background in business, like accounting. As an apparel design major I feel like we are pushed to become more well rounded so we are ready for any sector of the industry we may have to go in to. I think as the T&A discipline grows there will be a bigger push for students to take more and more classes outside of the major. This allows students to be even more competitive when entering the workplace. The industry involves so many different things- magazines, forecasting, design, that it is important to have a basic knowledge of many different fields.

    1. very well said and agree with your observation! Personally I think compared with other disciplines, T&A programs need to more closely keep watching the development trend in the industry–what companies are doing, what kind of jobs are available/disappearing in the market and what skill sets are expected for our graduates. This is why in FASH455, we emphasis a lot on the “big picture”.

  2. It’s amazing to see all the support behind the T&A industry from so many professors. I feel like a lot of teachers at universities and colleges these days are teaching subjects, but never have anything to do with these topics outside the classroom. It’s empowering to know that there are professors so passionate about my field of study and I think that will better the future because it’ll teach people my age to be more aware of what is going to happen to the world years down the road. The T&A industry inhabits so many aspects, its important to know the basics of how its affecting the world, so we’re staying current and on top of issues. As far as T&A academic discipline, I think the requirements for classes will expand into more global business and interaction because the T&A industry is such a global sector. With the classes I’ve taken so far at the University of Delaware, as a senior this is the first time I’m really getting a look into the industry as a global workforce and I wish the curriculum would have changed sooner because I think we really would have benefited from having classes that hit this topic earlier on.

    1. glad to read your comment! We have a community called the International Textile and Apparel Association (www.itaaonline.org) which gathers all professors in the T&A programs nationwide and around the globe together. We meet annually, sharing our recent scholarship and teaching practicies. This video is also an outcome of one recent meetting. We feel it is necessary to start thinking about our identity and future. As you said, T&A is a very fast-changing and dynamic industry. How to make our curriulum updated and relevent to the 21st century industry needs is a critical topic.

  3. I think that this video does a really good job of showing so many different facets of the Textile and Apparel Industry. It is nice to see people from so many different departments and areas of expertise come together to say that each of their separate skill sets are what encompass textiles and apparel. I think that this video really expresses what many people who work in the T&A industry and who study the T&A industry wish the public would understand. I touched on this a little bit in my essay about the public’s perception of the fashion industry. There are many people who do not understand that there is so much more than just design and merchandising in our industry. Textiles and Apparel has to do with globalization, international trade, cultural connectivity, historical significance, sustainable practices, body image and confidence, economic and political climates, and employment opportunities and much, much more. Because I understand the wide span of the industry, I am looking forward to my future job search! I really do have a lot to choose from! I am not just limited to being a buyer or a designer.

  4. Textiles and apparel is a very interesting and exciting industry because it requires knowledge of so many different subjects. It requires artistic knowledge, of course, but there are so many others: mathematical knowledge and reasoning, (for evaluating profit in mass production among other things), knowledge of the sciences for understanding how fabric works (to know what fabric is most suitable for products’ serviceability) as well as knowledge of the global economy and current events (because of global trade and sourcing). The industry couldn’t possible define itself as one of these aspects, because it requires all of them to function in the marketplace. The future of the T&A discipline would have to be one of innovation and working together with many different kinds of people and many different kinds of knowledge.

  5. The Textile and Apparel Industry has so many different faces and responsibilities. This video gives an outsider or anyone that is watching a look into some of the different things the T&A sector is. This industry requires talent, knowledge, and hard work and the team work between a number of people is exactly what makes this industry work and grow. You ask how are we different from Art and Design sectors and Business, but I believe that the A&T industry encompasses both of those industries and without people who specialize in both, our industry would not exist.

  6. This video did such a wonderful job of illustrating all of the different elements that make up Textiles and Apparel. There is so much more depth to the industry than meets the eye. I feel that being a student in this department is so beneficial because it has elements from so many different areas that combined, contribute to an extremely well-rounded education. T&A students get to experience not only the art side where we are taught to think critically and in new, creative ways, but also the business side, where we learn about necessary elements of the fashion industry from marketing and accounting to branding and advertising, and everything in between. This makes us different from the Art and Business departments, yet related, and few other areas can say that. It’s so interesting because although almost everyone is a consumer of the T&A industry, few take the time to think about where their garments are made and to realize and understand the global scale of which this industry operates. I would love to see this video be spread around so that more people can have a more in-depth look as to what this industry is about.

    1. me too! I hope our FASH students can jump out of the box of “fashion” defined in a narrow way and see our connection with the bigger world. Meanwhile, I hope more people from other disciplines can change their perceptions about what we are doing as well. Fashion and apparel is far more than just physical yarns, fabrics and clothing.

  7. I agree with the above comments. I feel as though the textile and apparel industry doesn’t get as much credit as it deserves. There are so many different aspects of the industry that you can take it into so many different directions, and this video shows that. I think that if this video went more viral, there would be a newfound appreciation for the industry. It is such a large part of the world and involves people in so many different ways. It’s different from both art and design because it includes sourcing, globalizing, critical thinking, innovating, and mathematics. People may not realize how much truly goes into this industry, and I think it’s headed in a very positive direction.

  8. I do not believe that the presence of the FASH department or the importance of the textile and apparel industry in the 21st century global economy is fully appreciated or recognized by the general public. Most people on this campus consider apparel design or fashion merchandising majors a joke. There are so many thought-provoking classes that put our critical thinking skills to the test, both on and off paper, which is part of why I love learning the material. I feel as though the T&A industry is not really touched on in other subjects, so many people do not know the importance of the industry to our 21st century global economy, which is surprising for apparel and footwear being the leading contributor at retail. I think economic growth and employment opportunities (and the working conditions overseas in these factories) are two beneficial factors that result from the T&A industry that go unnoticed. Therefore, I think it is great seeing professors from different departments at different universities uniting as a community to highlight the big picture and bringing awareness to the art and design aspect, as well as the business aspect of the Textile & Apparel Industry.

  9. I thought that this video was very insightful because it showed tons of aspects of the Textile and Apparel industry, a lot of which you might not have thought about. It really puts in perspective just how much goes into producing garments that we wear all the time and may take for granted. I think that the T&A academic sector would greatly benefit from spreading more things like this video that shows it isn’t just an easy industry thats all about art. It actually takes skill and a wide variety of knowledge. I feel like a lot of people aren’t very educated about the T&A industry past what they see in stores, or unless they are Fashion students and I would love to see more people understanding the hard work that goes in to the whole process, whether its textiles, merchandising, designing, supplying, etc.

  10. I really enjoyed this video. It makes it clear that there are many more levels of the textile and apparel industry than meets the eye. I think it would be very beneficial if students in other majors other than fashion saw this video because many people do not know the many different factors that go into this industry. I do not think this industry gets the credit it deserves because you really need to have a wide span of knowledge in many different areas in order to succeed. This industry is very different than art and design or just business because it involves globalization and mathematics as well as a creative side. It could be considered a combination of the two.

  11. Nice to see two professors from the University of Delaware in this video! I think it does a really great job at explaining that the textile and apparel industry does not solely encompass fabric manufacturing from plants and other fibers; but that it combines everything that goes into making garments from getting cotton in fields, new technologies used, learning more about different fabrics, the 3-D printing services that are more and more available, as well as of course designing and actually making the garments. It also shows us fashion students that there are numerous opportunities in the field for us to go into after we graduate.

  12. It is upsetting when people in other majors do not see the major impact that Textiles and Apparel has not only at the school but the world. Textiles and Apparel encompasses so much more than just clothing including environmental impacts and sustainability, new technologies, and employment. Without the T&A industry there would an enormous amount of unemployment and I also believe that technology would not advance as much as it has. Hopefully, people will soon start to see the impacts that this industry has and the stigma of being a Fashion major will eventually go away.

  13. I think the T&A academic discipline should emerge as an important major that is influential to the global economy and environment. I think our contributions to the university community, society, and world are that we are all as student passionate about increasing the productivity, understanding, and development of the global textile and apparel industry. I think we are different from both of these programs because we don’t just focus on crafting and aesthetics or the finances and operations of a company, but we have a deep understanding of both. For the future, I would like people to understand that we do not just design clothes but are part of a major industry.

  14. The T&A academic discipline is truly one of the most important ones of our university. Not many other students outside of it understand it, but when it comes down to it, we are responsible for every piece of clothing from the concept of design to manufacturing and production. It also embodies many other important factors of our lives today-like sustainability and effects on the environment. I really appreciate the T&A discipline as it allows me to both be on a creative track but also in a growing field with strong contributions to our world.

  15. I think the T&A academic discipline is unique and important because it is much bigger than just textiles and apparel. It is different from art & design and business because it encompasses all of that and so much more. This discipline is complex and it does not just focus solely on textiles and apparel alone. I think that the video showed that a different scope of work goes into this academic discipline and there are many different factors to it. There is a lot involved within a college campus, within a retail store, within a country, and overseas. This discipline looks at how products are manufactured, who’s manufacturing the products and how the production of apparel affects everyone involved from workers to company owners to consumers. Everyone plays a role in this industry, some people are just not aware of the role that they play. The industry is on a larger scope than one could ever imagine when you start to look into how this industry effects the economy. Being a part of this discipline exposes you to information that you wouldn’t think is as significant as it really is, it makes you constantly think about the bigger picture of things and not just on a small scope of how apparel is made and what it is made of.

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