Politecnico di Milano (ITALY)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2020 Proceedings
Publication year: 2020
Pages: 4813-4819
ISBN: 978-84-09-17939-8
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2020.1322
Conference name: 14th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 2-4 March, 2020
Location: Valencia, Spain
Fashion, as one of the most valuable aspects to describe cultures and society, has an intrinsic complex and stratified nature which connects the traditional production culture with the contemporary advanced scenario.

Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) have always faced this complexity by focusing the attention to bounded areas of investigation for very specific subjects that don’t really relate to each other, not considering the system as a whole.

In today’s transformation context, designers are trying to figure out the problem developing a new holistic vision of cognitive processes which implies an interdisciplinary teaching and learning environment.

New didactical methodologies are being introduced by this changing environment such as multidisciplinary “problem-centred” courses with original learning formats based on experimental classes with heterogeneous working groups in the studio.

Indeed, students should be able to deepen some of the actual macro trends that are challenging and revolutionizing the industry scenario. Especially for fashion, three are the main phenomena to be explored and taken on like challenges:
• The diffusion of sustainability issues, attempting to reduce the environmental, economic and social impact that fashion has on our planet.
• The effects and improvements of the digital transformation on the whole supply chain, from the products development to the retail and communication phases.
• The analysis of new production and consumption dynamics of the whole system (i.e. from products to services, sharing economy, social interaction & social innovation).

These themes are considered like issues for today’s fashion system and should be faced into the educational path of new professionals.
Within this scenario a relevant role is played by universities. Students should learn in a multidisciplinary openness context, in which teaching focus shifts from product merchandise (fabrics, garments, jewellery, etc.) to innovation processes. Moreover, they should develop the ability to relate to advanced knowledge and tools, growing their attitude to continuously adapt to technological transformations and to be able to constantly learn and approach new tools.

Finally, they should learn how to drive innovation through design thinking with a progressive growth of critical skills, therefore, to plan and direct complex projects in little time always taking into consideration an ethical dimension of their profession.

This perspective leads to the creation of new professional profiles able to stimulate innovation in the design value chain, ethically pursuing transparency, working for a new corporate social responsibility scope. These figures should guide fashion into a new age, becoming innovation leader, being trained to catch issues and dealing with them through their design expertise, creating bridges between different disciplines, organizing competences and connecting with other fields

In light of this scenario, the “Design for the Fashion System” Master of Science at Politecnico di Milano presents a new experimental model of the final synthesis laboratory based on this broad diversity of disciplines and principles.

The paper will introduce all the multidisciplinary activities organized into the course, divided in theoretical and instrumental modules which explore advanced theories and processes, and design workshops that implement the practices related to the macro themes.
Multidisciplinarity, fashion education, innovation processes, advanced knowledge.