Ryerson University (CANADA)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2010 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Pages: 499-508
ISBN: 978-84-614-2439-9
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 3rd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 15-17 November, 2010
Location: Madrid, Spain
Although the majority of studies on the factors - and their perceptions – that employers use to hire graduates have been conducted in the context of education and management, very little done been done for the field of fashion.
In order to understand the issues involved, the following five main themes have emerged from literature: academic/industry discourse, role of higher education, hiring practices, employability, and organizational creativity.

Fashion – though a universal term – has different applications in industry, culture and education. Besides baccalaureate programs in arts, science, business, design, the field of fashion has its primary roots in crafts and vocational practices. It is therefore no surprise that educational institutions and industry have different perceptions and expectations of each other.

In the tug of war of education funding and relevance, Albanese and Hines (1998) contend that administrators and faculty members in institutions of higher learning are challenged to justify the importance of their programs. Simply having a history of success does not ensure the continuance of a program. Internal and external assessments of academic programs are common today. However, assessment of programs in clothing and textiles are especially difficult to conduct as there are no guidelines in place that can purposefully serve the diversity of programs offered.

Organizations have undergone significant change in the last decade and expect internal organizational structure and strategic objectives to continue to change. These changes will be prompted by the continuing information revolution, by a growing awareness of the need to be responsive to customers, clients and other stakeholders, and by the need to adopt an international perspective (Harvey 2000).

A degree, once the passport into graduate employment, should only be seen as reaching ‘first-base’ in the recruitment process (Harvey 2000). In addition increasingly ‘graduate attributes’ are more important in the recruitment process than the graduates’ degree subject”. What recruiters want are bright graduates and they tend to use grades, rather than subject area, as a first filter. More and more, employers are taking ‘exotics’ – those graduates with degree subjects not apparently linked to the core business (Harvey 2000). Further employers want interactive and personal attributes. The core interactive attributes are communication, teamwork, and interpersonal skills.

“A company’s most important assest isn’t raw materials, transportation systems, or political influence. It’s creative capital – an arsenal of creative thinkers whose ideas can be turned into valuable products and services” (Florida and Goodnight 2005). Many economies are moving from a manufacturing base to a cultural and creative base, of which fashion forms an important component.


Albanese, C. and J. Hines (1998). "Clothing and Textile Curricula in Higher Education." Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences: From Research to Practice 90(4): 88-91.

Florida, R. and J. Goodnight (2005). "Managing for creativity." Harvard business review 83(7): 124.

Harvey, L. (2000). "New realities: the relationship between higher education and employment." Tertiary Education and Management 6(1): 3-17.
Fashion, discourse, employability, creativity, higher education.