Looking forward to the new year, I thought of the students excited faces, chatting with them about their summer holidays, while contemplating, how I could shape my lessons to become more interactive and inspiring.

I thought of sharing my summer research on shape shifting textiles, with my year 4 students, as they enter their final year and work towards their graduate fashion show. A lecture on advanced materials and technologies would be inspirational as they plan their final collections. Talking about shape memory alloys, conductive fabrics, temperature responsive materials, colour changing or light reactive textiles, would initiate them into thought provoking possibilities in textile design. There is always a real buzz during final year, as they experiment and develop imaginative results on the runway, to finally earn them their title as fashion designers.

I imagine the 1st Years would come a bit timid, unaware of the journey they are about to embark, in the world of fashion and textiles. It would be such a captivating process, full of imagination, potential, ingenuity and self-expression.

My 2nd Years will be called to re-think the way they create and design by working on recycling and sustainability modules. The aim is to encourage them to be inventive and take creative risks, while educating them about responsible design, experimenting with a variety of materials and processes. This will form the basis of developing innovative outcomes for recycling and sustainability surfaces. Education for a sustainable development is the key to enhancing social values and environmental attitudes for better living conditions.

Modern design practitioners are finding new ways of dealing with materials either through technology or responsible design. Digital technology has changed the face of fashion and textiles, from the way of creating to the way of presenting. 3rd Years will challenge their digital skills as they advance on software programs and processes, working on innovative and unique designs for their editorial and portfolio work. This year they will be introduced to a new 3D software program that will enable them to generate 3D garments in a virtual environment. CLO3D is a garment simulation technology that allows you to free sew garments together on an avatar and create a virtual collection, before it reaches the catwalk. Technological advancement, promises a window to the future, offering new approaches to creating, using and disposing of textiles.

This fast pace world of opportunity, is where textile designers thrive, working on designing patterns for woven, knitted and printed materials, producing fabrics and textures for decorative, aesthetic, artistic or functional purposes. As a textile lecturer, at Alexander College, I work in a multidisciplinary environment, where fashion, art and interior design interconnect. We work as a team, facing any upcoming challenges, offering high quality teaching and give an all-rounded education in design that would benefit any student choosing Fashion. Our students have interviews with well-known designers and participate in top competitions abroad, like Athens Exclusive where graduates receive prizes and are offered jobs.

Marianna Penga