Integrating influence from the past and values of the future, the Bachelor in Fashion Design will prepare students to make a lasting impact through innovative design. To celebrate the launch of the program, experts in the fashion industry gathered at IE Tower for an event focused on the challenges and opportunities in the market.
Fashion designers, top executives and academic experts took the stage at IE University to discuss the past, present and future of fashion design. From craftsmanship and tradition to sustainability and purpose, five panelists discussed their perspectives on modern design by diving into trends, textiles and the intelligence behind crafting a product.
The event was held in anticipation of the September 2024 launch of the Bachelor in Fashion Design, an intensive program designed to train innovative leaders working in the world of fashion. Students of the Bachelor in Fashion Design will spend their first two years of the program in Segovia and finish out the last two in Madrid. The program will also offer a dual degree option, combining fashion design and business administration through an additional year of study in Madrid. The curriculum will focus on purpose-forward fashion, which dives into textiles, why the industry is vital to the economy, sustainability, craft itself and the world of business.
David Goodman, dean of IE School of Architecture and Design, opened by explaining the importance of creative disciplines for the school. “We believe in the power of the creative industries to create a more sustainable, more beautiful and more just world—and we think that fashion design is at the center of that transformative capacity,” he commented. He went on to briefly describe the main pillars of the program: sustainability, craft, technology and business. These focal points not only align with the school’s values, but also allow each student to explore their individual path.
The next to take the stage was Baruc Corazón, academic director of the Bachelor in Fashion Design. He invited four other panelists to join him for the main discussion: Adriana Domínguez, executive director of Adolfo Domínguez; Caterina Pañedo-Oteyza, co-founder of Oteyza; Margarita Ruyra de Andrade, co-founder of Es Fascinante; and Belén Llamas-Ferrier, representative of the Contemporary Association of Arts and Crafts and local partner of the Michelangelo Foundation for Creativity and Craftsmanship in Spain. Their conversation ranged from why the Bachelor in Fashion Design is important to what purpose-forward fashion means in today’s fast-paced world.
As part of the discussion, Baruc shared the challenges he has faced and insights he has gained after many years of working closely with leaders in the fashion world. “Fashion is the expression of social and cultural pressures. It dresses our identities and dresses our lives. We choose a product not for what it looks like, but for what it says.” Baruc emphasized the multiple angles of fashion, explaining that as our world shifts, so does fashion.
Looking at fashion through a different lens, Margarita described design as an expression of cultural heritage.
You have to know your cultural beliefs, values, monuments and arts and crafts to make fashion. Your cultural heritage is an inspiration for fashion.Margarita Ruyra de Andrade
She went on to explain that in order to be successful in the world of fashion, you must have a foot in two worlds. Creators of the best brands are those who possess both a business mind and a creative mind. At Es Fascinate, the mission is to design pieces that encourage people to not have a full closet, but to have well-thought-out garments that focus on responsible consumption.
“Fashion design will be important if it’s related to culture,” explained Caterina. She also considers culture to be the basis of fashion, and she values the rich heritage of Spain. With a desire to recover slow fashion and craftsmanship, Caterina hopes that fashion students can create collections that pay homage to the past. At the same time, she noted that it’s important to remember that fashion is a business and the pieces are created to sell: “If you don’t sell, you are not sustainable at all.” To that end, she works to create pieces that survive generation after generation, and is happy that brands both big and small are working toward creating more sustainable pieces.
Belén continued on the topic of heritage, noting that “you can’t make anything new if you don’t know what has been made already.” She also finds cultural history inspiring because it allows us to see the evolution of fashion. She shared that it is very inspiring for her to see students repurpose the products of the past and apply their knowledge to make something useful for today. Belén considers the life of a craftsperson especially fulfilling because she gets to apply her creativity directly with her own hands. Echoing Caterina’s ideas, she also said that sustainable fashion means creating quality pieces that will last.
As the co-founder of Adolfo Domínguez, Adriana understands what it means to lead a big business. Her company focuses on creative and sustainable transformation through its distinctive designs. Adriana also noted that her company brings heritage to the forefront with fabrics that reflect local Spanish culture. She believes that Spain is an ideal place for fashion students to start out in the industry, thanks to its rich history and wealth of artisans.
Wrapping up the conversation, the panelists agreed that the future of fashion is purpose-forward. With the resurgence of sustainability and craftsmanship, they believe that companies will work to make high-quality products that last through the years. Future students will be at the cutting edge of creativity with the Bachelor in Fashion Design, learning from day one their own purpose and the purpose of fashion in a sustainable world.