IE University’s newly launched Bachelor in Fashion Design is a dynamic and hands-on program that prepares tomorrow’s leaders in the fashion world with all the skills, knowledge and technical expertise they’ll need for success. But to be fit for purpose in the modern fashion industry, no degree can stop there. With as much focus on sustainability and tech as on the hands-on skills of traditional craft degrees, this is a new, essential program for a new era in fashion.

Fashion’s old, bad habits and reputation

The world of fashion, and perhaps particularly of mass-market fashion, has often had a bad reputation, one that at times is deserved. Wasteful design and production practices, poor labor conditions in developing nations and unsustainable practices—fashion has had to face some challenging headlines.

Indeed, fashion production is responsible for around 10% of the world’s carbon emissions, and could, if nothing changes, be responsible for 9% of the global microplastic losses into the world’s oceans by 2050. Research has even suggested that, on its current path, the industry will produce around 25% of the world’s entire carbon footprint by 2050. So the urgent need for new practices, new habits and new technologies is clear.

As in any industry, it’s tech that holds the key to improved sustainability in the fashion sector. And tech’s influence comes in right at the start of the fashion chain, with digital fashion design.

Clothes that only exist in the virtual realm?

Modern computing technology has completely changed the way clothes can be designed, opening a huge range of new possibilities for everyone from fabric designers to couturiers. Everything from preliminary ideas for clothing that will be on display on the catwalk, to creations that will only ever exist in the virtual realm, worn for example by computer game characters, avatars etc., are now being designed digitally. That’s why the Bachelor in Fashion Design features modules in everything from digital fashion to AI in hand-stitching and draping.

Digital fashion is disrupting the industry’s supply chain, too; 3D creation software and digital patternmaking are now combining to provide end-to-end and transversal tools for the industry. What’s more, these tools allow the sector’s creators to collaborate remotely—a design duo or even a complete team can all have the same piece of virtual clothing at their fingertips simultaneously, even if they’re all spread around the globe.

Taking the physical into the digital

For designers looking to showcase their talent and innovation by getting their designs in front of the public, tech opens doors there, too. A young, emerging talent is unlikely to be able to afford to rent a showroom in a busy retail area, for example. Enter digital showrooms; imagine the entire range of a new young designer’s work, or even every line of a large brand’s clothing in one place, with no outgoings for rent, staff, consumables or any of the other costs associated with operating a physical space. 

What’s more, those savings are just as important from an environmental point of view as a financial one. Put simply, digital showrooms are more sustainable than physical versions. And again, the Bachelor in Fashion Design delivers there, with courses on emerging digital tools and fashion photography, video and styling, all tools to help people new to the industry to get their creations in front of potential backers, buyers and retail partners.

Even fashion models themselves no longer have to be a physical, human presence on a real catwalk. Some leading current models and influencers, like Shudu Gram and Lil Miquela, are entirely digital, with no presence in the real world, other than the mark they make on fashion, of course.

This is another sign of an industry that’s not just becoming more sustainable, but more equitable too. If you’re looking to make your designs available to everybody, it’s important to think about every size and body shape, as well as cultural considerations. 

In a fashion world where digital models can be created and adjusted to provide the sizes and body shapes you’re looking for, you not only save material, travel and production costs—you encourage diversity in an industry that’s been accused of focusing too much on a narrow range of body types. 

And that’s what the Creativity for Good module is all about; a series of project-based courses and hands-on exercises that will stretch your imagination and address the issues that surround the creation and production of every garment you’ll ever produce; material, economic, social and cultural.

A springboard into a sustainable career in fashion

This isn’t a one-size-fits-all program. Covering everything from production, distribution, marketing, sales, e-commerce and startups to building and refining a brand, there are also specialist customization options in Accessory Design, Costume Design, Textile Design, Virtual Fashion, and Fashion Logistics. This is an essential program if you’re looking for the breadth, depth and flexibility that will empower you to forge your own path in fashion and make a positive difference in one of the world’s most visible and ubiquitous global industries.

In a changing, $1.5 trillion-plus per year industry that’s already unrecognizable from just a decade ago, sustainability has become a key consideration, with tech the driving force behind it. The Bachelor in Fashion Design empowers you not just to carve your own path in the sector, but to lead the way into a more sustainable future.