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Fashion Director is Globalizing Fashion Education

Posted Mar. 31, 2010
Kent State University School of Fashion Director Travels to Asia and Europe and Presents Ideas on Globalizing Fashion Education

Newly-appointed director of Kent State University's School of Fashion Design and Merchandising, J.R. Campbell, was recently invited by the Beijing Institute of Fashion and Technology (BIFT) to come to Beijing and give a presentation on "Fashion Education, Industry and Technology" as part of their 50th Anniversary Celebration. BIFT is a four-year university focusing on disciplines surrounding fashion.  It has approximately 8000 students, and as such is one of the largest 'fashion schools' in the world.

"While in China I had the opportunity to work with Kent State's Beijing Office to discuss exchange and recruitment opportunities with BIFT," said Campbell. "It was a very successful visit and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with one of the world's highly-revered fashion schools."

Prior to his position at Kent State University, Campbell, directed research for the Centre of Advanced Textiles at the Glasgow School of Art for four years, during which he was also a visiting professor at BIFT in 2008 to conduct a workshop on "Digital Textile and Fashion Design" for Chinese graduate students and faculty.

During his recent China visit, Campbell also travelled to Hong Kong Polytechnic University, with whom The Fashion School has secured an exchange contract in which two top Fashion School students are selected through a competitive process and provided a $3000 scholarship to attend Hong Kong Polytechnic University in the Institute for Textiles and Clothing (ITC) for a semester. While our two students are there, two students from HKPolyU, in exchange, come to take courses in the Fashion School at Kent State. In conversation with HKPolyU's Head of the ITC, it became evident that both universities have the aspiration to increase our exchange collaborations.

"My goal for the Fashion School is to create as many opportunities as possible (for both students and faculty) to engage in a wide range of international and diversity experiences," said Campbell. "This will help to expand their potential for success in their future careers and communications."

In addition, The Fashion School, is possibly the only Midwest university to have their own fully equipped design and lecture studio placed literally in the fashion district in NYC.  Each year over 120 students attend the facility each year as a means to gain access to the range of industry/internship opportunities available, and to engage in coursework that takes advantage of aspects of the industry that are less prevalent here, such as Luxury Marketings.

Campbell followed his trip to Asia by hosting The Fashion School's Advisory Group Forum at the NYC Studio in early November. Key advisory members from Ohio, NYC and across the US attended this first visioning event since Campbell's hire into the Director position in July. From there, Campbell continued on to hold his first visit to the Kent State Florence campus.

The Fashion School has a dedicated semester-long program based at Kent State's Florence campus and have been offering courses there for over six years.  "We are currently averaging about 40 Fashion School students per year in Florence," said Campbell. "While they are there, they also participate in an excellent European Study Tour that brings them to London, Paris, Milan, and Rome; as well as a number of day trips out of Florence, as a means to investigate fashion businesses in these fashion capitals."

Following Florence, Campbell made a stop in Paris to meet with Peter Carman, Director of the Paris American Academy.

The Fashion School also has a standing relationship with the Paris American Academy (PAA), and starting in Summer 2010, KSU students will be able to study at PAA in the heart of Paris, overlooking Luxembourg Gardens, by enrolling in Kent State University classes offered through a vending relationship with PAA. Students from any institution can enroll through Kent State University courses, thus being eligible to qualify for financial aid support while they take Kent State University courses at the PAA during a four-week intensive summer session. The PAA gives our students the opportunities to experience and access couture patternmaking, millinery and Fashion Houses that are part of the "Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture". 

Campbell hopes to continue to create more opportunities for students to study abroad, but for now students have a tough choice to make between Florence, Beijing, Hong Kong or Paris, or the New York City studio.

Beijing and Hong Kong
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Paris and Florence
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