Q&A with Noel Palomo-Lovinski, M.F.A., Associate Professor in the School of Fashion
Faculty Spotlight Office of Sustainability December 2020
What sparked your interest in fashion?
Way back when I was 10 or so, I realized that I could change what I look like and that people would believe it or would change their mind about me. I was shy, weird, and my family had no money . I could manipulate my image and persona, how people perceived me, and where I came from- little bit like the 80s movie Pretty in Pink --
Your bio indicates your interest in design responsibility and sustainable design practice in fashion. What made you interested in these areas?
Based on my prior career as a fashion designer I understand that designers can have an influence on the larger picture of image, brand id and consumer acceptance. I am also interested in what the future of design will be. How can designers influence consumers beyond facile choices in a ruffle or a color and instead inspire towards something substantive and useful? Additionally consumers may not know how to create sustainable change but it should be the job of designers to research and solve problems. Designers are very good at making people buy product they don’t need. I think we need to instead to inspire people to be more socially responsible, inclusive, environmentally protective, to rethink the world we live in.
What is your favorite part of your position? Inspiring students to become change agents
What has been a favorite course that you teach? What do you enjoy about it?
Any course that I can share what I know and am passionate about. It sounds trite, but I really enjoy getting students to think beyond and to tackle larger problems then they thought they could.
How does your work or research relate to sustainability and/or climate change?
As a professor, I have tried to push for more focus on sustainable practice within the curriculum. I have an elective lecture class called Sustainability in Fashion which examines basic components of the supply and value chain in the fashion industry. I have written a lot of papers and conference presentations about designer responsibility and new ideas about the future of design/consumer interaction in support of a closed loop future. I am currently focused on trying to organize a sustainability research group within the School of Fashion that will serve as a sustainable research consultation for the fashion industry. It is in the formative stages but when it is up and running, my hope is that it will help Kent State be known for some real and tangible research outcomes that make a difference in how unsustainable the fashion industry currently operates.
Can you tell us more about how you and/or your students and/or the School of Fashion are advancing sustainability?
We are recycling fabrics and incorporating a wide variety of sustainable practices into the curriculum- every project must have sustainable research/outcomes attached to the final project. I have curated a sustainability specific exhibition in the Kent State Museum and I hope to do it again in the future. I am really lucky because I work with some amazing researchers that are predominately interested in sustainable practice from a wide variety of angles. Our Director Louise Valentine has placed sustainability as a core value of the school and so all future initiatives will have something to do with sustainability.
How have your experiences at Parsons School of Design, New York University, Kent State, and being a fashion designer in New York shaped how you prepare students today?
Everything I have ever learned, experienced, researched, participated in etc is for everyone to have.
What do you want the people of Kent State to know about you and your position as a School of Fashion Professor (or any other roles you have)?
Well that I would love to collaborate and bring other researchers into our research cluster.
Thank you Noel!