RMIT schooling fashion students in retail

RMIT has indicated it will run a new retail stream in its Bachelor of Fashion degree moving forward, after identifying a growing opportunity to assist students enter into the space.

The dean of RMIT’s School of Fashion and Textiles, Professor Robyn Healy, told Inside Retail Weekly the new focus will be available for students starting next year.

“Where in the past people have looked to our merchandising management stream, we haven’t really focused deeply on retail,” Healy said.

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“I think this is where there are huge opportunities in terms of employment, and also in terms of where retail is going next. That’s often been a gap in terms of having a particular focus on that area. [Our courses] delve in and out of it, but we haven’t had a major in retail.”

The shift comes as the university was recognised in the latest Business of Fashion “Best Fashion Schools in the World” survey, where it ranked in the top 11.

RMIT achieved all four “badges” in the survey and has been recognised for its strong impact on its students, as well as the wider, global fashion industry.

“It means a lot of things on many different levels. I think for our students it’s a really good measure to think about where they are studying,” Healy said.

“In global surveys, they spend a lot of time concentrating on the northern hemisphere, so to have a school like ours recognised in this way has been incredible for our students.

“It also testifies to the strong relationships we have with industry, because one of the things I think we do incredibly well is how we work with industry partners.”

RMIT has previously worked with Bunnings on an “upcycled and recycled uniform project”, where students reimagined old Bunnings uniforms into new outfits to further explore the concept of circular design.

“There were lots of learnings on both sides,” Healy said.

“I think the good partnerships are those where both parties are thinking differently, so I think the Bunnings one was great because of that.

“In this case our students were given existing uniforms to see what they could become, and in some cases you can create other garments out of it and other vessels, whether those are bags or whatever else.”

RMIT’s next major brand partnership comes with Melbourne and Olympic Park, with its students designing staff uniforms.

“I think that people underestimate the volume of uniforms that are out there, and they’ve taken on the challenge of ‘What could this become?’” Healy said.

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