Industry Partnerships | A Uni's Perspective
Below is part of an interview we did with Steve Wright, back in January 2019.
Here he speaks about what he looks for in an industry partner and why DAS Outdoors was a great fit.
One of the things that we look for when we're looking for partnerships at the University of South Wales is that we try and find partnerships that will grow both a student's understanding of the field that they're entering in and give them an insight to the industry beyond their expectations.
One of the things that have excited us about working with DAS Outdoors is the non-traditional fashion pathway.
The students we usually get, don't really have exposure to fashion beyond the high street.
It's not a bad thing, it's just reality of the world.
We must build a system for students that enables them to think about fashion in a different way.
Whole System Thinking
We call that whole system thinking at USW and that means that we see resource pathways and output pathways in a different way.
It's a win-win.
We get to work with someone new and someone exciting and students get an understanding of fashion beyond the traditional systems.
Push Push Push
The key driver for us, is we want to push.
I know that seems really simple, but we want to push what we do.
We want to be different than everybody else.
We want to be different because we have to be different.
Being different means that you're doing something that somebody's not and if there's anything that University has to be, it's on the crest of a wave.
Think of this idea that every time a wave is created that's a new group of students.
And every time it crashes to the shore, it's them going up the industry.
We want to be on the very crest of that wave.
Leading the charge.
That's really important for us.
When we look for industry partners, we look for somebody doing the same thing.
Students Virtually Never Listen
I've been a teacher for many, many years and I talk to my students all the time.
I tell 'here are the lessons I've learned from my long career in fashion' and they virtually never listen.
I think one of the things that an industry partnership allows us to do is to cut through the noise.
They feel like we're teachers, which of course we are.
Giving feedback is the main part of our job.
When they see someone, who's on the ground doing it, say something, they really listen and that's really important to us.
It's really important to them as well.
Three industry partners that I personally, that I would absolutely love to work with:
A French fashion designer from the 1980s, who has a very sculptural approach to design and used a lot of non-traditional materials.
An English, separate designer, who exposed fashion beyond the body.
One of the things that I have really learned and tried to connect with his work to students is fashion beyond fabric.
He exposed a lot of lights and a lot of alternative material uses.
I think for me the key thing, or the key person, I'd like to work with is the government.
The British government and governments around the world produce masses of clothing and they sort masses of clothing.
Why wouldn't we want to go to the big dogs?
Why wouldn't we want to connect with somebody who actually has an impact on the ground?