& Yong Xue Hsieh
Shih Chien University, Taiwan
Reflection on an experiential learning platform: Concept to retail at Praxes Studio
This study evaluates the efficiency of using Praxes, an actual operating fashion brand incubated by the department, as an experiential learning platform for master’s degree students. Does identifying with the school’s brand and doing practical research and work aimed at the current market improve on the stagnant teaching methods of our elders?
Instructors work along with the students in the Praxes design studio to create fashion merchandise, from concept to retail, that conform to the brand identity. Students are challenged not only to expand their range and depth of knowledge, but also to harness their courage in order to successfully participate, thus cultivating innovative and entrepreneurial fashion activists. Using surveys completed by the students, and interviews with the teachers, we refine the teaching system in pursuit of successfully preparing our students for the industry whilst actually running a successful fashion brand.
Education is transformed from an academic tower to a communication platform that enters the industry by exploring real world problems and proposing workable solutions to put into practice. Travelling to China to source fabrics, or to a trade show in the US to market products is all part of the process, and managed by students with the respective backgrounds. They are enabled to move parallel towards the workplace and look into the future.
This research is based on qualitative interviews and quantitative surveys. We explored the teacher and student opinions and attitudes towards the Praxes experiential learning platform, as well as the overall performance of the brand, and then looked at the effect of this method on the overall academic development of the department. We see how creating a fashion brand with its own unique identity creates a sense of community amongst our students, transforms the way the students approach their education, and brings our department closer to the needs of the industry.