'Fashion is trillion-dollar industry'

Young people urged to take advantage of the opportunities

Sunday, May 26, 2019

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The global fashion industry grew by about 5.5 per cent annually over the last decade, and Jamaican young people are increasingly being urged to explore careers in the field.

Most recently, the call was made at the Careers in International Fashion Symposium held at the Courtleigh Auditorium in New Kingston.

The event, which hundreds of high school students from across the country attended, was organised by Saint International and sponsored by JN Bank, as part of activities for Style Week 2019.

Michael Collins, sales development specialist at JN Bank, advised the students that the opportunities available for work in the industry are vast and not limited to modelling or fashion designing.

“There are, in fact, thousands of career options available in the fashion industry, which is a trillion-dollar sector. From garment technologist to fashion writer, accountant, or fashion illustrator, the options are endless and there's no need to limit yourself and your potential,” he said.

Collins said that the industry, which is worth an estimated US$2.4 trillion, has grown by about 5.5 per cent annually, over the last decade.

“This is a sector which continues to see exponential growth, even when other industries are struggling. What this means is that there is a great possibility for you to achieve real wealth from this industry,” he told the students.

Alando Terrelonge, state minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, said the Government recognises the potential that exists within the fashion industry and the place that fashion holds as part of the creatve industires.

“Therefore, from an education perspective, we want every single Jamaican boy and girl to understand that there's a career in fashion and this extends beyond our shores,” Terrelonge said.

The state minister further noted that the Government aims to bring more education and fashion symposiums to Jamaica to expose more young people to what the world of fashion has to offer.

He noted that he will also be initiating discussion with the ministry's curriculum unit “to see how we can expand the programme in home economics, so it's not just about cooking and hospitality, but we can also incorporate aspects of fashion”, he said.

Meanwhile, Fayval Williams, minister of science, energy and technology, also encouraged the students to look at how they can align fashion with the subjects they are now studying in school, especially science and technology.

“Where does fashion intersect with science and technology or engineering and maths?” she asked. “The future of fashion requires the STEM skills now more than ever.”

Williams pointed out that in this technological age people in the fashion industry need to have digital skills and must be information and communication technology (ICT)-literate.

“I want you to connect what you're doing in school with the fashion industry. I want you to understand why maths, science, and engineering make sense for you to do now, while you're in school, because you're going to have an edge on people when you get into the industry,” she said.

The symposium also saw presentations from international and local fashion industry practitioners, including senior faculty from the Miami Institute of Art and Design and the prestigious Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.


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