During a period when the global design movement is taking progressive steps towards sustainability and ecological conservation, the Academy of Design (AOD), Sri Lanka’s leading design educator and one of South Asia’s most celebrated design campuses, has taken on the responsibility of educating the region’s design students on the concept of sustainable design.
As part of this special module, AOD invited internationally renowned fashion designer, activist and founder of the Paris Ethical Fashion Show – Isabelle Quéhé to conduct a special lecture at the AOD with the aim of providing an opportunity for students to identify the need to maintain sustainable practices while conserving the environment and preserving valuable resources.
During a short interview, Isabelle voiced her opinion on education on ethical fashion in Sri Lanka and South Asia.
AOD: Why is it important to educate young Sri Lankan designers, as you’re doing here at AOD, given that Sri Lanka’s fashion and apparel industry is already an award-winning green industry?
Quéhé: It is true that Sri Lanka’s apparel industry is a green industry, but the future is with your youth. If Sri Lanka is to retain its apparel industry’s ethical and green nature, you have to start educating the professionals who will be leading in the future, starting right now. If Sri Lankan youth could be encouraged to practice their creativity with a responsible mindset, it can revolutionise the entire South Asian region. Sri Lanka actually has it all, and we need to promote the country and its green industries so that others can follow the lead.
AOD: What do you feel about AOD’s dedication to instil morality parallel to creativity in young designers?
Quéhé: It has evidently been a part of AOD’s DNA from the very beginning to provide design education with responsibility. An institution like AOD is needed to drive ethical fashion and design in South Asia, and their education is visionary and inventive. AOD will create a responsible generation of designers for the world and they will probably play an important role in driving design in this region forward. I’m glad to be a part of AOD’s contribution to the design world and South Asian design.
AOD; AOD hopes to become the first South Asian educator offering definitive education in Ethical Fashion. How do you see this affecting the fashion industries of the region?
Quéhé:This will not only profit AOD students but also Sri Lanka as it will add to Sri Lanka’s growing reputation as an ethical design centre in Asia. This is a great thing and will add to the design industries all over the world by contributing designers who are specially trained in ethical aspects of creativity. I look forward to this and wish AOD the very best in the endeavour.
AOD’s principal Karen MacLeod states that AOD will continue to guide its graduates to understand and follow shifting global trends so that they are on par with top-notch international designers and creative organisations and possess the ability to take design in Sri Lanka to the next level.