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International Activities: Chair of Fashion Design Program Speaks on Fashion Education in Belgium

December 14, 2021
fashion accessories design studio

Aki Choklat, associate professor and chair of the Fashion Design program at the College for Creative Studies (CCS), traveled to Antwerp, Belgium to the University of Antwerp to participate in the “Responsible Fashion Series” Expo — the focus being responsible approaches to supporting the future of fashion. The Expo opened the door for many discussions centered around Fashion, and one of those was “Fashion & Education,” a panel where Choklat discussed the “Shoe Design Kit.” 

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, lockdowns were placed and educators all over the world had to figure out how to teach in a virtual environment — especially when it came to crafting footwear.  

The solution was a “Shoe Design Kit.” The kit was distributed to first-year and freshman students both domestically and internationally.

The kit consisted of detailed instructions with accompanying photos, glue, thread, tape, needles, screws, topline tape, insole, outsole, wax, cotton yarn, lining and a 3D printed shoe form. 

Choklat explains that shoe forms are impossible to obtain in the U.S., so they’re usually imported from Europe and Mexico. It was both expensive to ship out to students, but also expensive to guarantee it would make its way back to CCS.  This is where the 3D printing idea came in.

Now that classes are back in-person at CCS, the future of the kit is still being developed but has been used in workshops with pre-college students. 

Choklat was accompanied on this panel by other fashion educators from across Europe. Discussions ranged from ethical fashion efforts that can be taken by fast fashion brands to the reevaluation of fashion education.

He was also accompanied by Adjunct Instructor Thomas Carbone, Studio Technician Bonnie Andrus, and Work-Study student Ashley Rossi.