As part of the effort to ICAD Design Days to stimulate deeper discussions with the design community on the nature of being a design professional and the values of our work as a collective, we reached out to various industry practitioners and stakeholders, seeking their perspectives on a series of thought-provoking questions on current issues in relation to the core values professionalism.
Bridal gown designer Celest Thoi share her views with us.
What should the relationship between the academia and the industry be? How are we able to bridge the gap between what the academia is producing and what the industry is demanding (skills/traits/attitude, etc.)?
Institutions should play the role of setting up a good foundation for students to get them ready for the real workforce. I find many interns living in a “bubble” where they felt a total disconnect between school and the real working world when they came for their internships. It is recommended for institutions to gradually prepare students for the real environment that they may be working in so that they do not get a culture shock when they eventually graduate and go into the real world.
During their time in training, the school should also look at cultivating and enforcing a good attitude towards working and speaking diligently. Presentation skills are also paramount.
I reckon attitude is of utmost importance, followed by skills. Skills can be taught over time but not attitude.
What does “multidisciplinary” mean to you? In your practice/industry, do you think it is more important to be a “generalist” or a “specialist”, and why?
To me, multidisciplinary means drawing multiple disciplines of skill sets and perspectives to redefine different problems to reach a solution. Bringing different outlooks and experiences to the table to generate better solutions.
In my industry, I would say it is more relevant to have a “specialist” who understands couture fashion, someone who understands the practicality to design and sew as the nature of my business is very niche and targeted. I do however like to have someone who is not just able to design or sew but also possess a more global view with a good understanding of trends and customers’ behaviours topped with good customer service skills.
Multidisciplinary design in our current climate now is all about collaboration, being curious, being adaptive, and ever ready to keep learning in order to combine methods and create new ones.
How has your industry incorporated ethical practices, if there are any? Do you think ethical responsibilities fall on the shoulders of the artist/designers or the client, or both?
Management, employees and Clients, all appreciate honest and ethical practices. Business ethics are vital because they help maintain a great reputation, and ultimately benefit everyone involved.
In the past, we have supported and collaborated with various charity organizations and NGOs. Ethical responsibility should be an individual initiative, though many feel a push by companies to fulfill that obligation.
This MCO, my team and I were able to give back to society by helping to contribute towards making PPE for front liners. So touched to see everyone united in sewing for a great cause.
Are the nature of awards and competitions still relevant today and why?
I don’t think it’s relevant in my opinion, as I know many of these awards/competitions are prejudiced. I can normally evaluate a person’s work based on looking through portfolios and having a chat with them.
What do you think is important for the arts practitioners/designers of the future to think about and challenge?
To be able to have a deep passion and to stand firm in what you do is a default. Being able to adapt and work around situations is essential. Technology has also become a big part of our everyday lives, more so in the foreseeable future, so it’s inevitable to intertwine designs with it.