- Interview with British Fashion Designer and Programme Head of Fashion at AOD, Stuart MacLeod
The Fashion industry in Sri Lanka is no longer confined to apparel and fabric manufacturing. The creative sector in the local fashion industry is undergoing a rapid growth while more and more young individuals are turning towards design led careers in fashion. Stuart MacLeod, AOD's programme head of Fashion, speaks of his ground-breaking vision for fashion education in Sri Lanka through AOD.
Q: What do you see as the future of Sri Lankan fashion?
Sri Lanka is currently well placed within the high tech manufacturing groups but I think we can go further. In Sri Lanka we have a wealth of possibilities within fashion and textiles in both the high and low tech industries. I see great potential in Sri Lanka's future fashion industry, if we succeed to combine both high and low tech industries; for example, taking traditional Sri Lankan textile crafts and combining them with the state-of-the-art technology of the industry. We need to produce designers who will be able to make this potential future a reality.
Q: How does AOD's education equip students for the fashion industry's future?
The future is theirs; we just have to get them there. Our responsibility is not only to ensure our students are industry ready but also that they develop an idea of their own place in the world and how their chosen design led education can be used to advance their world. Our unique take on fashion education allows students to engage in live projects with the industry while we encourage students to engage with craft textile production through collection developments and community support projects in the low tech or craft sector. In the advancing local economy our students are not only ready to take on new roles to fulfil consumer and industry needs, but also to anticipate and take advantage of opportunities as they happen.
Q: What is your vision for the fashion students of AOD?
We are developing our students to be more than just creative designers, and to be informed and aware. In a professional context, this helps them to stand out as decision makers, creative thinkers and ultimately, leaders. My vision for them is to help them become active participants in the development of the global fashion economy and play a key role in placing Sri Lanka as a regional fashion leader.
Q: What do you hope to contribute to Sri Lankan fashion through AOD?
We are bringing in really interesting and thought-provoking initiatives to AOD students. My vision is that we create a New Sri Lankan Style led by AOD, an unwritten blueprint for the future guided by a common vision of what we hope to see as our future. New Sri Lankan style however is not just about Sri Lanka but it is also a marketable regional and international product. AOD is already established as a provider of excellence in design education, but it's our innovative visions that will help us play an important role in the future aesthetic in Sri Lanka and overseas.
Stuart, who moved to Sri Lanka to take on the challenging role of heading AOD's Fashion programme, is a British Fashion designer who has over 25 years of experience in international fashion. Stuart Macleod studied Fashion Design at the Northumbria University and started his professional career as a design director for Daniel Hechter- Paris, followed by a successful career as an international design consultant in casual wear, designer and runway and went on to develop his own successful fashion label.
Along with his global vision of design, Stuart Macleod hopes to bring together his sound experience on design, his love for artisanal workmanship and familiarity with the industrial techniques to place the AOD's fashion design students at the forefront in global fashion.
AOD has now opened its enrolments for the 2012 intake for its award-winning Northumbria University School Design degree in Fashion. For more information, contact AOD at 29, Lauries Road, Colombo 4. (011) 2502850/90 (011) 5867772/3, www.aod.lk