Sat, 22 Jan 2022

How Fashion Tech will change Russia by 2030

RBTH
28 Dec 2021, 04:55 GMT+10

Virtual fitting rooms, designing one's own clothes, changing one's wardrobe "by subscription" and other technologies of the future - this is far from the exhaustive list of things that can become reality in Russia in less than 10 years. The goal of making these innovations feasible will be assisted by a new Master's course at the St. Petersburg State University of Industrial Technologies and Design, a participant in the Priority 2030 Academic Leadership Program.

In an Instagram photo, a young woman is sporting a white trendy suit and white sneakers. It is hard to believe that the clothes she's wearing are virtual, made by the Russian fashion brand Ecoolska.

It is even harder to imagine that in about 10 years buying virtual clothes for social media photos or hook-ups with friends in meta universes will be commonplace. Conventional fitting rooms in bricks-and-mortar stores will disappear, and eventually these stores will probably also cease to exist. The size and style of clothes will be chosen with the help of a smartphone, and customers will be receiving a new set of clothes on a monthly subscription, handing back to the store those items they no longer need, or simply for recycling.

This future of fashion in Russia and across the world will be accelerated - among other things - by the launch of a new Master's program in Fashion Tech, its director Maxim Yermachkov is convinced. The department was set up at St. Petersburg State University of Industrial Technologies and Design in April 2021.

Chairman of the Council of University Rectors of St. Petersburg and Leningrad Region, Rector of St. Petersburg State University of Industrial Technologies and Design, Alexei Demidov

Chairman of the Council of University Rectors of St. Petersburg and Leningrad Region, Rector of St. Petersburg State University of Industrial Technologies and Design, Alexei Demidov

The Priority 2030 Academic Leadership Program Press Service

The university devised and successfully implemented a development program that runs to 2030, including in Fashion Tech. A special commission of the Russian Federation Ministry of Higher Education and Science has selected it for its Priority 2030 Academic Leadership Program. As part of the program, the university will receive an annual grant of at least 100 million rubles ($1.3 million) until 2030 (you can learn more about Priority 2030 here).

"The task is to train specialists who will not only develop Fashion Tech in Russia, but will also integrate these technologies into the global economy," says Yermachkov.

Design instead of manufacturing

The department's teaching staff will include founders of projects in 3D modeling, virtual fitting rooms and digital fashion, as well as invited experts from AliExpress Russia. Students will be taught how to create virtual avatars and clothes, and digitize collections.

St. Petersburg Deputy Governor Vladimir Knyaginin and Rector of the St. Petersburg State University of Industrial Technologies and Design, Alexei Demidov, at the opening of the PromTechDesign Laboratory. On the far right is Fashion Tech program director, Maxim Yermachkov

St. Petersburg Deputy Governor Vladimir Knyaginin and Rector of the St. Petersburg State University of Industrial Technologies and Design, Alexei Demidov, at the opening of the PromTechDesign Laboratory. On the far right is Fashion Tech program director, Maxim Yermachkov

The Priority 2030 Academic Leadership Program Press Service

They will also learn to develop media content, design projects in NFT, spatial and industrial design, work with sustainable and "smart" materials to create, for example, biodegradable clothing or items with inbuilt protection from chemical burns and radiation. The cluster will be open to other designers, future customers and members of the general public.

"We would like the cluster to be a venue for random meetings when specialists in different fields start discussing the same tasks. Then the open space has a more effective influence on these processes," Maxim Yermachkov explains.

Students will undergo practical training with real customers, mainly IT companies. They are currently creating an NFT art collection for the European company Embily, which is creating a banking product for the everyday use of cryptocurrency.

Graduates will set up their own fashion start-ups, design gadgets or applications for IT giants, and develop large clothing companies - create virtual showrooms, collections from sustainable materials and predict future fashion trends.

The development of Fashion Tech will change the fashion industry as a whole, Yermachkov is convinced. In addition to offering virtual fitting rooms, brands will create customized items on demand, which will help solve the problem of overproduction and, as a result, will have a beneficial effect on the environment.

St. Petersburg Deputy Governor Vladimir Knyaginin and Chairman of the Science and Higher Education Committee at the St. Petersburg Government, Andrei Maksimov

St. Petersburg Deputy Governor Vladimir Knyaginin and Chairman of the Science and Higher Education Committee at the St. Petersburg Government, Andrei Maksimov

The Priority 2030 Academic Leadership Program Press Service

"There will be no need to set up a clothing giant, it would be enough to create a design bureau that will have a huge impact," Yermachkov says. That is, the bureau will be creating not clothes, but designs, while the actual items will be manufactured on demand. These days many brands have to physically destroy unsold outdated collections.

New digital professions in Russian universities

Fashion Tech is just one of many new professions taught at Russian universities. For example, within the Priority 2030 Academic Leadership Program, the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT) will launch a project called Engineering Personnel for a Technological Breakthrough, whereby 30 percent of MIPT students will be "engineers of the future". In the course of their studies, they will learn to develop business at existing enterprises and factories from among the program's partners.

St. Petersburg Deputy Governor Vladimir Knyaginin and Rector of the St. Petersburg State University of Industrial Technologies and Design, Alexei Demidov, at the opening of the PromTechDesign Laboratory. On the far right is Fashion Tech program director, Maxim Yermachkov

St. Petersburg Deputy Governor Vladimir Knyaginin and Rector of the St. Petersburg State University of Industrial Technologies and Design, Alexei Demidov, at the opening of the PromTechDesign Laboratory. On the far right is Fashion Tech program director, Maxim Yermachkov

The Priority 2030 Academic Leadership Program Press Service

The Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) has also launched a number of new programs:

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