“Fashion influences every aspect of life,” said Elizabeth Heuisler, an assistant professor in the Norton School’s Fashion Industry’s Science and Technology program. “If you look at life’s basic needs, it’s food, shelter, and clothing.”
Far more than just looking good, fashion is a global, multi-trillion-dollar industry. As part of the Norton School of Human Ecology’s program, students learn to combine strategic thinking and design with the latest scientific and technical innovations.
Students delve into design with digital tools that minimize the use of raw materials, and explore technologies that use sustainable textiles, all with an eye toward moving the fashion industry into the future. They study data analytics, consumer behavior and fashion adoption processes; fashion theories; the lifecycle, social, and cultural processes of fashion; and the role of fashion in the global economy.
“Fashion is universal, it bridges culture and can bring people together,” Heuisler said. “In spite of language differences, when it comes to apparel and fashion, we all speak the same language. That’s why study abroad is so important.”
In collaboration with Arizona Global, The Norton School of Human Ecology has developed an immersive and experiential learning opportunity for students through their Fashion in Paris and Milan program. Students in the program are able to put their education to the test while learning in the fashion capitals of the world.
This summer, students in the Norton School visited sites like the Louvre and the Museum of Yves Saint Laurent Paris to learn about the history of fashion from some of the world’s most renowned designers. They visited clothing exhibitions and retail stores to understand the importance of sustainable fashion, fashion forecasting, and current advancements in social media and digital culture. They even had the opportunity to participate in a workshop to create their own personal fragrance with designer perfumiers.
On their visit to the Yves Saint Laurent Paris Museum, students toured the location where Yves Saint Laurent first began developing masterpieces, hosted catwalks, and displayed his clothing. The students were excited to learn that Yves Saint Laurent was one of the first designers to include people of color in his work, as well as transform the way women dressed by designing the first pantsuit.
“The Yves Saint Laurent Museum completely changed my perspective on fashion. I've always been interested in fashion, but this trip allowed me to recognize and appreciate the work and thought process that goes into each piece of clothing,” said Abby Smith, who studies urban and regional development. “This tour alone convinced me to switch my major to fashion.”
Students then traveled to Milan where they were able to visit luxury labels – such as Gucci, Prada, Armani, and Dolce & Gabbana – to learn about their display and brand strategies. In Milan, students also had the opportunity to visit historic cultural sites like La Scala Opera House, Duomo di Milano, and Lake Cuomo.
Charlette Padilla, an associate professor in the Norton School’s Fashion Industry's Science & Technology program who helped design the study abroad program, said the fashion program offers students once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.
“The opportunity to study abroad is an essential experience in elevating students to reach their highest potential both professionally and personally,” Padilla said.