A northern arts school has strengthened its academic offering following the appointment of an education and fashion industry expert to lead on its new Body Contour Fashion degree.

Dr Carol Harris has joined Cleveland College of Art and Design (CCAD) as subject area leader at the college’s university-level campus to develop the new Body Contour Fashion course, which launches in September 2017.

The course will encourage conceptual approaches to contemporary contour fashion within the challenging arena of lingerie, structured body-wear, swimwear and active-wear, exploring the fashion contour by pushing the boundaries of design within the specialisms.

Bringing over 30 years’ industry and academic experience in the fashion education sector, Carol is now delivering first class teaching and sharing her expertise with current level 5 and 6 fashion degree students at the specialist arts institution the north east.

Carol was appointed for the position due to her highly prestigious career at Savannah College of Design in the USA, where she held a role that most fashion academics dream of having; Professor of fashion. Carol has gained a reputation as a creative leader in the academic fashion industry, developing innovative and contemporary curriculum programme which enhances student learning.

Originally from South Wales, Carol’s academic profile which spans almost twenty years and boasts industry contacts such as Jay Alexander (Runway Coach for Alexander McQueen and star of America’s Next Top Model), Andre-Leon Talley (former editor-at-large at American Vogue) as well as producing work on a freelance basis for Calvin Klein and Oscar De La Renta. Carol’s teaching has produced graduates such as Audra, whose ‘Vision’ collection is sold exclusively by prêt-a-porter and is a Paris Fashion Week regular.

On her appointment at CCAD, Carol said: “A great deal of my industry experience is in lingerie, so it is a perfect time to join the school and to start to build an active sportswear programme. It is very much a niche market, as there are only two schools in the UK which actually offer this specialist course – De Montfort and London College of Fashion – so I thought it would be exciting and a challenge for me.”

“The challenges the industry face today are making a product that people want at a price they can afford. More and more consumers are turning to unique and individual boutiques to purchase clothes that offer quality and uniqueness. Hence this course is going to work with a design-led approach, with individual unique artists producing creative and forward thinking design solutions.”

After studying for a PGCE teaching qualification at the University of Wales College Newport in 1997, Carol went on to join the prestigious Savannah College of Art and Design, one of the top three fashion education institutions in the USA.

Developing her academic learning, Carol undertook a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Fashion in 2002 and in 2012, gained a PhD in USA Apparel Manufacturing and Domestic Sourcing at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Carol is passionate about the development of apparel from concept through to production, and specialises in the lingerie and sportswear market. Her professional experience and career in fashion has included positions as a design room manager for a manufacturer of high street lingerie and nightwear, a senior garment technologist in London and a senior designer and pattern cutter for clothing retailer, Alexon.

Carol is working with a number of different companies such as French lace and Tulle company The House of Sophie Hallette in Paris, a company in Scotland who designer and produce outdoor active pursuits wear and a lingerie company in London. She is keen to build industry contacts and establish CCAD as the fashion course in the north.

“It’s going to be a robust and rigorous course, with more engagement and enhanced learning where we are developing conceptual, innovative work together, not just sending them off with a project. It will be very much one-on-one working in small classes as it is such a niche course.”

She added: “With quality industry projects and connections in the US we can provide both international and national job placements and internships. Because it’s a specialist market, we are aiming for a high employability rate across an international field, as the majority of lingerie markets are based overseas. We will prepare our students to travel, be ambitious and take on those positions to fulfil their career goals. We will provide them with the necessary skills to be successful, the ultimate aim of this programme and build on the reputation for employability. It is definitely the start of an interesting journey.”

Pat Chapman, Head of Employability and External Relations, said: “We are really excited about Carol joining us. She brings a wealth of experience and fresh industry links and perspectives that are essential in keeping our fashion teaching in sync with the current and future needs of the fashion industry. Carol will greatly enhance our students’ experience during their studies with us. CCAD, as the only specialist art and design college in the region, has a great track record of working with industry and getting our graduates into employment in the fast growing, ever changing creative sector. We are the top institution for art and design graduate employability, and have been for the past two years, and Carol will play a big part in sustaining this.”

Carol has also contributed to a book which is due to be published later this year – Contemporary Case Studies on Fashion Production, Marketing and Operations, Springer Book Series in Fashion Business and is a lifetime member of Cambridge Who’s Who Executive and Professional Women.

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