Infusion of Afro Centric approach to fashion design in the Polytechnics

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Infusion of Afro-centric approach to Fashion design at the Polytechnics is expected to encourage students and lecturers concern to produce designs with African flavour. These unique and expressive designs must be identified with the African continent. As part of the objective of this research, the researcher seeks to achieve the following: i. To assess the scope, content of drawing, illustration and presentational skills courses in the Polytechnic’s Fashion Programme. ii. To develop a pre-test manual to encourage drawing, illustration and presentational skills with Afro-centric approaches to the fashion programmes. The research methods employed in the collection and examination of data are historical, descriptive and experimental. The historical method of research deals with application of method to the description and analysis of past events. In this thesis the historical method has been used to examine the influence of western culture on the local industry and fashion design in Africa. The purpose of this method is to understand the African indigenous fashion, past, present and be able to predict its future trends. The descriptive method reviewed the collection of data on specific figure types, classified and analysed them. This enabled the researcher to describe and give a critique of the existing syllabus on Fashion illustration, illusion and presentational skills. The deductive method is again used to describe, appreciate, analyze and interpret design works. The Experimental research on the other hand manipulates certain stimuli, treatments or environmental conditions and observes how the condition or behaviour of the subject is affected or changed. The researcher employs this method to enhance creativity and also to arrive at novel ideas and designs. The ideas of the research were trial-tested at the Fashion Department of Kumasi Polytechnic. The major findings and discussions that ensued in the trial-test are as follows: 1. A plain fabric with a touch of African motif or design can enhance height. 2. The adoption of foreign style-line may not be entirely suitable for Africans due to the difference in structure and build. However, African inspired fabrics, motif and-style-line like the boubous or caftans could create original and authentic designs. 3. The research is capable of helping the students to create original designs. It is also believed that the designs correspond to the trends of fashion and garment production in Africa. 4. It is realized that when students are equipped with the needed skills and knowledge advocated in this research, Ghana and Africa as a whole will be able to produce professionals who can compete on the international front. 5. The infusion of Afro-centric ideas would facilitate and enhance the teaching and learning of fashion, illustration, illusion and designing in our tertiary institutions. 6. The introduction of Afro-centric tendencies in the study is expected to reshape the thought of both lecturers and students into embracing the African culture. The Researcher recommends that the idea of Afro-centrism must be brought to the door steps of all Africans so that they can appreciate the achievement of traditional African civilization. Africans are unique and must articulate their values through fashion design. The H.N.D. Fashion Programme must be geared toward encouraging students to be proficient in Figure drawing and illustration and this must be a pre-requisite for new entrants. An orientation in the form of workshops must be organized for Polytechnic Tutors at the Fashion Department to enable them to study thesis. Curriculum planners at the Polytechnic level should review the syllabus and course outlines of Figure illustration, illusion and design to cover the ideas advocated in the thesis which are not in the existing syllabus. This thesis must be published and made available for the Polytechnic Fashion students and other beneficiaries. The local dressmakers’ and tailors’ association must organize workshops to educate the way side designers and also update their skills and knowledge from time to time. This thesis will enable them to get acquainted with the growing needs of their clients in this rapid technological era.
A project report submitted to the School of Graduate Studies Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi in partial fulfillment and requirement for award of Master of Arts in Art Education, 2004