WMU CEHD upgrades fashion labs and technologies | Arts And Entertainment

Fashion Labs #2

The biggest addition to the new fashion labs is the art pattern plotter printer, used by industry workers to make basic clothing designs and other patterns. 

The Western Michigan University College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) unveiled upgraded fashion technologies for its Department of Family and Consumer Science students, including new construction, design and computer labs. 

According to Chair of the Department of Family & Consumer Sciences Suzan Smith-Ayers, the fashion program was encouraged to update its fashion technology by the Textile and Apparel Programs Accreditation Commission (TAPAC) in 2021. Funds for the facility’s new technologies were given to the department by the Office of the President and the dean’s office in the CEHD after TAPAC’s recommendation. 

WMU received TAPAC accreditation in 2023. 

“What we’re offering are the skills that will prepare [students] to walk into the industry already training and not needing to learn new technology,” Smith-Ayers said. “So the application of what they get in the program will position them incredibly well when they move into the industry.” 

The upgraded facilities include a new computer lab with the industry’s latest software, new table tops for students to cut fabric, a pattern plotter printer and a color touch screen serger. 

With the pattern plotter printer, students are able to program the machine to cut out pieces of fabric in whatever shape they need, rather than taking the time to cut it themselves. The serger pre-sets stitches to create professional grade finishes in a shorter amount of time. 

“It’s going to be extremely helpful and speed up the production process for our garments that we make in the future,” said student Laura Argentati. “I’m excited to use it.” 

These technologies will additionally assist WMU’s fashion registered student organization, the Merchandising Opportunities & Design Association (MODA), with its upcoming spring show. 

“It all fits together very beautifully,” Smith-Ayers said. “It enhances the students’ experiences in ways that are going to be super exciting.” 

A celebration was held Jan. 30 for students, staff and faculty to view and learn about the upgrades. 

To read more about the Fashion Merchandising and Design majors, click here. To learn more about MODA, visit their Instagram

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