Fashion victims?

Another exciting new higher education development

The Evening Standard, along with much of the fashion press (I believe), carries this story about a new fashion and design college:

MOVE over AC Grayling, there’s a new college in town. Magazine publisher Condé Nast is launching a private college for fashion and design next year, which will be a potent rival to the London College of Fashion, Central St Martins and Chelsea, all part of the University of the Arts London.

The Condé Nast College of Fashion & Design will offer its students a year-long “Vogue” fashion foundation course, and “House & Garden” interior design and decoration, with further Masters courses to follow.

The college, which opens in September 2012, will also provide tuition on journalism, luxury brands and business skills, and will be headed by Susie Forbes, editor of Easy Living.

When AC Grayling opened the New College of the Humanities, he came under fire for commercialising education. So how will Condé Nast fare with its branded courses?

In the Independent, there are a few more details including the suggestion that the college will take 300 students a year. And all sources carry this marvellous quote:

“Condé Nast is perfectly placed to enter the world of education,” says Nicholas Coleridge, managing director of Condé Nast. “The reputation and authority of our brands puts us in a strong position to teach and inspire the fashion and decorating talent of the future.”

It’s interesting that this venture really hasn’t generated anything like as much hostility as the New College of the Humanities, despite the potential for significant competition with existing long established providers in London. Perhaps it’s because the proposal isn’t really being taken seriously because no academics seem to be involved. But there is a lot of money behind this (and the former editor of “Easy Living”) and isn’t this exactly what the White Paper was envisaging in opening up higher education to entrants?

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6 thoughts on “Fashion victims?

  1. Wasn’t the NCH furore more about the ‘borrowing’ of course material (at the outset, anyway) and the similarity with existing programmes, at double the cost? the suggestion here is more that something distinctive will be offered. Somebody – perhaps one of the potential competitors, but more likely a post-92 with good links to industry – must be accrediting these courses, but there is no mention of it in the article. Competition from private providers is already pretty strong in this subject area and it might be considered a good thing to be linked to such a brand, as well as potentially providing good quality Master’s students (I know it says they will offer Master’s programmes later, but there is likely to be cross-pollination across programmes accredited by the same institution, particularly if the accrediting institution can offer an interesting fee or better facilities).

  2. I wonder if those ;authoritative’ brands will be attending any PG courses on learning and teaching, or do they have equivalent expernice in helping students learn? Big issues for public/private collaborations (if this is such a beast) involving non-tradtional providers is ensuring comparability with other HE provision and upholding academic quality and standards (particularly in teaching, student support and feedback). This can be costly and difficult to develop given the often very different modes of operation in a commercial entity. It will be interesing to see what transpires.

    • I know that the accrediting institution for a very similar enterprise has insisted on mass participation in a PGCHE, at an additional fee, as a condition of accreditation.

  3. Interesting.

    I think this is the first new private sector venture announced *since* the White Paper, and it seems to be ignoring the UG market in favour of MA and FE-level programmes.

    Do you share my feeling that there is a dog not barking in the night in this case?

  4. All interesting points. Although this is the first post-White Paper ‘private’ to emerge, I do think there will be more (and I would not have put money on this one). I am still perplexed about the apparent absence of any overt academic input from any HEI though. As to what the existing providers must think…

  5. Pingback: Up on the Higher Ed Catwalk | Registrarism

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