Small, is the new big

Friday, October 8, 2010, I spent the day at West Virginia University’s School for Fashion and Merchandizing in Morgantown, WV. I am on an industrial advisory board that is designed to help the department in rewriting and orienting the curriculum so that students have a greater opportunity to get a job in their field. In one year, the school has made great strides. They recently acquired a computerized sizing device which takes hundreds of quantitative photos and measures the body for fitting. They now have professional sewing machines from Juki including a buttonhole machine, button attaching machine, overlock, serger and more. Also, the school recently set up a master and a doctorate program.

On Friday, we discussed the future of the students and what they need when they graduate. This advisory board is made up of manufacturers, retailers, educators and engineers. Our goal is to enable the school to create a niche in an ever-changing global economy and become more competitive. We feel that it is important to give them a corporate view and an entrepreneurial slant. In the US right now the apparel industry is sort of disappearing. Big companies are becoming rarer, so it is the small company that is becoming more important. A small business that is niche-based and flexible can be a big influence and survive. As noted by Kenneth King, the couture designer and one of the board members, “Small, is the new big.”

Doug Kreinik

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