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Out in the classroom

Carole Sloan -- Home Textiles Today, December 1, 2003

It's time to stop and think and look ahead to the future of the domestic textiles business.

For any and all of you who plan to continue in the home furnishings business for any length of time, and especially in anything that has to do with home textiles from the those in the most snooty decorator fabrics to Wal-Mart we need prices lower than ever — this is a critical time.

Harken to what is happening at FIT, known officially as Fashion Institute of Technology in downtown Manhattan. As its name implies, the home area hasn't been a priority — although there is a home merchandising segment — and its overall fabric program has been troubled for some time.

Fortunately, with a lot of internal dedication and industry involvement, times are a changin'— and definitely for the better.

A recent meeting at FIT brought together industry, faculty, graduates and students to discuss the broad issues involving textile education. What emerged was a clear understanding of the good stuff that these kids have learned and their passion for their futures in the textiles world.

They're not bashful about speaking up and articulating the positives and negatives about their education and the industry where they hope to spend their business lives.

What definitely appears to be needed is active participation from the domestic textile world — not just apparel folks who participate more than the home side, but involved participation from the home textiles world.

These kids need visits to markets, the remaining domestic mills, the many design centers and on and on that can easily be sponsored by the folks up and down Fifth and Sixth Avenues as well as in the eastern part of the country.

And goodness knows, they sure could use examples of products from the latest technologies in the market to hone their skills.

But they also need to have the support of this industry in their education.

Don't forget. They are the future.

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