What to do after retiring from AMFI? Linnemore Nefdt did not had to think twice when she was asked to be part of a pilot project in Lima, Peru!
Article & photos by Linnemore Nefdt.
A dream assignment in Lima, Peru – assisting a fledgeling Fashion Design and Management department at a prominent university, UPC Universidad Peruana de Ciencas Applicadas where they are encouraged to also speak English! My role was part of a bigger pilot project, lead by Dutch designer/product developer Louk Grauwen and is backed by the Dutch government. It proposes to assist SMEs (small and medium businesses) in creating their own upscale brands to appeal to the international fashion market. The development of the fashion curriculum towards an internationally focused aesthetic based on authentic values can then provide the brands with local talent and altogether lead to an improved image of the Peruvian garment industry and thus market position.
AMFI was approached to participate in the curriculum development part and luckily Yma van den Born, heading AMFI’s Industry Partners Office, invited me to lead it (retired but not tired). Louk Grauwen liked what I had to say when we met up, so off we went on the first of two ‘missions’ – as the government calls them. During that first orientation visit I spread my enthusiasm for Amfi’s many fantastic semester projects. One of these, Prototype, caught their fancy as a totally new approach to thinking and working. We decided to try a ‘quick and nasty version’ out on a combined group of students and teachers in a week-long workshop during the second visit.
Then the problems started. Lima is far away and one can use social media, but choosing fabrics without actually being able to feel them can get very difficult. Finding half scale dolls also became a nightmare until the Dean of AMFI (at that time Souraya Bouwmans-Sarraf, now Irene Sparreboom- red.) jumped to the rescue and supplied 16 of the beautiful dolls Mikki Engelsbel had developed. Unfortunately, they arrived on the second afternoon of what turned out to be a four (grrrr…) instead of five day work week.
Luckily my wonderful group took this in their stride and worked on the full-scale dolls they were used to. It just slowed down the experimental process. The group consisted of 16 members with different experience levels and not everybody was available all the time, which also proved to be a bit of a challenge. The beauty was that despite all the setbacks, the enthusiasm for this methodology was evident and the freedom they felt to express themselves in this way was great! They wanted more – so this experiment made clear that AMFI’s methods could be what the school in Lima is looking for. So once back in Amsterdam we subsequently drew up the project plan for the next two years, though at the moment it is how it will pan out, due to organizational and financial challenges. Let’s hope for the best and that more AMFI teachers and students can join the experiment!
More info on the UPC Universidad Peruana de Ciencas Applicadas on this website.