Fashion goes International in Birmingham

Links into Languages

13th December 2010


The Clothes Show was not the only fashion show in town this week. Over 250 students from schools in Birmingham, Shropshire and Warwickshire have been cutting their teeth (and cloth) in the world of haute couture in a project titled ‘Fashion International’. Taking their inspiration from Paris Fashion Week, proud team members showcased the results of their activities at Oakland Young People’s Centre in Handsworth yesterday, which included fashion magazines and industry role-plays using their French language skills.

Launched in October by international fashion expert Kim Knowles MBE, the initiative is part of the government-funded LinkedUp Award Scheme which in the West Midlands works in partnership with Aston University. This has seen language teachers nationwide collaborate on innovative language learning projects. Kim spoke to students about the value of languages in the world of fashion and encouraged them to keep up these skills to improve their future career prospects. “Fashion is an extremely exciting and competitive global industry and talking to the pupils through the LinkedUp Award Scheme allowed me to highlight the importance of languages. I really hope that they enjoyed hearing about my experiences in designing and building brands, selling to international markets and building a business. Who knows, perhaps we were talking to the next Paul Smith!”

Keen to share their experience, members of the Fashion International team talked to language teachers from other schools in the area about the different challenges they had been set, and how they worked across different subjects including Design and Technology, and ICT. Expert judges from the industry awarded a prize for the most creative and innovative fashion magazine, which went to Small Heath School for their beautifully presented publication which included an in-depth look at the comparisons between Asian and European fashions. Imed Belhouche, a French teacher at Small Heath, said "we are absolutely thrilled that our students have won this award and it really does reflect how excited they were about the fashion project and how hard they have worked on it."

Winners or not, it’s clear that the project was an exciting and rewarding experience for students and teachers alike. Jarjish from Broadway School commented, “I learned valuable facts about France and the fashion industry.

I also got to work with students from other schools and we worked together as a team. A truly enjoyable afternoon.” Head of Languages Cornelia Smith at Queen Elizabeth School added that the project “has been a great success, opening pupils' minds to new careers whilst giving them higher aspirations and real reasons for studying foreign languages in today's competitive world of work.”


Notes to editors

Links into Languages West Midlands

Links West Midlands is one of nine Links Regional Centres, a nationally co-ordinated network based in universities in each of the nine English regions. They offer a programme of Links core and regional professional development courses, as well as drop-in facilities, networking opportunities, and access to resources. Links West Midlands is supported by a network of Links Local Centres, making professional development opportunities available to all, regardless of where they live. www.linksintolanguages.ac.uk/westmidlands


For further information contact Lawrence Heath, University Communications on 0121 204 4547


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