Meet Anna Perry: Fashion instructor and designer
As a lifelong student of fashion, her passion for learning has fueled her as a student at Iowa State University, and now it influences her passion to teach others the craft. That’s because Anna was once herself a design student, and today, she’s sharing what she has learned with others. Anna is a previous winner of the Lectra Outstanding Graduate Student Award Best of Show, and she is the winner of the 2015 Lectra Outstanding Faculty Designer Award, which are both presented at the ITAA annual conference. She created her winning designs using Lectra’s Modaris® software solution.
CAN YOU TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOUR EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND?
I teach fashion design to students at Colorado State University. I earned my Ph.D. from Iowa State University, my Masters from Shenzhen University and Bachelors from Dalian Polytechnic University. I guess you could say I’m a lifelong student.
WHAT SPARKED YOUR INTEREST IN FASHION AND WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO GO TO THE EDUCATIONAL ROUTE VS. DESIGN?
Well, actually I didn’t choose one or the other. I’m lucky that I am able to do two things that I love the plus, I’m both an instructor and a designer. In fact, I frequently contribute my designs to exhibitions. Fortunately, I’ve had some great successes as a designer, both as a student and as an instructor. As an Iowa State University graduate student, my design portfolio won first prize. I also contribute frequently to exhibitions from New Mexico to Jacksonville, so I’ve been fortunate to have the opportunity to do two of the things I love most.
In particular, I chose a career in education because I enjoy being a student of fashion. I also believe that part of being a great designer and creator is to always be open to learning something new. In turn, I believe we should be willing to teach others what we’ve learned. That’s how the fashion design industry can continue to grow, and it’s also how we can provide the innovation and creative breakthroughs the US is known for delivering.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE THE MOST ABOUT WORKING WITH LECTRA SOLUTIONS?
The fashion industry is in a state of great change now. Manufacturers must operate as efficiently as possible, for example, to meet the demand for fast fashion. Fewer consumers are actually going into brick and mortar stores, and most of all, consumers want more customized designs when they’re shopping for new fashion. That’s why I believe this is a wonderful time to introduce and expand the use of technology in fashion design classrooms. I believe we have so much more to learn when it comes to understanding how technology can make fashion design faster, enhance creativity and help us share designs across departments. Technology is everywhere. It’s in our homes, at our jobs, in our classrooms and even attached to us in the form of a phone or even a watch. Why wouldn’t we use it here also in our fashion design classrooms? We’re using the Modaris software solution in our classrooms, and students have quickly adopted the idea of using them!
IF YOU COULD DESCRIBE LECTRA SOLUTIONS IN 3 WORDS WHAT WOULD THEY BE?
Innovative, fun to use, and helpful!
HOW DO YOUR STUDENTS TYPICALLY REACT TO LECTRA SOLUTIONS WHEN FIRST INTRODUCED TO THEM?
Some of them are a little hesitant at first. Even though they use technology in other aspects of their everyday lives, the idea of using it in the pattern-making classroom takes some getting used to. But once they try it and see what it can do, especially in Modaris, they understand the power of technology and what it can do for their designs.
WHAT KIND OF ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO FASHION STUDENTS/YOUNG EMERGING DESIGNERS?
Well, obviously, pay attention in class, and use this time to develop your unique design style. Keep track of trends happening in the industry. It’s a time of great innovation in design technology, and in times of great change like this, some of the most prolific and amazing discoveries are made.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT IN THE FASHION EVOLUTION?
I believe we’ve only touched the surface of what technology can do to help us create amazing, unique, creative designs. The idea that our students can create their designs on a virtual model and make changes to that design with the click of a mouse is astounding.
WHAT IS THE CRAZIEST, OR FUNNIEST, OUTFIT THAT A STUDENT HAS CREATED USING ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY?
Oh, that’s a tough one. There have been some. But again, I think that’s where the most creative, disruptive, groundbreaking ideas can come. I try to encourage crazy and funny!