Preston fashions new links with Uzbekistan.......what's that all about?

Uzbekistan is set to become the centre of the fashion world- at least as far as students in Preston are concerned.

By Sonja Astbury
Thursday, 26th November 2020, 10:49 am
Updated Thursday, 26th November 2020, 10:54 am
UCLan signed a memorandum of intent with the  Tashkent Institute of Textile and Light Industry (TITLI), in Uzbekhistan via Zoom
UCLan signed a memorandum of intent with the Tashkent Institute of Textile and Light Industry (TITLI), in Uzbekhistan via Zoom

UCLan's fashion students regularly feature on the catwalks at London fashion Week and other national and international events and now the city-based University of Central Lancashire has signed a landmark deal with a fashion institute in the former Soviet nation.

It is all part of a new memorandum of understanding, or MoU, which has been signed between the university and bosses at the Central Asian Tashkent Institute of Textile and Light Industry.

The new link between UCLan and the institute is one of a the new Creative Spark partnerships which have been established by the British Council to help boost relationships between universities and creative industry in both countries.

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UCLan is renowned for its fashion department. This is an example of a campaign back in 2017 by student Caroline Bowden which won an award at Graduate Fashion Week.

The new relationship is expected to lead to new opportunities for young people through the creation of innovation hubs, exposing students to the rigours of business thinking and was formalised to mark international education week through a televised signing.

UCLan vice-chancellor Professor Graham Baldwin said the official agreement was the result a the work it has been doing with TITLI for a number of years.

He added: "Preston and Tashkent have strong historical links with the fashion and textiles industry while UCLan and TITLI also share the same educational values to unlock student potential though real-world teaching and learning.

"We hope that our experience in teaching fashion-related programmes for more than 50 years can help Uzbekistan to develop its own leaders to manage, explore and enhance its own fashion industries in what is a fast-emerging economy.

"In return, we hope to increase our own knowledge and research base in the area of modest fashion which is a real growth area for western countries."

Richard Everitt, regional director education and society, Wider Europe added: "We are delighted the British Council’s Creative Spark programme has supported the partnership between these two institutions.

"Between them they have almost 300 years of education experience to draw on to innovate together for the future."

The televised signing of the agreement took place at the Uzbek Embassy in London via Zoom,

The TITLI was set up in 1932 and its academic departments specialise in skills related to primary cotton processing, spinning, weaving and silk technology.

Since 2019, the institute has enrolled students on undergraduate, postgraduate and PhD level programmes in the areas of mechanical engineering, knitwear, weaving, spinning, sewing and shoe production, cotton refining; as well as for the silk industry, chemical, printing and paper industries. It currently has around 4,000 students.