After nearly a century in rural Central Alberta, Olds College’s fashion programs are moving to the bright lights of Calgary.
The college announced on Thursday that it is relocating its two-year fashion marketing certificate program and eight-month apparel technology diploma program to a new campus in downtown Calgary. Some students will begin attending classes there in January, although most will make the switch next September.
Morgan Ross, chair of Olds College’s School of Business, said the new location — which will be called the Fashion Institute — presents a great opportunity for Olds College and Alberta’s fashion industry.
“We envision Calgary becoming the centre for apparel and fashion-related activity in Western Canada,” he said. “The establishment of the Fashion Institute will serve as an economic catalyst for increased activity in this sector.”
Currently, there are about 100 students in Olds College’s fashion programs. Ross thinks this figure could more than double over the next few years.
“I believe that there’s incredible potential in that marketplace.
“Fashion is really an urban phenomenon, more so than a rural phenomenon.”
Olds College’s fashion programs’ origins date back nearly a century. They evolved out of the agricultural college’s home economics program.
Ross said that in the past they had more of a “hobby flavour,” with domestic machines used.
“The movement to Calgary is going to be more of a focus toward an industrial training,” he said. “So more of an emphasis on the fashion industry as opposed to home-sewing or sewing for the hobbyist.
“It’s quite a historic change.”
Despite the Fashion Institute name, the programs will continue to be marketed as Olds College offerings — capitalizing on the college’s history and reputation.
“It’ll be a co-branding effort,” said Ross.