Present in China for thirty years, the famous outdoor brand The North Face and IFA Paris began a collaboration in form of a challenge: to achieve a Sportswear mini-collection in record time, by the students of our fashion school.

Jazz notes, electric guitar riffs, rap tempos and electro-pop of well-known hits resonate in room 509, on the 5th floor of the Shanghai campus of the IFA Paris fashion school. Nancy Sinatra, Duran Duran, Britney Fox, Dilated Peoples and Zara Larsson illustrate in music the movie featuring the story of the brand The North Face, extreme adventures and mountain sports brand founded by Douglas Tompkins in 1964, projected on the screen. The students smile. Twelve students precisely selected to take part in the challenge: realizing in a few weeks a Sportwear mini-collection, under real conditions, with the same time and technical constraints as the designers of the American brand.

After two workshops dedicated to marketing and research done by the students of the Bachelor Fashion Marketing program, the time has come for the students of the Bachelor Fashion Design to reveal their drawings and concepts. The work of Ye Chen, called Yeats, 25, originally from Guanghzou in Southern China, was particularly noted. This is the first time I have participated in such a project, she said. My first year of training at IFA Paris allowed me to acquire the right technical bases and now I feel confident to realize and propose these silhouettes. It is difficult but very exciting to try to bring new ideas to The North Face team, which encourage us and gives us advice – I was told, for example, that some of my ideas should be combined. I’ve learned a lot in recent weeks. It is stimulating. My dream is that one of my silhouettes will be selected!

Niamita Gustanto, 19, an Indonesian student from Java (Surabaya) shares the same enthusiasm. Participating in this project is a fantastic opportunity. I designed a set for snowboarding. It is not simple but it is a unique opportunity to learn and understand well the technical considerations involved.

The students are guided during the workshops by two managers of The North Face, who admit being enchanted – the students of IFA Paris having to create their mini-collection within the same time period as the designers of The North Face, in just 2 weeks. We gave them the ideas and the keys, and we are pleasantly surprised by the quality of the creations of the students, says Heddy Hou, Product Development Manager Asia at North Face and director of the project initiated with IFA Paris. They bring so many new ideas and freshness. Everything they create is not necessarily commercial and exploitable, but they are highly motivated and have worked hard. They must keep in mind the pressure of time, and do the maximum now to finalize and succeed! There is a good chance that they will compose an interesting collection!

For more information on the programs involved in this collaboration with The North Face: Bachelor Fashion Design & Technology and Bachelor Fashion Marketing