YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP launches new online class ‘Designs on Coding’

December 9, 2019

To counter these findings, YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP, the world leader in online luxury and fashion, is launching a free online class – ‘Designs on Coding’ – available from 9th-15th December, to coincide with the global “Hour of Code” initiative.

The online class has been developed to help build confidence in computing skills amongst young people, regardless of geography. It will demystify the basics of code through short and engaging creative challenges, reflecting YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP’s aim to nurture diverse talent at the intersection of technology and fashion.

Rosemary Hitchcock, Head of Technology at YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP, said: “Creativity and computer skills are intrinsically connected but sometimes it can be hard to clearly see how tech skills facilitate careers in fashion. We want ‘Designs on Coding’ to challenge misconceptions many young people have that technology isn’t for them and offer a fun introduction to show how coding can be fundamental in a creative process.”

‘Designs on Coding’ does not require any prior coding knowledge. Developed to broaden understanding around coding and its relevance to the fashion industry, the class encourages learning through doing. Key tasks include changing the colour and scale of textile patterns by utilising core Python concepts such as lists, strings, variables and functions.

Inspired by the YouGov research, YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP and TuringLab created the online course as an extension of YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP’s work with Imperial College London’s Department of Computing, Imperial CodeLab.

Susan Eisenbach, Professor of Computing at Imperial College London commented: “Since the beginning of our partnership with YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP, our aim with Imperial CodeLab has been to break down barriers and inspire diversity in the fashion and technology sector. Creating access to an online version of the class will unlock opportunity for more young people from varying backgrounds, regardless of location.”

The YouGov survey of over 1,000 young women aged 18-25 years old across the UK, US and Italy highlights that only 23% of young women surveyed consider themselves to be tech savvy. The research also shows that, when embarking on their careers, 35% of young women surveyed would be discouraged from taking a role in tech, as they believe they lack the right experience.

The research reveals that less than a quarter of respondents consider tech skills important to fashion careers such as buying and designing (23%). 25% of those surveyed do not believe they are “the type of person” to work in tech and 17% cite lack of confidence to take on a tech role.  The 2019 results build on similar research carried out by the Group in 2018**, in which only 8% of young women ages 11-16 years old believed technology careers to have a role to play in fashion.

Imperial CodeLab runs a programme of weekly coding lessons throughout the year, teaching children across the capital the basics of coding. Since the start of the programme in 2017, 69% of those attending the courses have been girls. 

Imperial CodeLab is a part of YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP’s comprehensive, international Digital Education programme, along with Fondazione Golinelli in Bologna, Italy. With initiatives such as Imperial Codelab’s Hackathon organised in July 2018 at the YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP Tech Hub in London, which saw a Royal Visit from HRH The Prince of Wales, and summer coding camps with Fondazione Golinelli, the Digital Education programme educated 3,400 young people in 2018 and over 5,400 children since 2016. In 2018, 55% of those trained were girls and 67% of the children attending the Imperial CodeLab powered by YOOX NET-A-PORTER classes were inspired to study computer science at GCSE level.

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