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Dias brings new perspectives to Department of Design
Rebecca Dias joined the fashion design program as an assistant professor in the fall of 2019 and is excited about her future with Radford University. She plans to introduce mindfulness and meditation, sustainability awareness and social justice topics to students taking her courses in the Department of Design.
Dias has had a passion for design since an early age. The recent Colorado State University graduate said that she always found herself sketching in class when she was attending grade school in her home country of India. “I would critique my own work. That’s how I ended up growing as a designer,” she said. Her career path started at an early age when her eighth grade teacher noticed her drawings and suggested that she pursue a career in fashion design. “Once she said that, everything just started falling into place because I knew that there was nothing else that I was as passionate about,” said Dias.
Dias will teach a variety of fashion design courses. During her first semester at Radford she is teaching a senior studio class, a sophomore studio class and a class on media presentation. According to Dias, both studio classes consist of a great deal of hands-on work and are specifically aimed at students majoring in fashion design. In her media presentation course students are learning how to create posters using software tools such as Adobe Photoshop.
Dias says her drive to become an educator stems from her desire to have a positive impact on the world. “After graduate school I learned a lot more about the [fashion] industry and I wanted to contribute more to society. That's what drew me to teach,” said Dias, who strives to have more of a direct impact on people entering the industry. She hopes to make designers aware of the clothing industry’s environmental impact and wants to instill mindfulness in students entering the field as opposed to merely fueling raw consumerism in her classrooms. According to Dias, there is a substantial amount of research which demonstrates that the fashion industry is one of the largest polluters in the world. “We don’t really know the back story of the industry, which is why we need to inform consumers about it,” said Dias.
Beyond advocating awareness of the industry and its actions, Dias has been researching sustainability practices and is exploring ways to get the campus involved. She is looking into the possibility of starting a campus thrift store, having clothing swaps or maybe even establishing repair cafes for damaged clothing.
“We are so lucky to have Ms. Dias join our faculty and design team,” said Dr. Holly Cline, Chair of the Department of Design. “Her real world expertise and command of fashion design will take our program in exciting new directions.”
One of those new directions Dias is planning will include in-class meditation sessions. She has been practicing meditation for nearly three years and sees it as a tool for staying focused and being more productive. “It has also helped me calm myself down to deal with anxiety, depression and more,” she stated. “Being able to incorporate it into my classroom will allow students to gain from it as well.”
Outside of work Dias likes to engage in artistic activities such as painting, drawing or playing music. She makes it a point to do at least one of these activities for an hour each day, as it helps her relax and unwind. Cooking is another one of her joys, and she does this often in order to have home-cooked, Indian comfort foods readily available.
Dias says she is enjoying her newfound home at Radford University. “Although I am new to the area and the university, I already feel at home here and I love it! The people and the place have made me feel so comfortable, that I can honestly say Radford is my home and my heart belongs to it.”