Newly renovated Industrial Sewing Laboratory officially opened

Posted on May 16, 2024

"Innovation and excellence come to mind when thinking of the Department of Consumer and Food Sciences at the University of Pretoria". This sentiment was expressed by Prof Barend Erasmus, Dean of the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, during the recent opening of the newly renovated Industrial Sewing Lab.

Prof Erasmus officially opened the facility with 36 industrial sewing machines and 18 industrial overlockers purchased from Bernina. He emphasised how the Department of Consumer and Food Sciences excels in teaching, learning, and research activities. "This Department has strong industry and community links and responds to challenges with their excellent qualifications and research."

Prof Erasmus added that he is very impressed with the spirit with which the Department operates. "For example, the Department has consistently submitted the most contributions from NAS (all eight editions) to the University's Re.Search magazine – since the publication's inception". He also underlined the importance of sustainability and keeping in mind where the raw materials come from and who we are dealing with. "How do we approach the sustainability challenge?" he reminded all present.

Back: Dr Lizette Diedericks, Prof Gyebi Duodu, Prof Suné Donoghue, and Prof Barend Erasmus (front) getting first-hand exposure to the new sewing machines.

The Department's internationally benchmarked Clothing Retail Management degree combines design, clothing construction, fashion, textiles, consumer behaviour, retail and merchandising modules with various marketing and business modules to prepare students for the exciting and ever-changing clothing industry. This vocational programme balances theory, practical application, and experiential training. As the programme exposes students to the entire clothing supply chain, they can specialise in a particular area of interest once they graduate.

The function was attended by industry and community engagement partners of the Clothing Division of the department, including Bernina, Woolworths, Mr Price, Truworths, Clothes to Good and Falke. Bernina very kindly assisted the Department by keeping the equipment in storage throughout the lab renovation period.

Prof Gyebi Duodu, Head of the Department of Consumer and Food Sciences, shared his insights on how this R4.1 million project evolved after the Faculty Executive Committee visited the Department two years ago. "They took note of our equipment needs and our vision to upgrade facilities to ensure state-of-the-art teaching and learning for our students." Prof Duodu thanked everybody involved in getting this project off the ground and finishing it timeously.

Prof Suné Donoghue, a professor in Consumer Science, extended a word of thanks to all parties involved with the project upgrade. She shared that the Department donated tables and chairs from the previous clothing construction lab to the Magalies School for Secondary Pre-Vocational Training to use in their newly built upholstery workshop – yet another example of sustainability.

The guests had the opportunity to tour the newly renovated Industrial Sewing Lab and the existing Textile Lab, Pattern Drafting Lab, and Small-Scale Production Lab.


From left: Mr Phillip Barron (Woolworths), Prof Barend Erasmus (Dean), Mr Ivan Stevens (Bernina) and Mr Quintus Koster (Bernina).

- Author Martie Meyer

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