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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Part 1 - Fashion School

One way to get a very good working knowledge of the industry is to attend a college that offers courses in fashion design. Here are a few that I know to have a pretty good reputation from my personal experience:

Fashion Institute of Technology
Parsons School of Design
Moore College
Philadelphia University (College of Textiles)
Rhode Island School of Design
Drexel University
The Art Institute

Working in New York, I mainly come across graduates from the above schools since they are all on the east coast. I don't know too much about mid-west and west coast schools.

When selecting a good fashion program you should consider:

teacher experience in the industry - most colleges require 5 + years of experience
4 year program or 2?
internship program
career center
placement rate
program size
class size
are different specializations offered? (knitwear, children's wear, tailoring, lingerie, etc)
culture - is the school in the middle of a city (tons of museums and stores) or in the middle of no where (nothing but a local mall around for miles!)

Many fashion programs are becoming more and more competitive, so having a good portfolio and SAT scores are usually required for most colleges. Depending on the school, the portfolio requirements will be different. Some require a more general portfolio (still life, figure drawing) and others require a strict fashion design portfolio (croquis, flats, inspiration boards). When building a portfolio - don't rush! This should be a collection of your best work from over a period of time.

Going to school full time isn't the only option, night classes and special seminars are also offered at some colleges. Want to learn how to use a knitting machine? FIT offers a weekend course that meet 2 or 3 times. Want to learn Illustrator for fashion? Take a night course 1 night a week for a couple of weeks.

In Part II, I'll discuss in more detail my experience at FIT - some courses I took and the type of assignments I was given. What was useful, what wasn't. How it helped me to prepare for the industry and what I wish they would have told us but didn't.


Amy said...

I'm really looking forward to this series, and this was an excellent start. Thanks for taking the time to write about this!

Purly Whites said...

I'm so glad you are doing this series. It is fascinating, especially since I'm in Seattle and there is zilch of this sort of thing here.

Instead, I just have "Designers! Make it work."

lori z said...

thanks for sharing. its always interesting to hear about people's life journeys, professional and otherwise. I am looking forward to reading more.

my sister started out in fashion school (ryerson in toronto) only to end up realizing that she wasn't interested in becoming a designer. so dropped out in year 2 of 4. that hasn't stopped her from being sucessful in the fashion industry, as she is now a very sucessful producer.

Karin said...

Hi, Great start to the series - I'm looking forward to reading more. (Thank you for advice on "LuckY I think I will go for it!)

Lolly said...

Such a great idea for this series, M. I can't wait to find out more, especially about your own personal experiences at FIT, and in the industry.


Hope you are well!