University of Fashion Blog

Posts by: Francesca Sterlacci

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Francesca Sterlacci is the CEO of University of Fashion (UoF) which she founded in 2008 as the first on-demand online fashion video library bringing the art and craft of fashion design and business to schools, libraries, organizations and the general public. As owner of her eponymous label for ten years, her collection sold in fine stores such as Bergdorf Goodman, Saks, Barneys and Nordstrom. As a professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology for 11 years, she became Chair of the Fashion Design Department where she initiated the complete revision of their AAS and BFA degree programs, as well as wrote three certificate programs: Leather Fashion Design, Outerwear and Haute Couture. Francesca has also taught graduate level fashion design at the Academy of Art University San Francisco for six years, both on site and online. Her publishing accomplishments include: Leather Apparel Design, the Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry (First and Second Editions), the A-Z of the Fashion Industry, Leather Fashion Design and a 3-volume beginner series on Draping, Pattern Making and Sewing designed to complement the UoF lessons. She has also made literary contributions to both the Encyclopedia of Clothing & Fashion and You Can Do It! The Merit Badge Handbook for Women. Francesca holds an AAS, BA and an MSEd (master’s degree in higher education).

Catch UoF at the Upcoming American Library Association Annual Conference

university of Fashion's American Library Association Makerspace announcement

If you find yourself in or near San Diego, California, from June 27th thru July 1st, then please stop by booth #2653 at the American Library Association’s Annual Conference & Exhibition, held at the San Diego Convention Center (111 Harbor Drive).

Librarians, teachers and students from high schools, colleges, public libraries and makerspaces from around the world gather annually at the ALA Annual Conference & Exhibition to participate in discussions on timely and enduring issues related to the ever-evolving role of libraries. They get updates on relevant legislation and policies relating to books and libraries, as well as learn the latest trends in book publishing and online technologies. Approximately 25,ooo people attend the ALA conference, which includes in depth information on educational programming, created and curated by library professionals, and their Library Marketplace where exhibitors share the latest in products, services, titles, authors and technology.

Full Registration rates to attend the 5-day show vary, based on whether you are an ALA Member ($520) or Non-Member ($720), an Other-Member (non-salaried, retired, student, support staff or trustee – $320) or an International Member ($360) or Non-Member ($540). You could also choose to attend one day only (ALA Member $295, Other-Member $195 or Non-Member $395).

As part of the Full Registration package, you have access to educational programming; exhibitors and LIVE stages in the Library Marketplace; Opening and Closing sessions; ALA President’s Program; Featured Speakers; the Job Placement Center; and so much more. Full Registration covers Thursday, June 27 thru Tuesday, July 2, and all sessions except for Preconferences and optional Ticketed Events.

 

poster frame of the ALA - Library Marketplace showing exhibits, stages & resources

The Library Marketplace at the American Library Association Annual Conference with over 550 exhibitors, including University of Fashion. (Image Credit: ALAannual.org).

A less expensive option is to attend ALA’s Library Marketplace (Saturday, Sunday and Monday) which is priced at $159 thru June 21st, or $179 onsite. At the Library Marketplace you’ll gain access to more than 550 exhibitors (of which UoF is one) and you will be able to interact with representatives from book publishing houses, book sellers and online services and technologies. You’ll hear from exciting authors and illustrators on eight live, genre-specific stages. You’ll be able to meet various authors and take photos or have your favorite books autographed. Some of the other attractions are ALA’s new STEAM Pavilion! and The Beach @ALA! In addition, you may be able to pick up ARCs (advanced release copies of books), explore donated original artwork and handmade quilts from the ALA Biblio-quilters at the Christopher J. Hoy Scholarship Silent Auction.

 

MEET THE UOF TEAM – LEARN ABOUT OUR NEWEST FASHION VIDEOS

We are so excited to be exhibiting at the ALA conference this year and welcome the opportunity to not only meet our current schools and public librarians, (many who have been subscribers since 2013), but look forward to showing off our University of Fashion online fashion education video library to everyone else! You’ll get a chance to meet our sales team, Myna Dorfman and Margaret Lester and UoF’s co-founders Francesca Sterlacci and Jeffrey Purvin. You’ll get to hear about our newest lessons, our companion books, our certificate program, our makerspace programs, our school, group and library free trials and discounts, as well as what we have in store for UoF going forward. Oh, and be sure to stop by our booth (#2653) to pick up your free gift!

poster frame of University of Fashion list of lesson disciplines and books.

VIEW OUR COMPANION 3-BOOK BEGINNER TECHNIQUES SERIES: DRAPING, PATTERN MAKING & SEWING

 

LEARN ABOUT OUR MAKERSPACE OPPORTUNITIES

University of Fashion is celebrating its 16th year in business. Over the years, our content and our instructors have been involved in a number of arts & craft workshops, makerspaces, career-based lecture events, after school programs and youth summer camps.

Libraries from around the world, having been using UoF to create makerspaces to attract career-minded patrons who don’t have the time or who can’t afford or gain access to traditional career or trade education. They are also a vehicle for community-building.

A fashion-focused makerspace attracts patrons interested in learning how to design and make clothes, how to repair, upcycle or recycle old clothes and how to create new fashion designs, both on paper and on computer. Other goals for creating makerspaces are: personal skill development, career opportunities and potential entrepreneurship.

See ya at the show!eam of UoF

 

poster frame of University of Fashion Makerspaces

University of Fashion – a great content resource for library makerspaces

The Future of Fashion Education

image of The Future of Fashion Education As the founder of University of Fashion, a former fashion design professor/chairperson at FIT (18 years) and a graduate level instructor at Academy of Art University (6 years), as well as a fashion entrepreneur with an eponymous brand for ten years, I am often asked about the future of fashion education as it relates to the needs of the current fashion industry. Although my thoughts have changed over the years, as our industry has moved further into technology, one thing remains constant – teaching solid foundational skills are a MUST!

Before the advent of the computer, high schools taught students how to sew. Eventually, both sewing and art classes were replaced with computer science classes, leaving many aspiring creatives to fend for themselves. If a high school was even lucky enough to keep an art class, those instructors were ill-equipped to mentor students in the fashion arts, especially when it involved preparing a portfolio for a fashion college application. Enter University of Fashion (UoF), a fashion education learning platform that brought college-level fashion education to everyone in 2008.

Since then, UoF has not only been assisting and educating high school and college teachers and students, but we have expanded our reach to trade associations, industry personnel and, through our library partnerships, to their patrons and makerspaces. By offering a certificate for any/all lessons completed at UoF, students get the benefit of working toward a goal for their efforts.

Where online learning was once a stepchild to onsite learning, the pandemic proved otherwise. We at UoF like to think that we were trailblazers in this space. It was with great pride that at the start of the pandemic that we offered our lesson content for free to all high schools and colleges so that their instructors could finish out the academic term. Since then, many schools have become UoF subscribers and are using our content in hybrid classrooms, as well as a supplement to their existing curriculum.

In addition to our schools, groups, and libraries, UoF has spurred a cohort of fashionpreuneurs who have started their own brands, many in the sustainable design space. With the downsizing of the global fashion industry from the 90s to the present, and due to seismic shifts in consumer behavior, the number of available jobs, compared to the amount of fashion college graduates attempting to enter the work force, has greatly diminished. Therefore, many aspiring designers are opting to start their own businesses. It’s the new normal.

TECHNICAL SKILLS NEVER GO OUT OF STYLE

Image of Sue Lamoreaux a top recruiter

Sue Lamoreaux – Managing Director at Solomon Page (Image credit: Solomon Page)

In a recent UoF blogpost, the fashion industry’s top recruiter, Sue Lamoreaux of Solomon Page stated:

I know many graduates of design schools who needed supplementary technical construction training, since many of the schools don’t spend enough time in the semester honing the craft. I always recommend taking that needed course with University of Fashion so you can be confident in your skills. Prospective employers expect you to know garment construction and specs before you start working and not to be learning/teaching on the job.”Solomon Page banner

As a former professor at FIT and chairperson, I’ve had firsthand knowledge at how challenging it can be to find teachers who possess the required technical skills to teach in the classroom. I also discovered how resistant to change faculty can be when it comes to updating curriculum, embracing technology and including sustainability classes. In fact, it took a total of eight years to revamp FIT’s AAS and BFA curriculum as curriculum committee chair and later as department chair. That is not a formula for success, for both the school and the student. Things need to change.

ARE DESIGN SCHOOLS DESIGNERSAURS? 
image of Simon Ungless

Simon Ungless – former Director of Fashion at Academy of Art University San Francisco (Image credit: SFGATE)

One of the first fashion educators to question the role fashion education plays within the fashion industry was Simon Ungless, who in 2018 was the Director of Fashion at the Academy of Art University. Referring to fashion college students, Ungless was quoted in 1 Granary as saying, We are setting them up for an industry that doesn’t exist.

Ungless also stated: “The fashion education system is outdated. In an industry where fame and celebrity are valued more than raw skill, it is apparent that PR cannot provide the longevity young graduates require to sustain a brand. In this ego-centric habitat, we must question whether what fashion institutions provide is more self-serving to the university as a business than to their students’ skill sets. Press show runways provide an unhelpful conclusion to a degree. Early coverage is dubious: premature, immediate exposure can damage graduates’ prospects. Fashion education needs to be more introspective than promotion-centered.

“I’ve been in education quite a long time now and I see the desperate need for change”.   Simon Ungless

Ungless left fashion education in 2023. In a 2024 WWD interview he said, “I think education globally has turned into just another level of toxic business. Fill seats, pass people through classes, nobody fails. You know, resources cut, cut, cut, cut, cut. I’ve lost so many of my team — 17 in one day. And then just the expectation that I could keep going.

Today, he questions the viability of the system with so many more fashion programs graduating students each year to fewer opportunities and more debt.

Since stepping down from his position at AAU, Ungless has created his own line, When Simon Met Ralph (@whensimonmetralph). His company focuses on fashion, textiles, accessories and home products with a sustainable bend. All items, prints and treatments are one of a kind and are designed to lengthen the lifespan of vintage, discarded or deadstock products. He is also the first artist-in-residence at Atelier Jolie in NYC. Ungless is doing what should be taught in fashion schools and he has the skills to do it!

DECIPHERING THE DESIGN SCHOOL OF TOMORROW

Image of Steven Faerm, author and professor at Parsons

Last month, I had a chance to speak with Parsons professor Steven Faerm about the future of fashion education. I received a copy of his new book Introduction to Design Education: Theory, Research, and Practical Applications for Educators and was most impressed. In his book, Steven Faerm examines the future of U.S. design education and how it will transform teaching and learning. According to Prof. Faerm, “It will come as no great shock to read global fashion education is, well, at a crossroads, to put it mildly. Since the emergence of COVID-19 in 2020, nearly every design school has been rattled to its core. We continue to feel reverberations while squinting ahead through an opaque fog to learn what’s in store—and how to best prepare.”

image of Steven Faern's book, Introduction to Design Education

Introduction to Design Education: Theory, Research, and Practical Applications for Educators by Steven Faerm

Prof. Faerm is a veteran fashion designer and educator. A graduate of Parsons School of Design, he has worked for numerous designers, including Donna Karan and Marc Jacobs. He began teaching at Parsons as an adjunct faculty member in 1998 and, shortly after his transition into education full time in 2005, he served as the Program Director of Parsons’ esteemed undergraduate fashion design program while completing two graduate degrees in education. Both of his textbooks about fashion design are featured on international college-level required reading lists, and his scholarly work is widely circulated in academic journals and editorial publications.

Throughout his career, Faerm has become a frequent guest educator around the world, having taught and lectured for Harvard University (he is an alumnus), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), The University of Buenos Aires, Polimoda, Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology (BIFT), Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), and scores of other institutions.

QUESTIONS DESIGN SCHOOLS MUST ANSWER

For fashion educators, these past few years have amplified key questions about the future of design education.

  • What is the future of design higher education?
  • How can educators, administrators, advisors, and deans devise a more viable, sustainable future?
  • In what ways will the shifting political, social, economic, and cultural norms transform our academic environments?
  • How can we better understand, attract, train, and retain top faculty and students?
  • In what manner is the role of the design educator evolving?
  • How can we prepare for this increasingly complex, multi-faceted role?

If these questions feel daunting, rest assured support is here. In Introduction to Design Education, Faerm offers remarkable insights and speculations that will benefit fashion educators and administrators alike. The book, which is at the forefront of advanced research, addresses these and many other complex, pressing questions that face design education both today and tomorrow.

According to Prof. Faerm, the idea for Introduction to Design Education grew out of his 20-plus years of mentoring faculty at Parsons and other design schools around the world. “As teachers in design higher education, we are typically hired for our professional experiences and/or our scholarly research. It’s widely assumed by school administrators that because we know how to do ‘X,’ we know how to teach ‘X.’ Over and over, design teachers are hired and then dropped into a classroom without any preparation or training. They’re left to ‘figure it out’ on their own—just as I was!” Faerm said via telephone interview. His past experience (which will feel familiar to many readers) is discussed in his recent article for Harvard University’s Ed Magazine. In it, Faerm cites the dire need for design schools to fortify their faculty with advanced pedagogical training—the core thesis of this new book.

In my opinion, Introduction to Design Education is an outstanding contribution to the field of design education and a great start to the process for change within the fashion ed community. It is a must-read for anyone teaching design today. The book has great potential to transform, for the better, the ways in which design schools and their constituents operate, plan, and remain relevant in the years ahead. Professor Faerm has delivered a formidable, compelling book that is expertly researched, beautifully written, and remarkably insightful from start to finish. What distinguishes Faerm’s contribution to the vast library of books and articles about teaching is his contextualization of pedagogical strategies with the emergent Gen Z student’s unique attributes, values, and beliefs. His is not a “one-size-fits-all” guide to teaching so much as it is about how future design schools, and their faculty can bolster their current practices while adopting and activating new, more effective ones that directly target this increasingly complex demographic.

Readers will undoubtedly find it enlightening and gain significant idea, tools, and concepts that they can directly apply to their careers and design classrooms today and in the future. No matter their level of experience in design education, there isn’t a teacher out there who will not have their teaching greatly enhanced, strengthened, and even revolutionized by this book.

image of Francesca Sterlacci, founder of University of Fashion

Francesca Sterlacci- Founder University of Fashion (Image credit: University of Fashion)

As the founder of the first and largest online fashion education platform, I join my colleagues, Sue Lamoreaux, Simon Ungless and Steven Faerm in promoting change within the fashion education industry. It is my belief that as the fashion industry changes, we need to change, despite how hard as it is for many fashion schools to accept change. Fashion education should be inclusive, flexible, affordable, and not leave students with fewer job opportunities and in debt. These core principles have always been our   mission at University of Fashion.

Respectfully,

Francesca Sterlacci, Founder/CEO University of Fashion

UoF Launches Adaptive Fashion Series

Poster frames of UoF 5 lesson Adaptive fashion seriesUniversity of Fashion launches their 5-part Adaptive Fashion Series taught by Tracy Vollbrecht of Vollbrecht Adaptive Consulting (Photo courtesy: University of Fashion)

Did you know that there are more clothing options available for dogs than there are for people with disabilities? It took a long time coming, but the fashion industry is finally addressing the needs of the disability community, which is known today as Adaptive Fashion.

Thanks to our expert Tracy Vollbrecht, the University of Fashion is launching its 5-part Adaptive Fashion series to help educate the industry in the Adaptive Fashion marketplace. Our new series covers: the history adaptive fashion, how to design & develop adaptive fashion and how to merchandise and market product for the adaptive fashion consumer.

Headshot of Tracy Vollbrecht - instructor at UoF

Tracy Vollbrecht of Vollbrecht Adaptive Consulting and University of Fashion instructor (Image courtesy: Vollbrecht Adaptive Consulting)

Our series begins with the terminology used when referring to various types of disabilities. Ms. Vollbrecht also offers a downloadable Terms and Definitions document to help understand  appropriate language and terms used is this specialized market segment.

Molly Farrell, a white woman with brown hair, is shown in this photo wearing ULEX, one of the brands Tracy designed and helped launch. Molly is wearing a royal blue wrap cardigan and gray pants, while seated on bleachers. She is smiling brightly and her pink forearm crutches are visible in the photo.

Adaptive fashion designed by Tracy Vollbrecht for Yarrow featured on the Canadian TV show Fashion Dis (Image courtesy: Tracy Vollbrecht)

Ms. Vollbrecht’s history of the adaptive market covers such innovators as Helen Cookman, who in 1955, began researching the market potential of adaptable clothing at New York University’s Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation after being recommended for the role by New York Times style editor Virginia Pope. Cookman would spend the next four years developing a collection called Functional Fashions, which was a collection of 17 items designed to help disabled people dress independently. However, Ms. Vollbrecht explains that upon the passing of Helen Cookman and Virginia Pope the functional fashion movement began to fade and was replaced with clothing intended to make dressing easier for the elderly. It wouldn’t be until 2004-2007 that The Adaptive Fashion Showroom and the company Wheeliechix-Chic, founded by Louisa Summerfield, came into being and would take adaptive fashion to the next level.

Monica Engle Thomas, a white woman with curly auburn hair, is shown in this photo wearing a white Yarrow sleeveless button down that Tracy designed. Monica sits in her black and white manual wheelchair. She also wears sunglasses and jeans, while holding the leash to her small dog.

Monica Engle Thomas wearing a white Yarrow sleeveless button down designed by Tracy Vollbrecht (Image courtesy: Yarrow)

Tracy Vollbrecht Interview

UoF founder  Francesc Sterlacci sat down with Tracy Vollbrecht to learn why she became interested in designing for the adaptive market and her thoughts on where the market is headed.

Francesca: Were you formally trained as a fashion designer and if so, where? What motivated you to pursue a career in adaptive fashion?

Tracy: I am! I graduated from Kent State University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design. At Kent, I had the opportunity to conduct research on adaptive fashion, which was still in its second-wave infancy. I say second-wave as there was a first wave of adaptive fashion in the 60s (check out the history of adaptive fashion lesson to learn more!). Within the research I conducted, I spoke to over 75 people with varying disabilities to learn about their challenges with clothing. My research culminated in a universally designed collection shown at Kent’s annual fashion show, a published research paper, and presenting my research at various conferences, including the International Textile and Apparel Association’s annual conference. The work I did at Kent showed me that clothing challenges weren’t just an issue my dad, who had MS, had experienced, but an issue that so many people face. This motivates me every day to continue the work I do – clothing should allow everyone to express themselves and feel good, not just some of us.

Francesca: How in demand are designers with adaptive fashion expertise? How did you connect with the companies that you have designed for in this space?

Tracy: Unfortunately, adaptive fashion is still very much a niche portion of the fashion industry, which is what myself and others are working to change. There isn’t a high demand for adaptive fashion designers yet. I’m hopeful that the niche will grow and there will be more demand for designers, merchandisers, buyers, marketers, etc with adaptive fashion experience. The companies I’ve worked with have either sought me out, were referred to me, or that I connected with them through network connections.

Francesca: Can you name the companies that you have designed for and/or who you are currently working for? Are their dedicated online and brick & mortar stores exclusively selling adaptive fashion?

Tracy: My first adaptive fashion role was with Juniper Unlimited where I designed and helped launch their brands’ Yarrow and ULEX. In my consulting work with Vollbrecht Adaptive Consulting, I’ve developed training resources for Target, taught lectures at IFA Paris, conducted research for Open Style Lab, and more. I can’t share who I’m working with at the moment, but I am definitely excited for what’s to come! At this stage, adaptive fashion is almost exclusively online. As we talk about in our merchandising lesson, online shopping has both pros and cons for the Disabled consumer. It’ll be great to see brands start to carry adaptive products in store, where the shopper can find them organically.

Francesca: What are the biggest challenges in designing for people with physical challenges?

Tracy: The biggest challenges for creating adaptive fashion are the variety in needs and the fashion cycle. Within the disability community and even within the same disability (physical or not), there is so much variety in clothing needs, body shape, and challenges. No two disabilities are the same, which is why it’s so important for brands to work with people with disabilities. However, the time and effort needed to properly develop clothing that actually works for all is at odds with the fast-fashion, trend driven nature of the fashion industry currently.

Molly Farrell, a white woman with brown hair, is shown in this photo wearing ULEX, one of the brands Tracy designed and helped launch. Molly is wearing a royal blue wrap cardigan and gray pants, while seated on bleachers. She is smiling brightly and her pink forearm crutches are visible in the photo.

Molly Farrell wearing a top designed by Tracy Vollbrecht from ULEX- one of the brands she helped launch (Photo courtesy: ULEX)

Francesca: Do you see the adaptive market growing since companies like Tommy Hilfiger and other big brands have become more inclusive?

Tracy: Definitely! There is so much potential for brands to tap into the unmet needs of consumers with disabilities. Just because a few brands have gotten into the space doesn’t mean there isn’t room for more brands, all brands really, to get into the market. There will be “enough” adaptive fashion when consumers with disabilities have the same amount of choice in brand, price, and style as consumers without disabilities.

Francesca: What advice do you have for our students who may be interested in designing adaptive fashion?

Tracy: My advice to any student is that adaptive fashion is more than just adaptive design. Every role within the fashion industry (merchandising, product development, buying, marketing, etc.) is needed to make sure adaptive fashion gets into the hands of the consumer. If you have an interest in adaptive fashion, pursue it! Follow Disabled creators on social media; stay up to date on what brands are doing; volunteer for fashion shows. For designers specifically, adaptive fashion is still fashion. Getting experience working for fashion brands is essential. Since the adaptive market is still growing and there aren’t many adaptive design roles, take advantage of learning the process of design and development for non-adaptive fashion as that process still applies to adaptive fashion.

To learn more about Tracy Vollbrecht:

Cell: 732-632-7071

Website: www.vollbrechtadaptiveconsulting.com

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/tracy-vollbrecht/

Company LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/vollbrecht-adaptive-consulting

Learn More About the Adaptive Market

Read the book: All About Adaptive by Michele Chung

Learn how a new store in Pasadena, California caters to Adaptive Fashion consumers: Sewn Adaptive

So, tell us, how will you be pursuing a career in the Adaptive Fashion market?

What is a Visual Merchandiser & Why Should I Care?

Visual merchandising is one of those design disciplines that benefit both retailers AND fashion designers, alike. Whether you have your own brand and are lucky enough to afford your own retail store, OR you’re a brand who plans on selling to retail stores, our 9-part visual merchandising series provides valuable information to help you succeed. Visual merchandising is the very plan to use to communicate to the customer what the brand is all about.

Fashion designers benefit from the study of visual merchandising because it helps them understand the mind of the retailer, especially as the retailer plans their retail open-to-buy for a particular season. This blog post will provide you with a taste of what you’ll learn by viewing our 9-part visual merchandising series taught by Marcie Cooperman (author of Color: How to Use It) and who has been teaching this topic at UoF and at Parsons for years. Sit back and enjoy… get the popcorn popping!

University of Fashion's 9-part Visual Merchandising series poster frames University of Fashion’s 9-part Visual Merchandising video series (Photo images: University of Fashion videos) 

The Psychology of Visual Merchandising

So, it all starts outside the store, with the entrance and store windows. You’re walking by, and suddenly you see a terrific display window that makes you stop and look.  What did the trick?

Maybe it was the perfect dress or coat that you’d been thinking you need to find. Or… maybe it was the colors in the display, or something fun about it.  Or maybe, it was even a sale sign.  If it made you decide to go inside, that’s a successful display window.Example of colorful store window

Examples of colorful & eye-catching store windows (Photo excerpt: University of Fashion video)

And, when we walk into a store, we usually know within about three seconds whether we want to stay there and shop, or whether we just want to turn and leave. We know right away whether we are going to find something we like, or whether it’s going to be a waste of time.  It’s all about the store’s interior design. Does it look organized, so that we might feel confident about moving around easily without asking for help?  Or is it a messy store where we are not clear on how to find things?

Example of a messy store display

Example of a messy & uninviting in-store display (Photo excerpt: University of Fashion video)

In retail visual merchandising, there are two essential parts of the store interior to think about:  merchandising presentation and visual merchandising.  Although they work together, they are actually two different activities. To keep the store fresh, both elements should be updated frequently. That encourages customers to come back to the store often to see what’s new.

Example of an interesting store display Example of an interesting, in-store thematic merchandising presentation and visual display (Photo excerpt: University of Fashion video)

The Planogram

In-store visual merchandising begins with the planogram. The planogram is a detailed set of drawings of a store with two main goals:  to plan the use of the space, and to make decisions on where to place all the merchandise.a planogram image

Example of a store planogram (Photo excerpt: University of Fashion video)

 

Using Color & Texture plus Graphics & Signage in Visual Merchandising

For starters, and to really understand the power of color, view our lessons entitled: Color Relationships and Color Theory-The Basics.

Color Relationships and Color Theory Lessons

Color and texture are critical tools to use in visual merchandising, because when you put wonderful colors and textures together in a display, it sends customers the feeling that this brand is organized and beautiful. That makes the customer feel positive about the brand and makes her want to shop there.

 Visual merchandisers like to use textures that contrast with the merchandise, because they highlight the qualities of the products, and help customers see them.

Image of good use of color and texture

The successful use of color and texture in store windows. (Photo excerpt: University of Fashion video)

Using Line, Shape & Balance in Visual Merchandising

Lines and shapes are the basic building blocks that visual merchandisers use in putting together a merchandising display. We see them on tabletop displays, on walls, and in display windows.  Lines and shapes can be created by clothing on mannequins and on garments hanging on racks or walls, and they can even come from the shelves and the store furniture.

Balance means that every line and shape of the display works to support the whole display, and every part is integral to the entire display. We must be able to look around the entire display, and all the lines will keep leading our eye back to the central focal point.

Examples of Line $ Shape

The use of line and shape in visual merchandising (Photo excerpt: University of Fashion video)

We hope you’ve enjoyed this little snippet of what you’ll learn as you make your way through our visual merchandising series. With over 5 hours-worth of instruction, and hundreds of store display images, you are sure to be inspired and enlightened on the role of the visual merchandiser. Heck, it may even encourage you to want to pursue it as a career!

Do you know what’s the biggest selling color in fashion, and one that you’ll almost never see an entire store window devoted to and why?

 

 

 

UoF Instructor Update: Silvia Perramon

 

headshot of Silvia Perramon

Silvia Perramon – University of Fashion’s award-winning Master Designer Beader/Embroiderer
(Image credit: Silvia Perramon)

In 2014 we were fortunate to have been introduced to Silvia Perramon by Parsons instructor Darlene Donohue (also a UoF instructor). We were immediately blown away by Silvia’s multi-talents. We promptly signed her up and produced a six-lesson series that included beading and embroidery, using both embroidery hoop and Tambour frame, and fabric manipulation, whereby Silvia uses couture techniques to create her own unique textiles. In a world where handwork seems be on a slow decline, Silvia’s lessons are proof that Millennial and Gen Zers love and respect these crafts. Her lessons continue to be extremely popular with our students.

Poster frames shots of lessons: Beading Needle Embroidery and Silk Ribbon EmbroideryUoF Beading Needle Embroidery lesson                                        UoF Silk Ribbon Embroidery lesson

poster frames of lesson: Tambour Embroidery and Tambour Beading lessons UoF Tambour Embroidery lesson                                                  UoF Tambour Beading lesson

poster frame of UoF lessons: Frbric Manipulation- Swirl Pattern and Fabric Manipulation- Tier MotifUoF Fabric Manipulation – Swirl Pattern  lesson                      UoF Fabric Manipulation – Tier Motif lesson

Recently, UoF founder, Francesca Sterlacci, had a chance to sit down with Silvia to catch up on what she’s doing now. It turns out that since creating lessons for UoF, Silvia has won a prestigious Hand & Lockembroidery prize in 2018, lives in Milan designing embroidery and beading for many of Europe’s top fashion houses and continues to express herself through the most incredible beading and embroidery art pieces that are sought after by global collectors. Be prepared to be blown away!

Interview

Francesca: You were born in Spain, but where do you live and work now?

Silvia: I currently live in Milan and am Head of Embroideries of a hand embroidery studio, Atelier Aamir. We are based in the heart of the capital of fashion, which means we can get commissions and delivery projects for VIP, clients and show pieces in a short period of time. We work for couture houses from all Italy and, also, we receive commissions from European high fashion brands. On the other hand, I always keep my own art alive, producing pieces for my collection and private commissions.

Francesca: Where did you study embroidery?

Silvia: My teacher was and always will be Mr. Robert Haven of the Bead Embroidery & Design Studio in Kentucky. He taught me all the basics of embroidery, opening my career to an infinite of possibilities to experiment and discover. I studied architecture at Universidad Internacional de Cataluña, which means that not just design, but the technique, amazed me. I changed my path because I was in love with Lunèville technique, which is the French name of Tambour beading done with the hook. In 2017, I furthered my studies at Scuola di Ricamo Alta Moda in Rome. This technique, with a lot of work and discipline, is the one that made me arrive to work with all the couture houses that I am now collaborating. I had to work hard to enter into the fashion world without having a degree in fashion, I worked many years for free in workshops, to increase my knowledge and being able to have a proper resume to find a paid job, to the point that after five years being in the embroidery world, when I moved to Italy, seven years ago, in less than a month I got an offer from Dolce Gabbana Alta Moda, because of my experience. Since then, I work and have contact with many embroidery designers, who are also passionate for embroidery.

 

Silvia discussing her Hand & Lock first place prize on YouTube of Andy Warhol created with layers of embroidered seed beads, paillettes and sequins, all done on a Tambour frame. (Video credit: YouTube)

Silvia discussing her Hand & Lock first place prize on YouTube of Andy Warhol created with layers of embroidered seed beads, paillettes and sequins, all done on a Tambour frame.  (Video credit: YouTube)

Francesca: What was it like to win the Hand & Lock first place prize?

Silvia: Wining the First Prize at Hand and Lock in 2018 was such an honor. They are worldwide renown Institution of Embroidery. An amazing experience I would say. In addition, two of my embroidery students also won the price the following years.

Silvia Perramon’s Beaded & Embroidered Art Pieces

 

Silvia art work Male embroidery

Silvia Perramon- painted and embroidered art (Photo credit: Silvia Perramon)

Silvia Perramon- Tambour beaded & embroidered art of Diana Vreeland (Photo credit: Silvia Perramon)

Silvia Perramon- Tambour beaded & embroidered art of Diana Vreeland (Photo credit: Silvia Perramon)

Silvia Perramon- Tambour beaded & embroidered art of Rudolf Nureyev (Photo credit: Silvia Perramon)

Silvia Perramon- Tambour beaded & embroidered art of Rudolf Nureyev (Photo credit: Silvia Perramon

 

To learn more about Silvia

Check out her website: https://www.silviaperramon.com/designs

Instagram @SilviaPerramonRubio

If you would like to know more about entering your embroidery work in the 2024 Hand & Lock competition (first prize is $3,500), click this link: https://handembroidery.com/the-prize/faqs/

 

 

LAST MINUTE GIFT IDEAS – UNIVERSITY OF FASHION STYLE

 

UoF once-yearly subscription sale ends 12.31.23

 

If you’re like thousands of last-minuters…then, have we got some unique holiday gift solutions for YOU!

Whether you celebrate Kwanzaa, Hanukkah or Christmas (or Festivas), we’ve all experienced the conundrum of either forgetting someone on our gift list OR worse yet, someone has gifted you and now you have to hustle, last minute, to come up with a gift that doesn’t ‘look’ last minute. University of Fashion to the rescue. We’ve got UoF subscription options and some of the best books that any fashionista would positively drool over.


stockings on a clothes line
Hurry, our once-a-year sale ends December 31, 2023

Get a yearly subscription for $149, that’s $40 off our regular price of $189. Use promo code: BEST

Or, get a monthly for $10 (first month only), was $19.95 monthly (recurring billing). Use promo code: BETTER

The best way to create a gift subscription for someone is to buy the subscription for yourself and then simply give the other person your subscription’s login credentials.

Here’s the process in more detail:

1. Go to our “Sign-up” page at https://www.universityoffashion.com/sign-up/, then click “Order Now” under either our “Monthly” or “Yearly” subscription options.

2. Fill out the order form using your own email address, name and address. However, when the form asks you to choose a username, choose a username that would be appropriate for your gift recipient. For example, if you’re giving the subscription to someone named, Sally Jones, create a username like “sjones”.  Use your credit card or PayPal to pay for the subscription.

3. Now for the fun part! Give your gift recipient the username and password you used to set up their gift subscription and tell them to login. They can easily change their new account’s name, email address and/or password by logging in and clicking “Edit Profile”.

 

Give the Gift of UoF Books that Compliment our Videos

University of Fashion beginner book covers- draping, pattern making and sewing

University of Fashion’s step-by-step Beginner Techniques: Sewing, Draping and Pattern Making

Our 3- part book series is the perfect gift for anyone interested in learning how to become a fashion designer. Techniques for Beginners: Sewing, Techniques for Beginners: Draping and Techniques for Beginners: Pattern Making are all step-by-step, frame-by-frame, compliments to our video lessons. Each book contains additional industry tips & tricks and tons of historical information. Our inspirational fashion runway images reinforce techniques used in the industry and at the best fashion colleges.

Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry book

Every fashionista MUST know their fashion history and the best way to learn it is by studying the Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry, Second Edition, co-written by University of Fashion founder, Francesca Sterlacci. Not only does the book cover the historical evolution of fashion, as well as the events, innovations and people that helped shape the fashion industry today, but also covers the vast number of careers within the field. This book is the A-Z of the fashion industry and is a valuable resource for the budding fashionista OR that ‘fashion curious’ person in your life. Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry, Second Edition is available in hardcover and on Kindle.

Leather Fashion Design book cover

Leather Fashion Design, written by our founder Francesca Sterlacci

Leather Fashion Design is a practical introduction for students explaining how to make garments from leather, suede, and similar materials. It covers everything from what to look for in choosing a skin to work with, through pattern-making, sewing techniques, and finishing. The final chapter includes working with “leather-like” materials including Ultrasuede and faux patent leather. This book is a nice compliment to our video lessons, Leather: From Tanning to Types,  Faux Leather, Suede & Patent Leather Sewing Tips, Leather Sewing Techniques, and our series on planning a leather jacket, from Leather Sorting & Cutting, Interfacing & Stabilizing Leather Seams to our 4-part lessons on how to sew the jacket.

Click the links on the book titles above to the Amazon pages where the books can be purchased.

DID YOU KNOW? UNIVERSITY OF FASHION OFFERS A CERTIFICATE PROGRAM !

UoF Certificate(Image credit: example of University of Fashion Certificate of Completion)
Our subscribers had been asking us about how they could earn a certificate upon completion of our lessons. We get it, who wants to invest hours of time and money and not get a reward? Well, at last, and after hours of computer programming (and money), we are proud to announce our University of Fashion Certificate of Completion program, available to all our paid subscribers.
Sure you can attend fashion school and pay thousands (that is if you are lucky enough to get accepted), but for those in the ‘know’, why not take advantage of 500+ lessons all taught by top fashion college professors and industry pros, learn at your own pace any time of day or night, in the privacy of your own home, rewind and replay a lesson over and over until you get it, at a fraction of the cost of fashion school?
Ask any of our subscribers, UoF’s customer service is top notch! Have a question about one of our lessons? No problem, our teachers are ready, willing and able to answer them within 24 hours. We always love hearing from our students.

Now You Can Earn a UoF Certificate for Your Efforts


(Image credit: University of Fashion subscriber draping and sewing a dress)

How UoF’s Certificate of Completion Program Works

(Image credit: An example of a student’s My Learning page – listing lessons ‘in-progress’ & 100% completed)

All University of Fashion paid subscribers can now receive a Certificate of Completion for any and all completed lessons and lectures. You can track your individual progress toward earning a certificate by clicking on the My Learning tab on the left side of your Account page. Here you can track all of your lessons and your lesson progress.

(Image credit: University of Fashion student calculating fabric consumption & costing a garment)

 

Is there a Cost for a UoF Certificate of Completion?

No. There is NO extra charge for a University of Fashion Certificate of Completion. If you are a paid monthly or yearly subscriber and completed one of our lessons, you are eligible to obtain a certificate. Our certificate program just launched and we have subscribers who have already earned 20+ certificates!

(Image credit:Example of a student’s My Learning page showing lesson discipline, certificate & date earned)

 

Benefits of a UoF Certificate of Completion

Beyond that feeling of accomplishment at having learned and mastered a new subject or technique, there are many other benefits to earning our Certificates:

  • Present your certificates to prospective employers, along with examples of your completed draped, drafted and sewn projects
  • Include UoF certificates to your portfolio for job application and college admission purposes
  • Frame your certificates as proof of your competence in multidisciplines to your clients
  • Export and email your certificates to your instructors for extra credit
  • Prove to your employer that you have up-skilled in a particular area
  • Demonstrate to a school administrator proof of your competence and proficiency in teaching additional subjects

More Good News

Now until 12/31/23 we are offering $40 off a yearly subscription to UOF. Was $189/Now $149

Use promo code: BEST

Sign up at https://www.universityoffashion.com/sign-up/

Spread the word! Start completing lessons and printing out your UoF certificates. Let us know how many you’ve earned!

OUR ONCE YEARLY HOLIDAY SPECIAL IS HERE!

 

At last! Our Once Yearly Holiday Special is Here

From now until December 31, 2023, you will be able to get $40 off a yearly subscription to University of Fashion’s 500+ fashion education video lessons

What was $189 for a yearly, is now $149.                        At checkout use promo code: BEST

We’re also offering $10 off a monthly subscription (1st month only).

What was $19.95 for a monthly (recurring billing) is now $9.95 for the first month.                At checkout use promo code: BETTER

UoF promo codes for yearly at $149 was $189 and monthly was $9.95 monthly (recurring billing) was $19.95

 

Give the Gift of Fashion Education

 Do you have a special someone in your life who is:

an aspiring designer

interested in a career in retail fashion

unable to afford fashion college

currently attending fashion school but needs help

a high schooler looking for fashion college admissions advice

a high school teacher looking for teaching inspiration

a college instructor in need of instructional content

a teacher or working professional looking to upskill

a designer who needs portfolio help

a designer hoping to launch their own brand

a current designer looking to upskill

interested in becoming a sustainable designer

looking to become a menswear, womenswear, childrenswear or accessories designer

among the fashion curious – interested in all things fashion

With 13 different disciplines, you will learn, online, 24/7, at your convenience, in the privacy of your own home or office. Choose from lessons in:
list of subjects taught at UoF

We also offer a certificate of completion for every lesson that you complete:

Sample of University of Fashion Certificate of Completion

Get a UoF gift for that special fashionista in your life…maybe even one for yourself!

Winter’s Coming: Why Not Draft & Make Your Own Coat or Cape?

poster frame for Wrap Coat lesson

University of Fashion’s new lesson: Drafting a Women’s Wrap Coat

The temperature is dropping, the leaves are falling and you’ve been looking for your next challenge – well, here it is! Why not draft and make your own coat or cape? We have just added a wrap coat lesson and a cape lesson to make that happen. Our wrap coat lesson teaches you how to draft a women’s belted wrap coat with an oversized collar, set-in sleeves and patch pockets. You will also learn how to draft a full lining for the coat. Wrap coats are great. No button and button closures to deal with (sigh!) and it is one of the most casual coats to wear. Whether you choose a soft wool gabardine or a medium weight cashmere, or even a velvet so you can wear it for formal occasions, a wrap coat is versatile. If you are a skilled sewer, why not even consider making it in faux suede?

In the lesson you will learn how to interpret our wrap coat sketch to determine such things as: the coat’s length, the collar width, the pocket size and placement, the belt width, and the amount of wrap underlay and coat sweep.

sketch of women wearing a wrap coat

University of Fashion wrap coat illustration by Steven Broadway

image of drafting a women's cape lesson

University of Fashion’s new lesson: Click to view the lesson preview: Drafting a Women’s Cape Coat

Our women’s cape coat lesson includes a hood and a full lining. You will learn how to interpret the cape sketch, starting with the cape’s length, its sweep, the pocket placement, hood height, button and buttonhole placement and how to draft a lining.

Capes can be formal or casual when made in either velvet, or a wool and wool plaid. And if you’re up to it, why not make it reversible, with one side out of a water-repellant material and the other side a lightweight wool? There are so many design options with this style. Let your imagination take over!

It All Starts with the Sloper Library

poster frames for lessons teaching how to convert basic slopers to coat slopers

University of Fashion lessons on how to convert Basic Slopers to Suit & Coat Slopers

As every smart designer/pattern maker knows, it all starts with the right slopers. Our coat and cape lessons are based off the slopers that we teach on the University of Fashion website. Starting with sleeves: how to draft a basic straight sleeve sloper from measurements, then how convert it to a fitted sleeve, then how to convert that fitted sleeve to a suit sleeve.

For the body, we start with drafting a basic bodice from measurements, and then convert it to a torso sloper. From there we convert the torso sloper to a suit jacket sloper, and then the suit jacket sloper gets converted to a coat body & sleeve sloper. Once your sloper library is complete, you’ll have a ball designing coats (and suits) to your heart’s content!

 

Share your cape and coats with us on Instagram @uofprojects. We’d love to see how creative you can be!

Introducing Our New Instructor Lane Odom & CLO 3D Design Series

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Lane Odom Headshot

Lane Odom – UoF’s CLO 3D instructor (Photo courtesy: Lane Odom)

At University of Fashion, our mission has always been to prepare students with a solid foundation in on-the-table technical techniques, as well as computer-assisted design and pattern making skills. In 2022, with our industry embracing 3D design software, we added a 3D Browzwear lesson series, taught by industry pros Iris Hopkins and Brittany Gray.

We are proud to announce that we are expanding our commitment to 3D  by adding lessons in CLO 3D, taught by our newest instructor, Lane Odom. Lane’s series begins with an Introduction to CLO 3D, followed by How to Construct a Garment with Existing 3D Patterns and then How to Draft a CLO 3D Women’s Bodice Block. Lane provides instructions on how to purchase the CLO 3D software and demonstrates how you can actually draft a set of slopers, based on your avatar’s measurements from scratch, a rare lesson in the 3D space. Click on the link below each lesson’s poster frame to view a preview of that particular lesson.

2-PosterFrame-CA-CLO-001-Introduction to CLO3D

                                                                                  UoF’s lesson on Introduction to CLO 3D

 3-PosterFrame-CA-CLO-002-Constructing a Garment With Existing Patterns-LT

                                        UoF’s lesson Constructing a Garment with Existing Patterns

 

 

ABOUT LANE ODOM

Upon graduating from Johns Hopkins University with a B.A. in International Studies, Lane enrolled at Parsons School of Design to pursue a A.A.S. Fashion Design degree. After four semesters, he graduated with honors and displayed his senior thesis collection with the Design x NYC student showcase.

Through the post-pandemic uncertainty of 2021, Lane started as an intern for Swiss apparel start-up Mover Plastic Free Sportswear. There, he quickly became a full-time employee and eventually assumed all responsibilities for product design, development and production, and managed a global supply chain of premium materials and top-notch European craftsmanship.

Lane Odom wearing a Mover Plastic Free Sportswear Jacket

Lane Odom wearing a Mover Plastic Free Sportswear jacket (Photo courtesy Mover Plastic Free Sportswear)

Lane eventually launched his own capsule collection online under the brand name Vane. Not only is Vane about my personal journey as a designer, but I want to establish a business that is going to nurture its community and make its corner of the world a better place” he says.

models wearing Vane collection

Lane Odom’s Vane collection (Photo credit: Vane)

As Lane advances his journey in fashion design, he hopes to continue to increase his involvement in the education of the next generation with the knowledge he has gained from his experiences in the industry.

In an interview with University of Fashion founder, Francesca Sterlacci, Lane shares his career aspirations and his interest in 3D design:

What made you interested in fashion after having graduated with a degree from Johns Hopkinson in International Studies?

I became interested in fashion from an entrepreneurial perspective during my second year at Johns Hopkins. I always had an active imagination and would find myself daydreaming a lot. I saw that fashion could be a great mix of creativity and business/analytics, and I quickly fell in love with sketching ideas. On top of that, fashion was going through its “streetwear renaissance,” where it felt like participation in the industry was opening up, and I wanted to throw my hat in the ring. I knew I wanted to have a career contributing to culture and leaving a positive impact; it just so happened I found my passion in fashion, and it has been a fulfilling medium after my time as an athlete.

What prompted your interest in learning 3D?

My Design Communication class at Parsons was my first introduction to the software. The class had a focus on CLO3D, with the final project to build an eight-look collection by the end of the semester. I took to the program immediately, thoroughly enjoying the ability to conceptualize designs beyond 2D drawings. Additionally, I already had a lot of interest in technical design. Since I came to fashion with an entrepreneurial spirit, I felt it would be important for me to be able to build garments on my own. 3D stood out to me as a tool for a less resource-intensive approach, in both product development and presentation.

Do you think 3D is as accepted in the fashion industry as it could be? 

I think naturally it is going to take time for industry professionals to get familiar with 3D, and how to integrate it into the design and development process, as well as establishing standardization across different software. While it is digital, 3D is still quite technical, not just in clothing design but in 3D modeling/animation as well, so I think it will always have a particular type of user. I think the first to adopt 3D is/should be technical designers and pattern makers, or any designers who are really into the making process. Then it remains to be seen how product represented in 3D will be received by fashion consumers. Again, it’s going to take time for people to build trust with 3D, just as it takes time for any brand to build trust with customers. All and All I think 3D is exactly where it should be, and it will be up to the early adopters to continue to prove its use cases.

What role does sustainable design play in your future aspirations as a designer? 

Mainly using natural materials as much as possible. If we can create more products with its end-of-life cycle in mind, then we can cut down on a lot of plastic pollution relatively easily. I love wool as a fiber for its versatility across knits and wovens and its interaction with a person’s body. I think that is a great place to start as an independent designer, and then continue to track our impact and continue to make responsible decisions as we grow.

Do you find your proficiency in on-the-table technical skills a big plus when working with 3D design software?

Yes, definitely. If anything, the 3D software has been a vital tool to practice my on-the-table technical skills more efficiently. Being able to study different pattern drafting methods before needing to cut and sew is a big plus. The 3D simulation not only shows you silhouette, but also where fabrics are falling, bunching, or stretching around the body. It will always require technical know-how to correct or alter your garment. Even though it is digital, when you know what you are looking for, you have to take the right steps to achieve a good result, just like you would on the table.

Follow Lane Odom:

IG @vanestudiosofficial

LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/lane-odom-431243115

TikTok @lernonvane