University of Fashion Blog

Category "Fashion School"

Big News! UoF has added a new learning category
Visual Merchandising

Preview of UoF lesson Introduction to Visual Merchandising by Marcie Cooperman

Now in its 13th year of the fashion education business, the University of Fashion is expanding. As many of you already know, we have hundreds of lessons in the fashion design disciplines of draping, pattern making, sewing, fashion drawing, menswear, knitwear, childrenswear, swimwear, accessories, CAD fashion art and CAD pattern making, as well as product development lessons that include how to create tech packs and how to start your own brand.

Our fashion lecture series focuses on topics such as costume history, textiles, trend forecasting, sustainable fashion, licensing, branding, plus sizes, influencer marketing, fashion law and explores assorted careers within the fashion industry.

Our fashion business discipline concentrates on the retail segment of the industry with lessons on retail math, marketing and merchandising, understanding retail profit and loss and now…visual merchandising.

UoF instructor Marcie Cooperman – (Image credit: Marcie Cooperman)

We are thrilled to announce that our new visual merchandising series will be taught by none other than Marcie Cooperman. If the name sounds familiar it’s because Marcie is the author of Color: How to Use It , has been an instructor at Parsons for more than 20 years and has already created nine very popular lessons for UoF on the topics of color theory and knitwear. Marcie is truly a Renaissance woman. She is an artist (oils & watercolors are her passion), an author, a professor and has had an eponymous fashion design custom service in hand knits since the late 1980s.

Dolce & Gabbana floor plan (Image: from UoF’s Introduction to Visual Merchandising lesson by Marcie Cooperman)

In her new series for UoF, Marcie explores the world of visual merchandising and the tools that retailers use in their store to create excitement and interest for their target market, via the store’s exterior and store window, to the store’s interior merchandising presentation. You’ll learn the planogram, the organizational system of the products in the store, and how visual merchandising uses the display, an important tool in showing how the clothing will look on the body. Whether you plan to open your own retail store or not, the information you’ll glean from Marcie’s new series will inspire both designers and retailers alike.

With today’s launch of the first lesson in the series, Introduction to Visual Merchandising, I thought I’d sit down (virtually of course) to find out more about Marcie and the important role visual merchandising plays in our industry.

Example of messy store (Image: from UoF’s Introduction to Visual Merchandising lesson by Marcie Cooperman)

Francesca: What sparked your interest in Visual Merchandising?

Marcie:  I have always thought about art, design, fashion, color and composition, certainly since I was a little girl. When I was about seven, I started painting with oil paints, and I designed my own embroidery projects.  I had strong ideas about what colors to use.  And I had opinions about store windows in those days, too, long before I knew there was something called visual merchandising.

In those days, my Mom and I designed dresses for her to make for me, and I fashioned scraps of fabric into clothing for dolls that I made myself.  And I used whatever scraps I had to design and make furniture for room interiors.  My passion for color took root when Mom took me to buy yarns in a store that was like a dreamscape: it was in a barn, and skeins of colored yarns were hanging from the rafters all around me.  Going into a yarn shop today to buy knitting yarns still makes me feel like that.

As I became a teenager, my career ideas always included interior design, retail design, and fashion design.  I loved it all, and it wasn’t possible for me to choose a career in just one of those areas.  For me, color and composition were the central concept, and all types of design were visual expressions of them.  Why limit myself?  So, I went to school for both fashion design and interior design.

When I received my MBA in Marketing at Stern School of Business at NYU, it all came together in a business sense.  Visual Merchandising is the ultimate combination of everything I love:  color and design, composition, retailing and marketing, all pointed toward creating an emotional connection with the customer.  And I’ve always taught it with a focus on color and composition.

Coach store featuring Mickey Mouse & Keith Haring (Image: from UoF’s Introduction to Visual Merchandising lesson by Marcie Cooperman)

Francesca: Which store interiors & windows do you think are the most successful?

Marcie:  I am very impressed with Coach. They are always creative and unusual, and successful in appealing to the customer through very directive use of color and design.  They use lines and shapes skillfully to direct the eye to the product, and easily convey what the brand is all about.  And yet it all seems so simple, as if their choices were the only ones to make.  I always stand in front of Coach windows for a while, digesting the beauty of the products and display elements; I think it’s a real strength that it inspires me do that.

Hermes windows are also incredibly innovative, especially in their use of color.  They are intense and cheery, and clearly, the designer is proficient in using color relationships.  There is always a sense of whimsy in Hermes windows, and that makes them stand out.  They are essentially Hermes.  We see the same sensibility in the website design, too, so the message is coordinated; that is crucial in brand messaging to the world.

And there is a wonderful store down in the Flatiron district in NYC called ABC Carpet and Home, and nobody beats their windows!  They are just full of amazing things, with gorgeous products and with their own spectacular style!  It’s worth a visit just to see the windows.  Of course, when you go into the store, you can really feel how it’s also amazingly designed.  How exciting it is!  It’s impossible not to buy something there.

These are all brands with designers who know how to use color and composition in their displays, and their work is on another level.  We can all learn from them.

Printemps, Paris-Use of color, textures, lines and shapes for a successful store window (Image: from UoF’s Introduction to Visual Merchandising lesson by Marcie Cooperman)

Francesca: What do you think are the top 5 visuals that make a successful store window?

Marcie:  Successful store windows can be designed by students and professionals who have an understanding of how to use color and textures, and lines and shapes, in the most creative way in their work.  These are tools that designers must have.  How can you design without learning about them?  Store displays and windows are an art, an expression of the designer’s creativity based on these tools.  Students who know how to use them can go anywhere in their work.

Color relationships actually reach us emotionally and connect with us; we can even feel that we love a brand just because we saw the right colors and textures in a store window display!  We can fall in love with what we see, and never forget that feeling because it will bother us until we buy the product that we saw there.

In all of my classes, and these lessons on visual merchandising, I really want to teach every student how to use these tools, so that they can achieve their personal artistic goals and their store’s goals.  In those lessons I am devoted to explaining every detail clearly, and to illustrate every concept with great images of window displays.  And I evaluate each image, too, to explain what’s happening in those displays and why they work or why they don’t work.  It’s always great to see the ones that don’t quite work, so we can understand and learn from them.

The highest goal a store can achieve with an amazing window display is to create an emotional connection with the customers, one so strong that they must come inside to see what the store is selling.  Did you ever feel that way?  Not only that you must go inside the store, but once you are inside, you feel that it’s so wonderful you cannot go home without buying something there.  That’s the power of a great window display, and great visual merchandising that continues inside the store.

 

Francesca: How important do you think a brand’s store windows should relate to their website presence?

Marcie:  Of course, both the store windows and the website, as well as other owned online assets, must be unified and cohesive so that they send the same message about the brand.  They should include the same colors and shapes.  All signage must relate to the text on the websites in terms of fonts, colors and design.

Every brand needs to have a set of core values and a mission, and those must always be the basis for every display decision it makes – the guide for all design decisions.  That’s the way to keep everything unified.

It’s very important for the brand to clearly position itself to the customer in just one very special and differentiated way, and to explain that positioning through all of its visuals:  its displays and windows, its clothing, labels and ads, and all other visual materials.  Everything has to send the same visual message.  Otherwise, the customer could get confused about what this brand is saying, and what it’s all about.  And that confused customer won’t see the reason that she must shop at this brand before all others.

Coming soon to UoF: Using Color and Texture in Visual Merchandising by Marcie Cooperman

Francesca: What other lessons should we expect to see from you in the future?

Marcie:  I’m fascinated with fashion design and interior design as they relate to color and composition; I can always tell which designers in both industries know how to use color and which ones have no idea.  My point of view in teaching design is always to create from a basis of understanding of color, line and shape – to have an arsenal of shapes to explore for every line of creative thinking.  You could take just one shape and go on from there knowing the infinite ways to vary it for a garment.

Imagine using your understanding of those concepts to help you create your fashion design lines!  What confidence you can have.  How deeply you can dive into the possibilities and come up with a cohesive collection of unique styles that connect with each other and express the brand’s sensibilities.

 

Francesca: Do you have certain career goals?

Marcie: I have devoted my career to teaching students how to use color and composition in their design work, so that they understand that these are the most precious tools they can have.  I want every student to have the confidence of knowing how to use these tools.  Color and composition provide a structural framework for students’ imagination, an understanding that allows them to follow their infinite sense of creativity, a skill that frees them to take their ingenuity farther than they can imagine.  This is how I feel when I do my fashion and interior design work, and I want all students to feel the same way.

To learn more about Marcie and her blog about color in interior design and fashion design:  http://fashionclassroom.com/blog . Also view her LinkedIn page https://www.linkedin.com/in/marcie-cooperman-03613511/

Stay tuned for Marcie’s next lesson: Using Color and Texture in Visual Merchandising

Meet MOTIF: An Online Fashion Industry Education Hub

(Image credit: MOTIF)

Since our founding in 2008, the University of Fashion has always recruited the best instructors from the best fashion colleges, such as FIT and Parsons, to teach our lessons. And, because we film in New York City, the fashion capital of the world, we have been able to tap the brain trust of our industry for our design and business lessons.

Going on 13 years now, we have partnered with the best dress form companies in the business (Alvanon and Wolf) and collaborated with several top tool and fabric suppliers as well as other industry resources (and the list is growing).

When we decided to add affordable computerized pattern making lessons, we forged a partnership with Tukatech so that we could offer a special, affordable rate to our subscribers.

Promoting another school’s content on our site may have seemed like a bad business decision, but our recent partnership with Upcycle Design School now provides our subscribers the opportunity to learn how to start their own sustainable fashion brand.

So, it therefore comes as no surprise that we are introducing our subscribers to MOTIF, a new learning platform aimed at the working fashion professional. I recently had the opportunity to interview Catherine Cole, MOTIF’s CEO, about their mission, the results of their survey on the skill level needs of the industry, and other relevant topics that affect today’s fashion and textile industry.

Our founder, Francesca Sterlacci, recently interviewed Catherine to learn more about MOTIF and their unique and much needed learning platform.

Catherine Cole – MOTIF CEO (Image credit: MOTIF)

Francesca: MOTIF is a relatively new fashion industry learning platform, can you give some background as to when and why it was founded and what role Alvanon played in its inception?

Catherine: The fashion industry is going through major disruption caused by changes in consumption patterns, increasing cost pressures, speed-to-market pressures, unwieldy and fragmented supply chains and then having to play catch up in things like sustainability and digitisation. These disruptions are making a growing skills gap more and more evident. The last generation that has production floor expertise is retiring in the next 5-10 years and add to that an urgent need for the next generation of skills that include data, 3D product design and development and digital marketing. MOTIF was started to meet the urgent need by fashion brands and other players in the supply chain, for an ability to onboard new employees effectively and upskill current employees. Originally an intrapreneurial venture within global innovations company Alvanon, MOTIF officially launched in October 2018 with a suite of online courses on motif.org, before becoming a separate legal entity in April 2019. Since then, we have received $2m in funding from The Mills Fabrica.

Francesca: What has been the impact of Motif’s recent increase in funding?

Catherine: The increased funding allowed us to launch new social and community features alongside our courses and also develop authoring tools for partners (experts across the industry) to launch their own courses in our marketplace. We continually strive to enhance our features and are building a state-of-the- art learning environment for our users.

Francesca: Is Motif’s learning platform offered to individuals as well as to school libraries?

Catherine: MOTIF’s courses are aimed at both individual professionals in the industry as well as corporate HR or business teams that need to make sure their workforce is equipped with sound fundamentals and cross-functional understanding. These courses cover technical skills as well as commercial and soft skills for the apparel / fashion industry. We publish our own courses and also distribute courses of partner publishers. These partners can range from academic institutions like LIM College, to organisations fostering the adoption of business best practices and technical standards in the industry such as WRAP, and even independent seasoned industry experts such as Roz McNulty who is teaching a series of superuser courses from beginner to advanced level on CLO 3D on MOTIF.  Currently our courses are also used by professors who are looking to supplement their teaching with course material taught by practitioners.

Catherine Cole – MOTIF CEO at 2018 Summit (Image credit: MOTIF)

Francesca: Alvanon conducted an industry survey back in 2018 entitled, The State of Skills in the Apparel Industry, and shared the results at a conference held in NYC. Can you discuss the findings of that survey, as it related to body sizing and the need for upskilling in the global fashion industry?

Catherine: MOTIF, with the support of Alvanon and 19 global industry associations, launched its second global State of Skills survey in early 2020 to see if anything had changed with regards to the urgency around skills and professional development since our first survey in 2018.  The results were just released in October 2020 and can be found in a whitepaper on our site.  The key findings were that the industry still views skills as a key business issue, but that budgets are not matching.  So, one of our big problems is that there is a major mismatch between priorities and investments, especially when it comes to topics like sustainability and digitisation.  Another key finding is the discrepancy between top management’s perception of how they are supporting their employees with continuous learning opportunities and how employees feel like they are not receiving the professional development they want.

Francesca: Does Motif’s curriculum reflect the needs of current fashion industry professionals? Does Motif recruit its instructors from the fashion industry?

Catherine: MOTIF exists to fill the skills gap in the industry on fundamental technical skills, as well as hot new skills that will enable professionals to be the best at what they do as well as future-proof their career in the industry. The first courses offered on the platform revolved around product development, fit and sizing, sustainability and then 3D. We’re progressively expanding our catalogue with courses covering training needs in the wider spectrum of the apparel and fashion supply chain. For example, we’ve recently published a course by AQM on how to safely resume operations and protect your factory workforce from Covid-19, and we will soon have a new course by WRAP on risk assessment in factories. All instructors teaching courses on the platform are highly experienced industry practitioners and experts, passionate and eager to share their knowledge for the betterment of business practices in the industry and committed to collaborate with our team to deliver enjoyable, efficient and highly applicable learning experiences.

Francesca: What importance does MOTIF put on having solid, hands-on, foundational knowledge in disciplines such as pattern making, draping, sewing and drawing before moving on to learn digital tools such as CAD, PDS and 3D?

Catherine: There are core skills that will always be critical in the industry. These are the fundamental skills that don’t change over time. They are also the “art and the science” or the craft in the industry.  Any newcomer to the industry needs to have these fundamentals.  Actually, it is not just the newcomers but even many seasoned professionals need refreshers in these skills as their careers evolve.  What has changed over time is how we apply some of these skills or the new digital tools that we are using with them.  You have many young start-ups looking for pattern makers with coding skills and it is this example of a new blend of skills that will be relevant in the future so that young brands and companies remain agile and innovative.

(Image credit: MOTIF)

Francesca: Alvanon recently hosted the first 3D virtual conference, can you tell us what the industry’s reaction was to the inevitability of a 3D digital transformation? What are the pros and cons of implementing 3D in the workplace and what companies are leading this transformation?

Catherine: Alvanon, with MOTIF as its “Learning Partner”, organised the first 3D Tech Festival for Apparel and Fashion in September 2020, as an open and agnostic platform for 3D tech leaders to discuss and re-imagine how we live, work and learn in an apparel world gone digital. With over 60 speakers and thousands of participants from 94 different countries, the four-day virtual event was a resounding success with an innovative format combining a full-blown conference, 3D Tech vendor virtual showcases and the launch of the MOTIF 3D Fashion Tech Community. Aiming at quenching the thirst for practical knowledge and exchange around 3D adoption and implementation in the industry, the live event was offered entirely free and is now available on-demand on motif.org, while the MOTIF 3D Fashion Tech Community is also continuously growing with new members and ongoing conversation threads.

Like for all other major disruptive technology trends, there is a mix of excitement and apprehension or mistrust around the adoption of 3D and its benefits. The question of the pros and cons of implementing or adopting 3D, isn’t really the right one though. There is little doubt now that 3D already does and will increasingly bring efficiency and sustainability benefits to the industry. The first and foremost question is the fundamental WHY each organisation would adopt 3D and embark on a transformative journey. How does it support and enable execution of the vision and development strategy of an organisation? It’s about core business goals, streamlined processes and fostering a culture where people are embracing change, adhering to values and objectives underlying it. It’s about equipping your teams with the right skills and confidence that they can execute on the vision and that all stakeholders have a place in the transformational journey. It’s about mapping out the steps, from pilot to enterprise-wide deployment, and being able to demonstrate the return on investment at each stage. To help those that want and need to take the leap, MOTIF has developed a course that helps teams and individuals alike raise and answer the key questions, engage the right people and establish the milestones that will ease the way to the successful adoption and implementation of 3D.

There are many companies, large and small, and even start-ups, in the footwear and apparel industries that have started experimenting, adopting or embedding digital tech as the nexus of their business model or operations. We get excited when we talk to some of the most progressive ones now looking at building internal 3D or digital skills competency centers with an explicit mandate to ramp up the training of the workforce on transformational change project management and new tools or technologies. At MOTIF, our vision is to support these endeavours with a tool kit of courses and resources that can then be customized for brands or manufacturers.

(Image credit: MOTIF)

Francesca: Do you think the industry is adequately addressing climate change? What more can be done?

Catherine: We would have to answer no to this question.  Many companies are struggling with the HOW of integrating the ethos of the circle economy into their supply chains and to expedite the transformation around efficiency and transparency – both critical to tackle the problems of overproduction and waste.  This is why MOTIF is launching a sustainability intervention in February 2021! We will be hosting a three-day event around this particular topic with speakers from across the supply chain in an effort to reconcile practices between design, production and consumer.  Alongside this we will be launching our Sustainability Communities so that we can support the ongoing conversation.  MOTIF is also launching a new virtual learning series in December of this year that will run monthly and bring in case studies around these key topics.  Stay tuned for more information!

Francesca: What more can we do as an industry to stop the promotion, production and over-consumption of clothing?

Catherine: Overconsumption and overproduction are the two sides of the same coin, and we need to change currency. The urgency is undeniable yet there is no magic or easy way out or solution. On the consumer side, a change of societal values and education to buy less and better quality products produced or sourced responsibly, to prolong the life of our garments by upcycling, swapping, donating, reusing or recycling instead of just dumping them in a landfill, is paramount. Studies seem to show that Millennials and GenZ consumers are increasingly ready to pay more for quality products and have a genuine appetite for sustainable fashion, so we are heading in the right direction. Many brands, large and small are embedding sustainability practices throughout the entire product lifecycle and facilitating responsible customer initiatives by developing new services tied to the end of life of their products.

For many brands or retailers, it is also about ethos, values and legacy. It does take courage and integrity to, like Patagonia, refuse to participate in the Black Friday or CyberMonday orgies and encourage your customers not to buy a jacket in your new collection if the life of your current one can be extended. And it is not something you can preach or pull off unless you walk the talk. While we see real progress in the industry, the staggering, record sales numbers just reported by Alibaba and JD Express for the 2020 November Singles day (all consumer product categories included) show that old habits die hard and there are many contextual and cultural elements that come into play so there isn’t a one size fits all solution.

The progressive digitization of the industry and adoption of new technology are also enablers of systemic change, with the emergence of more circular business models. There is a pressing need to upskill the current people the industry employs on sustainability so that change can happen at scale. Waiting for a fresh generation of designers, product developers and supply chain professionals can’t be afforded. The responsibility of picking up these essential new skills, not only lies with the industry or corporations but also with professionals themselves, if they wish to become agents of change and future-proof their careers in the industry.

Sustainability is a strategic area of course and content development for us. As mentioned, when we launched our platform, we already had a beginner course on Sustainability and we have just released a brand new intermediate course taught by LIM College faculty.

Francesca: There has recently been a focus on social justice and our industry‘s lack of inclusivity. Do you think the fashion industry has more to do in this area and what is MOTIF doing to help?

Catherine: MOTIF is actively seeking out and working with partners that are developing content around these topics. From driving diversity and inclusion in our workplace all the way to how we bring in diversity and inclusion when designing for consumers and building socially responsible supply chains. Our vision is to have a catalogue of courses and resources valuable for the industry, but also that all material is taught through these lenses.

Francesca: Since the pandemic, people have been working remotely and making use of online tools. Have you seen an impact in online learning at MOTIF?

Catherine: Pre-Covid, companies still preferred onsite training even though online learning had established itself years ago as a viable and efficient training solution for individuals and corporations alike. The current crisis has only increased awareness and receptivity to the value of virtual learning environments and accelerated the adoption with many corporations now fully appreciating the efficiency, flexibility and scalability that elearning offers with real shared benefits for employees and employers. Once the pandemic gets under control, we expect that organisations will resume offline training, but we’re convinced that they will converge on more of a hybrid training model, a blended approach leveraging the best of both offline and online learning experiences, which MOTIF has already started to offer.

We’ve undoubtedly seen an increased traffic on the motif.org platform and stronger engagement from learners taking our courses. As more corporations, non-profit organisations or academic institutions are looking at accelerating the digitalisation of their training or educational content, this has also opened a lot of collaboration opportunities for us and enquiries on our instructional design and courses development services offering.

The University of Fashion is happy to welcome MOTIF to the online learning community. Together we shall both help to promote online fashion education for years to come!

 

Sincerely,

Francesca Sterlacci

CEO/University of Fashion

START YOUR OWN PANDEMIC FASHION LEARNING POD

 

Looking for a new fashion career idea?

Start a Fashion Learning Pod

Pandemic learning pods, also called microschools or co-ops, are popular options for parents looking to fill in the academic and social gaps for children, teenagers or fashion college bound students, who will be learning virtually this fall.

How it works: Parents pool resources to hire YOU, a fashion professional, to preside over a small cohort of students directing their studies and providing general supervision so parents can work. Just reach out to your local grade school, high school or college and offer your services.

The benefits: Pods are a great way to: learn about fashion in small groups; help reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19; have better control over social distancing, mask-wearing and sanitizing.

The University of Fashion is the perfect teacher’s aide. With 500 videos in 13 disciplines from beginner to advanced, you can hold classes in your home or their home with the help of a phone, tablet or laptop.

Inspire you students to learn about a career as a fashion designer with our hands-on lessons in draping, pattern making, sewing, fashion art, product development, accessories, CAD Fashion Art, CAD Pattern making, menswear, childrenswear and knits. Our fashion business lessons teach students about fashion merchandising, buying and merchandising, licensing, branding and digital marketing. We also have a lecture series with lessons on color theory, textiles, sustainability, eco-textiles,  costume history, trend forecasting and what a career as a museum curator entails.

Students will love learning about fashion and our video instructors are all professionals, either teaching at a fashion college of in the fashion industry.

We’re here to help get you started.

Contact Myrna, our sales consultant, to learn more about how our group subscriptions work. MDorfman@UniversityofFashion.com

 

ATTENTION TEACHERS: Are you ready for remote teaching?

Are you ready for remote teaching? Do you have enough content to keep your students engaged?

If not, let University of Fashion help.

Now that the fall school term is rapidly approaching, the University of Fashion is reaching out to schools and teachers everywhere, reminding them of our educational content library of 500 videos in 13 different disciplines in the areas of fashion design and fashion business.

UoF is offering free, all access for 30 days so that schools and teachers have a chance to plan which lessons they would like to include in their curriculum.

We are aware that some schools are still uncertain about their fall enrollment or whether they will be conducting classes remotely or onsite and we would like to help. Once you’ve had a chance to peruse our content, via our free 30-day trial, and should you decide to subscribe, we are offering flexible subscription terms and special school group subscription pricing.

Just reach out to Myrna, our sales associate mdorfman@UniversityofFashion.com 

When Covid-19 hit back in March, the University of Fashion realized that schools were being forced to transition to remote teaching and we felt the need to step up. We offered free 30-day access to any school that asked. Over 100 schools reached out to us and we worked with them, helping to make the end of term an easier one, were you one of them?

Who We Are

The University of Fashion is the first and largest online fashion education video resource founded in 2008 by Francesca Sterlacci, a fashion designer, author, former professor & chair at the Fashion Institute of Technology and a graduate level instructor at the Academy of Art University, where she taught both onsite and online for six years. Francesca holds an MSEd in higher education administration and has designed, owned and operated her eponymous fashion label in New York City for 10 years.

At UoF, all of our teachers are either fashion college professors or industry pros. Each of our videos are professionally produced using the best videographers and editors.

Because we have been in the online business for over 12 years, we know a thing or two about how to recruit the best instructors and how to film & edit content in a clear, precise and effective way, that gets results!

Don’t take our word for it, read our school & teacher testimonials.

We are in the business of supporting educators around the globe by offering professional educational content. Let us help your school and your teachers by taking away the stress, time and cost of having to create original content.

 

An extra added benefit is that we offer books that are designed to work in tandem with our beginner draping, pattern making and sewing video lessons. Each book contains lesson objectives and learning outcomes for each lesson, required in today’s school/learning environment.

 

View hundreds of online fashion design and business video tutorials
from beginner to advanced

Draping Fashion Art Pattern Making
Sewing Menswear Fashion Business
Knits CAD Fashion Art Fashion Product Dev.
Fashion Lectures Childrenswear Accessories
CAD Pattern Making How Does the UoF Work Fashion Design Tools


 

Are you ready for remote teaching?

When Covid-19 hit and the University of Fashion realized that schools were being forced to transition to remote learning, we felt the need to step up and offer free access to our content library. As a company, we decided to help in any way we could, by providing a bit of a breather for schools to work towards the transition from classroom to remote teaching.

Over 100 schools reached out to us and we worked with them, helping to make their end of term an easy one. We were humbled by the expression of gratitude and the wonderful testimonials we received from both teachers and students.

We are making that same offer available again – free 30-day access to the UoF site.

Now that we are approaching the fall semester, we want to reach out again to let schools know we are offering a free 30-day trial access so that teachers and schools have time to plan their online curriculum before the term begins. And, we are now offering flexible subscription terms (to match up with their school’s semesters) and discounts, since we know all schools are uncertain about their fall enrollment numbers and whether they will be conducting classes remotely or onsite.

To get more information please contact Myrna at mdorfman@universityoffashion.com

The University of Fashion is the first and largest online fashion education video resource founded in 2008 by Francesca Sterlacci, a fashion designer, author and former professor and chair at FIT. All of our UoF teachers are either fashion college professors or industry pros, and all of our videos are professionally produced.

The UoF library consists or 500 lessons in 13 disciplines:

  • Draping
  • Pattern making
  • Sewing
  • Fashion Art
  • Accessories
  • Childrenswear
  • Menswear
  • Product Development
  • Knits
  • CAD Fashion Art
  • CAD Pattern making
  • Fashion Business
  • Fashion Lectures – covering topics such as color theory, textiles, trend forecasting, costume history, fashion law and more.

Many high schools and colleges around the world use UoF as a library research resource and/or as a source of teaching in their hybrid classrooms or online courses. Some schools use our hands-on technical lessons to supplement their existing design curriculum, while others are interested in our lecture series, which educates students on fashion careers such as fashion merchandising, buying, branding, licensing, fashion law, museum curatorial studies and costume history. Our lectures on color theory, sustainable fashion, textiles, trend forecasting and other relevant topics, have broad appeal even to students in non-fashion schools.

As you navigate the uncharted waters of remote education, the University of Fashion wants to be your partner. We have been in the online business for over 12 years and know a thing or two about how to recruit the best instructors, film content that it is clear, precise and effective and, that gets results. We also have books that work in tandem with our beginner draping, pattern making and sewing video lessons!

Don’t take our word for it, just read our school testimonials https://www.universityoffashion.com/about/testimonials/

Meet Our Instructors

 

We have lots of teachers! With 13 different disciplines and 500 videos to learn from, including draping, pattern making, sewing, fashion art, product development, knits, childrenswear, menswear, CAD fashion art, CAD pattern making, accessories design, fashion business and fashion lectures, we thought we’d introduce to more of them as we continue our blog series, Meet Our Instructors.

Pardon us for bragging but did you know that all of our instructors are either fashion college professors (from top fashion schools) or are fashion industry professionals?

Ever since we started offering 30-day free access offer to schools on March 4th due to Covid-19, and we launched a special promo to individual subscribers (was $189/now $169 using promo code NEWS21Y), we have tripled our subscribership!

So, for all of our new schools and subscribers here are a few more instructors that you should get to know. Click on their name to find out what they do in the industry and what they teach at UoF.

 

Kathlin Argiro – shares her extensive knowledge on how to start a fashion brand in her 3-part series for University of Fashion.

With a successful track record as a fashion designer and entrepreneur, Kathlin has sold her collection to top retailers, including Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdales.

In 2010, she joined the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) as an Adjunct Faculty member and has led high profile projects for First Lady Michelle Obama and for the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute.

Most recently, Kathlin began teaching in FIT’s MFA program. She also serves as a mentor for FIT’s Design Entrepreneurs NYC (DENYC) mini MBA Program.

In addition to her role at FIT, Kathlin has also taught at Parsons School of Design, Pratt, and Zhejiang Sci-Tech University (ZSTU), China.

Considered a fashion industry expert, Kathlin has been quoted in numerous publications and has been a guest panelist at industry conferences and universities, including Mount Holyoke College and Fordham University.

Passionate about sharing her experience and mentoring emerging designers, Kathlin launched a consulting business, Kathlin Argiro New York, in 2014.

kat@kathlinargiro.com

https://www.kathlinargironewyork.com/

Instagram: @kathlinargiro

Facebook: Kathlin Argiro

Richard Rosenfeld is a veteran in the fashion education industry and we are honored to have him teaching a series of model-drawing lessons for University of Fashion.

Richard has taught fashion model-drawing classes at Parsons since 1978 and at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) since 1989. During that period, he taught numerous famous designers, including Chris Benz, Isaac Mizrahi and Jason Wu, as well as New York illustrator (and UoF instructor), Steven Broadway.

Having attended the Rhode Island School of Design and as a graduate of Parsons with a degree in illustration, Richard has worked as a fashion illustrator for high profile publications such as Vogue, WWD, Glamour, The New York Times, and for various department stores and other fashion design clientele.

Richard’s philosophy for teaching fashion drawing focuses on developing good observational skills, the accurate depiction of textiles and various types of garments in silhouette, all with a personal point of view. His preferred medium of choice is a combination of pencil & watercolors.

Currently, Richard enjoys mentoring young design professionals and continues his passion for drawing from live models during the Covid-19 pandemic via ZOOM. He is curious to see how the health crisis will impact the future of this creative industry.

@richard_rosenfeld_art

 

Andrew Curwen’s lessons for University of Fashion demonstrate a designer’s respect for Savile Row workmanship. His hand sewn buttonhole lessons are pure works of art.

Andrew is a graduate of Parson’s BFA program and currently resides and works in Manhattan. With a background in bespoke construction and textile arts, his introduction to tailoring was taught and nurtured by a master Savile Row tailor.

The disparity between love and death are recurring themes throughout Andrew’s design work, something that could be described as a feminine brutality. Andrew works to design fashion for posterity that touches on the human condition.

Barbara Seggio has over 30 years of experience working in the fashion industry as a designer, technical designer and freelance design consultant. Her specialty is women’s sportswear and childrenswear design.

At the University of Fashion, Barbara shares her expertise in the areas of draping, pattern making, sewing and childrenswear. Barbara is also the editor of Sewing Techniques for Beginners and co-editor of Pattern Making Techniques for Beginners, UoF’s companion book series.

As an Adjunct Associate Professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology, Barbara teaches all disciplines of fashion design including: draping, patternmaking and sewing. Barbara’s accomplishments at FIT include: development of the childrenswear specialization, chairperson of the Childrenswear Advisory Board, member of the Sewing and Childrenswear Curriculum Committees and instructor in their high school weekend/summer program.

 

 

A Reminder to High Schools & Colleges

We are offering all high schools and colleges a free one-month access to our University of Fashion content library of over 500 educational videos. Teachers, should coordinate their school’s request and send that request to cs@UniversityofFashion.com, and we will provide your school with an access code. So…students, tell your teachers!

The goal of our free 30-day access to schools only, is to help schools salvage the balance of their semester. In preparation for the fall, in the event the pandemic continues into the next semester, we have waived our one-year school subscription minimum and are now offering special shortened subscription terms and rates.

Since 2008, University of Fashion has been providing individuals, groups, schools and public libraries with hands-on and lecture lessons in fashion design and fashion business. Many of our subscriber schools have been using our content in hybrid classrooms for years. Just read our testimonials.

As you use our library, we’d love your feedback. Tell us which are your favorite lessons and what new lessons you’d like to see? Send comments to us at cs@UniversityofFashion.com.

To Individual Subscribers

For those who are not currently enrolled in school but would like to take advantage of our library, we are now offering an individual membership deal. Get $20 off a yearly membership (was $189 now $169) using promo code NEWS21Y. Offers expire 12/31/20

SIGN UP HERE

 

Did you know that we have a very informative weekly blog covering relevant fashion topics? And, stay connected with us via our lively social media presence: Instagram- @uoffashion and Facebook – University of Fashion.

This is a new deal just offered by our UK-based publisher.
Our Video & Book Combination – Get 40% each book using discount code FRIENDS40 (offer expires 5/31/20)

Draping: Techniques for Beginners – https://www.laurenceking.com/us/product/draping-2/
Sewing: Techniques for Beginners – https://www.laurenceking.com/us/product/sewing/
Pattern Making: Techniques for Beginners – https://www.laurenceking.com/us/product/pattern-making/

Once you click one of the book links, above, you’ll see the book you selected in the middle of the screen. Click the shopping cart icon in the upper right of the same page then, on the order form provided, enter the discount code: FRIENDS40, and then click “Apply discount.” Then click “Proceed to checkout.”

Meet Our Instructors

Our Covid19 30-day free access offer to schools (and our special promo to individual subscribers) has resulted in a huge increase in the number of people viewing and learning with us. So, we thought we’d continue introducing everyone to more of our very talented instructors at University of Fashion.

With 13 disciplines and 500 videos to learn from (draping, pattern making, sewing, fashion art, product development, knits, childrenswear, menswear, CAD fashion art, CAD pattern making, accessories design, fashion business and fashion lectures) that’s a lot of teachers!

Barbara Arata-Gavere – is by far University of Fashion’s greatest treasure. She shares her love of draping and sewing by teaching more than 40 lessons on the site. Barbara is also the editor of Draping Techniques for Beginners and co-editor of Pattern Making Techniques for Beginners, UoF’s companion book series.

As a New York-based fashion designer, Barbara began her career designing special occasion dresses for high-end boutiques. Currently, under her own label, Barbarata Exclusive, she designs and constructs custom-tailored jackets and stage wear for performers, such as Daryl Hooper of The Seeds.

Barbara has uniquely combined her design skills with a very impressive career in education. First, as an instructor at Bergen County Technical Schools (New Jersey) for 29 years, where she received several awards, including Teacher of the Year and as an FCCLA Chapter Advisor, creating their first Fashion Design Competition.

Her textbook, Exploring Fashion Design, published by the Curriculum Lab at Rutgers University, was used in many vocational schools throughout New Jersey.

For the last 18 years, Barbara has been an Adjunct Professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology in the fashion department, where she teaches a variety of classes including, draping and construction.

Barbara is also the founder of Fashion Design Workshop, where she conducts various skill-based fashion workshops for high school and college students. And has recently joined the faculty at Bergen Community College’s Continuing Education Department.

In addition, Barbara often exhibits her custom fashion designs in various museums, both in New York City and New Jersey.

Silvia Perramon – is a master beader/embroiderer who also teaches advanced couture sewing techniques at UoF. Silvia’s tambour beading lessons are among the most popular lessons in our library.

Silvia Perramon Rubio was born in Spain. After studying architecture at Universidad Internacional de Cataluña in 2012, she studied hand embroidery in Kentucky at Bead Embroidery & Design Studio in 2014. She furthered her studies at Scuola di Ricamo Alta Moda in Rome in 2017. In addition to her fashion interests, Silvia was trained at the Royal Academy of Dance, London in classical ballet.

Her early architectural work led her to Hangzhou, China. But it was her passion for embroidery, and to deepen those skills, that Silvia studied in Mumbai and then then in New York City, where she applied her knowledge in the fashion field.

Silvia is now based in Milano, where she is an embroidery design consultant for numerous fashion brands. She is often invited to Parsons School of Design as a guest teacher for their couture classes, and twice a year teaches hand embroidery in private New York workshops. Meanwhile, Silvia is now creating art with her embroideries, blending together all of her disciplines and backgrounds.

In 2018, Silvia was awarded first place in the category of Hand Embroidery/Textile Art work by London’s Hand & Lock Prize for Embroidery.

Instagram- @SilviaPerramonRubio

Roberto Calasanz – is a master craftsman, artist and illustrator. He shares his talents with UoF via 38 lessons that include, fashion drawing, illustration and rendering.

In an industry increasingly dominated by computer-assisted design and illustration, Dominican-born designer Roberto practices the disappearing art of the precision line-sketch and flawless gouache illustration. He is a meticulous draftsman carrying on the fine-arts tradition in fashion illustration we associate with Alberto Vargas and Antonio Lopez.

Drawing on diverse cultural idioms and decades of experience as designer and illustrator in the New York fashion scene, Roberto has worked with leading designers, such as Jack Mulqueen, Liz Clairborne, Jones New York, Ralph Lauren, Victoria’s Secret, Donghia, Herve Benard, and Talbots.

Roberto now owns a retail store, De Main, in Dumbo Brooklyn, featuring his artisanal leathercraft and accessories.

Instagram-@RobertoCalasanz

Shirin Movahed is a lawyer and strategic business advisor. For the UoF, Shirin shares her knowledge on fashion copyright and trademark law, as well as fashion social media and brand protection.

In addition, Shirin helps companies set up a solid foundation for the growth and successful expansion of their businesses in the U.S. market and beyond.  She is licensed in New York, Florida and D.C. with over 13 years of experience practicing corporate, commercial, branding and intellectual property law.  Having worked at several large national and international law firms, Shirin brings her wealth of knowledge and expertise working with clients in the fashion, entertainment, technology, consumer product, and art industries.

Shirin also enjoys giving back to the community and currently serves as a mentor and advisor to several private companies as well as a fashion incubator. She is also an advisory board member of a venture capital firm that is solely focused on supporting and funding female led businesses.  Shirin has lectured at universities, cultural institutions and trade associations on various legal topics including best practices for creating and expanding your business in the U.S and does speaking engagements on web series and podcasts.

Shirin has been selected by Thomson Reuters’ as a New York Super Lawyer Rising Star and one of the top 5% of female lawyers in New York.

Instagram – @shirin.movahed

LinkedIn – www.linkedin.com/in/shirin-movahed

Email – shirin.movahed@gmail.com

 


A Reminder to High Schools & Colleges

We are offering all high schools and colleges a free one-month access to our University of Fashion content library of over 500 educational videos. Teachers, should coordinate their school’s request and send that request to cs@UniversityofFashion.com, and we will provide your school with an access code. So…students, tell your teachers!

The goal of our free 30-day access to schools only, is to help schools salvage the balance of their semester. In preparation for the fall, in the event the pandemic continues into the next semester, we have waived our one-year school subscription minimum and are now offering special shortened subscription terms and rates.

Since 2008, University of Fashion has been providing individuals, groups, schools and public libraries with hands-on and lecture lessons in fashion design and fashion business. Many of our subscriber schools have been using our content in hybrid classrooms for years. Just read our testimonials.

As you use our library, we’d love your feedback. Tell us which are your favorite lessons and what new lessons you’d like to see? Send comments to us at cs@UniversityofFashion.com.

To Individual Subscribers

For those who are not currently enrolled in school but would like to take advantage of our library, we are now offering an individual membership deal. Get $20 off a yearly membership (was $189 now $169) using promo code NEWS21Y. Offers expire 12/31/20

SIGN UP HERE

 

Did you know that we have a very informative weekly blog covering relevant fashion topics? And, stay connected with us via our lively social media presence: Instagram- @uoffashion and Facebook – University of Fashion.

This is a new deal just offered by our UK-based publisher.
Our Video & Book Combination – Get 40% each book using discount code FRIENDS40 (offer expires 5/31/20)

Draping: Techniques for Beginners – https://www.laurenceking.com/us/product/draping-2/
Sewing: Techniques for Beginners – https://www.laurenceking.com/us/product/sewing/
Pattern Making: Techniques for Beginners – https://www.laurenceking.com/us/product/pattern-making/

Once you click one of the book links, above, you’ll see the book you selected in the middle of the screen. Click the shopping cart icon in the upper right of the same page then, on the order form provided, enter the discount code: FRIENDS40, and then click “Apply discount.” Then click “Proceed to checkout.”

RISHABH MANOCHA: BESPOKE & SUSTAINABILITY

- - Fashion School

Menswear designer/bespokesman Rishabh Manocha (Photo credit: Mitchell Helson)

ABOUT ME

I call myself a “bespokesman,” and am a protege of fifth-generation Savile Row master tailor, Rory Duffy. Together we create handcrafted menswear. I am also a contributing menswear instructor at University of Fashion. In this blog post, I would like to take the opportunity to share my passion for merging old-world techniques with modern day design.

 

ABOUT BESPOKE

The term “bespoke” means something that is ‘spoken for you.’ In fashion, the cloth, the cut, and the craftsmanship are cohesively tied together to create a garment that not only lasts a lifetime but also embodies the true character of the wearer.

A detailed measurement chart, followed by observations of the eye that neither the Perkins devices nor the inch tape can fully capture, are taken of every client to ensure optimal fit and comfort. After a few fittings in toile and then shell fabric, the garment is rendered complete.

A fully handcrafted suit takes anywhere from sixty to eighty hours to construct with at least 3,000 hand stitches.

Perkins measuring tools (Photo credit: TailorSource.com)

 

OUR DESIGN PROCESS

What makes us singular is our approach to the design process. Think of walking into an Armani store and having Mr. Armani create something for you on the spot. The entire commission is both driven by craft and a sublime understanding of design, which afford garments freshness and timelessness.

Left: Bespoke velvet sailor pants with silk blouse paired with a midnight blue dinner jacket. Right: Bespoke dinner suit with pony hair lapels, paired with a handcrafted velvet bow tie and sea island cotton dinner shirt.
(Photo credit: Mitchell Helson)

In educator/author Joanne Endwistle’s words, “Manocha endeavours to deliver clothing as a situated bodily practice. And, it cannot be done without the marriage of age-old tailoring and contemporary design.”

Classic bespoke velvet dinner suit with duchess satin facing and braiding. (Photo credit: Mitchell Helson)

The virtues of the method don’t stop there. Through the deployment of the process, we save on cloth, trims and sample runs. The carbon footprint of the garment is thus minimal. The close-knit supply chain ensures judicious usage of resources. And, the product, shaped and finished by hand, lasts exponentially longer than one off the rack.

Also, we offer our clients the option to use deadstock fabric from heritage mills to minimize wastage. This way, an entire supply chain thrives with a focus on craft, design and circular systems-based thinking.

Classic two-piece midnight suit with grosgrain bow tie. (Photo credit: Mitchell Helson)

For University of Fashion, I have created 12 menswear lessons (more to follow in the future) that range from learning about men’s body measuring points to drafting a full set of slopers, including upper body, sleeve and trousers, as well as how to draft a jacket, a shirt and a hoodie.

To learn more about Rishabh and his work check: Instagram: rmanochabespoke or visit www.rishabhmanocha.com

Let us know if you have any questions about bespoke tailoring!

Meet Our Instructors

Our 30-day free access offer to schools and our special promo to individual subscribers in response to Covid19, has resulted in a huge increase in the number of people viewing and learning with us. So, we thought we’d to take this opportunity to introduce you to a few of our very talented instructors who have so generously shared their knowledge with University of Fashion.

With 13 disciplines and 500 videos to learn from (draping, pattern making, sewing, fashion art, product development, knits, childrenswear, menswear, CAD fashion art, CAD pattern making, accessories design, fashion business and fashion lectures) that’s a lot of teachers! Here a sampling of who they are and what they teach:

Dr. Valerie Steele’s lecture will take you into her exciting world as Chief Curator & Director of the Museum at FIT, where she has organized more than 30 exhibitions since 1997. Learn how cultural studies at Yale sparked an interest in how fashion influences culture and Valerie’s journey from fashion historian to curator, author and fashion icon. A prolific author, Valerie combines serious scholarship with a rare ability to communicate with general audiences. She is author or co-author of more than a dozen books, including A Queer History of Fashion: From the Closet to the Catwalk (Yale, 2013), Shoe Obsession (Yale, 2013), Fashion Designers A-Z: The Collection of The Museum at FIT (Taschen, 2012), Akris (Assouline, 2012), The Impossible Collection Fashion (Assouline, 2011), Daphne Guinness (Yale, 2011), Japan Fashion Now (Yale, 2010) Gothic: Dark Glamour (Yale, 2008), The Corset: A Cultural History (Yale, 2001); Paris Fashion (Oxford, 1988, revised edition, (Berg, 1999); Fifty Years of Fashion (Yale, 1997) Fetish: Fashion, Sex and Power (Oxford University Press, 1996), Women in Fashion: 20th Century Century Designers (Rizzoli, 1991) and Fashion and Eroticism (Oxford 1985). She is also editor-in-chief of the three-volume Encyclopedia of Clothing and Fashion (Scribners, 2005) abridged as The Berg Companion to Fashion (Berg, 2011).


Steven Broadway’s lessons for University pf Fashion focus on contemporary fashion illustration. His lessons include: Sketching Handbags, Sketching Shoes, Drawing a Female Contemporary Figure, Drawing a Male Contemporary Figure, Drawing Androgynous Men’s & Women’s Figures and Drawing Children. Steven is a Parsons graduate and an artist, photographer/educator, based in NYC. He teaches Fashion Art and Design at Parsons and at the Fashion Institute of Technology, as well as has lectured and conducted workshops on fashion design internationally. Steven’s work has been featured in art galleries, newspapers, magazines and in books. Working with students in the classroom is his passion.


Marcie Cooperman specializes in color theory, crocheting and knitting! Her lessons: Color Theory: The Basics and Color Relationships teach very important aspects of color that every designer must know. Marcie’s crochet lessons include stitches such as: Half Double Crochet V-Stitch, Shell Stitch and how to Crochet a Tabard Tank. In 2014, Marcie published a textbook with Pearson entitled, Color: How to Use It. For almost twenty years, Marcie has been a highly regarded professor at Parsons the New School where she teaches Color Theory in the Art, Media and Technology Department, as well as Fashion Marketing in Parson’s Fashion Marketing Department. She was also a professor of color theory at Pratt’s Graduate Department of Communications Design and the Industrial Design Department for many years.


Shanna Cupples is our resident swimwear & intimate apparel expert. Her lessons include: Draping a Bra, Draping a One Piece Bodysuit/Swimsuit, Swimwear Construction Techniques and Drafting a Panty Sloper. Shanna is a creative and technical designer with expertise in the categories of bras, intimate apparel, seamless apparel, activewear, and swimwear, and was an adjunct professor at FIT. She brings with her 14 years of design, development, fitting, and engineering experience and has worked with some of the most esteemed and respected organizations within the intimate and apparel industries, among them, Limited Brands, Komar Brands, Delta Galil, Vandale Industries, Biflex Intimates Group and engaged in custom work by engineering costumes for Britney Spears.


Martha Palaza is a pattern making maven and teaches many lessons for us that range from pattern making and grading, to how to make bust cup adjustments and how to work with knits. Martha has also coordinated our CAD pattern making lessons in partnership with Tukatech. Martha is an apparel design professional whose experience and education has focused on production, manufacturing, and teaching. Her skills include patternmaking, draping, garment construction, and textiles. She has worked as a Costume Technician for Costume Works of Somerville, Massachusetts, whose clients are national theater and opera troupes and entertainment companies. When not working as a freelance pattern maker, Martha teaches at the School of Fashion Design (Boston).


A Reminder to High Schools & Colleges

We are offering all high schools and colleges a free one-month access to our University of Fashion content library of over 500 educational videos. Teachers, should coordinate their school’s request and send that request to cs@UniversityofFashion.com, and we will provide your school with an access code. So…students, tell your teachers!

The goal of our free 30-day access to schools only, is to help schools salvage the balance of their semester. In preparation for the fall, in the event the pandemic continues into the next semester, we have waived our one-year school subscription minimum and are now offering special shortened subscription terms and rates.

Since 2008, University of Fashion has been providing individuals, groups, schools and public libraries with hands-on and lecture lessons in fashion design and fashion business. Many of our subscriber schools have been using our content in hybrid classrooms for years. Just read our testimonials.

As you use our library, we’d love your feedback. Tell us which are your favorite lessons and what new lessons you’d like to see? Send comments to us at cs@UniversityofFashion.com.

To Individual Subscribers

For those who are not currently enrolled in school but would like to take advantage of our library, we are now offering an individual membership deal. Get $20 off a yearly membership (was $189 now $169) using promo code NEWS21Y. Offers expire 12/31/20

SIGN UP HERE

 

Did you know that we have a very informative weekly blog covering relevant fashion topics? And, stay connected with us via our lively social media presence: Instagram- @uoffashion and Facebook – University of Fashion.

This is a new deal just offered by our UK-based publisher.
Our Video & Book Combination – Get 40% each book using discount code FRIENDS40 (offer expires 5/31/20)

Draping: Techniques for Beginners – https://www.laurenceking.com/us/product/draping-2/
Sewing: Techniques for Beginners – https://www.laurenceking.com/us/product/sewing/
Pattern Making: Techniques for Beginners – https://www.laurenceking.com/us/product/pattern-making/

Once you click one of the book links, above, you’ll see the book you selected in the middle of the screen. Click the shopping cart icon in the upper right of the same page then, on the order form provided, enter the discount code: FRIENDS40, and then click “Apply discount.” Then click “Proceed to checkout.”

Posen Shutters His House As the UoF Opens Doors for Future Designers

Fashion times, they are a changin’.

In just the past few weeks alone, once fashion darling Zac Posen has closed his doors and the iconic retailer Barneys has closed its remaining doors, two more signs that fashion design and retail operations as we’ve known them for so many years are in fact yesterday’s news.

To Posen’s credit, he can claim the story many emerging designers have aspired to. With semesters spent at Parsons and Central Saint Martins, a long line of celebs who have worn his gowns on the red carpet and fame as an expert judge on Project Runway, some would claim that Posen’s run in the fashion world is the stuff an emerging designer’s dreams are made of. And truthfully, Posen lasted much longer in a crumbling model than most. He even starred in his own documentary, House of Z, detailing the behind the scenes successes and struggles over the years.

In 2008, when my fellow fashion school graduates and I landed in NYC after graduating from the Academy of Art in San Francisco, several of us were overcome with jealousy when one of us scored an internship with Zac Posen. It was a tough economic time in which fashion companies were laying off employees, and so many of us had given up on the thought of getting a “real job” in fashion and instead were fighting for unpaid internships with the hope that they would lead to paid positions.

Even then, I can remember the bright fashion stars I had in my eyes beginning to dim as I watched my talented classmate drape his heart out for Posen, often leaving our apartment at 6:30 am to make it to the studio by 7:00 am, not to return until well after 7:00 pm (and without pay). When one of my classmate’s creations ended up on Posen’s runway, we thought for sure, this would be his big break. But as was (and may still be) commonplace with companies headed by a singular famous face, my classmate’s “internship” was over once the season was over and Posen’s runway show was complete. Posen was on to the next group of eager “interns.” And my classmate? He was left with crippling student loans to pay and still, no job.

I share this story because it illuminates the reasons why we are finally seeing a real shift in the fashion industry. And why we’ve got to let go of what has been been considered success in the fashion industry in the past (fame, celebrity, elaborate shows season after season) and instead look toward a more sustainable future in fashion for emerging designers. Posen himself (guided by his mother) saw how unsustainable the fame-party-celebrity red carpet style of designing and running a business was back in 2010. Posen’s decision to branch out into collaborations and more affordable mass market options in order to keep the sought after design dream alive was detailed in WSJ. And yet even with this forethought, Posen’s high end business ultimately couldn’t survive.

Fast forward to today and even educators from top fashion schools (in fact, my former director, Simon Ungless at the Academy of Art in San Francisco), have started to question their own fashion programs, wondering if they are in fact preparing their students for what the fashion world holds. Ungless recently suggested that fashion schools are preparing students for an industry that doesn’t exist (read Ungless’ full interview here) and that if students aspire to celebrity as a fashion designer, they should “make a sex tape.”

Aside from the fact that today’s students in traditional fashion design programs are still striving for that final fashion show in hopes of being noticed by industry professionals (which ultimately may happen to a select handful of graduates), the college debt load students are accumulating is real. A single semester at Parsons, including tuition, books, room and board is approximately $60,000 and at FIT, around $45,000. Multiply that by the number of semesters it takes to graduate and we are talking upwards of $200,000 spent on an education that may or may not pay for itself.

And while we will never say “we told ya so,” the University of Fashion was conceived and developed years ago as a direct response to the issues we are seeing today, including:

• the prohibitive high cost of a traditional fashion education
• the lack of jobs/opportunity in the fashion industry to make a high-cost education pay off
• the changing skills/mindset needed to “make it” as a fashion designer in today’s fashion landscape

Maybe Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, et al. have a point—forego college and invest that money in your own start-up. Learn fashion design at UoF, get your technical skills and then use your money to launch and advertise your own brand. Imagine the possibilities when you let go of the idea that you must have a degree from Parsons, an internship with Marc Jacobs and celebrity status as a 20-something designer with a Hadid wearing your brand on Instagram.

There are so many ways for emerging designers to “make it” in the fashion industry of tomorrow, because the industry is yours to create. Instead of aiming for super stardom and spending a fortune on a traditional fashion education, get creative with different ways to break into the fashion industry. Use online resources to create a niche design item and learn how to market yourself via social media. Follow a path that feels authentic and genuine to you and think outside the box. We truly believe designers CAN make a living at what they love through research, social media savvy and creative thought. How about a new young designer pop-up store collective? Already paving a new path forward in the fashion industry? We want to know about it! Inspire others by sharing in the comments below.