University of Fashion Blog

Category "Fashion School"


- - Fashion School

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


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.



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:



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

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, 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

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



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 –
Sewing: Techniques for Beginners –
Pattern Making: Techniques for Beginners –

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.

Introducing the CFDA’s Young Guns

Mike Amiri, Kristopher Brock, Nadja Swarovski, Aurora James, and Kerby Jean-Raymond - Photo courtesy of

Mike Amiri, Kristopher Brock, Nadja Swarovski, Aurora James, and Kerby Jean-Raymond – Photo courtesy of

As fashion educators and bloggers, we have a responsibility to cover important events in our industry—for example, the recent 2018 CFDA Fashion Awards—even when the CFDA honors Kim Kardashian (GASP!) with the CFDA Influencer Award. While we are still a little stumped on that decision, we are thrilled to introduce you to the honored newcomers to the fashion industry – also known as the five nominees for the Swarovski Award for Emerging Talent. Read More

5 Surefire Ways to Get Inspired Today

I’ve always wanted to teach a class on how to find inspiration as a fashion designer. I’ve often thought, “How dreamy to spend my days finding and exploring what inspires me, never mind the satisfaction that would come from fostering inspiration in others.” For me, finding inspiration is the most thrilling part of what we get to do as designers. Read More

An Interview with The Museum at FIT’s Chief Curator, Valerie Steele

How fortunate I was to have the opportunity to sit down with Dr. Valerie Steele, the Museum at FIT’s chief curator and director for a one on one interview. I relish every opportunity to meet successful women in the fashion industry, but it is a rare chance to learn about a unique career path based in a love for the history of fashion. In our newest video, Valerie Steele shares her one of a kind path in fashion with University of Fashion students. Read More

Celebrating FIT and Parsons 2014 Graduates

From color and quirk to neutrals and knits, this year’s graduate runways have it all.  As an educational resource for the Fashion Institute of Technology as well as Parsons The New School for Design, we can’t help but feature their graduates’ work and feel proud that the University of Fashion offers an online video library to assist these talented graduates in reaching their goals. Read More