University of Fashion Blog

Category "Instructor Spotlight"

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?

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/

 

 

UOF INSTRUCTOR UPDATE: RUCHIRA AMARE

Our fans and subscribers LOVE to hear what our esteemed instructors are up to these days and if you’ve been reading this blog for the past month, then you know that some of our instructors are newly minted entrepreneurs: our menswear instructor, Rishabh Manocha and our swimwear instructor, Jessica Krupa, each have launched their flourishing new businesses.

This week, we’d like to put the spotlight on Ruchira Amare, an amazing talent who manages to combine her artistic talents with her technical fashion design skills. And, she too has launched her brand.

At UoF, Ruchira shares her expertise as an “artistic engineer” in her lessons:  Designer’s Inspiration & Portfolio, Fashion Illustration Using Pastels, Fashion Illustration Using Watercolors, Drafting a Women’s Jacket and Women’s Jacket Pad-Stitching & Inner Construction.

RUCHIRA AMARE (AKA Y.R. Egon)

UoF instructor, artist/designer Ruchira Amare (Image courtesy: Ruchira Amare)

Ruchira was born and raised in Mumbai and is a life-long learner. Although she earned a bachelor’s degree in technology and communication engineering at the University of Mumbai, Ruchira, who has always been interested in the arts, listened to her heart, and pursued individual study with famous Mumbai artists, photography at the National Institute of Photography Mumbai and eventually moved to New York to study fashion design. She earned a bachelor’s degree at Parsons the New School for Design and has worked under fashion designers Donna Karan, Laura Smalls and Peter Speliopoulous.

fashion illustration by Ruchira Amare

Live model fashion illustration by Ruchira Amare, aka Y.R. Egon (Image courtesy: Ruchira Amare)

Ruchira is a modern-day polymath. She is just as comfortable using her engineering skills to draft and sew tailored jackets as she is with a paint brush in her hand. As a fine artist, Ruchira’s work has been exhibited in Manhattan at the Dacia Gallery, The Leo House and Space 776. In Brooklyn her artwork has been exhibited at Established Gallery and the Greenpoint Gallery, and her photography at 440 Gallery. Her work was also featured at the Rochester Contemporary Art Centre in Rochester, New York, in Laguna Beach at Six Summit Gallery and online at the Colors of Humanity gallery.

Illustration by Ruchira Amare

Collage by Ruchira Amare – watercolor on paper with newspaper print entitled: Girl with Yellow Glasses (Image courtesy: Ruchira Amare)

Ruchira’s fashion illustrations have been featured during New York Fashion Week and her work was chosen as part of The New School Alumni Bookshelf 2022, a highly curated list of works by their most notable alum.

fashion illustration by Ruchira Amare

Fashion illustration by Ruchira Amare (AKA Y.R. Egon) exhibited during NYFW Art Hearts Fashion event at Angel Orensanz Church. (Image courtesy: Ruchira Amare)

In 2021, Ruchira continued her studies at the New York Academy of Art and the School of Visual Arts. She also explored block printing in India, using plant-based natural dyes from turmeric, dogwood and indigo. Ruchira’s new business venture combines age old block printing techniques, with contemporary motifs from her paintings, to create a fresh take on sustainable fashion.

block printing

Ruchira’s Indian block-printing using plant-based natural dyes. (Image courtesy: Ruchira Amare)

fashion sketches by Ruchira Amare

Block-printed fashion designs using sustainable dyes inspired by Ruchira’s artwork. (Image courtesy: Ruchira Amare)

block printed scarf by Ruchira Amare

Ruchira’s mission is to lead a happy life and be able to share her craft with the world, We wish Ruchira much success in all of her endeavours and especially with her new block printing sustainable clothing venture!

For more info on Ruchira:

Facebook: Ruchire Amare

Instagram: @ruchiraamare

Website: www.yregon.com

UOF INSTRUCTOR UPDATE: RISHABH MANOCHA

University of Fashion is proud and fortunate to have such a wonderful team of creative and entrepreneurial instructors willing to share their knowledge and expertise. In our 14th year as the first and largest online fashion education resource, we have maintained the of highest standards when selecting our teachers.

This week’s blog post is a continuation of our instructor spotlight series and will focus on the work of Rishabh Manocha, creator of our 13-part menswear series, whose passion and respect for bespoke craftsmanship has made him one of UOF’s most popular instructors.

RISHABH MANOCHA

Rishabh Manocha

Rishabh Manocha wearing his bespoke suit handcrafted in fabric by Dormeuil (Image credit: @kirktruman)

Rishabh Manocha is a New York City based designer and bespoke tailor who established his eponymous label in 2017. An alum of Parsons School of Design and Central Saint Martins, Rishabh credits his education with Savile Row tailors for the technical soundness that complements his conceptual designs.

 

man buttoning suit jacket

Rishabh Manocha (Image credit: @kirktruman)

Artisanal integrity, sartorial heritage and the form-function dialogue, are integral aspects of Rishabh’s work. Expounding norms of bespoke tailoring as a means to understanding the human psyche is a fundamental tenet of the label. Rishabh travels extensively to research Italian French and UK mills and denim from Japan.

A Rishabh Manocha bespoke suit in pre-fitting (Image credit: Rishabh Manocha)

 

As a master of bespoke tailoring techniques, Rishabh carries out these techniques personally for his men’s and women’s bespoke commissions across the United States, UK and the Middle East.

suit basted

Bespoke tailoring techniques by Rishabh Manocha (Image credit: Rishabh Manocha)

men's collarless suit basted

Rishabh Manocha’s basted bespoke suit (Image credit: Rishabh Manocha)

 

Deeply driven by sustainability, ethical sourcing practices and transparent supply chain, Rishabh recently co-founded Lehzaa, (in Urdu means individual style), an e-commerce women’s ready-to-wear label with Omani business partner Mrs. Mrunal Khimji. Watch for their soft launch in May 2023 at www.lehzaa.com

Co-founders of Lehzaa - Mrs. Mrunal Khimji and Rishabh Manocha

Co-founders of Lehzaa – Mrs. Mrunal Khimji and Rishabh Manocha (Image credit: Rishabh Manocha)

In addition to his bespoke business, last year Rishabh branched out into leatherwork, creating wallets and briefcases to compliment his clothing.

wallet and briefcase

Rishabh Manocha leatherwear: wallets & briefcases (Image credit: Rishabh Manocha)

According to Rishabh, the world is changing. He claims that in addition to his clients having an eye for craftmanship, they seek sustainably made clothing that can stand the test of time… and they are willing to pay for it. His design philosophy encompasses:

  1. Using sustainably sourced fabrics from Italy and England
  2. Focusing on silhouettes designed to flatter every body type
  3. Making garments from recycled and upcycled real fur that are made in NYC
  4. Creating a range of bespoke leather goods for the discerning accessory wearer
basted men's jacket

Rishabh Manocha pad-stitched bespoke suit jacket (Image credit: Rishabh Manocha)

When not with his measuring tape, Rishabh devotes time to learning yoga, languages, and gastronomy. His vision is to see a more conscious and empowered consumer, ‘one garment a time’.

View Rishabh’s UOF menswear lessons:

More about Rishabh

Rishabh Manocha frequently teaches one-on-one online lessons in pattern drafting and tailoring. For more info contact him directly at info@rishabhmanocha.com

Follow him @rmanochabespoke

Visit his website rishabhmanocha.com

UOF Instructor Update: Jessica Krupa

The success of University of Fashion has always been about the talent and expertise of our instructors, their lessons and the high level of our video production. Now, in our 14th year as the first and largest online fashion education resource, we thought it would be of interest to share with our subscribers what a few of our very talented instructors are up to these days. Over the next three weeks, we will be spotlighting three of these very talented instructors and how they have continued to expand their creativity as entrepreneurs and artists. First up…Jessica Krupa.

JESSICA KRUPA

 Jessica Krupa is a graduate and former instructor at the Fashion Institute of Technology. With over 15 years of experience creating swimwear and intimate apparel collections for Fortune 500 companies, including Li & Fung, Jessica was awarded a bra design patent for innovation during her tenure at Victoria’s Secret. Needless to say, Jessica has tons of cred.

So, it’s no surprise that Jessica is crushing her new business venture, Panty Promise, the first seamless, certified organic cotton panty imported from Italy.     

UoF instructor and designer/founder of Panty Promise (Image courtesy: Panty Promise)

In 2020, Jessica identified the need for better panty options for women without risking their feminine wellness and was driven to solve this; enter Panty Promise. Jessica consulted with top NY Gynecologist Dr. Alyssa Dweck to make her vision come to life and took a year developing the best fabric and design, thus creating the first seamless certified organic cotton panty imported from a high-end mill in Italy.

Jessica’s design eliminates pesky panty lines and uncomfortable seams, like traditional cotton panties, resulting in a smooth and ultra-comfortable look and feel. Her design is Utility Patent Pending in the USA, Canada, EU and UK to keep the innovation and design protected against knockoffs.

Jessica Krupa launched her new brand Panty Promise in 2020 (Image courtesy: Panty Promise)

 

 

 

 

Jessica Krupa and NY Gynecologist Dr. Alyssa Dweck (Image courtesy: Panty Promise)

Panty Promise packaging/laundry bag (Image courtesy: Panty Promise)

Panty Promise strives to be a leader in the biodegradable and sustainable mission to keep the Earth clean. They’re research and testing proves that their panties will biodegrade back into the earth in just 4-6 months, meanwhile synthetics take over 200 years and breakdown into harmful chemicals.

Jessica Krupa ‘s Panty Promise – the first seamless certified organic cotton panty imported from a high-end mill in Italy (Image courtesy: Panty Promise)

Panty Promise is proud to be an affiliate of Cotton Incorporated, where the brand is a Cotton Leads Partner, ensuring ethical global harvesting of cotton trading and manufacturing through the commitment of Cotton Inc.

Jessica likes to say, “We’re saving the planet one panty at a time.”

Panty Promise panties sized XS-4X and in a variety of skin tones and styles: low, high, and mid-rise both in covered and bare bottoms. (Image courtesy: Panty Promise).

Panty Promise exhibits at the Curve Trade Show – Los Angeles 2023 (Image courtesy: Panty Promise)

In her first year of business Jessica exhibited at the Curve Trade Show, which helped catapult the brand to over 65 retailers after winning the New Brand Audience award during Curve’s Pitch off Competition.

Panty Promise is currently sold throughout the USA, Canada, the Caribbean, South America, Iceland and the Middle East, in body positive sizes XS-4X and in a variety of skin tones. Panty Promise wholesale price points range from $11-$14, with style offerings from low to high rise in both covered and bare bottoms.

We are proud and fortunate to include Jessica as one of our very talented and accomplished instructors. Catch her extremely popular 9-part swimwear series:
Drawing A Bandeau Swim Top
, Drawing A High Waist & Hipster Swim BottomDrawing A One Piece Plunge Halter With Shelf Bra, Drawing An Underwire Swim Top, Creating A Swimwear Tech Pack In Illustrator, Drawing A String Bikini Bottom, Drawing A String Bikini Top, Drawing A Swimsuit Block Template In Illustrator and Drawing A Push Up Swimsuit.

Big congrats to Jessica for her talent, expertise & entrepreneurship!

 

INTRODUCING OUR NEW 3D DESIGN INSTRUCTORS

From our first lesson – Browzwear: Introduction to 3D Design & VStitcher

If you have been reading the University of Fashion blog for the past 4 years, then you know how bullish we are about 3D design technology as yet another tool in the arsenal of fashion designers and retailers. If you haven’t then you may want to read our past posts: Augmented Reality (AR) for Fashion Retailing, Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Fashion, and The 3D Revolution Parts 1, 2 and 3  from 2019.

As fashion companies are now expanding their workspaces to include true-to-life 3D in the areas of design, product development, sales & marketing, we are thrilled to announce the addition of 3D design as a new learning category to our existing 500+ video lesson library.

Those already working in the world of 3D digital fashion design all agree, that without a solid hands-on foundation in the other 3Ds – draping, digital drawing, drafting, plus sewing, you are just an imposter. According to Amy Sperber, a 3D-user and Assistant Professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology:

Foundational knowledge of grain, fabric behavior and construction variations are essential at being a competent 3D fashion design software user. The challenge for fashion designers with little digital background is that the interfaces may be intimidating at first. Those with a working knowledge of Illustrator will find familiar tool experiences in the 2D pattern making portions of 3D software. The next generation of fashion designers will need to be technically creative and digitally fluid.”

For our 3D design series, we recruited two top instructors, Brittany Gray and Iris Hopkins, who are both currently working in the industry using Browzwear 3D software. We will also be adding lessons in CLO 3D in the future so stay tuned. Meanwhile, we thought that you would be interested in hearing from Brittany and Iris about their journey into 3D design and get a sneak peek at their first lessons for us. They are both working on a series of lessons that we will be rolling out this year.

 

MEET BRITTANY GRAY

Brittany Gray instructor

Brittany Gray – 3D design instructor at UoF (photo credit: Brittany Gray)

I was first introduced to 3D/virtual prototyping in my junior year of college. I went to the University of North Carolina Greensboro, who was partnered with VF corporation. VF heavily used 3D so we adapted it into our curriculum. At the time, I only knew the basics, but was on the hunt for an internship that was required for me to graduate. Walmart corporation reached out to my university, eager to hear that students were learning 3D and were looking for a student to intern as a 3D Technical Designer. Though I was reluctant to apply due to my very basic knowledge at the time, with the support of my instructor Anne Woods, I applied. I promised them that if they accepted me for the internship, by the time I needed to relocate to Bentonville Arkansas, I would have mastered the program. Two weeks went by and I received the offer as the very first 3D Technical Design Intern for Walmart Corporate. I worked in the software everyday leading up to my internship. Once I arrived in Arkansas, I fell in love with the flexibility of the 3D workflow, so much so that I decided to stay in 3D and later relocated to New York to be a 3D designer at The Moret Group to jumpstart their 3D journey. Now I am currently working at Under Armour and love the ability to assist my teammates in their 3D journey’s as well.”

To learn more about Brittany, click these links:

https://browzwear.com/indie-designer-spotlight-brittney-gray/

https://www.universityoffashion.com/instructor/brittney-grey/

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/brittneygray3d

Brittany Gray’s first lesson for UoF

MEET IRIS HOPKINS

Iris Hopkins – 3D instructor at UoF

Iris Hopkins – 3D instructor at UoF (Photo credit: Iris Hopkins)

I have always had an interest in bridging the gap between the traditional way of pattern making and innovation and 3D seems so fitting in my efforts. As a professional in this business, our goals are to get quality product to market faster with a focus on waste management through less sampling, eco-friendly materials, and upcycling. I want to be a part of a new generation of pattern makers who understands these points while remaining true to the craft through technology and innovation. In 3D, I have the ability to utilize all of this knowledge and skillsets in one place. My keen interest in 3D has led me down a path of exploration for about a year, teaching myself Browzwear VStitcher, followed by an enrollment in a five-week extensive learning program. Through my experience, I have found that the worlds of traditional pattern making and innovation do meet and connect in 3D and it is a great skill to have.

 For more about Iris and her 10+ years in the fashion industry click this link: https://www.universityoffashion.com/instructor/iris-hopkins/ and check out her work on IG @imhswim

Iris Hopkins – first lesson in 3D for UoF

Iris Hopkins – second lesson in 3D for UoF

Our new lessons require access to Browzwear VStitcher software. Software Licenses, BW support and access to the BW community of experts are available through this link: https://go.browzwear.com/indies-applicationIn the “I was referred by” field, type University of Fashion.

So, tell us, how interested are you in learning 3D design?

UoF Instructor Spotlight: Meet Robyn Smith

UoF Instructor Robyn Smith (Photo credit: Robyn Smith)

Join us in welcoming our newest instructor, Robyn Smith. Robyn is a talented fashion designer, illustrator, and visual artist that hails from Baltimore Maryland. Her love for designing was inspired by her older sister who would design prom gowns for her classmates. From the early age of nine, Robyn developed an eye for fashion and knew that she wanted to pursue a career in design.

After high school graduation Robyn moved to New York City and attended Parsons School of Design. While at Parsons she achieved several accomplishments: winning the Zack Carr fashion designer award, winning the Jasco Fabrics design competition, an internship competition with the Gap and interning with fashion designer Peter Som.

From college, Robyn went on to design for the House of Deréon in 2005 and traveled to Hong Kong and Mainland China where she participated in sample fittings, sourced fabrics, and developed new designs to incorporate into the line.  After designing for House of Deréon, Robyn transitioned to a fourteen-year career as a menswear ‘cut and sew’ knit designer for American Rag, Macy’s private label young men’s brand and later became CAD Director for Macy’s, Inc.

Menswear illustration (Image courtesy Robyn Smith)

Robyn’s positions as a designer and design director not only provided her with an opportunity to travel the world for production purposes, but also to conduct trend analysis and market research in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, London, Amsterdam, Berlin, and L.A.

Fashion illustration (Image courtesy Robyn Smith)

In addition to Robyn’s design career, she is also a famous fashion illustrator and visual artist.  Her fashion Illustrations were featured in the book entitled ‘Fashion Illustration’ by Chai Xiuming and Lu Haoyan, and in 2021, Robyn designed a beautiful plus size collection called ‘Robyn Nichole’ in collaboration with the fast fashion brand Shein.

Plus size fashion illustration (Image courtesy Robyn Smith)

In addition to designing fashion, Robyn participated in the Ace Hotel’s 2021 group art show entitled ‘Ours’, where her work was featured in their hotel gallery space with proceeds used to benefit the Teen Art Salon (TAS), a 501c3 non-profit organization in Long Island City that supports, develops, and promotes adolescent artists, and demystifies the process of starting a career as an artist.

Illustrations courtesy Robyn Smith

As every seasoned designer knows, pulling inspiration from the Visual Arts helps you to develop a new thinking process when approaching your fashion illustrations, thus creating a more distinctive portfolio. In Robyn’s first lesson for UoF, Creating a Menswear Fashion Illustration inspired by Visual Arts, she will teach you how to find inspiration from an art museum resource and, by focusing on the details, shapes, and colors found in the image, create a unique fashion design and illustration.

This advanced lesson will teach you how to create an illustration using a pencil, gouache, brushes, and markers.  And, you’ll learn how to draw and paint eyewear, create hair textures­­­, and how to use your inspirational images to make a design within your illustration.

(Preview of Robyn Smith’s first UoF lesson: Creating a Menswear Illustration Inspired by Visual Arts)

Stay tuned for more lessons by Robyn for UoF. In the meantime, follow Robyn and her work at:

Website: www.robynnichole.com

IG: Robyn_the_Creator  https://www.instagram.com/robyn_the_creator/

TikTok: @Robyn_the_Creator  https://www.tiktok.com/@robyn_the_creator

Youtube: Robyn_the_Creator https://www.youtube.com/c/RobynTheCreator

MEET OUR NEWEST INSTRUCTOR: PABLO V. CAZARES

Pablo V. Cazares newest lesson for UoF

Pablo V. Cazares

As CEO of UoF, the best part of operating the world’s largest fashion education video library for me is meeting and recruiting our many talented instructors. With over 500 videos in 13 different disciplines and with 13 years in business under my belt, I have made a lot of new friends. The fact that these experts are so eager to share their passion makes them all-the-more special.

So, it’s with great pleasure that I introduce the newest addition to our family…Pablo V. Cazares.

Pablo is an apparel designer and visual artist based on the west coast. Splitting time between Portland Oregon and the American Southwest, Pablo has been constructing apparel and art pieces since childhood, following his dauntless curiosity wherever inspiration takes him.

With a background in fine art, he attended The Art Institute of Portland for apparel design. In his first month, one of his pieces was accepted to be shown on the runway at Portland Fashion Week.  He was the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry’s first costume intern, integrating dress-up clothes to augment and enhance children’s learning experiences. Pablo’s broad interests served him well in product development. As lead technical designer for the Boys and Unisex divisions at Hanna Andersson, he had the opportunity to tour factories abroad and delve into the manufacturing process. Inspired, he began pursuing small scale manufacturing techniques such as 3D printing and laser cutting. Technical illustration and the manufacturing process are a realm of play that is heavily explored in his conceptual work as well.An obsessive creator with atypical perspective, throughout his career he has also done art direction for independent films, thematic costuming, and works as a creative illustrator. He is always looking ahead to his next creative project and experimental design. Pablo’s objective in his work is to inspire a sense of wonder in the viewer. For the University of Fashion, Pablo will be creating lessons focused on CAD, illustration, technical design, hand-mending and experimental apparel repair techniques.

 

GETTING TO KNOW PABLO

With today’s launch of Pablo’s first lesson, Creating Custom Brushes in Illustrator, I sat down (virtually of course) to find out more about Pablo and his extraordinary background story.

Francesca: Can you tell me a bit about where you were brought up and how it continues to influence your creativity?

Pablo: I was born in agricultural central California (Salinas, near Monterey). My family has been in commercial agriculture all my life. I moved all over rural California and lived on nearly every type of farm, ranch, dairy, orchard you could think of. I would play in old, abandoned barns and rural junkyards, building forts and wearables and art from things forgotten or thrown away. I’ve been creating things for as long as I can remember.

Right now, I live out on some property in the middle of nowhere in Arizona, helping build what will be a future intentional community (a bit like Arcosanti). I am learning and building with concrete and stone and driving around tractors and gardening. I am definitely a farm boy at heart. I do that in the mornings, then the rest of the day I am in my big cave/office/studio where I draw and design all day. Quarterly, I go to Portland to work on art and film projects, everything from sci fi erotica films to pirate festival design. I drive there every time, visiting friends and ocean views and forests as often as I can along the way.

Francesca: What was behind your motivation to pursue fashion?
Pablo: When I lived in Portland full time and worked in technical design, getting to go to the factories in India and Peru was absolutely incredible. I love seeing the inner workings of things and understanding processes. Friends have told me I get a sort of electricity in my eyes when I have a new idea or am learning something I didn’t know before.

Examples of technical design work by Pablo Cazares for Hanna Andersson

One thing that going to the factories did is make me realize my love of engineering. I actually left Hanna Andersson, to pursue a mechanical engineering degree! I am convinced that my love of apparel combined with a knowledge of engineering could help streamline and create new sustainable processes in apparel manufacturing. But then COVID hit, so I put that on hold and have been re-focusing on my creative pursuits. There’s still time for engineering, and while I don’t have a date in mind, I do intend to go back to it in the next few years.

Experimental work – hand-forged and fiber wrapped primitive electrical circuit

Between my knowledge of agriculture, apparel product development, building construction techniques, and engineering, I have a decent idea of how our world is built. And I am absolutely convinced that we can build a better more sustainable world. I adore the potential of 3D printing and laser cutting, and I am always thinking of more sustainable ways to create new things. (Neri Oxman at the MIT Media Lab is my role model).

I especially have a passion for re-using and upcycling, I feel that repairing things is a virtue. Patching and darning and thrift shopping and hand-me-downs give garments a soul and honor the tremendous amount of design and sewing labor that goes into creating them.

Francesca: What do you like to do when you are not designing or helping build a future intentional community?

Examples of children’s illustration

Pablo: In my spare time I am always drawing or designing or building things. I am kind of a machine, haha. In this next month, I’ll be creating an installation art piece in this great big cave studio I work in. I am also creating a comic book (I find huge inspiration in Phillipe Druillet and Eyvind Earle). In the next couple years, I hope to get accepted into an artist residency somewhere. I love traveling and working on collaborative art pieces. I am always chasing the next project or inspiration, whatever lights that fire in my mind.

I’m delighted to be part of the University of Fashion community!

Learn more about Pablo and his work:

Website: PabloTheKatz.com

Instagram: unnavigableunmade

MEET THE CROTCH KING – JERRY DELLOVA

In 2015, when UoF met Jerry Dellova, he was introduced to us as the “Crotch King.”  We immediately signed him up!

Ever since UoF went live in 2013, our subscribers had been asking us for lessons on fitting. Well, there is no better person than Jerry to teach you the process of how to fit a classic pair of pants.

Do you know the difference between the ‘saddle’ and the ‘rise’? How to identify and correct your pattern for a ‘wedgie,’ ‘camel toe’ or ‘whiskers’? Jerry to the rescue!

Together with well-known fit model, Pat Toth, Jerry demos how to analyze the fit of pants and then how to correct the patterns for each of the problems mentioned above.

In another lesson, Jerry demos how to draft a legging that is used as the foundation for a yoga pant, jegging, bike, tank and/or boy short.

Jerry Dellova has spent over 25 years as a fashion designer/designer director for upscale men and women’s sportswear companies, including Barry Bricken, GWheels, Misook, and Go Silk. He has overseen all product classifications: knits/sweaters, woven and outerwear for both menswear and womenswear and has traveled the world extensively for fabric and trend sourcing. Jerry has been profiled in the Style section of the New York Times, and quoted in many trade publications such as WWD, FGI & Premiere Vision, as well as in The Washington Post and People magazine. His sketches were recently published in the textbook ” Designing for your Portfolio.”  He has dressed Katie Couric, for the Today Show; consulted on clothing for TV; lectured to consumers on building a wardrobe and produced numerous fashion shows. In addition, Jerry has written for many publications, forecasting color and fashion trends.

Currently, Jerry is Manager of Color and Trend at Trend House and an Adjunct Asst. Professor in the Fashion Design Department at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), where he teaches Senior Thesis Collection, CAD/KALEDO computer design, draping, construction and visual concept classes. Jerry was FIT’s Fashion Design Director for Student Contests and is now their International Study Abroad Coordinator.

Jerry is a member of numerous professional organizations including: Fashion News Workshop (Current Co-President/ board member), DIFFA, Fashion Group International, the FIT Alumni Association and Standing Tall, a school for special needs children. He had been a member of the Murray Hill Committee, New York, The Horticultural Society, Apollo Circle at the Met, and the Art Students League. He holds a B.F.A. in Apparel and Accessory Design/Merchandising from FIT. Along with his husband, an Advertising and Executive Search data professional, and their beloved Havanese, Barklee, Jerry lives between New York City and Tuxedo Park… soaking up all the culture and style life the city has to offer!

In the age of Covid-19, Jerry encourages his student designers to be ‘Designers Without Borders.’ He encourages them to look around and design for the lives we are now living, but also think of the lives to be in the future. What have learned from the pandemic? Do consumers need more or less? Do we recycle, repurpose and reuse? Think out of the box…do not let physical quarantine, quarantine your mind and creativity! NO Borders ever!

Check out Jerry’s lessons and 500 others at UniversityofFashion.com

Felice DaCosta – Meet Our Instructors

Meet Felice DaCosta

Felice DaCosta is a fashion industry professional with over 35 years of experience as an art director and freelance illustrator. She is currently an Associate Professor at Parsons School of Design, teaching fashion design and drawing for the last 25 years.

As a founding member of Fashion Art Source, Felice is active in promoting the visibility of fashion illustration. She was also co-owner of THE FASHION ART BANK, a fashion art and licensing company.

Felice is co-author of the textbook entitled, Fashion Flats and Technical Drawing released December 2016.

Her love of teaching extends to the discipline of ESOL, which she has taught for the past 8 years. She has received teaching certificates in art K-12 from Parsons/Bank Street and in TESOL from the New School. Felice holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Parsons School of Design.

We recently asked Felice for some words of wisdom for future fashion designers and here’s what she said about designing fashion in the age of Covid-19:

“We are all living in deeply speculative times. This pandemic has forced us to think about the future with a heavy dose of uncertainty. We feel a spectrum of emotions from sadness, lethargy, anger, to fear. I’m sure, as future fashion designers, you may be questioning your commitment to this craft. With many retail doors shuttered, you may be wondering if there will be a market in place to sell your products. Will there be customers willing to shop? It’s hard to find bouts of creativity in this environment.

Now, you may be saying to yourself, “if I have to make one more mask, I’m going to go bonkers!” As altruistic as that may be, I don’t think you planned to start your career making masks. You really want to make a living at this. Well I’m here to tell you, “it’s not over.”

Fashion consumption is going through a transformation and a welcome one at that, in my humble opinion. Well, guess what? You get to be instrumental in the shaping of what fashion will look like in the future. You have the opportunity to embrace sustainability practices or redefine luxury and how it’s produced. This is an auspicious time to turn the ideas you have about fashion on their heads and become leaders. Do your research and decide what intentions you have. Is it going to be the same ole, same ole or something new?

So, while you are polishing your skills drawing, draping and drafting, prepare to adjust your torso centered view of fashion. We won’t be indoors forever. One day we all be released from our spaces and we’re going to need pants.”

Here’s what Felice teaches at UoF

At University of Fashion, Felice shares her very own technique for drawing the fashion croquis, which she developed while teaching at Parsons with great success. In her Advanced Illustration Techniques lesson, Felice critiques the work of various fashion designers’ illustrations and explains what makes their work special.

See for yourself with this free lesson. Felice demos how to draw a female contrapposto front pose.

 

Catch more of Felice’s lessons by clicking on the previews below to get a taste (and subscribing to UoF to see the full lesson). Once you subscribe to University of Fashion, you’ll get full access to ALL of our lessons (500 to be exact) in 13 different discipline like: Draping, Pattern Making, Sewing, Fashion Art, Childrenswear, Menswear, Knits, Product Development, CAD Fashion Art, CAD Pattern Making, Accessories, Fashion Business and Fashion Lectures covering topics like color theory, textiles, trend forecasting, costume history and lots more.

Drawing Female Frontal Figure Template

 

Drawing Female Contrapposto Back Pose

 

Drawing Female: Head, Front & Profile

 

Advanced Illustration Techniques