Hot off the Press! University of Fashion Academic Review


Great News! The American Library Association (ALA), the oldest, largest and most prestigious library association in the world, through their publication Choice Reviews, has just given the UoF a thumbs up!  

The following was published in the March 2018 issue of Choice, a publication of the Association of College & Research Libraries, a division of the American Library Association.

“No Admissions. No Travel. No scheduled classes. Learn what you want, when and where you want!” Thus proclaims this site’s ambition to be a self-driven student resource, offering a database of video lessons in draping, pattern making, sewing, fashion art and drawing, CAD, fashion business and product development, accessories, knits, and childrens’ wear. Unlike the amateur videos of variable quality one finds on YouTube, lessons here are scripted and hosted by professional designers. The home page is straightforward and simply designed. It presents a standard simple search box, plus links to sections labeled Lessons, Subscriptions, About, Resources, Blog, and Contact. Icons for FacebookTwitter, etc. offer alternative ways to sign in. Monthly subscriptions for individuals and groups are offered. Content is comprehensive, and all videos include tables of contents and transcripts. One’s laptop needs to be within reach for easy pausing and replaying during lessons.

Under the Pattern Making section, lessons are divided by mastery level. Examples, highlighting three levels, include videos for beginners (e.g., “Basic Pant Sloper,” run time 41:48); intermediate (“High-Waisted Skirt, 29:04); and advanced (“Drafting a Women’s Jacket, run time 24:24). The videos teach viewers how to draft patterns using body measurements. Further lessons show how to draft sleeves, bodices, collars, necklines, and darts. Subscribers can download basic “sloper” or pattern files to get started, and videos include supply lists. Draping lessons are also extensive and of variable length, including Introduction to Dress Forms (run time 12:30), Drop Shoulder Blouse (41:53), and Bias Cowl Blouse (1:10:03). The Fashion Drawing section offers yet more: Drawing Female Hands, Drawing & Illustrating Male Frontal Pose, and Twin Figures—Mood Drawing. One can find lectures covering topics like Tanning Leather, Textile Dyeing, and Plus-Size Models, along with interviews with notable fashion experts such as Kara Laricks and Valerie Steele. The site’s Fashion Business section offers nearly 20 videos dealing with the history of licensing, start-ups, collection costing, or lessons on understanding profit and loss.

Each section recommends a watching sequence, moving from fundamentals through intermediate to advanced practices, and comes with this note: “You’ll learn the most from these lessons by doing exactly what the teachers are doing, using your own materials.” Years ago, when learning how to draft patterns, this reviewer discovered that in fashion designing, nothing beats practice. One has to ask if students can use this service instead of enrolling in college. The simple answer—yes. However, one must be self-directed, motivated, and have the toughness to try (and fail) many times before mastering skills. According to the site’s FAQ, a team of fashion designers is available to answer both lesson-related and general questions about fashion careers. All designers need to be resourceful and outgoing, using social networks like Etsy or Pinterest to get feedback. Even if students decide later to enroll in fashion school, what they learn via the University of Fashion will jump-start their career.

C. Donaldson, North Seattle College

Summing Up: Highly recommended. High school through undergraduate students; general readers.”

Reprinted with permission from CHOICE, copyright by the American Library Association.

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