University of Fashion Blog

Posts Tagged: "fashion books"

The Future of Fashion Education

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

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

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

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

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

TECHNICAL SKILLS NEVER GO OUT OF STYLE

Image of Sue Lamoreaux a top recruiter

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

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

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

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

ARE DESIGN SCHOOLS DESIGNERSAURS? 
image of Simon Ungless

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DECIPHERING THE DESIGN SCHOOL OF TOMORROW

Image of Steven Faerm, author and professor at Parsons

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

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

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

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

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

QUESTIONS DESIGN SCHOOLS MUST ANSWER

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

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

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

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

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

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

image of Francesca Sterlacci, founder of University of Fashion

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

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

Respectfully,

Francesca Sterlacci, Founder/CEO University of Fashion

LAST MINUTE GIFT IDEAS – UNIVERSITY OF FASHION STYLE

 

UoF once-yearly subscription sale ends 12.31.23

 

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

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


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

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

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

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

Here’s the process in more detail:

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

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

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

 

Give the Gift of UoF Books that Compliment our Videos

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

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

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

Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry book

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

Leather Fashion Design book cover

Leather Fashion Design, written by our founder Francesca Sterlacci

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

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

WE JUST GOTTA BRAG

FEELIN’ THE LOVE

As the University of Fashion, the world’s first and largest online fashion education video library, enters its 11th year in business, we thought we’d devote this week’s blog to why our subscribers love us so much. Besides the hundreds of great lessons that we offer, our subscribers have told us how much they love our super-directional Pinterest boards, as well as our Facebook, Instagram and Tweets, which provide up to the minute fashion event coverage, inspiring quotes and feature our new lessons. Oh yeah, and they love our You Tube channel. Our free sleeve sloper lesson on YT has remarkably hit an all-time high of 837K views, yikes!  But, let’s not forget other UoF freebies – our set of mens, women’s, children’s and plus size croquis give-aways which, drum roll please…have had more than 400K downloads and are still going strong!

For those of you who aren’t familiar with us, well then please, come out from under that rock and check us out!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UpETLHSVxsU&feature=youtu.be&t=6

 

TOP 10 REASONS WHY PEOPLE LOVE US

  1. Learn from Industry Pros and Top College Professors
  • We recruit only the best people in the fashion industry to teach our lessons. Each teacher is selected because they’re considered an expert in their field.
  • Our college instructors are selected for their particular area of expertise and based on their college peer and student evaluations. We interview hundreds of teachers before we choose.
  1. Lesson Satisfaction 8.97 out of 10
  • Before deciding on which lessons to film, we do research. We interview and survey hundreds of our customers to find out what they would like to learn.
  • We poll our high school and college students and teachers, our industry customers and our home sewers. Each plays a huge role in the lessons that we choose to film.
  • An outside firm recently surveyed 500 of our customers and asked them to rate the lesson that they most recently completed. On a scale where 10 is the “most satisfying”, the U of F scored an average of 8.97.
  1. Founded by a Designer for Designers
  • UoF was founded by Francesca Sterlacci, a former designer/entrepreneur, author and college professor from FIT and AAU. As chair of the Fashion Dept. at FIT, Francesca learned that high school students interested in fashion college needed help with their portfolios. Current fashion college teachers & students desperately needed tutoring, especially in the disciplines of draping, patternmaking, sewing and fashion drawing. While some colleges offer tutoring to their students, none have on-call, 24/7 service. Enter UoF.
  • Fashion industry professionals looking to upgrade their skills can’t find time to go back to school and so for them, UoF is the perfect solution.
  1. Enjoy College Courses in the Convenience of Your Home or Office
  • Subscribers choose from over 450+ lessons at a level that suits their particular skill level, whether they are a beginner, intermediate or advanced student.
  • Subscribers get to watch, replay and access our lessons from a computer, tablet or smart phone as many times as they wish.
  1. Videos that Keep You Stay Engaged & Visually Stimulated
  • To reinforce and add to the learning experience, our video editors have added state-of-the-art motion graphics to help the viewer get a better understanding of the material.
  • Each lesson is broken up into modules with music transitions so the viewer can take breaks in between each module or conveniently play back a module for further clarification.
  • Our videos are easy to follow, never boring, and move at a pleasant pace. Viewers have the option to rewind and review as many steps as necessary, which, is another benefit of learning by video.
  1. Find Everything You Need to Get Started
  • For beginners, UoF starts out by teaching how to create a portfolio for fashion college application.
  • UoF offers 13 fashion disciplines: draping, pattern making, sewing, fashion drawing, CAD art & pattern making, accessory design, knits, childrenswear, menswear, product development, fashion business and a fashion lecture series with lessons covering textiles, color theory, trend forecasting, fashion history and prominent fashion luminaries.
  • In addition to a resource library of suggested books, museums, schools and fashion terminology, we are also a one stop shop marketplace for the tools, supplies, machines, fabrics, dress forms, trims and art supplies that you will need for our lessons.
  1. We Keep You Connected to the Fashion Industry
  • Whether you are a working professional, a student, a teacher, a home sewer or one of the fashion curious, you will be able to access lectures including how to choose a dress form, how to pad a dress form, lectures by fashion book authors, and other topics such as textiles, the state of the fashion industry, current fashion trends and much, much, more!
  1. Schools & Companies Get Expert Help
  • We help colleges strengthen their existing curriculum with expert tutorials in all of the major fashion subjects and in the creation of hybrid classroom learning. In addition, we offer online licensing options for schools to create their own online degree programs.
  • High schools get the benefit of expert teachers without having to spend money on recruiting teachers with specific skill sets. And, access to our video library  is a great way to start a fashion club!
  • Companies use UoF to assist their employees in keeping current with fashion industry best practices.
  1. We are Affordable
  • Whether you are an individual subscriber who chooses a monthly or yearly option, or you are a high school, college, public library, group or organization, a subscription to UoF enables you to access all of our website and video content as well as our transcripts, 24/7 for the duration of your subscription. And…all of our lessons are now closed-captioned.
  1. We Now Have Books to Complement our Beginner Videos
  • As of January 2019, we offer, for purchase, a Beginner Techniques book series in Draping, Pattern making and Sewing. This reinforces the learning process and is a great way to learn, since the books follow the videos step-by-step, frame-by-frame. Don’t take our word for it, check out our Amazon reviews!
  • And, speaking of reviews…check out our industry, subscriber and academic testimonials and our press reviews to see why people in 177 countries love us. And thank you…WE FEEL THE LOVE!

Let us know which lessons are your favorite and what lessons you would like to see on UoF’s site!