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New Fashion Design Degree Program Launches

Visit Stevenson.edu for details on Stevensons 4-year fashion design degree program.
Photo: Stevenson University

Stevenson University, a private institution near Baltimore, Maryland, has launched the state’s first bachelor’s degree program in fashion design.

Fall 2011 is its inaugural semester. The broad curriculum was designed to help students develop the tools to become not only effective fashion designers, but also strong business-people by combining the technical and theoretical aspects of fashion design with general education, business, and fine arts. The curriculum encompasses making clothing for men and children, as well as women—a detail the program's creators believe will give graduates a competitive edge.

Stevenson’s Fashion Design program is taught by a faculty of working professionals in fashion and is also guided by an advisory board of professionals from fashion manufacturers and retailers, independent designers, fashion and sewing educators, business owners, and fashion industry organizations.

The program's goal is to prepare students for the realities of working in fashion design. State-of-the-art design laboratories provide facilities that closely emulate the workplaces of the apparel industry. In the technical courses, students are assigned a variety of innovative and sustainable fashion design projects that follow the industry’s direction. During their senior semesters, students conceptualize a garment collection, identify a target market, present a design portfolio, and then execute the collection to demonstrate their proficiency in design, pattern making, garment construction, and fashion marketing.

If you know—or are—an aspiring fashion designer considering degree programs in fashion design, visit Stevenson University’s School of Design's website for more information.

Did you study or are you studying fashion design? How do you think a solid foundation of sewing experience benefits future fashion designers?

SLMiller Stephani Miller, associate editor
Posted on Nov 9th, 2011 in sewing, design, fashion design, education, Stevenson University, bachelor's program

Comments (10)

KAC1962 KAC1962 writes: I am currently taking sewing classes at the local college. I have been sewing for years (I'm the oldest student in my classes by far!). I see students who have great fashion ideas but no knowledge of how to make what they have designed. They are not even sure if the idea will work or not. It sure is a handicap for them.
Posted: 7:20 pm on November 16th

ustabahippie ustabahippie writes: Having graduated from fashion school in pattern making and clothing construction, and then worked for various designers in costume as well as fashion, I feel that anyone who really wants to be a designer, who is able to work well with her or his team, should at least be familiar with the fundamentals of clothing construction. Then you won't waste a lot of the pattern maker's and stitchers' time arguing about what is and is not possible! In theater and fashion, time is a huge issue!
Posted: 1:55 pm on November 16th

416 416 writes: I have studied fashion design. As a senior, I still sew and change commercial pattern designs to fit my needs. Sewing is very important to a fashion designer. After drawing the design on paper, you need to know exactly how many pleats will fit the body or where exactly the darts fit the body. A small version of the design made up in muslin using half measurements of the body will enable you to make any adjustments. Seeing your design sewn up in your favorite fabric is quite rewarding.
Posted: 11:01 am on November 16th

MountainCats MountainCats writes: While I agree that few people who learn to design plan to sew a lot after learning to design-having a good knowledge of how garments go together when sewn is very helpful. I beleive this story is about Edith Head's early days designing costumes in Hollywood: She designed some sprite or elf cosutmes for a dance or whatever the event to be was, and drew red and white spirals going up the legs. Someone came along and asked how that would be put together. Her response: have the model put on white tights, then we'll paint the red on it. They called in a studio model and proceeded with this plan, using red barn paint. The model stood in place for 4 hours; the paint did not dry (Was fast drying latex paint available in the 1930's to '40s?) and the model was sent to a hospital to recover. After this, the designer was more careful to design realistic clothes after this.
Feel free to correct any details of this story, it's been 23 years since modeling school when I read it.
Posted: 1:03 am on November 16th

SewingWithKathy SewingWithKathy writes: A basic understanding of some sewing could only help someone wanting to be a designer. I believe an understanding of textiles is extremely important for good fashion design.
Posted: 12:58 am on November 16th

sewsilky sewsilky writes: I agree that extensive knowledge of sewing is unnecessary to a designer. Two different disciplines really. While I admire those who sew well, beautiful seams or even great fit on a bad design gets one nowhere.
Posted: 12:04 am on November 16th

PointPatou PointPatou writes: Juli1961:

That is a fundamental misunderstanding of home sewers. It is not necessary to know how to sew to be a designer if you have excellent pattern makers and sample makers. They can tell you what is possible, which may be well beyond the designer's own sewing ability. There are many examples: St. Laurent, Lagerfeld, Klebacker are a few that come to mind -- none of them knew how to sew.

As a practical matter, and unless you know you're going to be a superstar who can hand someone a sketch, it is highly desirable to have some garment construction background, as well as knowledge of anatomy, drawing, fashion industry software, industry business customs, and of course, textiles. If you found yourself out of work, wanted to develop samples of your own and couldn't afford sewing contractors, it would be helpful to be able to sew things yourself. But no one I know who is a student in a fashion design or menswear program has any intention of doing much sewing upon graduation. That's not what designers do.

If I were applying to a fashion design school and had no connections, or resources to start a business, I would want to know the school's employment placement history and what kind of internships students got before graduation. I would want to know how hard it was to get someone to look at a portfolio from a graduate of that school.

In this economy, these are essential questions before anyone plunks down big bucks for a B.A. Fashion design, while interesting if it's what you want to do, is not glamorous or particularly well paying for the ordinary person.
Posted: 10:43 pm on November 15th

PointPatou PointPatou writes: Juli1961:

That is a fundamental misunderstanding of home sewers. It is not necessary to know how to sew to be a designer if you have excellent pattern makers and sample makers. They can tell you what is possible, which may be well beyond the designer's own sewing ability. There are many examples: St. Laurent, Lagerfeld, Klebacker are a few that come to mind -- none of them knew how to sew.

As a practical matter, and unless you know you're going to be a superstar who can hand someone a sketch, it is highly desirable to have some garment construction background, as well as knowledge of anatomy, drawing, fashion industry software, industry business customs, and of course, textiles. If you found yourself out of work, wanted to develop samples of your own and couldn't afford sewing contractors, it would be helpful to be able to sew things yourself. But no one I know who is a student in a fashion design or menswear program has any intention of doing much sewing upon graduation. That's not what designers do.

If I were applying to a fashion design school and had no connections, or resources to start a business, I would want to know the school's employment placement history and what kind of internships students got before graduation. I would want to know how hard it was to get someone to look at a portfolio from a graduate of that school.

In this economy, these are essential questions before anyone plunks down big bucks for a B.A. Fashion design, while interesting if it's what you want to do, is not glamorous or particularly well paying for the ordinary person.
Posted: 10:43 pm on November 15th

Juli1961 Juli1961 writes: if you don't know clothing construction, you can't know what is possible in your design. I have sewn for over 40 years and have designed some of my own clothing over the last 20 years. I haven't studied fashion design but I do know how to construct my patterns and then put together clothing that suits me and the purpose it was constructed for.
Posted: 6:48 pm on November 15th

PointPatou PointPatou writes: I take Continuing Ed classes at FIT and know a fair amount of full-time students. Many of these people are extremely talented. Given the amount of competition for jobs, I'm not sure that the world was crying out for yet another fashion design program, but hey, I don't live in Baltimore.

From what I've seen, a sewing background helps would-be assistant designers understand what quality of work they can ask of sewing contractors and what ideas are realizable, not just renderable in a drawing. If a student decides to pursue couture or bespoke tailoring, a sewing background is a good foundation.

The best schools have faculty with solid professional experience and offer manufacturing and merchandising courses. They try to expose the students to industry methods and customs. The biggest exposure, however, is during internships, because every company is different.
Posted: 6:29 pm on November 15th

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