August 31, 2009
just a thought – making the most of fashion school
Today I forgot it was frosh week (I thought that was supposed to happen after Labour Day?) and found myself going to the library and the mall surrounded by throngs of students. It reminded me a bit of my first few overwhelming days at fashion school. So, here are some comments from my experience as a fashion student.
- Use the Library. Its a tremendous resource that your tuition dollars pay for. Getting familiar with the library is an incredible joy. You can watch DVDs, leaf through magazines from the past fifty years on hundreds of different subjects, learn to search the stacks intuitively. It helps you with your grades – but better than that, it helps you be a better writer and a better designer, an inspired and curious human being.
- Read your assignments. Most of school is just about checking if you’ve paid attention. So pay attention. Listen.
- Go to your classes. It cuts down the amount of time you need to study and makes exam time much less stressful.
- Don’t stress about grades. If you’re doing the first three things, you’ve got nothing to worry about.
- Experience is more important than school. The best reason to skip a class is attending or working a fashion event.
- Use a planner. Don’t be like I was. I actually forgot a mid-term once.
- Don’t stress about how you dress or how you design in the beginning. Fashion students can get away with outrageous ideas and bad taste, and bad choices in fabrics and design details, ridiculous haircuts and outfits, or complete lack of clue, especially in first year. Experimentation and practice leads to more confident, better constructed, more deliberate designs. No one starts out as a fashion rockstar, except YSL types.
- Get up early in the morning. This was my secret strategy in fashion school where I never did a single all-nighter and submitted every project. Get to school at 6am. Ok, lets be real, before 8am. Early in the morning, the lab is empty, no lineups for machines, empty tables. Get your homework done before class instead of after.
- Choose your designs, fabric and techniques to fit within your means and time available. Unfortunately the best way to really learn this is by doing the exact opposite at least once.
- Appreciate. Going to fashion school is a tremendous privilege. You can do things there that aren’t possible anywhere else, make amazing friends, learn new skills. Enjoy it and be thankful!
Are you a former fashion student? What are your tips for making the most of your fashion school years?