Project Runway: Fashion Design Career Reality?

by Marianne Salina
Fashion School Review Columnist

February 12, 2007

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So, you've watched a couple seasons of Bravo's Project Runway and now you're convinced that you want to go to fashion design school. You're not alone. Fashion design schools all across the country are reporting surprising jumps in applicants and enrolled students. But is Project Runway exposing the realities of a fashion design program, or is it just plain good TV? Before you join the scores of hopeful fashion designers, examine the differences between reality television and the real world of fashion design.

What Project Runway Doesn't Reveal about Fashion and Apparel Design
While Project Runway certainly illustrates the intense competition and stress of the fashion design industry, it is also within the context of reality TV. As Tim Gunn of Parsons Fashion School points out, "These contestants are already designers...we really push them to the limits of designing, and the pressures and stress levels they are experiencing are real, but this is not the education you will get." In other words, challenges like improvising beauty pageant gowns or three-piece suits furnished of discount fabrics and materials from a recycling dump aren't indicative of a true-to-life fashion and apparel design course.

What to Expect From Your Fashion Design Program
If Project Runway doesn't offer the full picture, then what can you expect from your fashion design program? Many of the skills you've heard about from the show, such as "draping," fabric selection, and the elements of design are woven into practically every top-notch fashion design program. And as the show suggests, a community of designers is also a welcome reality of fashion design schools. It increases your potential for learning more about the design process while making valuable connections along the way.


About the Author
Marianne Salina is a freelance writer in Spokane, Washington. She writes about pursuits in education and degree opportunities.

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