Getting the Most from Fashion School

by Sarah Clark
Fashion School Review Columnist

March 26, 2007

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Pursue A
Fashion Degree
The Art Institutes

The Art Institute
What's the best way to prepare for a career in fashion? Take advantage of your time in fashion school. Here are a few tips for getting the biggest bang for your buck as a fashion student.

Develop Your "Look"
Every fashion designer should have a unique look - a distinctive style that sets you apart from other designers. You may already have one. If that's the case, use fashion school to refine your personal aesthetic. If you still find your work imitative of others, concentrate on finding your unique voice and learn to express it through your designs.

Master Your Tailoring Skills
You may not think of yourself as a tailor, but some of the greatest fashion designers were very good at construction. For example, Olivier Theyskens, a leading couture designer, is known for his expert tailoring skills. Being familiar with how to work with many types of fabrics will help you better conceive of how artfully they will hang, tuck, stretch and flow.

Build Your Fashion Design Portfolio
The work you do during fashion school will help you demonstrate to others your fashion design abilities. Don't take your school projects lightly - put all your effort into them. Remember, you'll use these designs as a calling card to meet with fashion design houses. Do your best to make a standout impression.

Bond with Your Classmates
You'll have the opportunity to make friendships during fashion school that can serve you your entire career as a fashion designer. It's alright to be competitive, but don't let your desire to outshine your peers overcome your ability to befriend them. Be friendly - demonstrate a collaborative, generous spirit by offering help to your fashion school peers.

Find a Mentor
Mentors can do great things for those starting careers in fashion. If a professor takes an interest in your work, express a keen desire to learn more from him or her. Take their advice seriously, and demonstrate a willingness to work hard to improve your skills. Stay in touch with your mentors, and keep them posted on your career successes and challenges.

Study the Masters
Become a careful student of the work of legendary designers like Coco Channel, Yves Saint Laurent, and modern legends like Alexander McQueen. Learn what makes their work modern, appealing, and thoroughly superior.

About the Author
Sarah Clark is a freelance writer specializing in career development and postsecondary education.

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