On Thursday I attended the 4th year Fashion Communication Senior Project class and listened to the instructors talk about the course and what students should expect. Each student will identify a topic for their Senior Project and I suspect that the variety of possible project topics and approaches will be equal to the number of students in the class. We were told that we had to submit a 150 word description of our project topic by 9 am. on Monday. I just completed and submitted mine (it is after 9 on Sunday night). My understanding is that these topic descriptions will be used to assign the students to smaller groups who will work more closely together on the development of their projects throughout the semester. I am not able to engage in all aspects of the two courses – design and communication – I do have a day job after all – but I plan to develop the communication strategy related to this project in conjunction with the fashion communication students…treating this communication as the equivalent of my senior project.
After about 45 minutes with the communication students I joined the design class in progress. The instructors were going over the course outline and various graded aspects of the course. The first assignment is an inspiration/theme board…the purpose of which is “to create a visual communication working tool to keep the designer focused while developing their collection”. It is due on Thursday. I am sure many of the students have spent the summer thinking about their collections…one student was sharing some sketches with one of the instructors at the end of the class.
I suspect when many of us think about the work that the fashion design students are doing we think sketching, creating and imagination run wild with possibility…in fact there is a great deal of “less creative” work expected of them as it pertains to the reality and business of fashion. They must articulate a specific target market for their collections, produce a research paper addressing their target market and competitive analysis. They must do costing sheets for each of the garments in their collection and all of these things must be in alignment ie. if your target market is young professionals you probably can’t justify the use of $450/metre beaded silk in your design. I chatted with one student who is doing a “skater” collection. Another student was talking to the instructor about her plan to do a unisex/androgynous collection and was asking about whether she should build and present her pieces on a judy (female dress form) or a jimmy (male dress form).
While some already have clear plans, each of these students will prepare a theme board before next class. The parameters and requirements of the inspiration/theme board assignment were also very specific from the size, to the number of pictures, to the inclusion of button samples. It is not all just creative abandon. On Saturday morning I set up in my dining room with my 15″x20″ illustration board, a stack of magazines, scissors, a glue stick and double sided tape. I spent a good part of Saturday putting together my theme board. I will not post a picture of it until after class on Thursday so I can share it along with the experience of presenting it to and along with other students. I have no idea whether I will completely embarrass myself or not…stay tuned. A hint…my board is essentially about “colour on black”.