Applying for Fashion Design Schools During A Pandemic

Over the past year, fashion design schools have been forced to rethink
how they educate students and prepare them for jobs. It’s a monumental
task, when so much about Covid-19 is still unknown, making planning for
future academic years difficult at best. What’s more, with a shift to
online learning and a focus on systemic racism within fashion curriculum,
educators are having to shift the very models of education that have been
in place for decades, especially when it comes to studio-based and
Western-centric learning.

*Would you rather listen to this story? You cna hear the
full podcast with Susanna Moyer here.


And while institutions grapple with these changes, potential fashion
design students wonder how or if these issues may change the application
process. According to Susanna Moyer, a part time professor in the BFA
Fashion Design program at Parsons School of Design and an educational
consultant in New York City, “Some schools and universities will be looking
for students that are able to connect with global issues, with inclusivity
being one of them.” She emphasizes, “Students who bring innovation and
critical thinking to these issues through the creative process will be the
most attractive candidates for these institutions.”

And more specifically, fashion schools are increasingly looking for
students who show an aptitude and knowledge of emerging technologies.
Susanna concurs, “Technology is being used in the school environment and
the professional arena. So, it’s really important for students to
understand 3D technology, including Clo3D.”

While it’s not expected that an incoming student learn a complex
software platform like Clo3D, having an awareness of how it works, or how
it changes the design process is very helpful. This is especially true when
so much of learning is online right now.

At the same time, Susanna points out that the core of what makes a
successful portfolio hasn’t really changed. She stresses, “It’s still
important for students to present “a clear, focused direction, and
diversity in presentation. All elements, including moodboard designs and
technical flats need to be well thought out and executed so the
storytelling of the collection is understandable to the viewer.” She also
recommends that students create a design journal to document the process so
that it can be included, as needed, in the portfolio submission.

Susanna also points out that students who understand their potential
role as a designer within the bigger picture can also help them to stand
out, as long as it is authentic. This includes learning everything possible
before getting into school. Ultimately, she challenges incoming students to
“be original and believe in something.” After all she says, quoting Oscar
Wilde, “be yourself, everyone else has taken.”

Part of the equation for any incoming student is whether fashion design
school is right for them, or if there is even any future in fashion. After
all, the world is changing precipitously, and the effect on fashion is
obvious. However, Susanna believes that with change are opportunities for
students. She says, “the broadening markets and the specializations that
are emerging with the changing social rules that are being broken every
day. Genderless clothing is one example along with sustainable and ethical
practices that are becoming stronger trends with the consumer.”

With any change comes opportunity. And an education is meant to prepare
students to be ready for new opportunities–to be ready to ideate, innovate
and implement. Susanna sums it up, “Choose a school or program that aligns
with your values and goals, and gives you a safe space to learn through
process and even failure.”


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