One the fence about whether or not to go to art school? Here’s why it is important to pursue professional education.

One the fence about whether or not to go to art school? Here’s why it is important to pursue professional education.

Someone who has not been predisposed to a fashion-related career can argue that working in this field is “easy”. Countless times have I been told how people wish they could switch to a less “ intelligent” or “complicated” career such as Apparel and Textile Design. This is a common misconception. You can not simply binge Project Runway or watch a YouTube tutorial on how to become a successful designer. While conducting some online research could give you a deeper understanding of a specific sewing skill or design technique, this form of training is incomplete. This field is competitive, intense, and thrilling. It is important to gain a professional education to help thrive in this industry. Here are four important reasons why you should pursue a professional education in Apparel and Textile Design. 

Perfecting Skills and Craft

Taking college courses will help you perfect your skills and better your overall craft. I entered college with some sewing and no drawing or sculpting experience. I was never exposed to any of these techniques in high school. I was particularly poor at drawing ( even my stick figures looked terrible) Over the past two years, I have taken various drawing and fashion illustration courses. Practicing this skill helped me improve my technique. I learned the principles of design and the elements of art and how I can work with or against these ideas in order to convey my idea in my drawings. I use this skill when creating flat and croquis sketches in ATD courses, and even my internships. I can better define details in my garment sketches.

 In my color theory class, I learned how different colors interacted with each other in an art piece. I learned how to create different shades and hues to introduce unique colors in my work. This I can apply to my ATD training by finding the perfect color palette for my collection or finding the best colors for my client. 

Foundation art courses may seem unnecessary. There were times when I even questioned whether or not I needed to take a specific course. However, you will soon enough find yourself applying these skills in your future internship and jobs. 

It Teaches You How To Interact With Other Designers

You will meet and work alongside many other talented artists and designers in this field. Whether it be collaborating on a project or reviewing their collection, it is important to give and respond to feedback in an appropriate way. 

Throughout all of my art-based courses at Michigan State, we practiced what is called critique. Everyone shared their projects and themes and we took turns sharing what we appreciated about them, and what we believed could be added or improved. We typically structure our sentences by saying,  “ I like how you added _ to your work. I think it could be improved by doing _” or “ I appreciate _ aspect of your piece. I think you could add _ to better articulate _”  Giving positive and/or constructive feedback during critique is a crucial part of the design process, however, it is important to practice articulating your suggestions in a way that is not off-putting to an artist. Do not bluntly say what parts of the piece you don’t like, or that you hate the piece altogether. Instead, give advice on how to improve their work. If you are the one receiving feedback, acknowledge and thank somebody for their critique but do not feel pressured into taking their advice. At the end of the day, your art piece is your own. You decide what elements can be emphasized or improved in order to best articulate your theme. Much like re-reading an essay before submitting it for a class, having others review your designs and receiving feedback is important when creating clothing. 

Art Programs Introduce You To New Topics In Fashion 

Before going to Michigan State, I knew very little about the different topics and careers in fashion and dress, let alone how many career choices I could choose from. In art school, you begin to learn about all of the different job opportunities you didn’t know existed. 

During my sophomore year, I was a part of a student-led organization called VIM MAGAZINE. We created and published a fashion magazine every semester. Here, we discussed art, fashion, and beauty-related topics and listened to guest speakers in these industries discuss their careers. Listening to these individuals discusses their professional lives exposed me to all the different job options in fashion such as fashion photography or illustration.

 My courses at Michigan State have also enlightened me to different topics in Fashion. As I have discussed before, I have been previously enrolled in a fashion illustration course. I was also enrolled in textile materials and pattern-making course as well. I never knew that these interests could be translated into a future job. 

Build Bridges And Establish Connections With Others In The Industry

As I have mentioned before, I was a part of VIM and other fashion-related organizations at Michigan State. These clubs served as a platform for students to showcase their work, a space to discuss current events in fashion, and an outlet to meet others professionals in this industry. Guest speakers would speak on their experience in the industry and answer student’s questions. One of these guest speakers was the CEO of MATURE look. After inquiring about internship opportunities at their company, they hired me as their design intern. I have learned so much about design and fashion business/marketing through this experience. I have worked for MATURE for the past seven months, and I have thoroughly enjoyed my time working with them as their partner. 

Another internship opportunity I have gained was through one of my Apparel and Textile Design professors at Michigan State. She directed me to the Global Remote Internship Program. Through this opportunity, I was given the chance to work as a columnist at 440 Industries. What is so unique about this experience is that I had never been exposed to fashion blogging before this experience. I have learned so much through the past six weeks, and this knowledge will make me a more well-rounded candidate for future employment. 

Through these connections, I was able to obtain my first two internships. These are not only great learning experiences but are also great future resume builders. Listening to guest speakers and even interning at their companies has given me a first-hand experience of what working in this industry is like. 

In What Ways Is 440 Industries A Good Resource To Use, And How Can We Use It To Our Advantage? 

440 Industries takes a complex topic such as fashion marketing and has simplified it down to a short online course ( or series of courses). I took Content Marketing For Creative Rockstars, to help prepare myself for this writing internship. This course provided me with an in depth education on how to use content marketing strategies in my writing. This style of education is beneficial for those who are looking to take their knowledge of a specific subject to another level. 
There are many reasons as to how a professional education can benefit you when pursuing a career in apparel and textile design. From forming connections with those who are working in the industry to learning professional terminology to use in the field, pursuing a fashion and design degree at a secondary institution or atan online platform such as 440 Industries will provide you with a higher level of learning that is obtainable nowhere else.

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