Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Looking to Get into Fashion School? Use These Tips

Is it necessary for you to have a college degree in order to become the world’s next great fashion designer? While true style can't be taught, most people will agree that it is very difficult to find a job, any job in the fashion industry without some sort of degree, even if it is a two or four year one. As a matter of fact, going to fashion school and getting an education makes you more of an appealing job candidate. It is extremely competitive job market and an education can make the difference between you and another equally qualified candidate.

No matter how talented you are or think you are, fashion design school holds a ton of experience that you’ll be hard pressed to find somewhere else. You can make some contacts within the industry contacts, polish up on your techniques and even learn new and exciting fashion design software. School can teach you how to critically look at your own work, thus improving your design skills.

If you’re thinking about going to fashion school, there are quite a few choices to consider. Here are just a few of the beginning steps you’ll need to take in order to get yourself enrolled in the best fashion schools.

If you have any dreams of joining the world of fashion, you better learn how to sew. There is no other skill that is as important as sewing is to fashion design. It’s also a skill that more and more students just don’t have. Knowing how would and can give you a one up on the competition. Learning how to sew can put a potential fashion designer a step ahead of the others trying to get into fashion school.
Now is the time to master your drawing abilities. Now it’s true that a great portion of this artistic skill comes naturally for most people, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t at least take the time to practice drawing. You need to know how to effectively put your ideas on paper in such a clear manner that others can see them.
Think of fashion just like you would as any other college. You’ll want to have good grades all throughout high school and a good SAT score. These schools are looking for the best of the best and want hardworking, dedicated and studious people. Good grades are a great indication that you would be that type of student.
It wouldn’t hurt you to surround yourself with fashion by working part-time in a trendy clothing store or a fashion boutique. Not only does this show you are willing work your way from the bottom up but also that you have a basic understanding of how the fashion business is run.
It is important to get some firsthand experience of any kind. This means you will have to offer your services for free such as through an internship. Working for free sucks but think of all invaluable experience you will be gaining. It is never too early to start building a portfolio.
It is always good to have excellent references in your back pocket. Try to find any local fashion designers, even if their names are recognizable not, and study under them, ask them if they mind being followed or looking for help. You want to display all of your potential to them in order for them to be willing to give you a reference.

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Fashion Design Degrees Create a Pattern for Success

Abbey Swisher didn't necessarily want to become a fashion designer or consider fashion design degrees to be her forte in college until she was studying interior design and took an elective in fashion. "I just started to sew, and kept sewing and sewing," she recalls. "I'd come into class with outfits I had made, and people would be like, 'Abbey, why don't you become a fashion designer?'"

She took the hint, switched majors from interior design, and began taking fashion design courses at Virginia Marti College of Art and Design (Lakewood, OH). Now, with classes like tailoring, fashion illustration, and business law, Abbey's learning the crafts needed to become a fashion designer -- making suits and coats, illustrating her designs, and navigating the legal aspects of the industry. And, as anyone successful in fashion design careers will attest, fashion design degrees are instrumental in designing career success in the competitive industry.

Another way to set yourself apart if you want to become a fashion designer? Keep on top of opportunities in which you can show off your stuff like Abbey did. Recently, she designed a dress for a contest held by the Duck® brand duct tape company. Out of several fashion design students at her school, Abbey's dress design came in first. "It was the perfect opportunity to let my creativity run wild," she says. "When I started, I had a plain white dress. I wanted to do shooting stars, then I wanted to do watermelons -- I just wanted to get people's attention." And she certainly did. Her poker-themed prom dress, made entirely out of duct tape, caught the eye of the judges and won her an all-expenses-paid trip to New York City, as well as the opportunity to network with those who've made their mark within fashion design careers. If you want to become a fashion designer, big city exposure is a good start.

So are designer labels in the future for this aspiring fashionista? "Fashion design school is important to me -- more than anything else right now," says Abbey. "Once I graduate, I'd like to work for a designer, and what I'd really like is to start my own company. It's a risky industry, but the good thing is that you can be creative," she adds. "You have so many options for a job in this field -- everybody needs clothes." If you want to become a fashion designer like Abbey, get passionate about fashion design now.

To find college and career schools near you, surf http://www.CollegeSurfing.com

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Elise B. Zito is a frequent contributor to The CollegeBound Network. Learn more about finding a school or career that's right for you!

Monday, 21 December 2009

How to Read a Fashion Magazine

When I recently advised a client to study a few fashion magazines to glean some ideas for the
upcoming season, she flatly refused.

"I HATE those things!" she told me vehemently. "Skinny girls, expensive clothes - what does that have to do with my life? Nothing!"

Now since this isn't the first time I've heard this argument, I realized that she was missing
the point of the exercise - much like the women who tell me that VOGUE or W are "their bibles." In this corner, we have someone who's way too caught up in her own reality; in the other, we have someone who's much too caught up in someone else's. Let's all move a bit more to the center and learn how to read these things properly, shall we? We'll all dress a lot better for it.

Let's start with a little dissection first, then move on to the "how to" part of the lesson.


Overall, fashion magazines tend to show young, thin, attractive people in their pages for the
exact same reason that grocers tend to polish their apples and car dealers tend to have you
test drive clean cars: because it sells more. It's as simple as that. Fashion Marketing 101.
Whether you agree with it or not is beside the point; it works -- VERY well.

So well, in fact, that somewhere along the line, many women went from trying to determine whether the clothing being shown would work well on their bodies to bemoaning the fact that their bodies don't look like the mannequins. Let me let you in on a secret: those girls don't look like that every day, either. They have an army of people to get the hair, makeup, clothes, and lighting just right. If that doesn't work, they airbrush the photos to get the right look. And if the model packs on a few pounds or starts to show signs of ageing, she's replaced. Nothing like being a "has been" by the age of 30, eh?

What a shame that so many teenage girls and women have allowed the slick marketing to muddle their thinking and impact their self esteem. Don't be one of them. Look at the clothes and the mood that the picture evokes; don't compare yourselves to the mannequins.


In fashion magazines, you'll often see a beautiful girl in gorgeous clothes in an enviable
setting surrounded by handsome men. If only, right? Well, that's part of the marketing. It's
called projecting, and if you've ever envisioned yourself swapping places with the gal in the
picture, the marketers have done their job. It's a set up. A complete fabrication. A ruse.
Remember that the next time you see a shot that makes you want to rush right out and buy the
clothes you see so you can be just like the girl in the picture.


Ever wonder why you see so many high end designers advertising in fashion magazines and
why the fashion magazines, in turn, show so many of those same designers in their editorial photo spreads? It's no coincidence. Those one-page ads are VERY expensive, often costing tens of thousands (or more), depending on the magazine's circulation. So the fashion houses don't spend all their advertising dollars in one place. Oh, no.

They'll put a portion of their budget into ads, a portion into lending clothes to magazines for
photo shoots, and a portion into creating clothes for celebrities for red carpet and other media events. That way, they spread the name recognition around. It's clever - and expensive.
But it works. If you love labels and see a look you like in a couple of fashion magazines and on a favorite celebrity, wouldn't you be more inclined to buy it if you had the money? Many
are. A look through the society pages will tell you as much.


So now that we've addressed the models, ads, and editorial spreads, here's what you SHOULD be
looking for when you read a fashion magazine (and yes, it's okay to rip out pages and put them in a file for future reference - but only if you own the magazine!):

1. The Trends

Fashion magazines will call them "must have" items, but look at trends skeptically to see
whether they fit your body, clothing personality, and lifestyle. Don't worry about the price. If you find something you like and want to wear, look for an inexpensive version of the trend at your favorite discount or outlet store. Buy cheap, wear often, and discard when then trend is over.

2. The Updated Classics

Most women recognize that classic styles are a good value, and fashion magazines know this. So
they'll show trendy new ways to wear classic styles and give you plenty of ideas in the
process. All you have to do is take a moment to break it down to see how you can apply this to
your own closet.

3. The Designers

If you have a "thing" for designer labels, high end fashion magazines (Vogue, W, Marie Claire,
Town and Country) are a great place to learn about the different fashion house philosophies.
Even if you can't afford those brand names, don't fret. If you find a look you really like, you'll probably be able to find it a little later in the season in a budget-friendly copy-cat version.

4. Styling Ideas

Styling refers to the way the clothing and accessories are presented in a picture. Look at
how the clothes are layered, draped, or wrapped. Look at how the jewelry is worn. See what they did with the bag and shoes. Look at the hair and other accessories. If you see something you like, try creating a similar look with pieces from your own closet. You'll be surprised how you can breathe new life into your old standbys just by wearing them a different way.

5. Hair and Makeup

Are you in a hair and makeup rut? Peruse a few fashion magazines to see what's hot for the
season. Not only will you glean some new looks, you may discover that a new 'do may be all you
need to look "au currant" this year.

Fashion magazines are a great way to learn all about what's happening in fashion AS LONG AS you
remember that they're created to sell clothes and accessories. Forget about the models and the
price tags and focus instead on the clothes, trends, and styling ideas that might work for
you. Then copy or adapt them to your own budget and lifestyle. Before you know it, you may look like you stepped out of a fashion magazine - whatever your age, shape, size, or budget.

Diana Pemberton-Sikes is a wardrobe and image consultant and author of "Wardrobe Magic," an ebook that shows women how to transform their unruly closets into workable, wearable wardrobes. Visit her online at http://www.fashionforrealwomen.com

A Guide to London Fashion Week

London Fashion Week gears up for September 2009 - The pressure is already building for Spring /Summer collections to be ready for what could be a make or break show. Leading fashion retailers understand that despite the downturn there is a group that are hard core customers and who will always shop for new and exciting clothes. Regularly refreshing window displays with new content is just one of the ways that retailers can continue to attract buying customers.

Provisional dates for London Fashion Week are 18th - 22nd September and the venue is Somerset House off the Strand, a truly beautiful setting that will complement the vibrant fashions on the catwalk.

Following New York Fashion Week and ahead of Milan and Paris fashion weeks, the London Fashion Week is a biannual event that is a must-see for the fashion industry. Trade and Press jostle for positions to both enjoy and discover the latest innovations and fashions that will adorn top fashion stores or disappear with barely a trace.

Organised by the British Fashion Council, London Fashion Week is the premier event for British designers looking to promote their designs to a worldwide audience. Various schemes are in place to financially support the brightest young talents to enable the best to exhibit on a level catwalk with the world's leading fashion houses.

BFC New Generation is a scheme that is sponsored by Top Shop and supports young designers exhibiting during London Fashion Week. Estethica is sponsored by Monsoon and supports collections that are based on ethical, or ecological, or organic principles. Fashion Forward is sponsored by Westfield London and supports British designers who have already made their mark during London Fashion Week. It is a scheme that has helped several of the UK's top designers get established.

People wishing to attend specific catwalk shows outside of Trade and Press can do so at the discretion of individual designers. During the week, more than 200 British and international fashion and accessory designers will be exhibiting work which will have been kept under wraps right up until the day of the show.

Following London Fashion Week is London Fashion Weekend which is an extremely popular event where anyone who loves clothes and haute couture can get up close and personal with top fashion labels and buy clothes for slimmed down prices. During the event, fashion and beauty experts are on hand to give advice.

Catherine writes about Exhibition AV accessories and Exhibition Stands and services.