4. Fashion Elements


Taught Once
Miami Univeristy 
Spring 2018

This course was designed as a foundational experience of Fashion Design and Research. It placed an emphasis on process and experimentation over final product. Attention was cultivated towards sustainability and waste as a resource. 

These were the rules:

  1. Have Fun
  2. Maintain a curious stance.
  3. Process is paramount.
  4. View project briefs and parameters as flexible. You are encouraged to imagine and create beyond.
  5. Document Everything
  6. Grades don’t matter. Learning matters. Show up. Do well.
  7. Ask for feedback and offer constructive criticism.

Unit 1: “Sketching in 3D” with Found Clothing and without Electricity
This unit was developed to encourage students to look beyond their orginal conceptions of what could be raw material. They were sent to the thrift store to collect used clothing that they would use to reinvent and create a cohesive collection as a team. Many of the students had no experience with sewing, so ensuring there was an even playing field we allowed alternative methods of construction outside of the obvious use of a sewing machine. This forced the students to get creative with their methodology and many teams were able to create a consistent narrative in their collection by all using the same construction method. Upon completing their collection each team had to design and plan a photoshoot somewhere on Miami University’s campus. Having a photoshoot of their collections facilitated an understanding that while your product may not be perfect, the final presentation is what counts. 

Unit 4: Sketching with Paper 
This unit was developed for the students to work with a material that put them in a sculptural and structural mindset. Using the 2D material of paper and translating it into a 3D form was a difficult but productive experience for many of the students. Using paper instead of fabric allowed the students minds to wander, not limiting themselves to their conventional understanding of the structure of clothing. We encourgaed them to think beyond the limits of convetional clothing design to create something fabulous. 

Teaching Reflections: Again this course was the first experience with fashion design that many of the students had. So many students getting into fashion have extremely weighted preconceived notions of what FASHION really is. As an annecdote, every fashion student has seen The Devil Wears Prada and while that movie describes a certain sect of the fashion world it ultimately doesnt reveal the true nature of fashion that everyone wears clothing therefore everyone participates in fashion. We designed this course using low stakes materials and projects to limit the intimidation many of them felt coming into their first fashion design course. Cultivating a classroom culture that was playful, creative and energetic was important to get the students to loosen up and let themselves have fun with fashion. 

Fashion Elements Studio Culture Statement