Friday, June 27, 2008

becoming a knitwear designer: the college years

the university of cincinnati's fashion design program starts with a year of foundation classes. you spend the year on liberal arts classes and basic drawing and studio classes where you learn the fundamentals of design together with graphic and industrial design students.

starting in year two, fashion classes take up most of your time. you take classes like construction techniques, fashion drawing, flat pattern, fashion history, textiles, and draping. beginning at the end of year two, you have a design class each quarter focusing on different areas of fashion (children, dresses, tailoring, bodywear, and knitwear or leather). then in senior year, your design classes are spent designing a small collection of 5 outfits. the designer must come up with a theme for their collection and then do any necessary research to be able to draw the collection and then make the patterns and construct the garments. at crit, the judges' scores determine which, if any, of your pieces will be shown in the senior segment of the end of the year fashion show.

some people approach knitwear design "on the needles," figuring things out as they go. i approach it the way i was taught in school: i look for inspiration, then do many rough sketches before ever picking up sticks and string. after choosing yarn and swatching, i plot out my pattern before beginning to knit.

next in this series, i'll discuss my post-collegiate years working in ready-to-wear.

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