Jun 21, 2024  
2024-2025 Academic Catalog 
2024-2025 Academic Catalog

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Fashion Design

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Fashion Design Department Mission

The mission of the Fashion Design program is to prepare students for successful careers in an evolving fashion industry by providing them with the resources, tools, and techniques to cultivate industry fluency, creative exploration, and problem-solving, conscious and innovative design, and material strategies, professional visual communication skills and an individualized aesthetic and point of view.

Fashion Design Program Description

To understand fashion is to acknowledge it as a cultural product, a designed object, and an industry. In the RMCAD Fashion Design program, students interrogate the context in which they are working and use the artistic language of fashion and an integrated approach to express creative vision, hone technical skills, balance handcrafts with digital techniques, and develop personalized methods of artistic communications while gaining an understanding of local as well as global industries.

RMCAD fashion students learn to create apparel for various markets and price points focusing on creative and thematic development, trend and customer research, technical construction, sourcing, costing, and standard production processes. Through a diverse and seasoned pool of faculty, peer encouragement, a broad range of cross-disciplinary experiences, and industry opportunities, students develop their positioning in the field and strengthen methodologies in professional practices and functional artistry. Students will develop meaningful solutions to challenge existing concepts through the effective use of sustainable strategies and industry-specific technologies. They will broadly cultivate specialized skills in design ideation and documentation, textiles, and material development, creative draping and flat patternmaking approaches, garment construction, and computer-aided design.

The Fashion Design program features a comprehensive curriculum and provides an interconnectedness of academic disciplines, from foundational art, historical scholarship, academic writing, critical thinking and inquiry, and information literacy to fashion design, construction, and communication. This well-rounded approach nurtures the student’s creative, research, observational, and communication skills, positioning them as leaders in an evolving fashion landscape.

Program Highlights

CREATIVE DESIGN EXPRESSION: Creative development is the soul of design and bridges research and exploration with ideation and brainstorming. Students use conceptualization and experimentation as a starting point to develop a narrative approach to tell a compelling design story.

FASHION INDUSTRY FLUENCY: To understand fashion design is to gain awareness of the many threads of the industry. Students are introduced to which roles surround, impact, and engage with the designer in the process of taking a collection from a sketchbook idea to the runway, retail, and beyond.

CRITICAL + CULTURAL CONTEXT: Fashion is a culture with a global context and impact. Students learn the relevance of issues impacting the fashion industry, from social justice and diversity to ethical fashion practices and their environmental impact to expand diverse voices, visions, and solutions.

TEXTILES + MATERIALS STRATEGIES: Equally important to the creative process is understanding materiality and the possibilities of textile development. Students develop knowledge from fibers to finish and experiment with a variety of techniques to understand the creative value of textiles in collection building. From manual and handcraft approaches to the latest digital technology, students explore surface design, fabric manipulation, 3D form, and alternative materials.

TECHNICAL EXECUTION: Imagination and innovation are at the heart of visualizing a collection from concept to construction. With a focus on silhouette and drape, students ideate through 3D experimentation to explore endless garment possibilities, tethering design with traditional and digital patterning methods of actualizing a collection from concept to product.

PROFESSIONAL AND VISUAL COMMUNICATION: The art of professional and creative presentation and communication are key to unlocking opportunities. Students will explore fashion illustration and communication through a variety of traditional and non-traditional techniques to develop an individualized visual identity. Students will learn the skill of presenting, evaluating, and editing their work in addition to using relevant manual and digital techniques of creative visual design. These effective communication skills will position students to be strongly competitive for design roles in the fashion industry.

Program Outcomes

Fashion Design Program Learning Outcome Rubric   

CREATIVE DESIGN EXPRESSION: Students develop a personalized approach to fashion design through research and critical thinking, exploration, and concept innovation.

FASHION INDUSTRY FLUENCY: Students demonstrate the ability to contextualize the fashion industry, including the markets, products, and services of an evolving and complex industry.

CRITICAL + CULTURAL CONTEXT: Students demonstrate conscious research and diverse design thinking that relates to a broader cultural, socio-economic, historical, and environmental context.

TEXTILES + MATERIALS STRATEGIES: Students explore and ideate textile strategies through conceptual and experimental frameworks related to structure and form, colors and patterns, materials and surfaces, environment, and community.

TECHNICAL EXECUTION: Students demonstrate the ability to explore and assess creative dimensional forms and their relationship to the body through manual and technological patternmaking, draping, and construction techniques and tools to successfully actualize physical garments.

PROFESSIONAL + VISUAL COMMUNICATION:  Articulate creative strategies and communicate design ideas professionally through verbal, written, visual, and digital methodologies, while developing business skills to position students as leaders in the fashion industry.

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