Fashion fundamentals programme suits many creative types TALENTED INTERIOR designers are in high demand, but in the competitive design world they must stay in touch with the latest trends and make time to upgrade their skills. When Karen Kok, an interior designer who works mainly on hotel projects, felt the need to learn some addition skills, it was the fashion industry rather than the world of interior design which she turned to. With a busy order book and tight schedules to meet, Ms Kok enrolled in the 96-hour, face-to-face Fundamentals of Fashion Design offered part-time by the Polytechnic University's School of Professional Education and Executive Development (SPEED). The programme is delivered over eight months, October to June, in Cantonese and English. Ms Kok said the $9,000 cost was value for money as the content was current and tailored to be put into practice. 'Designers are people with a desire to create. I liked the structure of the programme because of its professional approach, which goes beyond simple general interest. You are expected to work hard and make the grades,' Ms Kok said. Design encompasses a number of fields which have similarities with the fashion industry. The course content includes elements and principles of design, design constraints and effectiveness, properties of textile fibres, technique of colour combination, technologies for fashion and textiles, marketing dimension of design, design life cycle and from conception to consumer fashion design trends. She said each has a practical use in the interior design industry. The programme has taught her how to be more aware of textures, colour co-ordination and the use of fabrics, which she includes in her work as an interior designer and an interior decorator. 'Many of my projects are boutique style, so the nuance of fashion can be brought into play to add an extra touch of atmosphere or visual effect,' she said. The Fundamentals of Fashion Design programme is ideal for people who want to acquire the knowledge, skills and approach their profession with new insights. 'As members of a service profession, interior designers' fortunes depend on their ability to satisfy clients. Short courses such as the Fundamentals of Fashion Design offer a good balance of theory and modern applications that can be put to immediate use,' Ms Kok said. In addition to the programme content, discussing ideas and concepts with fellow students was an enlightening and thought provoking process. She said swapping ideas with people who work in merchandising and even accountancy adds new creative dimensions to design projects. When she completes her programme next month she said she would seriously consider scheduling her professional commitments to study the next level - the intermediary Fundamentals of Fashion Design.