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Good Schools Guide

Fashion course dresses students to impress

  • From the outset, the aim is to strike a balance between theory and practice
PUBLISHED : Friday, 14 December, 2018, 10:51am
UPDATED : Friday, 14 December, 2018, 10:51am

For anyone hoping to make it in the competitive world of fashion, a course at the Savannah College of Art and Design Hong Kong (SCAD) is a great starting point.

Its bachelor of fine arts (BFA) in fashion offers all the elements needed to put young talent on track for a successful career in the industry.

“Students learn to lead in the ever-evolving world of style, with the help of a rigorous curriculum which is anchored in creative thinking,” says Derek Black, the associate dean of academics at SCAD. “Guided by professors with extensive industry experience, they explore different aspects of fashion – from the conceptual to the commercial – and combine technical dexterity with personal vision to develop original collections and praiseworthy portfolios.”

From the outset, the aim is to strike a balance between theory and practice. Therefore, students begin with introductory courses on subjects like drawing, the theory of colour, fashion technology, an introduction to textiles, apparel development and fashion history, which lay the foundations for everything that comes later.

“The early courses ensure students understand the link between theoretical information and practical examples and that they know how to transform an idea into a final product,” Black says.

“We are training them to be professionals in the fashion sector, so they complete the programme with a final collection of six garments they have created from initial concept to the finished article.”

Indeed, the SCAD Fashion Show, a showcase for each year’s graduating class, is now regarded as one of Hong Kong’s premier student events and regularly attracts key figures from across the fashion industry.

As they progress, students are exposed to trends and issues in Asia and around the world. This ensures they understand the full spectrum of the business and what is happening in different markets.

“A key thread in the day-to-day teaching is sustainability, which is now an intrinsic part of the education we offer,” says Robert Meeder, SCAD’s associate chair for building arts, fashion and digital media. “Our approach is to instil a mindset which always considers sustainability when designing and creating for the future.”

To that end, students meet suppliers and industry partners, so they understand the full production cycle and supply chain for different materials and can make sure their own creations have longevity.

In other respects, the programme has also been enhanced over the past 12 months with the addition of overseas field trips and study tours to Sri Lanka, South Korea, Vietnam, Dubai, Tokyo, and Copenhagen.

In the classroom, courses on art history, English, mathematics, social sciences and communication provide an all-round education, while preparing graduates for the business side of a career in the creative professions. “These courses mean students are able to articulate the effectiveness of their designs and present them in a way that demonstrates the contribution they could make to any creative team,” Meeder says.

Besides that, SCAD lines up guest speakers every year to share their expertise in workshops, master classes, panel discussions, and individual critiques. Recent guests have included innovative fashion influencers like Tory Burch and members of the Walt Disney creative team.

Such opportunities, along with the chance to gain real-world experience with industry partners, help students to build their portfolios and establish career-making connections with some marquee names.

“The degree in fashion design is our most popular programme, closely followed by fashion marketing and management,” Black says.

“We offer small classes, of no more than 20 students, to promote engaged learning and provide more opportunity for one-on-one interaction with professors.”