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    Fashion Design
    K-12 Lesson Plans, Class Activities & Background Information
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    Fashion Design Lesson Plans

    Fashion Design Background Information

    Definition

    Fashion design is the art of the application of design and aesthetics or natural beauty to clothing and accessories.

    Introduction

    Fashion design is influenced by cultural and social lattitudes, and has varied over time and place. Fashion designers work in a number of ways in designing clothing and accessories. Some work alone or as part of a team. They attempt to satisfy consumer desire for aesthetically designed clothing; and, because of the time required to bring a garment onto the market, must at times anticipate changing consumer tastes. Some designers in fact have a reputation which enables them to set fashion trends.

    Fashion designers attempt to design clothes which are functional as well as aesthetically pleasing. They must consider who is likely to wear a garment and the situations in which it will be worn. They have a wide range and combinations of materials to work with and a wide range of colors, patterns and styles to choose from. Though most clothing worn for everyday wear fall within a narrow range of conventional styles, unusual garments are usually sought for special occasions, such as evening wear or party dresses.

    Some clothes are made specifically for an individual, as in the case of haute couture. Today, most clothing is designed for the mass market, especially casual and every-day wear.

    Fashion designers can work in a number of ways. Fashion designers may work full-time for one fashion company, known as 'in-house designers' which owns the designs. They may work alone or as part of a team. Freelance designers work for themselves, selling their designs to fashion houses, directly to shops, or to clothing manufacturers. The garments bear the buyer's label. Some fashion designers set up their own labels, under which their designs are marketed. Some fashion designers are self-employed and design for individual clients. Other high-fashion designers cater to specialty stores or high-fashion department stores. These designers create original garments, as well as those that follow established fashion trends. Most fashion designers, however, work for apparel manufacturers, creating designs of men’s, women’s, and children’s fashions for the mass market. Large designer brands which have a 'name' as their brand such as Calvin Klein, Gucci, or Chanel are likely to be designed by a team of individual designers under the direction of a designer director.

    Fashion designers work in different ways. Some sketch their ideas on paper, while others drape fabric on a dress form. When a designer is completely satisfied with the fit of the toile (or muslin), he or she will consult a professional pattern maker who then makes the finished, working version of the pattern out of card. The pattern maker's job is very precise and painstaking. The fit of the finished garment depends on their accuracy. Finally, a sample garment is made up and tested on a model to make sure it is an operational outfit.

    History

    Fashion design is generally considered to have started in the 19th century with Charles Frederick Worth who was the first designer to have his label sewn into the garments that he created. Before the former draper set up his maison couture (fashion house) in Paris, clothing design and creation was handled by largely anonymous seamstresses, and high fashion descended from that worn at royal courts. Worth's success was such that he was able to dictate to his customers what they should wear, instead of following their lead as earlier dressmakers had done. The term couturier was in fact first created in order to describe him. While all articles of clothing from any time period are studied by academics as costume design, only clothing created after 1858 could be considered as fashion design.

    It was during this period that many design houses began to hire artists to sketch or paint designs for garments. The images were shown to clients, which was much cheaper than producing an actual sample garment in the workroom. If the client liked their design, they ordered it and the resulting garment made money for the house. Thus, the tradition of designers sketching out garment designs instead of presenting completed garments on models to customers began as an economy.

    Types of Fashion

    Haute couture (French for "high sewing", "high fashion" or "high dressmaking") refers to the creation of exclusive custom-fitted clothing. Haute couture is made to order for a specific customer, and it is usually made from high-quality, expensive fabric and sewn with extreme attention to detail and finished by the most experienced and capable seamstresses, often using time-consuming, hand-executed techniques. Couture is a common abbreviation of haute couture and refers to the same thing in spirit.

    Ready-to-wear or prêt-à-porter (often abbreviated RTW; off the rack or "off-the-peg" in casual use) is the term for factory-made clothing, sold in finished condition, in standardized sizes, as distinct from made to measure or bespoke clothing tailored to a particular person's frame. Off-the-peg is sometimes used for items which are not clothing.

    Mass market: Currently the fashion industry relies more on mass market sales. The mass market caters for a wide range of customers, producing ready-to-wear clothes in large quantities and standard sizes. Inexpensive materials, creatively used, produce affordable fashion. Mass market designers generally adapt the trends set by the famous names in fashion. They often wait around a season to make sure a style is going to catch on before producing their own versions of the original look. In order to save money and time, they use cheaper fabrics and simpler production techniques which can easily be done by machine. The end product can therefore be sold much more cheaply. There is a type of design called "kutch" design originated from the German word "kitschig" meaning "ugly" or "not aesthetically pleasing." Kitsch can also refer to "wearing or displaying something that is therefore no longer in fashion." Often, high-waisted trousers, associated with the 1980s, are considered a "kitsch" fashion statement.

    Topics of Interest

    Income: Median annual wages for salaried fashion designers were $61,160 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $42,150 and $87,120. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $32,150, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $124,780.. Median annual earnings were $52,860 (£28,340) in apparel, piece goods, and notions - the industry employing the largest numbers of fashion designers.

    Fashion education: There are a number of well known art schools and design schools world wide that offer degrees in fashion design and fashion design technology. Some colleges also offer Masters of Fashion courses. Though it is not a requirement to have a Masters level, it is recommended by those already working in the industry to study at this level. The only Ivy League University having a Fashion Design undergraduate program is Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. The program is offered by the department of Fiber Science & Apparel Design]. Cornell University also offers the only Ph.D. program in apparel design in the United States. The program is intended to address the needs of academia, industry and research by considering apparel design as an applied science that embraces design, technology, physical sciences, the humanities and social sciences in order to meet the human needs for clothing. There are many universities that offer fashion design throughout the United States.

    For more information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fashion_design

    Source: Wikipedia (All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License and Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.)




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