A Day in the Life: Fashion Design

Want to catch a glimpse of what art school is truly like, from the inside?  Check out “A Day in the Life,” a current art student’s perspective.  First up: Marsha, a Fashion Design major at MassArt in Boston.  When you’re finished reading I hope you’ll hop onto her blog site to see what she’s up to, and give her a “thanks for sharing.”  I also hope you’ll leave a comment to let me know what you’d like to hear next at artcollegelife.com.

A tree grows at MassArt (c) ElainePelz

A tree grows at MassArt (c) ElainePelz

This is my spring semester, sophomore year in the Fashion Design department.  I’m currently taking six classes; Pattern Drafting 2, Creative Fashion 1, History of Photo, Literary Traditions, Fashion Illustration 2, and Web Design.  I should only have five.  If it’s too much work I’ll drop Web design.  This semester my favorite required class is Creative Fashion 1. Our first assignment is the famous non-textile dress. We can choose anything we want to make this dress out of; I chose computer chips and cords. This class is considered a studio class and is 5 hours long. Usually in the beginning we go over what we are doing and watch a demo and then just work on our assignments. Our classes are really small, always under 20 people, so we get one-on-one help. After this class everyone is always coming out of it covered in glue, and staples stuck to everything. It’s just such a fun atmosphere and assignment.

The biggest thing I love about MassArt is being in such a nice city, being able to get anywhere by T and being able to walk to work.  I’m saving up money because I got accepted to Paris Fashion Institute(!) where I’ll go in this summer.

One thing I want to clear up is about the stereotype of “Art School.”  The work load is CRAZY.  Anyone going into art school thinking “oh this will be easy,” is totally wrong.  Go home.  I do more work than any of my friends that go to BU and Northeastern.  Our homework is not necessarily difficult, but it is time consuming.  Any given weekly assignments in any class could literally take you 10+ hours of work.  Because craftsmanship is always supposed to be at its highest standards most of the time if you mess up, you start over.  On top of studio classes all BFA degree students have to take all of the same standard academic classes as any other college kids.  But with this work load everyone coming out of the Fashion Department is an expert at what they do and prepared for any amount of work thrown at them.

And even though this all probably sounds terrible, I wouldn’t choose anything else because I love having my entire life being filled with what I love.  My 10+ hours on one assignment takes up my free time with sewing, drawing, and researching designers.  I’d be doing all that anyway because I love it.  In the short time I have been at MassArt I have realized how dedicated and passionate everyone is about what they do.  The people are all so different, fascinating, and random, which makes MassArt such a great place to learn from one another and to really express yourself. 

City Life For Me

If urban living is what you’re after make sure to check out Massachusetts College of Art & Design.  Located smack dab in the hubbub that is Boston, the school announces itself to its neighbors with a giant MassArt sign.  You can’t miss it.  I was lucky enough to visit MassArt on a beautiful autumn day.

The school is comprised of a series of connected buildings, forming a giant square that takes up a city block (with green space in the middle).  Three dorms are across the street; the newest is nicknamed “the treehouse.”  According to admissions personnel Hilary Babick and Tiffany Sewell, the process for designing “the treehouse” was a collaborative effort that included input from current students.  Under the guidance of Professor Paul Hajian students were involved with ADD Inc. architects and interior design staff to create a coherent design.   The end result: functioning art in the real world.

“The Treehouse”

Freshmen are encouraged to live on campus, and they do. Approximately 72% of freshmen and foundation transfers live on campus.  Part of college is creating relationships and community with your fellow students.  If you can swing it – living together the first year will help build that community for you.

The connection of buildings I referred to?  They’re a great asset in the winter when you won’t want to venture outdoors to get to your next class.  For peace of mind – for you as well as moms and dads – the enclosed square provides added security.  MassArt is not an open campus; not just anyone can come in and wander around.

Other bonuses: everything is at your doorstep.  The green line stop is just steps from MassArt and can connect you to any place in the city, as well as to thousands of students attending some 50+ colleges and universities in the area.

What’s On Campus?

Resources matter, especially when considering which art school to attend.  So make sure you check out the gallery space available on campus.  Galleries give you the opportunity to view successful artists work up close and in person, as well as the chance to possible display your own creations.

Zandra Rhodes: A Lifelong Love Affair With Textiles

I was lucky to stumble upon Zandra Rhodes: A Lifelong Love Affair with Textiles, showing at Massachusetts College of Art and Design’s Bakalar & Paine Galleries during a recent visit.  As a textile artist, I loved it!  This British fashion designer has been crafting incredibly creative textiles and clothing since the 1960’s.  It’s well worth a visit.

Coincidentally, the Savannah College of Art & Design is currently showing Little Black Dress in the SCAD Museum of Art.  Curated by SCAD Trustee and Vogue Contributing Editor André Leon Talley, this fashion show focuses on you guessed it, that standard in every woman’s closet.  The show includes contributions from designers around the world as well as those of the Best-Dressed List.

Make sure to view the gallery space when you tour a school.  If you’re headed to Boston and Savannah check out Mass Art’s Love Affair with Textiles, open through December 1, 2012 and SCAD’s Little Black Dress, open through January 27, 2013 then traveling throughout the year.