Ever wonder what Giorgio Armani, John Galliano, Donna Karan, and Karl Lagerfeld do all the time? Work! Fashion is often mistakenly perceived as being limited to the catwalk, and about makeup, big hairdos, glamour, show biz parties, clunky shoes and outlandish outfits.
In reality, few other professions depend as much on keeping on top of the ever-changing popular opinion and watching what competitors produce. The life of a designer is intimately linked to tastes and sensibilities that change at a moment’s notice, and he or she must be able to capitalize on, or even better, influence those opinions. Fashion embodies the ideas and the attitudes of the time we live in and every generation of designers gets to remake the world through their designs.
The fashion industry is a complex, multi-billion dollar business encompassing design, production, distribution and retailing. It is the fourth largest industry in the world and the third largest employer in New York. In 2007, the textile and fashion industry in the Middle East was valued at $11.4 billion.
Students in the Fashion Design program at VCUQatar participate in a distinctive opportunity to blend the rich history of Arab culture and traditions with the fashion industry of the 21st century. Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Thea Porter, Georges Rech, Rene Moua’wad, and Arab-American Joseph Abboud have paved the way with their Western clothes which are heavily influenced by Arab style.
Fashion design is far more than the crafting of beautiful clothing. Fashion involves footwear design, jewelry design, leather goods, theater costumes, uniform design, sportswear, swimwear, formal wear and casual wear design for men, women and children. Students learn how to develop a fashion collection, from concept to the finished product. They are exposed to a complete range of technical skills in model drawing, pattern drafting, draping, color illustration, jewelry design and textile design. Aspiring designers are encouraged to look beyond the traditional restrictions of fashion and to scrutinize clothing as it responds to lifestyle, sculptural practice, performance, movement, costume and art. The curriculum also includes computer-assisted design, aesthetics, the theory of composition and color, fashion history and a range of business-related courses.
Fashion studies are backed with a strong focus in the marketing, merchandising and business management of clothing and accessories. Students are taught how to interpret theoretical knowledge to predict various trends that affect the global industry. They learn to employ visual and theoretical research and analysis skills to identify the supply and demand trends, and to explore strategies for merchandising and marketing of apparel.
A professional runway show highlights the designs created by senior fashion students during the annual fashion show. Students plan and produce all aspects of the event, from inspiration to final execution, including model selection, fashion design, choreography, stage and set design and backstage management. Each year, the fashion show receives rave reviews from professional designers, the fashion press, guests and the Qatari community.
Guest designers and speakers from the fashion industry including Emanuel Ungaro, Carla Fendi, JJ Valaya, Manish Aurora, Reem Acra have lectured, critiqued and interacted with students to complement VCUQatar’s highly dedicated team of professors. Maria Bonita of Brazil, Easton Pearson in Australia, Isabel Toledo and Akademics in New York, Natalie Chanin in Alabama, Feral Childe in Brooklyn and Ali Haute Couture in Lebanon have opened their workrooms to VCUQatar student interns over the past 10 years. The Fashion Design program at VCUQatar maintains close ties with the international fashion scene with student visits to fashion capitals such as Milan, Paris, London and Dubai.