Friday, 17 July 2015

Fashion Design

Fashion Design


  • Students develop the skill to engineer (design, plan and construct) patterns for exclusive Couture or mass produced (ready to wear) garments to appropriate standards.
  • Students begin by learning the basics of measuring and to apply this to a basic block pattern which is then manipulated into any garment style, fabric type, figure shape, size, gender and age
  • Students learn to compile and follow pattern specifications.
  • Grading (sizing) of patterns forms an integral part of this subject.
  • Taking a pattern from a completed garment and combining existing patterns also forms part of intensive pattern classes.
  • Pattern Theory Includes the language and set rules of patternmaking in an academic format, as opposed to the practical application. It includes all the standardizations of measurements used to draft patterns. (For example: standard widths of collars and buttonstands). This theory also aids in quality management.


Without any depth, understanding and knowledge of how clothes are constructed, a future in fashion is no more that an illusion. Designers are rarely responsible for the sewing of garments, but detailed knowledge and experience on various methods of construction is vital. Students develop experience in constructing different parts of the garment and the construction of different garment types.
  • Students learn various factory methods of construction as well as couture methods.
  • Students learn to compile plans for the correct procedures when identifying, preparing, joining & disposing of sewn components. (Construction plans)
  • Over the 3 year programme, students learn to sew corsets, lingerie, active wear, swimwear, ladies tailored suit, men’s tailored suit, ready to wear garments and couture gowns.
  • Students learn how to set and maintain a quality system in the clothing industry. Understanding of SABS Quality standards. Financial implications of quality. Quality audits.
  • Working with and applying the Markham™ Quality Standards manual and other retail manuals
  • Principles of Quality Control and Fitting remedies
  • Identification of various industrial machines and developing an understanding of their specific uses.
  • Setting of sewing machines (Industrial & Domestic).
  • Maintenance plans for repairs of machinery.
  • Construction Theory Includes the language and set rules of sewing garments, in an academic format rather than the practical application, for quality management purposes. It includes all the quality standards regarding sewing techniques. (For example: Types of stitches to be used for variety of fabrics and garments, type of zip technique to be used for various garments.)

  • In the fashion industry, sketching of garments is the language we use to communicate detail, fit and construction. This is not only a creative, artistic approach, but more importantly a technical process as students have to consider the 3 dimensional form of the figure, the reaction of different fabric types and suitable construction techniques, whilst sketching a garment.
  • Students learn the principles of illustration including, proportion, technical drawings, shading, fabric rendering and a variety of story-board presentations.
  • Once all illustration techniques have been mastered on manual systems, students learn to plan, draw and present designs using Illustrator, Coreldraw and other specialized industry CAD Software.
  • Students learn various computer illustration & presentation techniques using Vector-based software programme.
  • Students develop an understanding of the operation and application of CAD systems for pattern making, grading and marker making.
  • 1st year students develop a clear understanding of the principles of design including proportion, balance, colour, etc. Students develop an understanding of their creativity and its influences on their designs.
  • 2nd year students learn how to develop a range. (Concept to Collection)
  • 2nd year students explore and expand their creativity with the design and make of the Little-Black-Dress which will be constructed with a technical fabric (fabric made using a creative technique). Creative projects also include hat-making and accessory design and construction.
  • Students participate in two annual Advertising Fashion Shows whereby the student will design, make and model a garment made out of packaging and branding material.
  • Students enter a minimum of two external fashion competitions each year.
  • Styling


  • 1st year students develop an understanding of design and manufacturing processes and systems. Logical flow of all product development and quality control documents forms an integral part of product development for 1st year students.
  • The evaluating, researching, comparing and optimizing of production systems forms part of the 2nd year syllabus. Further to this is the issue and receive of materials. Waste reduction management. Stock taking systems. . Handling systems, Cutting room control, production plans.
  • 3rd year students get the opportunity to apply all of the above in various projects that link subjects to enable students to apply all practical and academic theory into a realistic product development assignment.
  • 3rd year students learn to identify strategies to achieve sustainable competitive advantage for a clothing company. Establish standards and plan, measure and monitor productivity. Practical application of work measurements, method studies and specialised studies. Setting and maintaining acceptable levels of productivity against set times, methods and quality.


  • Fashion marketing has a major contribution to make towards business success in the ever-changing global and domestic marketplace. Students learn to plan, conduct and analyse market surveys. Student will learn brand building, advertising and promotion techniques.
  • Fashion Brand Marketing considers the design, development and marketing strategies of diverse fashion brands.
  • Marketing Communications considers new and old media ways of communicating fashion brands to different consumer target groups.
  • International Marketing and Retailing Strategies examine case studies of successful international fashion corporations in different global markets and contexts. All units are assessed by a mix of academic papers and presentations.
  • Psychology of fashion will show students how to get customers to buy and to identify product features and what advantages and benefits the product has to the consumer.
  • The success of a designer is measured in sales, to obtain this success; students develop business skills and entrepreneurial opportunities in order to apply basic business principles that are focused on the fashion industry.
  • Students get to explore career opportunities and gain an understanding of how the industry works, by means of the annual Entrepreneurship week whereby industry leaders are invited to present their careers to students by presentation and a Q & A session.
  • Students learn to foster and maintain customer relations for couture, mass production and retail. Various aspects of customer psychology are explored.
  • Write and present a business plan and business proposal,
  • Compile a design portfolio and CV.
  • Produce and use spreadsheets for the designers bookkeeping systems.
  • Develop and update a supplier’s file. Global supply chain management for sourcing of materials and supplies.
  • Students are introduced to human resource management and public relations.
  • Students are introduced to the role of the fashion buyer.
  • Students are introduced to case studies and success stories of fundraising projects run by organizations and individuals. Students learn how to plan, manage and complete large fashion related fundraising events and how to use such events as brand building and community upliftment projects.
  • All funds raised by students go towards their fashion show expenses and resources levies.
  • 1st year students plan, manage and complete individual fundraising projects for funds towards fashion show expenses.
  • 2nd year students plan, manage and complete group fundraising projects for funds towards fashion show expenses and resources levies
  • 3 rd year students plan, manage and complete fundraising projects that involves sourcing of external sponsors to assist in future business endeavors, fashion show expenses, resources levies.


  • Research is fundamental to the pursuit of academic, entrepreneurial and creative excellence. With strong research approaches, students generate, communicate and transfer new and advanced knowledge.
  • 1st year students are introduced to various research methods and are shown how to do research and how to use research in a project.
  • 1st year research projects allows for research to be presented in written form
  • 2nd year research projects allows for research to be presented in written, oral and visual form
  • 3rd year research projects are linked with other projects and subjects, by means of a combined-subject project that will be researched, developed and presented
  • Various design influences that occur around the world are researched and applied.
  • Students also develop an in depth knowledge of the design style of the world’s top designers, chain stores and fashion brands in order to differentiate between markets and trends.
  • Period costume and fashion history is also researched.
  • Contemporary history is fundamental.
  • Students learn to work effectively with others as a member of a team and to plan and conduct investigation by applying research techniques.
  • This subject further includes the fashion dictionary and fashion lingo.
  • Students are also encouraged to report on world and social news. This is to set a custom for news tracking as it is an integral part not only for research but also for forecasting and trend setting.
  • Students learn to identify and use appropriate materials in the manufacturing process and gain familiarity with the characteristics and textures of fabrics.
  • Students learn the technical aspects of textiles and the methods and techniques of production.
  • Fabrics are analyzed for purposes of developing an understanding of the characteristics of fabric and how the design is influenced by this.
  • Classifying of various types of fabrics, their handling and care.
  • Fabric modification, weaving and fabric testing form part of the practical applications for this subject.

An overview of the role of buyers in fashion, including merchandising, promotion and interpretation of trends

Students complete a 3 week, full time internship in their 3rd year of study. North West School of Design lecturers and academic coordinator facilitates these Internship programmes through the placement of student with host organizations for a minimum of 150 hours of experiential learning during the third year of study.

Fashion Design students must select subjects from this list. These subjects are presented as part time courses and are all 2 month part time courses, twice weekly. Fashion Design students must complete one of these subjects per year.

Shoe Design
A Hands-on course, students will learn about a variety of topics including measuring, shoes styles, pattern designing, material selection, and using hand tools. Over the course of the workshop, students will make a pair of shoes for themselves using hand tools.

Window Dressing
Principles of window display, allocation of windows. Planning & preparation of displays
Props and lighting, Selecting stock for displays. Promotional signage, marking & ticketing
Fashion Photography What is fashion photography & commercial photography? The role of the fashion photographer. Developing a style. How to get the right shot. Photography techniques. Formulate & style a fashion shoot. Styling.

Bridal Couture
The course is aimed to prepare professionals in design, pattern making, sewing and fitting for wedding dresses.
The plan of study covers different subjects from the basic notions, through to veils and other accessories.

For more info on how to apply at NWSD click here

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