Program Overview

The July Fashion Program brings together some of the best in their fields to teach couture, technique, design process, fashion merchandising, and communications. Students study with the masters within the classrooms and across the city to hone their expertise and prepare to enter the global world of fashion professionals.

Students in the summer workshop have the opportunity to focus on one of three specializations: Couture Techniques, Design Process, or Fashion Merchandising & Communication. Coursework will be tailored to the students’ specializations, along with shared coursework in core areas. Students will also have the opportunity to attend and assist backstage at fashion week shows.

Specialization: Couture Techniques

Students examine couture as well-conceived, well-executed garments and how to assemble them in a successful collection. The CT course is a comprehensive study of techniques using a variety of fabrics; students are taught sewing and construction methods of varying complexity and explore how to select appropriate materials and techniques for particular styles. Students also study flat-pattern making and draping, led by drapers and sewers from Madame Grès and other design houses. Classes encompass theory, practical demonstrations and exercises involving delicate materials such as lace, chiffon, and sequins. These classes afford students the opportunity to realize original creations as they create a drape inspired by the Madame Grès or the Balenciaga couture method, and a dress to be draped and sewn in fashion fabric.

Specialization: Design Process

Students continue the process of becoming designers with a global vision as they explore the components of international design and retail product development. Theoretical and practical classes are led by industry professionals with one-on-one tutelage. These classes explore how the trend industry works and the tools employed to predict developments, as well as the various elements of a collection and the drafting and design of portfolios. Students are taught essential skills behind each step of the design process such as understanding the market, technical drawing, the creation of mood boards, color stories and professional layouts, and an introduction to haute couture techniques. Through research and museum visits, students develop a historical appreciation of design and can thereby build a unique, visual style lexicon inspired by the past to be interpreted by the present. This growth prepares them for future collection development.

Specialization: Fashion Merchandising & Communication

Building on the information acquired in the core program, seminar lectures, and site visits, students complete a series of assignments designed to simulate the type of work that a merchandising professional may be asked to complete. Students study the nature of the international luxury industry and its modern-day media through a series of lectures by industry specialists from marketing, journalism, and trend forecasting. The course is comprised of 4 components:

  • Luxury Industry (business of fashion from both an organizational and a merchandising perspective)
  • The art of trend forecasting
  • The design of fashion boutiques
  • The marketing process (public relations and the press release; the skills behind fashion writing and editing)
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Course Details

 

Core Program – Essentials of French Fashion

All fashion students participate in the core program, which includes orientation, Fashion Week events, museum visits and lectures, fashion presentations by industry professionals, and three accessory workshops.

Orientation

  • General orientation meeting
  • Welcome buffet luncheon
  • Introduction to the Latin Quarter and the school area
  • Paris city tour by motor-coach
  • Survival French language course (optional)

Fashion Events – Participating in Paris Fashion Week

  • Haute Couture Shows invitations during the first week of July, or backstage experience (such as dressing models)
  • Professional exhibitions: Who’s Who & Salon Prêt à Porter

Museum and on site exhibition lecture / visits

  • Louvre
  • Musée Orsay
  • Centre Pompidou
  • Musée des Arts Décoratifs – designer exhibition
  • Palais Galliera, hors des murs – designer exhibition

Presentations by Specialists

  • French Economy and Boutiques in Paris
  • Collection development
  • Who’s Who in contemporary European Fashion
  • Haute Couture: Madame Grès Method
  • History of Fashion from Worth to Today
  • Trend Broadcasting

Accessory Workshop: Working with Hats

Students will learn the basic concepts and techniques for designing and shaping a hat made with sisal fabric. They will learn how to create an original design for a hat, manipulate the fabric, use a hatford or head to shape the hat, and implement sewing techniques and specific tools for hatmaking. Students will use various colors of sisal and other fabrics for embellishment.

Accessory Workshop: Working with Feathers

Students will learn about the types of feathers used in fashion, the appropriate tools for working with feathers, and techniques for manipulating feathers in the creation of a fashion accessory.

Accessory Workshop: Shibori Dyeing and Nunofelting

Students will learn the basic concepts of shibori dyeing by creating an akashi shibori pleated scarf, learning how to background dye silk habotai and fold the silk properly to create a shibori pattern. Students specializing in couture technique will take more advanced dyeing workshops, creating additional scarves from different patterns and with the simple finger pleating method.

Students will also learn the basics of nunofelting, understanding the appropriate fabric and wool combinations and choices, different types of nunofelting (solid fabric, motifs, collage), and the wet felting process. Students will choose merino wool to felt to one of their shibori scarves.

Specialization: Couture Technique

Madame Grès or Balenciaga Dress

This course is a comprehensive study of techniques using a variety of fabrics; students are taught sewing and construction methods of varying complexity, and they explore how to select appropriate materials and techniques for particular styles. Students also study flat pattern-making and draping, led by drapers and sewers from Madame Grès and other design houses. Students are given the opportunity to realize original creations as they create a drape inspired by the Madame Grès or the Balenciaga couture method, a dress to be draped and sewn in a fashion fabric.

Specialization: Design Process

Trend Forecasting Project

Trends are socio-cultural phenomena which affect the way culture and design evolve. By collecting shreds of information from various sources, we are able to discern small and major shifts, introducing new details or sweeping lifestyle movements. In the fashion industry, aesthetic links can be made between trends and the choice of colors, materials and textures, before final designs can even be conceived. Philip Fimmano from Trend Union (Paris) will introduce trend forecasting methodologies, explaining how the trend industry works and the tools with which to predict changes in style and concept. Students will create a trend concept board, applying their understanding of the choice of images, cropping, keywords, layout, and the display of materials and color harmonies.

Specialization: Fashion Merchandising & Communication

Luxury Industry

This course is designed specifically for students in the merchandising track. Students will study the nature of the international luxury industry and its modern-day media from both an organizational and a merchandising perspective, with a view into how journalism and trend-forecasting are used by luxury brands today.

Trend Forecasting Project

Trends are socio-cultural phenomena which affect the way culture and design evolve. By collecting shreds of information from various sources, we are able to discern small and major shifts, introducing new details or sweeping lifestyle movements. In the fashion industry, aesthetic links can be made between trends and the choice of colors, materials and textures, before final designs can even be conceived. Philip Fimmano from Trend Union (Paris) will introduce trend forecasting methodologies, explaining how the trend industry works and the tools with which to predict changes in style and concept. Students will create a trend concept board, applying their understanding of the choice of images, cropping, keywords, layout, and the display of materials and color harmonies.

Boutique Design Project

Students will design their own fashion boutique, using a given floor plan to design both selling and non-selling space, including different departments. Students will arrange dressing rooms, a stock room, a customer service area, and restrooms in the space, with proper drafting and labeling techniques.

Marketing Process

Students will create a press release for the opening of the boutique they designed, including information about store hours and location, merchandise carried, promotional activities for the opening, and unique qualities of the store. Students will also create a visual PR report, producing a store signature in the form of a name and/or logo and an invitation to any festivities accompanying the opening of the boutique.

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Structure

All fashion students participate in the Core Program, which includes the program orientation, fashion week events, lectures and presentations, museum lectures and site visits, and three accessory workshops (hats, feathers, and shibori dyeing / nunofelting).

Students then choose from one of three specializations: Couture Techniques, Design Process, or Fashion Merchandising & Communication.

Course Credit Hours Contact Hours
Core Program: The Essentials of French Fashion 3 60
Specialization: Couture Techniques 3 60
Specialization: Design Process 3 60
Specialization: Fashion Merchandising & Communication 3 60
Total 6 120
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Tuition

Summer Workshop

School fees: $4700 (USD)

Optional housing fees:

  • Shared accommodation in private furnished apartment: $2400 (USD)
  • Shared three star hotel twin room: $3600 (USD)
  • Private three star hotel single room: $6200 (USD)

Please note that supplies are not included.

Richard Roy Scholarship

Applicants who have been accepted to study at the Paris American Academy may apply for partial scholarships through the Richard Roy Scholarship Fund. These scholarships range in value from 1,000€ to 3,000€ off tuition, and from 300€ to 1300€ off housing.

Students wishing to be considered for a scholarship must submit a brief personal statement (1-2 paragraphs) along with their application. This statement should emphasize the student’s personal and educational background, demonstrating why he / she is in need of financial assistance and how a scholarship might benefit the student’s professional goals.

Fellowship Program

Returning students and alumni may have the option of participating in the summer workshop for a second time, at a reduced cost and with additional program responsibilities / work-study arrangements. Interested students should contact Peter Carman, PAA President for more information.

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