The big picture : an integrated approach to fashion design education

Finn, Angela L. & Fraser, Kim (2007) The big picture : an integrated approach to fashion design education. In Fashion Industry New Zealand (FINZ) Annual Education Conference : The Broader Perspective of Design, 8th - 10th August, 2007, Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand. (Unpublished)


This paper examines current teaching practice within the context of the Bachelor of Design (Fashion) programme at AUT University and compares it to the approach adopted in previous years. In recent years, staff on the Bachelor of Design (Fashion) adopted a holistic approach to the assessment of design projects similar to the successful ideas and methods put forward by Stella Lange at the FINZ conference, 2005. Prior to adopting this holistic approach, the teaching culture at AUT University was modular and divorced the development of conceptual design ideas from the technical processes of patternmaking and garment construction, thus limiting the creative potential of integrated project work.

Fashion Design is not just about drawing pretty pictures but is rather an entire process that encapsulates conceptual design ideas and technical processes within the context of a target market. Fashion design at AUT being under the umbrella of a wider Bachelor of Design must encourage a more serious view of Fashion and Fashion Design as a whole. In the development of the Bachelor of Design degree at AUT, the university recognised that design education would be best serviced by an inclusive approach. At inception, Core Studio and Core Theory papers formed the first semester of the programme across the discipline areas of Fashion, Spatial Design, Graphic Design and Digital Design. These core papers reinforce the reality that there is a common skill set that transcends all design disciplines with the differentiation between disciplines being determined by the techniques and processes they adopt.

Studio based teaching within the scope of a major design project was recognised and introduced some time ago for students in their graduating year, however it was also expected that by year 3 the student had amassed the basic skills required to be able to work in this way. The opinion concerning teaching these basic skills was that they were best serviced by a modular approach. Prior attempts to manage design project delivery leant towards deconstructing the newly formed integrated papers in order to ensure key technical skills were covered in enough depth. So, whilst design projects have played an integral part in the delivery of fashion design over the year levels, the earlier projects were timetabled by discipline and unconvincingly connected. This paper discusses how the holistic approach to assessment must be coupled with an integrated approach to delivery. The methods and processes used are demonstrated and some recently trialled developments are shown to have resulted in achieving the integrated approach in both delivery and assessment.

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ID Code: 40844
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: fashion , design, design education, studio teaching, studio assessment
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > DESIGN PRACTICE AND MANAGEMENT (120300) > Textile and Fashion Design (120306)
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2007 Angela L Finn and Kim Fraser
Deposited On: 21 Mar 2011 22:56
Last Modified: 10 May 2012 04:41

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