All About Fashion and Fashion Week

Fashion is the general style or custom of clothing worn at any given time. The word “fashion” comes from the years when people described a woman who was well dressed as a “fashion plate”.

Whether or not it had a name, fashion has always been important to women. Now it seems to be almost as important to men. Beau Brummell is probably the most well known and talked about male fashion plate in history. His colorful clothing and accessories were copied by men all over Europe.

Couturiers with famous names such as Worth, Dior, Balenciaga, Chanel had famous fashion houses in Paris. These were the haute couture designers that every other fashion designer since has aspired to become. In spite of PrĂȘt a Porter (French for ready made or off the rack) the world still looks to Paris first when fashion is concerned. Today, although fashion designers and models come from all over the world, fashion week in Paris is still the most exciting event of the year.

Fashion changes nearly instantly. Each season welcomes in a different style, color, hem length, and designer. Today the person who follows fashion like a slave is called a fashionista. Some fashionistas look ridiculous in the new styles but they wear them anyway.

The media is very important to fashion and can rightly take credit for the spread of each new style and trend over the world map. Fashion blogs are the newest manner of communicating the newest fashion. Prior to blogs there were fashion web sites, columns in newspapers and magazines, fashion magazines. One of the most famous fashion magazines is Vogue. It was founded in 1892 and it is the longest lasting fashion magazine in the world with versions being published in England, France, Italy, Germany and other countries. Vogue’s influence grew after W.W. II. Ready to wear designers and perfume companies were their largest advertisers. In the 50′, 60’s 70’s television was featured on television shows such as Today and other morning shows.

A few years ago, Project Runway became one of the most watched reality shows on television. Each season a new designer is launched with his/her own fashion line. The show is sponsored by a well known department store, hair care company, and make-up company. The judges are a model, a fashion magazine editor, a famous designer and a weekly guest. This program watches a group of people who want to become fashion designers go through each stage of the competition. At the end, the three remaining designers compete with a line they put together in a month or two. This is presented at Mercedes Benz fashion week in Bryant Park, N.Y. The winner gets a large check to work at producing his/her own line which will be carried at the major department store.

Fashion Week is a big industry event. There is one held in each of the large fashion capitals. This week the biggest fashion houses and designers display their newest designs and styles. There is a fashion week in Paris, Milan, London, and New York. These weeks occur twice a year for autumn/winter fashions and spring/summer fashions. They are held many months in advance so that the buyers and the magazine editors can see the designs prior to ordering them for their venue. The first week of women’s wear is New York followed by London, Milan and Paris. The men’s wear lines are shown in between in Milan.

Fashion weeks are also held in other places for specific types of clothing such as swim wear and cruise wear in Miami. In fact, there are fashion weeks in many U.S. cities for several different types of clothing. You can probably find an alphabetical listing online if you want to go to one.

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Patternmaking in Fashion Design

There is a shortage of patternmakers in the fashion industry. For anyone interested in having a career in the fashion industry, becoming a fashion patternmaker is a wise decision for a number of reasons:

-it’s great pay
-you won’t have much competition to deal with
-you could get to work closely with professional fashion designers
-you’ll be doing the very important bricks and mortar work in fashion design

Without fashion patternmakers there would be no fashion designs being made into clothes. So if you’re thinking about getting into the fashion industry by the way of patternmaking you can either teach yourself patternmaking following any of the methods below;

Buy designer clothing patterns at sewing supply stores and study the pattern blocks

Go to your local library, or bookstore online or offline and order the patternmaking teaching manuals such as Connie Amaden Crawford’s ‘Patternmaking Made Easy’ she teaches you how to produce 22 of the most important pattern blocks, or ‘slopers’, that all other blocks are made from.

Get your hands on some fashion patternmaking software like the CAD kind from Etelestia or Wild Ginger’s ‘Pattern Master’ software.

You can get started even faster with a low tech innovative product like the Lutterloh patternmaking system and easily learn how to use their ‘Golden Rule’ system. It’s a great place to start because they’ve got a online free learning video on how to use the Golden Rule. Basically, how it works is you take your bust and waist measurements that you’re making a pattern for and use those measurements to develop a ‘connect the dots’ outline based on one of the many interchangeable pattern block templates. To create your own unique fashion pattern blocks you would just customize the necessary pattern blocks Lutterloh provides in their pattern books.

You can take a quality online fashion patternmaking or online fashion design course that includes patternmaking. Both Etelestia and Epro fashion schools provide such courses.

Or you could go the most conventional route and take a complete fashion design course at the Art Institute, Vancouver Community College or any other local college that holds good repute in the fashion industry for the quality of their courses and turn out of industry ready fashion design graduates.

Either way, if you choose to learn or become a fashion designer/fashion patternmaker you’ll get a chance to exercise your drive, determination and passion for fashion in doing so. Make sure you learn everything you can get your hands on, dream big and get to know people in the fashion indsutry. Once you’ve acquired the skills you can look into becoming an intern at your local or nearest fashion house to get your experience in. You can also provide your skills online as a patternmaker for fashion designers and clothing manufacturers.

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