Breaking into fashion

Pattern makers, sample makers, spec writers and illustrators in the fashion industry are all being replaced by one role: the technical designer.

“The whole industry has changed dramatically. The production of fashion has become really technical,” says Judy Woodworth, co-director for continuing education at Moore College of Art & Design. “Computer savviness is critical to the whole process now.”

The certificate program for fashion studies at Moore teaches those with a passion for fashion how to become technical designers and “turn a fashion designer’s concept into reality,” Woodworth says.

Courses focus on computer programs like Photoshop, Illustrator and CAD — plus technical drawing, pattern making and fashion history. Students typically take one class per quarter, earning the certificate in two years, or make it a one-year program with two classes a quarter. Each class meets one night a week.

Aspiring technical designers who want the certificate have to take all of the courses for credit, which means they’ll be graded and receive a transcript. Another option is to pick and chose individual courses to audit — that comes with a 30 percent discount in tuition, but no grade or credit.

Unlike Moore’s undergraduate programs, the fashion studies program is open to both men and women.

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