School of Fashion Design Boston’s 2 Week Teen Summer Program: A Review

Let’s make something clear: I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing with my life.

Am I starting a business? Well, sort of. I mean, I was. Am I going to start getting into real estate, lie how my mom is? Last month I would’ve said yes. But like I’ve said before, I change my mind- a lot. Recently I got it in my head that I want to go to fashion school.

Why fashion school?

Well, while I’m not exactly the person you might picture when you think of a girl who’s obsession with fashion, I am low key obsessed with fashion. But the reason I’m so obsessed with it is because I hate 90% of the clothes I see. Seriously. I’ve wanted to just design my own clothes or have custom clothes made for me for a couple years now. I even dreamed up a business that would allow women to design their own clothes online and have them custom made but that’s not a viable business for a mass market and I don’t think most people are as picky as I am.

I have so many Pinterest boards for different styles filled with glamorous clothing. I became obsessed with finding the perfect style for me. The problem is, I always change my mind about what I want. Hence the reason for like 20 different style boards. But even if I did find my perfect style, Pinterest outfits are not real life outfits. All of my Pinterest outfits are either vintage, costumes made for actresses in movies, or hella expensive. My best friend said that I’ve been obsessed with fashion for a long time, and knowing how much I change my mind, if anything is going to stick, it would be fashion.

Why SFD Boston?

I already know that college is not for me. And the idea of going back to a 4 year school and getting a degree, even for a Bachelor’s in Fashion and Textile Design at NC State did not feel appealing. Knowing me, I might change my mind on that and go back for my bachelors at 32 but for right now, college is a no-go. Unlike Parson’s, FIT or FIDM, SFD Boston is not a college or university. So there are no general requirement classes like English or Math. SFD is more like a trade school, but for fashion and sewing. That does means that the school can’t offer federal student financial aid because its not a degree granting school but SFD Boston’s tuition is significantly less expensive than traditional colleges. And of course, it’s in Boston, which is where I used to go to college and I’d love to move back there as soon as I can.

Why go for just 2 weeks?

As I’ve said- I change my mind a lot. I dropped out of college and I have no idea what I’m doing with myself. And I most definitely have not committed to any particular path in life. So instead of just starting the full classes out of nowhere, I decided to go for the 2 week summer program. It’s cost effective (compared to me moving up there for full time classes and then- God forbid- dropping out. And it was low commitment, sort of like a “try before you buy” thing.

Class Structure

The class was split between mornings and afternoons. The mornings were for art and design while the afternoons were for construction and sewing.

The art and design consisted of fashion sketching with coquis, color theory, learning to play with the markers and watercolors, and collecting inspiration from the mountain of magazines for our mood boards. The culmination of the morning portion ends in 5 to 6 different looks directly inspired by the mood boards. You also develop a color story for the collection and use the colored pencils, markers, and watercolors to color the collection. Oh, and there are no clothes allowed on the mood boards, so there’s no temptation to copy. The boards have to consist of objects or architecture, or scenery, or just anything other than clothes.

Construction was my personal favorite; I’m kind of a “hands on” type of person. We all used the same pattern (in different sizes of course) to make a pair of pants. The pants aren’t complicated, they’re actually pretty basic wide-leg pants with an elastic waistband. We did have to go out an buy the fabric, thread, and elastic within the first two days of class but it wasn’t terribly expensive since I was able to get the fabric on sale. I did make some adjustment to my pants by extending the inseam of the pattern. The sewing machines at the school are all industrial so they sew faster than what we were used to at home. The pants only required a topstitch and overlock; there’s no need to know how to sew already. I certainly didn’t but it was pretty easy to get the hang of using the machines.

My Thoughts

I must admit, I was slightly apprehensive going into the program. I had notions in my head that it would be something like The Devil Wears Prada.

But it wasn’t the least bit like that. I really enjoyed the program and (right now) I’m planning to take classes starting in the Spring semester. I wish I had more time in the program since I didn’t get to finish my collection or my pants. I contribute that to the fact that all of the other kids, despite being younger than I, were objectively better at sketching and some of them had sewing experience but I didn’t mind that I was behind. My instructor was awesome but she didn’t like repeating herself 10 times over because, understandably, it get’s tedious. So it’s important to listen and pay attention the first time. But I also get needing to ask questions because I’m more of a “I’ll understand it once I’m doing it” and she totally got that so I never felt uncomfortable asking something.

The classes only have space for 10 students per session and the limiting factor is the physical space in the school building; here was only so much table space for all of us to spread out our fabric to lay the patterns on. So I’d advise registering early. I was lucky enough to get off the waitlist because someone else backed out last minute but that’s only because no one else was ahead of me on the list.

I know I said that my favorite part of the program was construction but making the mood boards was also my favorite part. I wanted to make more than one! Aside from all the Pinterest boards I’ve made for clothing, I also have others for architecture, furniture, Populuxe, Pulp Art, and retro futurism that I love adding to. I suppose it’s a good thing that we used magazine clippings for our mood boards because I could spend days on Pinterest collecting inspiration. My instructor challenged all of us to pull directly from our mood boards. It was hard for everyone, myself included, because we couldn’t just design randomly. We had to pick 3 tangible elements from the boards (aside from color) such as lines, texture, shapes, or patterns and turn them into clothes. At first, I didn’t like being that literal. But when I saw that an architectural photo from my board could be viewed as the form a woman with her back arched when turned on its side, I was ecstatic! Suddenly the geometric pattern on the building was a mesh netting for a super sexy dress, rather than something that I didn’t like (I initially picked that building out for the curved lines that made up it’s outer structure).

I was never the “artsy kid” in school. But now, maybe I can be.

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