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Studying Fashion in Paris: Making the Dream a Reality

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When we think of Paris, what immediately comes to mind is the beautiful silhouette of the Eiffel Tower, the romantic view of the Seine, the dazzling lights of the Champs Elysées, and of course, fashion. Choosing a school is difficult, and choosing where to relocate for one’s studies may add to the pressure of making the right decision. One thing to keep in mind is that Paris was, and still is, the most important.

World Capital for Fashion Design

One thing to keep in mind is that Paris was, and still is, the most important world capital for fashion design. Paris is one of the world’s major fashion centers, home to haute couture and prêt-à-porter, and the birthplace of many renowned designers such as Lanvin, Chanel, Christian Dior, Balenciaga, Yves Saint Laurent and Christian Lacroix.

But what is the relevance of the past in today’s hyper fast world, where everything is à la mode and yet démodé at nearly the same time? In fashion, the past is highly relevant and consistently acts as a foundation for future trends. For example, India, Turkey, and South Africa currently organize respective fashion weeks completely independent of the heavy hitters in New York, London, Paris and Milan.

But what has been the common language that has allowed and even encouraged such a growth? Designers, stylists, and virtually anyone involved in the industry will say it is the shared history of art. The influence of Paris’s rich artistic environment on a designer is undeniable. While museums and cultural centers like the Palais de Tokyo or the Fondation Cartier have their fingers on the pulse of the contemporary art scene, museums like the Louvre or the Musée d’Orsay make us fall in love all over again with classical art. Fashion exhibitions at the Musée Galliera or the Musée des Arts Décoratifs are important sources for designers and brands as well as reflecting today’s trends.

And the beginnings of trends?

They are to be found in the streets of Paris and are then translated for the public at concept stores like Colette, Onward or Spree. Having these reference points is one of the vital tools of a designer.

The most important fairs in Europe take place twice a year in Paris during Fashion Week: the Prêt-à- Porter (ready-to-wear), where business deals are made; Expofil, the starting point, where the thread orders are placed; and Première Vision, where the fabric and textile trends are set for the season.

Paris is the city that hosts the highest number of fashion events if we include the non-scheduled ones, events that are not registered with the Féderation de Prêt- à-Porter or the Chambre Syndicale.

Paris fuses the upstart spirit of the Anglo-Saxon culture with French tradition. Marc Jacobs splits his time between Paris and New York, working as both Creative Director for Louis Vuitton and heading his own brand. John Galliano, who was raised in London, was the first British designer to head a French couture house with Givenchy, and he has been Artistic Director for the women’s collections at Dior since 1996. The Californian Rick Owens designed for his avantgarde brand as well as for Revillon, one of the oldest and most traditional French luxury fur brands in Paris.

Studying fashion design in Paris is an incomparable experience

All of these business and creative moves have led us to an era of a younger, more energetic feeling in French fashion. For all these reasons, studying fashion design in Paris is an incomparable experience, but it is important to find a school that fits one’s personal needs and strengths. David Peck, a recent Fashion Design School graduate advises: “An important thing to think about when choosing a school is what you want to do at the end of your studies. If you want to eventually become a creative or artistic director, schools like Parsons Paris and Studio Berçot would be better suited to you. If, on the other hand, you are more interested in a specific area of fashion such as patternmaking or draping, Esmod or the Chambre Syndicale may be more your style. As with choosing any school, find out where their graduates work. This can help you to decide where your focus should be.

Another important point for David was the internship program. “While studying in Paris, it is extremely important to do internships. Employers can be reluctant to hire anyone they do not know or haven not worked with before, but once you are hired you will learn more about what it really means to be in the industry by actually working, and you will also gain valuable work experience. Besides, I found that much of what I learned at work was directly applicable to my work at school.”

There is much to consider when choosing the right program for you, but there are also many options. But Paris is the indisputable choice of cities in which to study fashion and design.

Contributed by : Parsons Paris

www.newschool.edu/parsons-paris

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