Why I Study Fashion Design

I have wanted to be a fashion designer since before I even knew what it was called. I have a memory from when I was in first grade: it was my turn to be featured on the wall as “Student of the Week,” and my teacher crouched next to my desk and asked me some questions about myself to put up on the bulletin board. When she asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I remember responding with something along the lines of “someone who makes clothes.” This was the moment I learned that what I wanted to be was called a “fashion designer,” and I look back on this memory very fondly. Ever since I was a little six year old, I have only ever wanted to pursue fashion design. Well, there was about a week in 2006 where I decided I wanted to work at a dairy farm after watching the movie Cow Belles with Aly and AJ, but aside from that, I’ve pretty much always been about fashion. I remember sketching dresses with crayons in little wide ruled notebooks and sewing pieces of fabric onto my Barbie dolls with needle and thread as a child.

What I find most appealing about fashion is that it allows for limitless self-expression while also being functional and necessary. People are always going to need clothes, but there are endless possibilities for what those clothes can do for those people. Fashion can bring people together in groups, as uniforms, or protect people, like a bullet-proof vest. You can dress to be comfortable, to show off, to blend in. And all while serving a purpose, fashion still remains an art form. Like a painting or sculpture, a garment is a fashion designer’s masterpiece. There are amazing, extravagant things you can do with fabric and notions, but in its simplest form, clothing is a necessity. To me, this makes fashion design both beautiful and tangible--it appeals to aesthetics but it also makes sense. This has made it easy for me to grasp as an area of study. I’ve always felt a more rewarding feeling coming out of a class with a functional, physical product that I made myself, than solving a complex math problem or studying science facts. There is something I find so satisfying about creating something with your own two hands out of basic materials.

It has been a worry of mine before that I’ve only ever wanted to study fashion design and never considered any other options to fall back on (again, minus that Cow Belles phase). Now that I’m in college however, it has started to feel more like the real deal as I’m immersed in classes where I’m actually studying fashion and learning new skills. I am thankful to be going to a school where I enjoy the fashion program. My major really narrowed down the college search quickly, so I’m glad to have ended up in a program where I’m taking classes I enjoy with professors I enjoy. The more fashion classes I take, the more confident I am that I’m in the right major for me. From my flat pattern class, I’ve really started to develop a love for pattern making as well. I’m not sure what it is about it that I find appealing, but knowing that I have the option to pursue that in the future excites me. I’m also really intrigued by 3D printing and fashion. I don’t exactly know what I want to do after college yet, but for all I know, the job I end up in doesn’t even exist yet. Fashion is always changing and evolving, which is what excites me the most, and I want to be a part of the action.

I don’t exactly remember why I wanted to be a fashion designer way back in first grade, but I know why I want to be one now, and I am forever grateful that I have been given the opportunities and the tools to follow my lifelong dream. Shoutout to my parents for never discouraging me from pursuing a career in the arts, my aunt for teaching me and feeding my obsession with supplies, Sew Easy sewing classes, and Mrs. Sullivan, my sewing teacher for three years of high school who acted as my second mom. You have all added fuel to my fire and I am blessed it has still not died down after thirteen years in the making.