Fashion Design Unit Study

I’ve recently been asked what would make a good unit study for older students. In my view, unit studies would be a great method for investigating possible career choices. Here is a unit study on fashion design. Good, basic information is learned as well as how this interest could relate to a career option.


1. Create a fshion design for a specific population such as maternity ware, emergency response professionals (i.e., police, firefighters, paramedics, etc.), people with physical challenges, etc. Be creative in your designs and try to address the special needs of the people in these groups.

2. Learn to knit or crochet a garment. Ask experts, such as someone more experienced in this craft, for help choosing materials or interpreting patterns or instructions.

3. Find out how to create a pattern for a specific wardrobe item, or adapt one that you purchase from the store. Create the garment from the pattern you made.

4. Color is one of the most important aspects of fashion design. Not everyone looks good in every color. Go to the library and study books on choosing the right colors for you. Do several of the activities you find in the books for deciding which colors work best with your skin tone, hair color, etc. Also do these activities with at least one other person. Compare the your personal color charts.

5. Fashion is a person choice, but most importantly, fashion should fit the wearer. Knowing your measurements will enable you to adapt or create flattering clothes designs. Find out about proportions and take your own measurements. Use these measurements to analyze your figure type to purchase clothing and select patterns that will fit properly as well as be flattering.

6. Follow fashion trends by reading fashion magazines and trade journals. Evaluate which trends have become established and which are really “fads.” Predict your own fashion trends.

7. Design clothing for a special occasion such as a wedding, graduation, holiday ware, etc.

8. Choose three synthetic fibers and then find out how they are made. What are the pros and cons of each.

9. Investigate the kinds of computer software available to people in the fashion industry. Also, you may wish to go to a computer store and look at some programs that help children create their own fashions (i.e., for fashion dolls such as Barbie, for paper dolls, etc.).

10. Find out how technology has made a difference in fashion design and manufacturing.

11. Host your own fashion show with purchased pieces of clothing, or garments and accessories that you have yourself.

12. Research costume design. This can either be theatrical costumes or historical costumes (e.g., for re-enactments). If possible make or assist in making one of these outfits. Note: many of the pattern companies (e.g., Simplicity) now carry historical costume patterns.

13. Participate in a job-shadowing experience. Choose a job such as fashion designer, costume designer, fashion consultant, fashion editor, or marketing merchandising director.

14. Investigate the education and experience that various careers in the fashion industry require. Look in want ads from large cities to see if they have job offerings in the fashion industry. What qualifications do they require? What is the expected salary in various fashion careers.

15. Survey different college and university catalogs to see if they offer degrees for the fashion industry. What classes do they require to receive the degree?

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