Lynda Grose, Chair of Fashion Design, discusses her new vision for the Fashion program at CCA with the CCA DESIGN IS editors.
What’s new for the Fashion Design program at CCA?
I envision Fashion Design to be a program where students conceptualize, develop, and construct designs by incorporating sustainability and technology fluidly.
Fashion Design at CCA is a lively and creative program that produces designers with a strong point of view, a deep understanding of the current times, and an ability to wear several hats in professional practice. Students are prepared to take charge in the real world by working with companies and nonprofits that advance and enable change—inspiring new forms of fashion practice. In CCA’s Fashion Design Studio, students design by working fluidly back and forth on a seam welder, using digital patterning equipment, developing experimental tactile textile development, draping on dress forms, and converting to VR programs, continuously checking in with construction, Humanities and Sciences, and design instructors at different points in time as needed.
At CCA, students are encouraged to find their own voice through experimental development early on, and work on ideas through advancement of technical skills that reflect in their individualized final collections. Our faculty members apply the techniques learned from their own practice and introduce experimental ideas into their classrooms. College grants further enable “research through practice” for cross-disciplinary collaboration between faculty and students, and disciplines and divisions at the college.
What makes Fashion at CCA different from other programs?
As a small program, we really pride ourselves on meeting students where they are in their learning journey and engage with them as the kind of learner they are. We provide individual attention and strategies to optimize student development as they evolve as designers. This is very different from larger schools, where there's more distance between students and instructors over the course of an academic year.
The size of our program also means that we don't have much 'filler' in the curriculum. Core classes really count, if you fail one, its another year before you can retake it.
We are very different in the way we offer cross discipline opportunities throughout the curriculum. Students, for example, have regular access to CCA's workshops, soft lab, knitting machines etc. Most other schools restrict the access to equipments specified to discrete track for textiles, ID, performance, etc.
Our program also drives students to produce a final thesis collection that expresses their own vision and point of view. This is very different from others, who might bring in a designer mentor for final thesis, requiring all graduating students to design within that particular circle of style.
All CCA students also have an opportunity to be a part of the final show. Most other schools limit the fashion show to a certain percentage of the graduating year.
What are the upcoming shows in Fashion Design?
This year’s show builds on last year’s fashion experience and departs again from the traditional runway spectacle. We are creating an installation format, a la Dover Street Market. It will be held at SOMArts on May 11, from 7pm onwards (with VIP reception starting at 6pm). Participants can view the collections on street cast and professional models, and hang out with the designers in the installation areas, talk with them about their concepts, view their portfolios, touch the clothes, and even purchase one of a kind iterative prototypes.