Fashion illustration training in Europe and the USA

Fashion illustration training in Europe and the USA

People at all times loved to dress beautifully, which means that the professions associated with the world of fashion will never become obsolete. In every sense, the fashionable profession of a fashion illustrator has very deep roots, and with the development of technology, it becomes more and more interesting and promising. Best of all, fashion illustrators are trained in Europe (first of all, of course, in Italy!), Great Britain and the USA. Let’s talk more about this profession and how to master it.

What does a fashion illustrator do?

  • sketches from fashion shows (event sketching): the illustrator creates quick dynamic sketches in which he reflects his impressions of what he saw. Such works are very much appreciated, they are used in editions of fashion houses and fashion magazines, they inspire designers to create new masterpieces;
  • illustrations for magazines and blogs, fashion books, social networks, websites, etc.;
  • Drawing bows: Fashion designers don’t always know how to draw professionally, so you need an artist who can transfer their creative ideas to paper. In addition, the illustrator can bring his own ideas when creating new collections;
  • development of prints for fabrics – you can collaborate with fashion houses or create your own prints for sales;
  • design of various goods of the fashion industry (drawings for brands of cosmetics, perfumes, accessories, luxury goods).

Illustrators get to the very heart of the fashion industry: designers, fashion boutiques, glossy magazines, advertising agencies work with them … A good illustrator becomes indispensable, and the profession allows you to try yourself in different roles. No matter how flourishing photography is, the fashion illustrator will not be left without work: after all, the photographer simply captures the events on camera, and the artist creates his own world.

What Fashion Illustrators Learn

In Russia, this profession is just beginning to be taught, so there is no serious school of fashion illustrators as such yet. In foreign universities, training programs for fashion illustrators have a long tradition – the first prototypes of fashion magazines appeared in England and France as early as the 17th century, and fashion illustration as an independent discipline began to take shape at the beginning of the 20th century. For example, the legendary Istituto Marangoni has existed since 1935, and the University of the Arts London has existed since 1921.

Study programs may vary from university to university; however, the skills that students receive can be roughly divided into two groups:

1. Technique: the ability to draw, create illustrations, master various visualization methods – both traditional and modern. Working with various technologies, materials, fonts, collages, etc. Understanding the history of fashion and fashion illustration, as well as global trends and contemporary cultural contexts in these areas.

2. Practical work in the fashion industry and the formation of one’s own style – this is precisely the main difference between the Russian and foreign approaches to teaching. Students are helped to “hear their own voice”, and practical classes, participation in shows, masterclasses from prominent specialists actively introduce them to the world of big fashion.

Additional skills that are acquired on the programs: time management, managing several projects in the parallel, competent presentation of their work, the ability to switch between different styles, the so-called soft skills.

Where is fashion illustration taught?

NABA – New Academy of Fine Arts

QS World University Rankings recognized NABA as the best Italian university in 2021 in the field of art and design. The goal of NABA is to give students as much freedom as possible to experiment and teach them how to create their own corporate identity.

The university has established long-term relationships with professional associations, enterprises, art galleries (for example, with Harrods LTD, Sotheby’s Italia, Trussardi, Moschino and many others), where students undergo internships.

The Academy is located on two campuses – in Milan and Rome. Future fashion illustrators are trained in the Graphic Design and Art Direction (Graphic Design and Art Projects) or Painting and Visual Arts (Fine Arts) programs.

Tuition fee: from 18,200 euros per year

Marangoni Institute

The oldest private university in Europe in the field of fashion and design, and at the same time the most modern and global. The university has campuses not only in Italy but also in the UK, France, the USA, India and China. Students from 107 countries study at Istituto Marangoni.

Istituto Marangoni is one of the top five fashion schools in the world and offers both undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as short-term courses, including online. A course in fashion illustration is included in some undergraduate programs such as Fashion Design or Fashion Design & Accessories. The institute also offers a short online course.

Among the legendary graduates of the university are Domenico Dolce (founder of the Dolce & Gabbana brand), Franco Moschino (Moschino) and Alessandro Sartori (creative director of Ermenegildo Zegna).

Tuition fee: from 22,000 euros per year

University of Westminster

One of the oldest universities in London (founded in 1838). The University of Westminster collaborates with fashion houses Burberry, Givenchy, Alexander McQueen, Viktor & Rolf and many others. In total, the university has more than 180 partners.

University graduates were honored to participate in the legendary London Fashion Week in 2020. Fashion illustration can be studied here as part of the Fashion Design bachelor’s program.

Tuition fee: from 14,400 pounds per year

University of the Arts London — London College of Fashion

University of the Arts London (UAL) is a British university with a century of history and a worldwide reputation. According to QS University Rankings, it ranks 2nd in the world among educational institutions teaching art and design. In total, UAL has over 19,000 students from 130 countries.

A motto: “Fashion makes life better!”. London College of Fashion, one of six UAL colleges in the UK capital, has a specialized bachelor’s program in fashion illustration, where students learn not only to draw but also to understand the world of modern fashion from the inside.

The college collaborates with many businesses, including the SHOW Studio gallery and the Paris School of Art.

Tuition fee: from 22,920 per year

Fashion Institute of Technology

Speaking of fashion, you can’t get around New York, one of the top art destinations in the world! The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) was founded in 1944 and is part of SUNY (State University of New York), the largest university system in the United States. FIT is a center for innovation and research in the field of fashion.

College graduates work for Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, L’Oreal and other world-famous companies. FIT is not only a state-of-the-art campus in the historic district of the city, but also more than 60 student clubs.

The Fashion Institute of Technology offers undergraduate and Associate in Applied Science programs in illustration. Within their framework, you can choose fashion illustration as the main direction. There is also an opportunity to go to Italy under the Study Abroad Program.

Tuition fees: from $22,240 per year

Entry Requirements

Admission requirements vary from country to country. However, in most cases, it will be problematic to enter studies immediately after the 11th grade of a Russian school – you must first go through a preparatory program.

So, for example, the Fashion Institute of Technology accepts only the Associate in Applied Science program – and after two years you can transfer to a two-year undergraduate program. Universities in the UK require you to complete the annual Foundation program. To enter Italian educational institutions, Russian applicants need to complete the Foundation program or provide a certificate of completion of the first year of the Russian university, certified by the Italian representation. You also need proof of knowledge of a foreign language (IELTS) and – in most cases – a portfolio.

Fashion programs will always be popular, so competition among applicants is very high. In order to competently compose a portfolio, take into account all the entrance requirements and stand out from the huge number of applicants, contact Allterra Education specialists – they have been advising students of creative specialties for more than ten years. Sign up for a consultation and discover the world of great fashion!

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