WHILE THEY’RE YOUNG: High schoolers will soon be able to take a crash course in fashion at the New York School of Design. The garment center school is offering a Fashion Portfolio Prep program starting July 24 to help prepare teenagers who plan to go on to try to get into a four-year design school.
As for what the greatest misconception is among teenagers, NYSD president Janet Tsong said, “They have no idea how much work it is to work in fashion. Our focus really is on technical design. A lot of designers go into fashion just wanting to sketch or draw, but they don’t realize the inner workings of a garment or how it’s really made. We really focus on pattern-making, draping, making tech packs, doing specs — and many are shocked by the work that is involved. We don’t try to scare them off too much in the beginning, but we really do try to keep them in check.”
Suggesting that many design schools don’t make the technical aspects of design a priority any more, Tsong noted that a lot of jobs are in pattern-making, technical design and production. “Hopefully, with the emphasis on creating jobs in the garment industry, we’ll be bringing back a lot of those jobs again. That’s really our primary focus — to create jobs in the garment district.”
Students will get the rundown on sketching, creating a collection, developing their designs and pulling together a full portfolio at the end. While adults at NYSD can take a six-month program to prepare them for the industry, the Gen Zers will start a monthlong $1,200 one here that starts July 24. Tsong said, “It is intensive enough where they get all of the tools to build a portfolio program. They might have a liking for fashion design, but they don’t know exactly how to put a collection together, how to brand themselves or what admissions counselors at universities and colleges look for.”
The two 15-person classes will take field trips to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology and “even just getting inspiration from New York City itself,” Tsong said. Located in the garment district on Sixth Avenue, the school’s location will make it easy for the high schoolers to visit fabric stores. Through partnerships with local factories such as Factory 8, the aspiring designers they will get a better sense for manufacturing. Such outings are strong encouraged especially since many students are international and are in New York for the first time, Tsong said. “They’re always thinking, ‘Design, design, design.’ But they don’t really know what happens after they design something,” she said.