We recently talked to Patricio Sarmiento, the Director of the new MA in Accessories Design: Jewelry and Leather Goods about this new program.
What differentiates the MA in Accessories at PCA from other similar programs?
First of all, there aren’t many accessories programs out there! But, specifically at PCA our program emphasizes the French tradition of great craftsmanship and the artisanal spirit. Working in collaboration with organizations like the Compagnons du Devoir, the oldest guild of artisans in France, and AFEDAP (Association pour la Formation et le Développement des Arts Plastiques), leader in contemporary jewelry-making education in France, we will develop students’ awareness of what is possible in the creation of accessories and provide them with the knowledge of materials and processes as well as the skills to realize their creations.
What are the advantages of studying in Paris?
Paris is one of the most important cities worldwide for accessories design — a huge concentration of the leading companies are located here. We have many corporate partnerships within the industry, through which students participate in real-world projects, gaining experience and developing their professional network. Recent projects include the Mauboussin Young Talent competition and the Compagnons du Devoir bag design project. With our proximity to so many great companies, our students have access to great internship and professional opportunities. The main professional fairs in accessory design are held in Paris at which students are able to see all of the latest designs and meet professionals.
What are the faculty’s credentials?
PCA’s faculty are all working professionals in the industry and bring their knowledge of cutting edge trends, practices and industry standards to the curriculum. Furthermore, as active members of the accessory design field, professors become part of the students’ professional network and their point of entry into the field.
What career prospects do graduates have?
Graduates of this program will be able to take a project from start to finish from concept development to initial drawings and prototypes through production. Given that approximately 70% of the revenue of luxury ready-to-wear companies comes from accessories, there is an enormous demand for new designers. This combined with the fact that there are not many schools preparing students to enter this field means that there are a lot of jobs available in this industry.
What sort of educational background should students have?
The important thing is that the student have a sense of materials and how to transform them but they can come from a broad range of arts disciplines: Jewelry, Leatherwork, Fashion Design, Fine Arts, Product Design, Interior Design, Architecture, etc.
How do you know if the program is right for you?
If you are looking to become an accessories or jewelry designer, either as an independent designer or craftsperson or as part of a team, this program is for you.
What are the prerequisites?
Of course, you have to have an undergraduate degree to enter the program. You need to be able to sketch concepts and explain your ideas visually, as well as have good 3D hand skills. In addition, knowledge of digital design programs like Auto-CAD & Adobe Creative Suite is beneficial.
What kind of concrete design problems or projects can students expect to complete?
The first semester projects will involve materials discovery, design research and manufacturing techniques. Then, in the second semester students will pair with craftspeople to develop their personal projects, which model the real-world work process.
Are there other graduate students at PCA?
We launched our first Master’s program, an MA/MFA in Transdisciplinary New Media in fall 2015. This fall, in addition to the MA in Accessories Design: Jewelry and Leather Goods, we are launching three additional MAs: Fashion Film and Photography; Fashion Design: New Materials & Technologies; and Interior Design. PCA also collaborates with Toulouse Business School in offering English language MSc degrees in marketing and communication specializing in the fashion and luxury industries; and with the French engineering school Ecole des Ponts in offering English language Master’s degrees in computational design. These programs draw student from around the world to the PCAcampus.