Fashion Design

Master of Arts in Fashion Design:
Haute Couture/Haute Technology

This one-year program, focused on new materials and technologies, equips designers with the knowledge and skills required to make the most of emerging new technologies and materials.

New materials are being developed at a fast rate, enabling garments to do more than clothe: they can measure temperature, transmit information about the wearer’s physiological state, provide stimulation, release compounds into the skin, etc.

These materials are often used for sportswear and underwear, but they can serve a purpose outside of technical wear. The goal of the program is to encourage and enable designers of ready-to-wear to incorporate them into their design, whether it be men’s, women’s or children’s wear. Students will also learn to work with new technologies, such as using 3D printing to produce a garment or creating connected garments.

France hosts many companies specializing in innovative materials (Lytess is a pioneer in cosmetotextiles, which are textiles containing a substance or preparation intended to be released permanently on different parts of the epidermis) and connectivity (Cityzen Sciences was the first to launch a connected T-shirt), and we will draw on this local expertise for our Professional Practice Workshop Series.

The program combines technical knowledge and principles of design research and theory. Studio classes and workshops conducted by professionals from relevant fields (materials experts, engineers, designers) emphasize the mastery of new materials and technologies and their incorporation into a wide range of designs (not only technical gear), while theory-based and methodology courses help students develop their personal creative visions.

Students with a background in fashion design or tailoring will be well-suited to enter the program, while also continuing to broaden their knowledge and skills through supporting courses on sustainable production processes and ethical responsibilities.

The structure of this degree is composed of three types of classes: Studio: Creativity & Inquiry (core and elective courses) Research: Investigation (core and elective courses) Professional Skills (core and elective courses)

Faculty

MA Curriculum

Credits

MA One-Year Program

fall

Studio I

Code
MFMT 0500
Description

Each semester, the Studio course brings in experts in new materials and technologies to teach for a 4-5 week segment each. Workshop topics include cosmetotextiles (a textile containing a substance or preparation intended to be released permanently on different parts of the epidermis), illuminated textiles that can be used for phototherapy, textiles that conduct heat or that can capture body temperature and heart rate, textiles incorporating LED screens, and 3D printing, among others. In each segment students learn a different technique and are encouraged to apply it to their little black dress (fall) and final graduation collection (spring). Students will attend the international professional fair dedicated to new materials, Première Vision, which is held in Paris each September and February.

Connected Garments

Code
MFMT 0501
Description

In this course students will study examples of connected garments, the next frontier after smart watches, smart glasses, and fitness bands. Students will visit and study cases such as Citizen Sciences, which innovates in the field of data collection and management through integrated solutions involving sensors, smart devices and data management. They will then work with students in the M.A./M.F.A. in Transdisciplinary New Media to come up with prototypes for connected garments outside the realm of technical gear for specific athletic disciplines.

Atelier I

Code
MFMT 0502
Description

Students design and create three versions of a little black dress: one for mass retail, one for ready-to-wear retail and one for a couture house. The learning objectives are to teach students about different market segments, to teach them to calculate costs and to adapt a design to different buyers. The final productions will be reviewed by a jury of industry professionals representing the three market segments, and students will be asked to explain and justify their design choices for each one of the three versions of the dress.

History Of Fashion & Accessories

Code
MFMT 0506
Description

In this course, students will review the history of fashion (including accessories) in the 20th and 21st centuries. Students will consider how it is represented in catalogs, newspapers and other visual supports. The Maciet archives at the Bibliothèque du Musée des Arts Décoratifs (Library of the Museum of Decorative Arts), a PCA partner institution, will be an invaluable resource for student research. The main focus will be on Europe in order to take advantage of the resources at hand.

Sustainable Production Processes

Code
MFMT 0507
Description

Students learn about sustainable production alternatives through readings, discussions, case studies and direct applications to their studio work in the Atelier. How will the garment they are designing be produced? What are the costs and benefits of this production at every step of the process? Students also select a garment from one brand that they research to unveil its entire life cycle, from the choice of materials and means of production to the final recycling or destruction.

Concept Development: Storytelling

Code
MFFP 0508
Description

In this semester-long course students learn to quickly develop and research concepts to tell a story in images and words. The aim is to provide them with the tools, skills and processes that they will need to respond to a client’s brief in a professional and convincing manner. It is open as an elective to students from other departments, since the ability to come up with creative ideas, researching them and then “packaging” them in a compelling verbal and visual story is a key skill for any designer, whether it is to develop a story for a fashion editorial, an accessories line, or the concept for a new restaurant interior. The disciplinary mix of students also serves to prepare them to work within interdisciplinary teams, which is what they will be faced with in the professional world.

Electives

Description

You may select an elective from the elective options bellow.

spring

Studio II

Code
MFMT 0503
Description

Each semester, the Studio course brings in experts in new materials and technologies to teach for a 4-5 week segment each. Workshop topics include cosmetotextiles (a textile containing a substance or preparation intended to be released permanently on different parts of the epidermis), illuminated textiles that can be used for phototherapy, textiles that conduct heat or that can capture body temperature and heart rate, textiles incorporating LED screens, and 3D printing, among others. In each segment students learn a different technique and are encouraged to apply it to their little black dress (fall) and final graduation collection (spring). Students will attend the international professional fair dedicated to new materials, Première Vision, which is held in Paris each September and February.

The Fashion Lab

Code
MFMT 0504
Description

With the arrival of new technology, the whole business of fashion is going to be rethought. The fashion industry moves very quickly. There is a strong and growing demand for innovation and for the newest and most interesting products. Soon 3D printing, intelligent and micro-encapsulated textiles and connected garments will become part of our daily lives. This course will prepare our students for this evolution. We will work with experts in the field to confront and find creative answers to all of these matters.

Atelier II

Code
MFMT 0505
Description

In this project-based semester-long class students have to design and create a collection of six looks (garments, accessories, etc.) that will be presented to a jury of professionals at the end of the semester. Students will complete research around the theme they will have selected and apply the techniques they will have acquired in the Couture Craftsmanship and other studio classes and elective courses.

Professional Practice Workshop Series

Code
MFMT 0509
Description

Professionals from the Parisian art and design world will come in to introduce students to their professional practice and engage them in practical exercises preparing them for the job market. Instructors will be drawn from a broad range of fields: photographers and videographers; designer and architects; galleries, museums, auction houses and private collections; art fairs and international exhibitions; art dealers; curators; historians; journalists and iconographers; artists; magazine editors; I.P. and licensing lawyers, etc.

Master's Thesis

Code
MFMT 0510
Description

Students will document the research they conduct on the theme of their final project, as well as the research they have done on the cost and means of production of their project. Some of the criteria for evaluating the thesis will be the extent to which the student’s work is situated in a historic and cultural context, the quality of the student’s research, and the appropriate use of documentation, artifacts, and the learning resources available to them in Paris.

Electives

Description

You may select an elective from the elective options bellow.

Elective Offereing Graduate Level

fall

Still Life Photography

Code
FHOT 0500
Description

The main aim of this class is to provide students with the tools and techniques required to document their work in a professional manner in order to share it with prospective clients. Students in all the new M.A. programs (accessories design, fashion design, fashion photography, interior design) will need to be proficient in photographing objects and/or interiors. Photographing still life is different from portraiture or street photography, and requires mastery of lighting and mise en scène.

French

Description

Students take a placement test to be placed into one of three levels of French language: introductory, intermediate and advanced. Classes meet twice a week for written and oral exercises designed to strengthen vocabulary and grammar. These courses use dialogues, oral exercises, short compositions and literary texts to establish a firm foundation in the language. Students approach everyday life situations in French, while learning the fundamentals of grammar and the complexity of conversation. The intermediate and advanced courses serve as a more sophisticated introduction to French culture and lifestyle and as a means of consolidating grammar and vocabulary.

Intellectual Property Rights

Code
MFMT 0512
Description

The I.P. course covers issues related to copyright, patents, contracts and liabilities as they apply to art and design. Students will learn about international laws related to copyright and patents and understand how to protect their intellectual property and the best strategies to adopt in different circumstances.

spring

Intellectual Property Rights

Code
MFMT 0512
Description

The I.P. course covers issues related to copyright, patents, contracts and liabilities as they apply to art and design. Students will learn about international laws related to copyright and patents and understand how to protect their intellectual property and the best strategies to adopt in different circumstances.

French

Description

Students take a placement test to be placed into one of three levels of French language: introductory, intermediate and advanced. Classes meet twice a week for written and oral exercises designed to strengthen vocabulary and grammar. These courses use dialogues, oral exercises, short compositions and literary texts to establish a firm foundation in the language. Students approach everyday life situations in French, while learning the fundamentals of grammar and the complexity of conversation. The intermediate and advanced courses serve as a more sophisticated introduction to French culture and lifestyle and as a means of consolidating grammar and vocabulary.

Overall Credits Total
30

Haute Couture & Haute Technology - The MA in Fashion Design at Paris College of Art

 

Frequently Asked Questions

How would you describe this program and what makes it unique?

The Masters in Fashion: Haute Couture | Haute Technology prepares students to confront the newest trends in fashion regarding style, technology and distribution.

The fashion industry moves very quickly: there is a revolution every ten years. The two previous ones were in fashion distribution (90s) and marketing (2000s). Today, a new pattern is emerging. Fast fashion and over-marketed products are not going to last for long; the public is getting tired of “normcore” fashion and basic products being worn every day by too many people. There is a strong and growing demand for innovation and for the newest and most interesting products.

How can you predict the direction fashion is going to take?

Fashion is sociology: it reflects not only the way people want to dress but also how they think and behave. The best researchers in fashion and sociology are able to predict a brand-new area and field of research for the near future. We are preparing students to face this next revolution.

How would you describe upcoming fashion revolution?

It is clear that it will come from technology. For example, when Joseph-Marie Jacquard invented the first earliest programmable loom (the “Jacquard loom”), in Lyon in 1801, nobody anticipated that it would change the whole way people would dress for the next two centuries — in addition to playing an important role in the development of other programmable machines, such as computers. Soon 3D printing, intelligent and micro-encapsulated textiles and connected garments will become part of our daily lives. We want to prepare our students for this evolution.

Why is Paris the best place to learn these fashion skills and techniques?

France is an industry leader in cosmetotextiles (Lytess) as well as technology companies (Lectra, Dassault system) and robotics. Furthermore, since the XVII century France has been a leader in luxury products and haute couture, exceling in both creativity and know-how (i.e. technique). French fashion and luxury represent 25% of the world’s total luxury business, with a turnover of 50 Billion euros per year (80% exported), making France the largest actor in the industry.

In Paris, we are able to combine both traditional and technological expertise in order to pave the way to not only create new couture but to improve mass customization, both of which are going to influence creativity and distribution in the near future.

Moreover, Paris is a wonderful place for arts and culture. There are 137 museums, including two fashion museums as well as fashion exhibitions all year round in different venues throughout the city.

Paris is the only place in the world to host 6 Fashion Weeks per year (Haute Couture, Women’s Ready-to-Wear and Men’s Ready-to-Wear).

What kind of challenges will the industry face in the upcoming decades?

With the arrival of new technology, the whole business of fashion is going to be rethought.
Designers and other fashion professionals will grapple with questions such as: Is this the end of ready-to-wear as we know it? If mass-customization becomes the norm, how will distribution be affected? Will we still need shops or only show rooms? Are dressmaking salons (or e-dressmaking salons) going to be the future of retail? What is the future of e-distribution?
In this program, we will work with experts in the field to confront and find creative answers to all of these questions.

Who are the teachers of the Fashion MA program?

The faculty at PCA is recruited from among designers and engineers who are experts in fashion and technology. They have worked to create new fabrics, new shapes, and/or new computer programs.

They have all graduated from the best design schools, and the lead teacher is Elisabeth de Senneville, a famous designer and recognized specialist in utilizing new technologies in fashion design. We insist on the fact that all faculty members are also working professionals in the field, ensuring that they are always up to date on the latest trends and technology.

Who is the ideal student for this program? What are the prerequisites to apply?

The program is open to any student who has successfully completed an undergraduate degree (BFA, BA, BSc, BID, BArch, etc.) with a studio component, or has acquired basic technical skills (fashion drawing, design, flat and 3D,) through other educational or professional experiences. Students’ technical skills and creative potential will be evaluated through their portfolio and interview.

What makes PCA the ideal place to launch this MA?

PCA is the only art school in Paris founded on a multidisciplinary approach; for BAs, BFAs, and now our Master’s programs. There is a dynamism that is generated when students from the different departments collaborate that emulates the reality of working in the world of design. For example, in Fashion Design we will collaborate with the MA in Fashion Film & Photography and MA in Accessory Design departments to bring in prestigious guests for workshops and lectures, providing a global overview of all fashion fields.

What are the professional prospects for students who complete this program?

The demand for designers with these new skills, who can master the latest techniques, is rapidly increasing every year. The PCA Fashion MA program prepares students for these future jobs in fashion — as fashion designer with the cutting edge skills, for modern couture and ready-to-wear houses. The program we offer at PCA is unique, far ahead of what is being taught elsewhere. Upon completing this program the future will be yours!