Fashion Design

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

This one-year program, focused on traditional Parisian couture know-how and 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 clothing: 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 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, creating connected garments, or incorporating LED lights in their designs.

France hosts many companies specializing in innovative materials and connectivity, and we will draw on this local expertise for our Professional Practice Workshop Series. Students also attend the international Première Vision and Avantex shows for fashion professionals.

Paris is the only city in the world to host twice a year a Couture Fashion Week. Students will acquire the knowledge and secrets of the unique couture techniques and will learn to mix them with the newest technological tools.

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, 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 and elective courses.

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)

Please note: Applications for this program for 2018-19 are closed. The next available term is for 2019-2020.

Faculty

Donald Potard

Donald Potard

Chair of Fashion Design
de_bie-martin

Martin De Bie

Adjunct Faculty
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Maria Fors

Adjunct Faculty
Rosemary Rodriguez

Rosemary Rodriguez

Adjunct Faculty
Julie Sage

Julie Sage

Adjunct Faculty

MA Curriculum

Credits

One-Year Program

fall

Studio I: New Materials and Technologies

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, illuminated textiles that can be used for phototherapy, textiles that conduct heat or that can capture body temperature, 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 fairs dedicated to new materials, Première Vision and Avantex, which are held in Paris. In the first semester, students start researching the concept for their graduate collection, which they fully develop in the second semester.

Atelier I: Couture Craftsmanship

Code
MFMT 0502
Description

In this hands-on Atelier, students learn the major techniques that are used in Haute Couture, with sessions on embroidery, lace, plissé, and feathers. Students are expected to integrate these techniques in their graduation collection.

The Fashion Lab

Code
MFMT 0504
Description

This course will introduce students to digital design and fabrication techniques within the context of contemporary art and design. The hands-on course will assist students in nurturing the ability to efficiently translate ideas and concepts into digitally produced physical objects. Students will be given the opportunity to develop the skills necessary to maintain, calibrate and troubleshoot equipment in a fabrication lab as well as learn what it takes to keep a lab in operation. Students will be given the opportunity to create objects utilizing industrial laser cutters, 3D printers and a Computer Numerical Control (CNC) mill. We will consider digital fabrication and its role in the localization and production of global goods and explore its impact on the commodification of the art object. At such early stages of digital fabrication, students can take on great roles in fostering the development of alternative materials, the creation of more efficient digital production as well as the abstraction and deconstruction of the many digital fabrication processes. The class will include three assignments to create projects using the three machines (laser, CNC, 3D) and the opportunity to work on a final project.

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.

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.

Concept Development: Storytelling

Code
MFFP 0508
Description

The era of mass media is over. A new era of personal and participatory media is emerging, changing the way we create and share our work. Although creative endeavors and technology have always evolved hand-in-hand, the current tech revolution is unlike anything we’ve ever seen. As we struggle to understand this new terrain, one key element is emerging: behind every idea, every initiative, every team, and every individual, there is a story.

What role does storytelling play in the creative fields today? How can practitioners from diverse backgrounds—designers, artists, coders, filmmakers, photographers, writers, artists, scientists, philosophers, educators, and others—harness the power of storytelling to enrich their collaborations and their work? And how can each of us learn to tell better stories about our own creative process?

This course explores these questions through case studies, lectures, journaling, practical work, and presentations. You should think of this class as part seminar and part lab, where you’ll work on concept design and storytelling and receive peer feedback, as well as individual coaching from me. Below you’ll find an outline of the schedule. However, in an effort to make sure this class is pertinent to you, I will design the exact content of each session as we go, focusing on the needs I see arising in class. Assignments will be practical and will help you improve your use of storytelling both in your work and when presenting yourself professionally. Be prepared for weekly assignments in class as well as outside of class. Bring your curiosity, your creativity, and your willingness to experiment and have fun.

Masters Electives

Description

You may select electives from the course offerings below.

spring

Studio II: New Materials and Technologies

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, illuminated textiles that can be used for phototherapy, textiles that conduct heat or that can capture body temperature, 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 fairs dedicated to new materials, Première Vision and Avantex, which are held in Paris. In the first semester, students start researching the concept for their graduate collection, which they fully develop in the second semester.

Atelier II: Graduation Collection

Code
MFMT 0505
Description

In this project-based semester-long class students have to design and create a collection of three to five complete looks (garments, accessories, etc.) that will be presented to a jury of professionals at the end of the semester. Students complete research on the theme they will have selected and apply the techniques they will have acquired in the Fashion Lab, Couture Craftsmanship and other studio classes and elective courses. The expectation is that students will demonstrate an integration of traditional and contemporary techniques, like connected lace or 3D printed plissé for example.

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 study examples of connected garments, and work on short projects to master different techniques that they can then apply for their final collection.

Professional Practice Workshop Series

Code
MDES
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. This class brings together students from all the graduate programs.

MA Thesis

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. One of the criteria for evaluating the thesis is the extent to which the student’s work is situated in an art-historic and cultural context, requiring students to conduct research using written documentation, artefacts, and the learning resources available to them in Paris (see section devoted to libraries and other learning resources).

Masters Electives

Description

You may select electives from the course offerings below.

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 several graduate programs 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
MDES 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
MDES 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 (1990s) 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, excelling 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 showrooms? 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 a 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!

What are some of the past thesis research topics students have chosen to explore?

A selection of past topics include:

  • Envisioning the future of Fashion with 3-D Printing;
  • Stan Smith’s Global Takeover: Trends, Retro-Trends, and Nostalgia;
  • Trolls in Technology: The Perception of Icelandic Trolls in the context of Technological Outerwear Garments;
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