Blanche Macdonald
Course Descriptions

FASHION DESIGN: Course Descriptions


ARTT 410

Technology is no longer a luxury – it’s a necessity. In this fast-paced digital age, design professionals must learn to harness the power of technology to tell – and sell – their fashion story to the world. Technology enables us to realize our creative visions, communicate our brands, and stand out amongst the competition. In our state-of-the-art Mac computer labs, you will learn how to use Adobe Illustrator to create professional-quality technical flats, spec flats and floats - the design blueprints essential for manufacturers, catalogues and buyers. You’ll learn to create vector illustrations, become confident with line, shape, pen, reflect and stroke tools, and know how to utilize fills and layers. In Adobe Photoshop, you will use digital colouring, selections, extractions and masks to edit and enhance your fashion illustrations, as well as to layout your seasonal inspiration in a professional mood board. By the end of the course, you’ll have access to a technical palette to transform your ideas into industry-standard digital illustrations.



RES 240

Self esteem is the single most valuable – and overlooked – item in your professional toolkit. We’ll nourish your self-confidence by identifying your marketable skills and unique strengths, and apply a fresh coat of professional polish to help you shine. Specifically designed with a business coach, our hands-on career training will equip you with the skills and confidence to make the transition from student to professional. Learn the secrets of effective public speaking, write a standout cover letter, produce an industry CV, conduct a winning interview, and learn how to identify, approach and communicate with prospective employers. In short, we’ll send your employability ranking through the roof. It’s like bootcamp for your professional image. So when it’s your time to step into the fashion spotlight, there will be no stopping you.



FDES 110

Every fashion design house needs a solid foundation. In this introductory course we will lay the groundwork of your fashion education, teaching you the fundamental elements, processes and principles of design: from season to fabric, colour, sizing, trend forecasting and precise technical drawings (flats). You will learn how to approach design problems with creative and functional solutions, and hone your critical eye through self-analysis and self-assessment – processes crucial to every designer. With a focus on womenswear, we will study target markets and how to cater to their expectations, as well as how to navigate industry expectations within deadlines. Through weekly critiques we will learn how to give and receive design direction, growing together as students and developing our individual voices as designers. By the end of the course, you’ll be able to meet design challenges with confidence, skill and ingenuity. This intensive, hands-on training will provide you with a strong foundation to build upon throughout the program. 



FDES 210

Each season begins with a stream of thought. Here we explore the themes, inspirations and influences that will lend momentum to a 20-piece apparel group, and focus them into a process poised for both creative triumph and industry
success. We will crack open the pages of your first design journal, in which you will record the developmental steps: from the initial torrent of idea, to fabric, colour, sizing and flats. How will your initial concepts fare in the upsweep of coming trends? How will your construction and material choices factor in to the expectations of the industry and the demands of your targeted market? Through both oral and written presentations to our in-class community, you will establish, evolve and strengthen your seasonal voice, creating a fashion formula that is ready to be realized in your Pattern Making and Garment Construction courses.



FASA 150

Fashion is a mirror, reflecting the historical, political, social and economic landscape of our times. In its glimmering reflection we can view our world, and ourselves. From the figure-liberating waistlines of Paul Poiret at the turn of the century, to the post-war indulgence of Dior’s New Look, and the rebellious 60’s hemlines of Quant, we can read history in the lines, shapes and structures of fashion. Join us for a visual ride through Fashion’s most iconic, influential and thrilling moments and game-changers. We will study each era from the Edwardian period to the 1970s, examining film and video clips and rare visuals, garments and accessories from our personal archives. We will explore century-shaping designers such as Vionnet, Chanel, McCardell, Yves Saint Laurent and Courreges and their lasting influences on contemporary fashion. By the end of the course, you will have an in-depth knowledge of design’s most prominent periods and personalities, and their enduring footprint on the fashion world.



FASA 250

What is couture? What is pret-a-porter? Who are the hot new designers to watch? Take a virtual journey to the five epicentres of fashion - New York, Paris, Milan, Tokyo and London - to meet the modern masters, major influencers and tastemakers of the contemporary fashion scene. From Stephen Sprouse’s Day-Glo graffitibrights to the intellectual design of Issey Miyake, you will become familiar with the iconic contributions of each house from conception to present day. We will study pivotal designers such as Marc Jacobs, Vivienne Westwood, Sonia Rykiel and Gareth Pugh, and discover fashion’s rising stars and subversive rebels. You will learn how these influential brands have developed, passed down through the generations of Designers. By the end of the course, you will be able to recognize the lasting personality traits, recurring themes and signature construction techniques of each house. Their stories will be brought to life through extensive use of visuals, fashion publications and videos.



FELM 350

Learn the language of Fashion. Whether you are presenting a portfolio of work, selling on the retail floor, buying, or writing commentary on a collection, the ability to communicate in the correct terminology is an invaluable asset. From the sweeping line of a silhouette to the intricacies of garment detail, we will wrap ourselves in the argot of this colourful world through the analysis of garments in video and tear sheet visuals. By the end of this course, you will be able to correctly identify necklines and collars, sleeves, pants and skirts, coats and jackets, as well as the origin of ethnic elements in today’s Fashion, compiling a visual lexicon as your final project.



FASA 100

Knowing about the past helps us to make sense of the present, and predict what may happen in the future. What are the forces that shape and change our fashion habits and tastes? How have historical events informed and influenced our present? To answer these questions, we’ll delve into five millennia of fashion history, uncovering the eras and cultures that had significant impact. Our historical survey will take us from the ancient empires of Mesopotamia, Egypt and Greece to Europe through the ages: from the Byzantine era, Middle Ages and Renaissance to the Elizabethan, Baroque, Rococo and Empire periods, and ending in the first half of the 19th Century. Fashion’s rich tapestry will be illuminated through period film, slides and visuals. As you become immersed in this historical splendour, you will begin to understand how and why fashion evolves - the first and foremost element in trend forecasting.


Fashion Illustration Courses

Fashion illustrations are the first visual manifestations of your inner design vision. Nestled in between the lines and swoops of hue is the initial communication of your dreams with the world of buyers, manufacturers and consumers.  Like the designs that they portray, Fashion illustration enlists flourishes of both artistry and technique. In our three-part course we will explore this beautiful and critical form of expression, gaining confidence in a variety of specific drawing techniques, mediums and styles, evolving your signature on-page personality along the way. We will use critical thinking, together with your developed illustration skills, to strengthen your visual message for use in your personal portfolio, seasonal storyboard presentations, magazine commissions, and promotional story-tellings.



FILL 110

Study classic proportions, and then completely reimagine them in your own signature style. Learn how to incorporate a variety of drawing methods into your illustrations, wielding a wide array of mediums such as gouache, pen, ink, pencil and charcoal. Explore the curves and shadows of the body in our live model drawing sessions, and examine the standards of technical flats and industry spec sheet illustration.



FILL 210

Immerse yourself in the beautiful language of colour. Evolve your reference dossier by developing your own colour file book, exploring subtractive colour theory with gouache, observing the dynamics that occur between hues, and learning how to create neutrals, tints and tones. Add texture to the fledgling stages of your professional portfolio by learning to render specific fabric compositions and styles: from denim, to herringbone, pinstripes and slub.




FILL 310

In this final segment of the series, your exploration of illustration culminates in polished, professional, and ultimately presentable Fashion imagery. Take your line concept from Design Collections II and make it come to life with illustrations and Fashion drawing storyboards. With the basics of techniques now covered, you will also have the chance to expand and hone in on your unique style, actively familiarizing yourself with iconic and innovative illustrators of the past to ignite your inspiration. How will your line unfurl?




FPRO 350

The fashion industry is as competitive as it is inspiring and exhilarating. Knowing how to market yourself effectively will help you define and refine your design identity, so that you can stand out in any fashion crowd. Catering exclusively to the wants and needs of an emerging Designer, this course is your guide to surviving - and thriving - in the bustle of the fashion market. We’ll show you how to break through the noise and fortify your Design voice with powerful promotional materials and a winning portfolio. You’ll learn how to a produce a standout press kit and target your material to specific markets and segments. We’ll walk through each step of organizing, coordinating and promoting a fashion show, showing you how to harness the impact of a fashion event as a marketing tool. By the end of the course, you’ll have the promotional savvy and marketing prowess to communicate your fashion brand with confidence and flair.



Your graduate collection will take on form in this four-part, hands-on-fabric exploration of industrial and couture garment construction techniques. From seam line basics to the intricate architecture of bonework, we will lay the foundation of successful design realization and forray into the towering forms your technical mastery can take. You will develop the the construction techniques to craft complex pieces to command any catwalk. As your skills grow and improve, so will your collection. By the end of the course, your designs will be ready to strut their structure down the runway of our Graduate Fashion Showcase! This is the culmination of your concept, from idea to polished, wearable design.

Note: Industrial and domestic sewing machines are provided at the college for classroom use.  In order to complete assignments, projects and collections, students should have basic sewing skills and must have access to a sewing machine at home.



CONS 100

Become familiar  with our industrial sewing machines through a hands-on exploration of industrial and couture construction techniques. Work your way through seams, corners, darts, zippers, pockets and waistbands, ultimately producing a reference book of samples and sewing techniques.



CONS 200

Build upon the foundation of Part I and evolve your reference sample books by mastering a variety of fabric manipulations. Your newly acquired techniques will be put to the test as you construct a fully lined, tailored jacket. 



CONS 300

Cinch in and master your knowledge of garment construction techniques, engineering a boned bodice bustier with lace onset. Diving into swim apparel, you will create an original swimsuit designed from patterns drafted in your Pattern Making III course.



CONS 400

Analyze, construct, perfect and sew. In this final master course, you will fully realize three looks to be presented at the year end Graduate Fashion Showcase. Using your newly acquired knowledge and skills, you will analyze each design and fabric to determine the necessary construction methods to be applied. You will then create a muslin prototype of each design, fit and adjust the pattern, and construct each garment to runway perfection, ready for the big reveal. You will achieve all of this according to rigorous industry standards, within a professional deadline - a major leap in the evolution of your design journey. 



MANU 305

Head behind the seams to discover the production and management techniques of the contemporary manufacturing industry. This course covers the full developmental gamut of a line of merchandise from concept and design through to presentation. Learn about each critical stage of the production journey, from factory planning and quality control to costing and colour story creation. You will have the exclusive opportunity to toss open the doors and explore the floors of our local Garment District on class field trips. Then, apply your knowledge and creativity to conceive and pitch your very own collection storyboard.


Pattern Making Courses

Patterns are the blueprints of fashion. They allow us to transform our creative ideas into wearable garments, and replicate our designs in a range of shapes and sizes. In this critical stage, body, space and fabric meet in a dialogue of design. Whether their discourse lay in form and function or bold conceptual statements, it all begins with those first cuts. Inform the shape of your visions in this four-part Pattern Making course. Analyze and solve design problems, practice and refine your pattern drafting technique, and transfer your sketched concepts onto a framework that can be realized in tangible form.



PATT 100

Draft a bodice, skirt, pant, dress, and sleeve blocks to be used later in more advanced courses. Learn how to take accurate body measurements, and use them to draft and manipulate individual blocks for a variety of skirts, bodices, sleeves and collars.



PATT 200

Wrap yourself up in the intricacies of drafting patterns for jacket lining and interfacing, as well as kick pleats and pockets. Learn pattern interpretations from original sketches and immerse yourself in the world of draping.



PATT 300

Discover draft standard size patterns, and draft a pant of your own design, transferring it onto muslin for fittings and adjustments. It is here that you will draft the first garment to be included in your Graduate Collection! 



PATT 400

In this final leg of your pattern making journey you will complete all of your graduate collection patterns. After constructing a prototype for each individual garment, you will perfect and produce a pattern in final form, ready to be brought to life in the final stages of construction.



PORT 405

Knowing how to present your work in an organized, personalized and visually compelling portfolio can be your single most important promotional tool.  In this course you will learn how to design an industry ready portfolio that plays to your personal strengths and abilities, as well as your creative and technical skills. Evolve your presentation into a cohesive and impactful instrument for your personal marketing arsenal. You will develop your portfolio through critical evaluation of: design fit to a specific target market; garment mix and style variation; flat drawings; layout; fabric rendering; overall look; and visual allure.


Sewing Labs

SEW 115

Polish, complete and continue to grow in our Lab hours, dispersed throughout the entirety of the program to allow you to work independently on your Garment Construction or Pattern Making projects, finish samples  and refine your Graduate Collection. Or, maybe you just want to further familiarize yourself with our broad range of machinery! This is your time to catch up, serge ahead and grow your confidence and skill levels in our sewing labs.


Textiles and Fabrics

TEXT 120

From fiber to finished fabric, this course explores the science behind your favourite natural, semi-synthetic and synthetic textiles. Whether you are caring for product on the retail floor, or describing the weave of a particularly arresting runway piece, a strong knowledge of the identifying characteristics of fibers and fabrics, their production, uses and care is an invaluable asset to the Fashion insider. We will embark on an in depth study of fiber processing, fabric construction, finishes, and current labelling laws and regulations. Working your way through your fabric swatch book – filling in the blanks with your new knowledge throughout the entirety of the term – you will build up a useful resource for future reference, and become confident in the classification of fibers, yarn types, fabric construction processes, colour application methods and application of textile finishes.


*Basic Sewing

Whether you’re an outright beginner or need to brush up on your skills, our optional, supplementary Basic Sewing course is offered to help make the transition into our Fashion Design program smooth as silk. We’ll bring you up to speed on primary sewing techniques, in the same sewing lab in which your graduate collection designs will later take shape. Over five sessions, you will learn the lay of both domestic and industrial sewing machines, how to decipher patterns and master the proper tracing and cutting methods. You will construct a skirt, working through slash pockets, mock flies and curved waistbands. By the end of this course, you will boost your confidence in your sewing skills, and be ready to surge ahead into the art and technical thrill of Design.
*This is an optional course and not a program requirement.


Graduate Fashion Show

The frenzied blur of fingers smoothing seams, crisp silks cutting through the sweet haze of hairspray, the hair-raising rumble of crowd – this is the behind-the-scenes of your haute-est dreams.  

At the culmination of a year of intense creative tour de force, your Design vision is ignited in a dazzling Graduate Fashion Show. Under the spotlights of Vancouver’s premiere venues – from the vaulting gild of hotel ballrooms, to the gothic arches of historic churches – models, hair stylists, makeup artists, publicists and event planners come together to create one the most anticipated events of the year. Media, bloggers and industry insiders alike gather, brushing shoulders with family, friends and faculty to fete your inauguration into the professional world of Fashion Design. This is your opportunity to unveil your collection, your manifestation of artistic and technical finesse, to an influential community of stylists, retail buyers and photographers. It is your exquisite Design story emboldened in spectacle – your glorious debut.


Note: The college reserves the right to change course offerings, course content, kit contents, facilities, faculty, tuition fees, and course schedules without notice.

Blanche Macdonald