Review Blog

Apr 17 2018

How to be a fashion designer by Lesley Ware

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Ill. by Tiki Papier. DK, 2018. ISBN 9781465467614
The world of fashion, with its perceived glamour and glitz, always appeals to a certain number of students who care about what they wear and have the ability to make the proverbial sack look good. Sadly though, enduring emphasis on body image continues despite all that is done to combat it and many soon realise they don't have "the look" to be a top model and turn away. But in this easy-to-read manual other avenues in fashion are explored, particularly those of the designer and the stylist. "While designers create their clothes, stylists know how to put them together."
Using themed double-spreads students are taken through the basic steps with typical DK layout pizzazz, illustrations galore, tips and challenges that encourage them to start designing now. The last 20 pages offer opportunities to design a t-shirt, trousers, skirt, hat, shoes and accessories with outlines already provided so new knowledge can be applied immediately as the reader learns about colour, texture, patterns and shape while being encouraged to be inspired by the event and the environment. Recycling and upstyling are explored so not only is waste minimised but even those with few dollars do not need to be deterred.
Ware believes that those who can "speak up with fashion" have the courage to speak up in other ways too so as teachers we should look to those who dare to be different as being more than clothes horses. A close-to-home example is a student I taught a few years ago who always made the compulsory school uniform a personal statement, who was a whizz at design puzzles like tangrams and who, at 17, starred in a local show in a country town and then six months later in 2017, had her designs on the catwalk in Vancouver and more recently, Nassau in the Bahamas! Her story alone should give students confidence to continue.
Written to support a STEAM curriculum, the suggestions in this book offer an entire term's curriculum for those with this sort of interest but even those who aren't particularly interested in fashion can learn how to step out with a bit more style to give themselves a confidence boost.
Barbara Braxton

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