Fashion Industry Essentials with Parsons x Teen Vogue

If you recall from my Goals and Resolutions post, I signed up for a course called Fashion Industry Essentials through Parsons New School of Design and Teen Vogue. My goal is to learn a few ins and outs of the fashion industry and to explore potential career paths. Most people hear “fashion industry” and jump to three professions: designer, model, and boutique owner. But there are so many more options out there: working in marketing, textiles, buying, management, etc.

I completed my first assignment yesterday, so I thought now would be a good time to talk a bit about the program. It’s broken up into five courses:



  • Unlocking Visual Style
  • Thinking Like a Designer
  • Understanding Fashion Production
  • Working in Fashion Media
  • Developing Fashion Marketing and PR Skills



I am just about finished the first unit, Unlocking Visual Style. The unit takes you through an evolution of a few key styles in the 20th century, then asks you to study visual aspects of style and design in the current world. From the history of the white dress and the clothing of the working woman to the timelessness of French stripes, it’s interesting to see connections between what we wear today and how those styles came about. The second half of the assignments asks you to take a closer look at your own style and aesthetic, which I’ll be interested to really sit down and consider. The assignment I completed yesterday was a bit of a field trip. I was “sent” to a local boutique to study collections and consider the creative logic behind them. I ended up speaking with the owner about my program and getting unexpected insights (and even a potential P/T employment opportunity!). Next I will study how visual style is communicated through fashion media and editorial photography, which should be a nice relaxing way to spend a Thursday. It felt so good to accomplish that first assignment, and to make a connection in the industry on the first time out has really renewed my excitement for the program.

I wish I could tell you which unit I’m most excited about, but the truth is, I’m really looking forward to learning about all aspects of the industry that I can! The visual style is super cool; I used to make “designs” when I was a kid, so looking at things from a more sophisticated viewpoint would be cool; I don’t know much about production other than basics of fast fashion and couture; fashion media jumped out at me initially; and fashion marketing and PR is a new concept to me that I’ve been really eager to explore! It really does feel great to keep busy and keep feeling productive while I’m not in school. Hopefully in this time I can find something I am passionate about pursuing as a career; it would be nice to go into the Fall semester with at least a tentative goal in mind. I digress, that’s a ways a way. It’ll get there!

I also wanted to reiterate how good it feels to be exploring fashion seriously. When I was younger, I was very interested in fashion and wanted to be a fashion or costume designer. I let the opinions of others get to me and convince me that neither design nor fashion were the “correct” path for me to take. Those were lines of work for girls who aren’t serious and who wear skirts and pink: not for me. Note: If you know me in person, you know how far back my eyes are rolling saying that. I’ve recently (it’s taken too long) decided that I’m not going to let those opinions dictate my choices in life. No one can tell me I don’t like the colour pink or that I can’t wear pretty things. Nor can they tell me I can’t wear black lipstick to write a midterm (gotta be prepared for the worst while also being intimidating. Obviously). I’ve actually told quite a few people that I’m taking a fashion course, including people who I’ve just met, new coworkers, and people who knew me in junior high, when that would have been “so not me”. This may not sound like a big deal, but strangers, people who have yet to develop opinions on me and people from my childhood are pretty much the last people I would have ever wanted to tell something like this. But here we are.

While it’s true that some passions are probably best when kept private, publicly embracing others can be so empowering and encouraging. (Was that a goal of mine for 2017? Maybe it should have been. Sounds like a good one.)



–kisses, Kate.


P.S. This post is super late because I didn’t manage to finish writing it before I had to head off to work this afternoon, and I got home way too late to meet my personal deadline! But, like  I said, I’m excited to continue working on this program, and I’ll be sure to update my progress here as the courses go by! If you have any questions about the program, please ask! I’d love to discuss it further, and it may help me learn as well!



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