Column: Succeeding in Radford University’s Fashion Design Major

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By Nay-Quan Bryan | nbryan3@radford.edu

College is the time for experiences, where you figure out what you want to do in life. Part of the college experience is choosing the major that’s just right for you. For me, I chose fashion design, and it’s not as easy as it sounds.

Being a fashion design major, heck a design major in general, you’re going to have some out-of-pocket costs. Your design kit that is needed for your freshman year, which has a lot of useful resources, costs roughly around $220.For anyone interested in fashion design, here are my tips for succeeding in this major.

Fashion design deals with a lot of critical thinking, and nothing is what it seems. You come to understand that not every person can think about how fashion designers think.

You start with the basics of design. You learn the principles and elements in all your design classes which are both lecture and studio based. This is because they want these terms ingrained into every design major’s brain.

Being a fashion design major, heck a design major in general, you’re going to have some out-of-pocket costs. Your design kit that is needed for your freshman year, which has a lot of useful resources, costs roughly around $220.

Once you get to the second semester of your freshman year, you get more projects and get crazy abstract inspirations for these projects, and you have to be just as abstract when creating them. It’s very meticulous work; some projects can take you days to plan because you have to grasp the assigned inspiration in your own way.

For students in the fashion design major, planning is coming up with an idea and if it can’t be made into a reality you go through the design process of identification, ideation, design development, implementation, and evaluation. It would be best if you remembered that designers are problem solvers.

Once you iron out issues you may have and have a good idea of what you need to do, then comes in the hard part: finding the materials to work with. This means you are going to be running to Walmart, and if you can’t find it at Walmart, you’re traveling to Christiansburg to look in Michael’s, JOANN, and Hobby Lobby to buy materials.

The keys to succeeding in fashion design are to study your notes, remember the design process and the elements and principles of design. Be sure to meet the criteria for every project and listen to your professors because they will help you go in the right direction.If you follow the criteria and implement your design for your project, you’ll get a good grade. For design classes, because all design majors are grouped in your lecture classes and separate in studio classes, you can’t miss more than two or three lectures.

This is because there is valuable material and some lecture classes have guest speakers and group project dates, and like most college classes, attendance is part of your grade.

After a certain amount of days skipping, you get points deducted from your grade and to stay in the design program; you have to keep your grades at a C or higher.

The tests are challenging, but if you study your notes or download them off D2L, then you should pass the tests with ease.

I find the projects to be my favorite part of my classes because they bring out my best creativity and push me to excel when planning. Most of my ideas are the definition of extra.

The keys to succeeding in fashion design are to study your notes, remember the design process and the elements and principles of design. Be sure to meet the criteria for every project and listen to your professors because they will help you go in the right direction.

Don’t forget to be prepared to spend money on materials for projects, to think critically, show up to classes, and the most important thing to remember is to be yourself because in the design world we love an original queen or king.


Note: not all professors and projects are the same, and my experiences in the major may be different from others.

Photo Credit: (naeim jafariUnsplash)