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Fashion and Apparel Design Course Information

FYE199: Beginning Sewing

This beginning course focuses on sewing machine techniques using woven fabrics. Decision-making, such as threading, tension adjustments, and other methods of machine troubleshooting will be emphasized. Additional equipment and supplies critical to the sewing process will be demonstrated. Students will also have a brief introduction to sergers and industrial sewing machines. Students will be sewing a simple garment to better understand basic sewing construction techniques.


FAD260: Patternmaking & Construction I

A technical skills course focused on apparel. Students will continue to build on sewing skills through samples, and also explore various flat patternmaking and draping techniques. Students will create a basic block set consisting of bodice, skirt and sleeves. By creating basic block patterns, students will then be able to construct mock-ups to begin the fitting process. Pattern manipulations with darts and fullness will be explored.


FAD262: Process of Apparel Design & Illustration

An introduction to the apparel design process through trend research and figure drawing. Students will learn the history of fashion illustration. Traditional rendering techniques for fashion will be explored, as well as design focused product development for a range of target markets. Target markets include women’s, men’s, non-binary, children, active wear, special occasion and adaptive clothing. This course is open to other majors as a studio elective.


FAD264: Survey of Global Textiles

In this course students will be introduced to the business, process and standards of the apparel industry. Discussions with industry professionals will be integrated into the course. Students will experience the entire process of creating a garment, creating specification packs, selling to buyers, and bringing the garments into stores for retail sale. Students will also engage in discussions about sustainability, human rights and industry operations. Group projects will be frequent in this course.


FAD261: Patternmaking & Construction II

A continuation of Patternmaking and Construction I. Students will continue to use their basic block set from the previous course to manipulate patterns through flat pattern making techniques. Draping techniques using bias, fullness and contour fit will be explored. New patterns made will be sewn into mocks ups for fitting on live models. Students will continue to build apparel construction skills through creating sewing technique samples.


FAD263: Digital Apparel Design

Development of digital croquis and the importance of developing specification packets for industry will be taught. Print and pattern repeats for various target markets will be developed per industry standards. Students will gain an understanding for professional presentations and visual communication will also be developed in the course. Industry feedback on projects will be emphasized.


FAD265: Process of Apparel Industry

In this course students will be introduced to the business, process and standards of the apparel industry. Discussions with industry professionals will be integrated into the course. Students will experience the entire process of creating a garment, creating specification packs, selling to buyers, and bringing the
garments into stores for retail sale. Students will also engage in discussions about sustainability, human rights and industry operations. Group projects will be frequent in this course.


ARTH217: History of Global Fashion

The study of the history of fashion from the global perspective. The evolution of apparel and the textile industry, the history of textile technology, and apparel distribution as it reflects past cultures and influences present day fashions will be studied. Contemporary designs and their historical influences will be researched. Cultural influences and understanding cultural appropriation will be an ongoing conversation throughout the semester.


FAD360: Patternmaking & Construction III

Further exploration of a variety of patternmaking and construction needs within the industry. This includes pattern development for size inclusivity, non-bianary design, adaptive design and construction, and the use of non-conventional materials. Pattern manipulations and apparel construction samples will continue to be generated in this course.


FAD362: Apparel Design Studio I

Provides the students their first studio experience in designing their own collection. Starting with research and trend forecasting, students will employ digital illustration and utilize industry components in developing a complete collection. Fabric choices will be discussed as students develop patterns for their designs. Students will use advanced construction techniques for mockups that will be sewn and fit. Critiques will be held throughout the design process. By the end of this semester, students will have corrected patterns to work from in Apparel Design Studio II.


FAD364: Digital Patternmaking & Construction

Digital Patternmaking and Construction introduces students to industry technology to develop standard pattern blocks and size grading. Personal fit patterns will be developed and sample mock ups will be sewn for fit. Patterns developed in this course can be used in future coursework.


FAD363: Apparel Design Studio II

Using the designs developed in Apparel Design Studio I, students will begin constructing garments in final fabrics. Clothing construction techniques and professional finishes will be demonstrated and utilized. Critiques on fit and construction will be scheduled throughout the semester. Final garments will be shown on models alongside the student’s research and design development.


FAD365: Junior Apparel Seminar

This course prepares students to enter the industry as apparel designers. Students will learn to further define themselves as apparel designers while beginning to build a website, resume, and designer statement. Students will acquire greater understanding of industry trends and career opportunities. Guest speakers will impart significant and varied perspectives about entrepreneurship and the fashion industry. The work produced in Apparel Design Studio will be an integral part of this course in constructing a framework for showcasing student work as well as building concepts for Apparel Design Thesis.


FAD460: Apparel Design Thesis I

In this course students will use research and trend forecasting as they initiate concept development for a final collection. Students will create garment patterns and muslins as they work to refine their vision and concepts. Three to five pieces that showcase the student’s creativity, technical skills and design will ultimately be produced for this original collection. Students will also be documenting their process throughout the semester.


FAD461: Apparel Design Thesis II

Apparel Design Thesis II is a continuation of Apparel Design Thesis I, where students will refine their concepts and patterns and complete their final thesis collection. Students will spend time improving their construction techniques and finishes in final fabrics. Peer and industry feedback will be a critical part of this course as students present their final garments. Students will produce a document of their process showcasing their design research and final collection.



The Fashion and Apparel Design program is designed to educate students on industry needs and give students opportunities to explore other aspects of fashion and apparel. This includes gender, accessibility, size, trends and the future of the industry itself. Cross-team collaboration amongst all majors is encouraged and available through a variety of electives.

Humans need apparel for a variety of reasons. Thankfully, we have many options to choose from. Many of these options are being sold to us through an industry with many ethical problems. Pollution, wasteful fast fashion, and human rights concerns- there are many reasons why the industry needs fresh perspectives to drive positive change.

This program is unique in that it addresses all this need while preparing the students to be sustainable designers for the future. Our student population already is walking in with the predisposition to be the drivers of this change. Many of our current students are already upcycling their own clothing for their everyday wardrobes. They love to thrift and make garments that reflect who they are as a person. Currently, 25% of our student body identify as non-binary. For many of those students, it is challenging to find clothing that they truly feel authentic in. This program encourages all students to explore fashion and apparel design for a variety of body types and identities.

Sustainability is a focus throughout the program. This comes in the form of textile usage, surface treatments, and giving our clothing a second life. Students will be educated on a variety of textiles, with an emphasis on cultural influence amongst usage and design. This is also true for the history of clothing, and it will not be taught exclusively from the perspective of colonization.

People wear clothes for emotional, cultural and personal needs of expression. This program provides students a space to express their individual vision, while learning how to navigate the industry. It has been designed to directly reflect the perspective of MIAD’s students, and the college’s mission and values.

The name Fashion and Apparel Design was chosen for many reasons. To start, I want to share various definitions of common words used within the industry:

  • Fashion (noun)- a popular trend, especially in styles of dress and ornament or manners of behavior
  • Apparel (noun)- clothing
  • Design (noun)- a plan or drawing produced to show the look and function or workings of a building, garment, or other object before it is built or made
  • Design (verb)- decide upon the look or functioning of (a building, garment or other object), by making a detailed drawing of it
    • to do or plan (something), with a specific purpose or intention in mind
  • Accessory (noun)- a thing which can be added to something else in order to make it more useful, versatile or attractive
    • A small article or item of clothing carried or worn to compliment a garment or outfit
  • Textile (noun)- a type of cloth or woven fabric
    • The branch of industry involved in the manufacture of cloth

Many of the courses developed in this program use target market research and make predictions for future trends. The core of the program is rooted in clothing, and the making of clothing. The elements and principles of design, as well as the industry standards of design development, are used in nearly every course of the curriculum. For all of these reasons, the name Fashion and Apparel Design is being proposed for the major.


MIAD Board of Trustees welcomes June 2024 new members

At their June 2024 meeting, the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD) Board of Trustees welcomed Sarah Smith Pancheri and Keven Ringgold as new members serving on behalf of MIAD under the leadership of Board Chair Deanna Tillisch and college president Jeff Morin.

Guardian Fine Art Services donates printing press

Students returning to classes in the Printmaking Lab at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD) this fall will notice a new addition—an additional printing press donated to the college by Guardian Fine Art Services.

MIAD showcases Layton School of Art alum Lois Ehlert

This summer, the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD) is pleased to host an exhibition of work by renowned Wisconsin illustrator and artist Lois Ehlert in “Lois Ehlert: A Creative Life.” Ehelrt’s work is joined by an exhibition of work by MIAD students in their transformative junior years.