Fashion design is more than constant pomp, glamorThe Badger Herald


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Mickey Mouse Degrees is part of a series exploring different specialties on campus.

The term “Mickey Mouse Diploma” is a derogatory term used to describe majors that are not considered to lead to stable, lucrative, or essential employment. This attitude affects the support that many fields of study receive in terms of funding or student well-being.

Dimana “Dean” Koleva is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin studying fashion design in textiles. She is also preparing certificates in graphic design and entrepreneurship.

This semester, Koleva is taking courses in weaving, papermaking, product development and introductory music. She’s taking three studio classes this semester.

Classes for fashion majors, just like art majors, heavily involve studio time. Koleva said that after introductory and theory classes, all of her classes were studio classes, which combined elements of theory, history, and learning physical skills for her craft.

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“We usually get together… and discuss politics, economics, socio-economics around textiles and trends… then we get a mission… integrating different techniques and the like.

Koleva said her free time outside of class was “basically all spent in a studio somewhere”. Her homework and test scores are based on criticism from classmates and teachers, creating a system of accountability if the job is not done.

“When you’re creating something you can’t do the bare minimum, because the bare minimum would be unfinished garment or unfinished footage, so it will be obvious that you haven’t finished it… it’s different to have a professor who writes you like a B on your paper, ”Koleva said.

Koleva said she had projects, such as a jacket or gilet, which took more than 30 hours in a studio.

Additionally, Koleva’s projects involve learning a variety of styles and skills in order to craft a specific look.

“Something my teachers told me the other day is like, ‘Don’t call your projects, projects, call them research, ”Koleva said. “They are essentially research. You have to learn certain techniques, you have to research certain cultures.

In addition to the time-consuming courses involving research, practical applications, and artistic interpretation, the department requires an internship, an interview with an advisor, and a graduation thesis for students to graduate – preparing both career and graduate students. .

Despite the rigorous nature of this work, Koleva said she is always greeted with derision.

“Well, there are a lot of people, like ‘is that a major? “, which is rather patronizing,” Koleva said.

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Additionally, Koleva said she sees a lot of people who assume that fashion design is “art and craft” or “you can kind of do whatever you want.” She added that it’s strange that this happens to a lot of production and arts majors, especially other rigorous majors.

Currently, a barrier that affects fashion students is affordability and affordability. Apart from some common equipment such as sewing machines or common thread, students need to purchase materials for projects and homework out of pocket.

“All the patterns you need to use, all the fabrics you need to use, the notches, the buttons, whatever you need to buy yourself,” Koleva said. “I had projects that went up to $ 200… We also work with dangerous chemicals, like carcinogens… textile dyes… you have to buy [protective equipment] yourself, ”Koleva said.

This can be difficult for many students. Despite financial assistance from the university for supplies, most students find themselves under a financial burden just to complete their assignments.

“I had a friend who was in the fashion program and had to give up because he couldn’t afford it anymore,” Koleva said. “So he’s not going to UW anymore because of that.”

Koleva said UW could be more inclusive when it comes to representing art programs at their career fairs.

“There is the rod, the business and the general, but the general barely has any opportunities for fashion students… they mostly see the science side of the consumer.”

Koleva also said that promoting fashion design around the school will help more people get to know and explore the department.

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Koleva cites a major motivator for her studies is the community found within the fashion design department. She described the environment as being very communal and communal.

“The students always help each other out because they’re in the studios until three in the morning with a bunch of other people.

Koleva also described the faculty as very accessible and supportive.

In addition, there is always the satisfaction of completing a project.

“Seeing your stuff complete makes you very happy,” Koleva said.

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Joseph E. Golightly