Students learning new skills in Fashion Design Teacher Levi Harbeson assigns unit on fashion illustration

As Fashion ll student Kaydence Cabania works on her Croquis assignment, she practices some sketches that will help her for a future assignment. Students are being introduced to a new concept as the first unit of the year. “Fashion illustration is important, especially when it comes to designing garments,” Cabania said. “I think that it will help a lot in fashion career. It’s the basic outline that we will build everything on." Photo Credit: Kaydence Cabania

For their first unit, Fashion Design teacher Levi Harbeson is introducing Fashion l, ll, and lll students to a core piece of the curriculum, fashion illustration. Students will learn this skill by participating in the weekly illustration challenges. 

“Croquis is the base that all professionals are using when they start their fashion illustration. It’s like the mannequin that your building your illustration on,” Harbeson said. “And in the industry we use fashion illustration to communicate to the design team, stitching team, marketing team, the advertising team, what the design is going to look like, so they can begin their processes and accurately create and market and sell the garment when it’s finished.”

To help increase the relevancy of this unit, Harbeson will be inviting multiple professionals in the fashion industry that will help students gain a better understanding of illustration skills and how they would be used in the industry. 

“My friend Chance Malloy is going to come in. He is one of Criss Angel’s ‘Mindfreak’s’ artist. He is going to show how to use colored pencils to get specific textures and coloring techniques. My friend Keilani Gleave is going to come in and work with students on how to use watercolor,” Harbeson said. “If I have someone that can show the students how to do something in the best way possible, I’m going to use them.”

Harbeson has been able to modify this unit to fit the needs of distance learning because fashion illustration is a difficult skill to learn in a short period of time, especially through Google Meet and Canvas. 

“I can’t look over their shoulder and see what they are doing,” Harbeson said. “I can’t just wander around the classroom and be like ‘Your legs look a little short’ or ‘Your head is kind of a weird shape, let’s change that.’ I am trying to keep it as industry standard and as similar to in class for this unit.”

Fashion ll student Kaydence Cabania started this unit with an open mindset and hopes to see improvement over the year. 

“I enjoy experimenting with different styles and drawing out random ideas that I have,” Cabania said. “I’m not very good at it, but I like it so far and I feel like as I get more knowledge and practice I’ll end up enjoying it a lot more.” 

Since Harbeson is new, he doesn’t yet know the skill sets of the students. However, he is eager to see what the fashion students can do, even if it is through a screen. 

“It’s going to be really cool for me to see the progress that they make throughout the year based on their starting point in this unit,” Harbeson said. “I will be able to hold up their first illustration and their last illustration, and hopefully see that they’ve gotten a lot better over the year.”

Would you like to learn fashion illustration?