Fashion Industry

Full-Time Programs

Fashion Industry at Pacific Design Academy

Our students are creative, artistic, and inventive self-starters who think critically and are open to new ideas and team collaborations. They thrive under pressure and are intent on finding success in the exciting world of fashion. The Pacific Design Academy aims to provide the ideal learning environment to nurture these qualities and further develop the design and technical skills necessary and relevant to the fashion industry. Our alumni have become Design Entrepreneurs, Assistant Designers, Technical Designers, Merchandisers, and Product Developers. The fashion industry is vast and exciting; opportunities exist for those with passion, direction, and skill.

Our instructors are working professionals who bring current content and industry expertise into the classroom. They design projects and create learning opportunities that spark imagination and allow students to master communication, design, and promotional skills. Instructors provide a supportive environment making it possible for students to express their creativity and build their expertise.

The fashion program is delivered on a concept to consumer platform. Courses in Fashion History, Textiles, and Concept Development allow students to form the foundation of their design ideas. Courses in Communication, Design Fundamentals, Illustration and Digital Imaging enable students to communicate and prove those concepts, while the courses in Patternmaking and Construction give students the ability to physically create their designs and ready them for market. Students develop marketing skills through courses in Fashion Marketing, Promotion and Fashion Show Production. The school, press, public, and industry are invited to various fashion events throughout the year showcasing student design talent and course work.

Department Head

Caroline Crawford

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The two-year fashion industry diploma program is taught in a creative environment with a hands-on approach. The fashion studio is equipped with industrial sewing machines, layout tables, pattern paper and dress forms. The latest versions of Adobe design and Apparel CAD (OptiTex) software are provided in the classrooms and computer labs and equipment is continually evaluated and updated to ensure it is relevant and meets industry standards.

Graduates will leave Pacific Design Academy with a business plan, a portfolio of student work, illustrated designs, and a collection of garments they have designed and constructed. Students will launch their career with the confidence that they have the knowledge and expertise needed to begin an exciting career in the fashion industry.

Our Aim

The Fashion Industry Program at Pacific Design Academy aims to provide career-oriented education at a diploma level, which will lead to entrepreneurial endeavors, careers within the fashion industry, or more advanced studies in fashion. Our objective is to provide students with the knowledge, skills, and expertise required for designing, illustrating, patternmaking, constructing and producing marketable apparel. We aim to provide students with an understanding of and appreciation for the fashion industry as a whole and will help students choose and prepare for a career in the fashion industry.

The first year is the foundation and is designed to give a general overview and basic practice of the knowledge and skills required within the many areas of the fashion industry. Introductory studies include patternmaking, construction, fashion history, textiles, illustration, and adobe computer applications for fashion. Students will gain valuable insight into the inner workings of the apparel industry. Each term students will produce garments of their own design following specific design criteria and create visual presentations showcasing their design talent.

The second year offers the opportunity for students to advance their skills and explore their personal design sense and capabilities. Courses in advanced apparel design, computer aided design, product development, fashion photography, and portfolio design provide students with current industry skills and offer them the opportunity to develop their own apparel collections and get hands on experience planning, promoting, and managing the year end fashion event.

Our Goals

Program Objective:

  • To provide students with an understanding of and appreciation for the fashion industry.
  • To provide students with the knowledge and skills required for designing, illustrating, patternmaking, and constructing marketable apparel.
  • To provide students with entrepreneurial skills in business planning and marketing techniques.
  • To provide students with the skills and experience required to develop and produce promotional products and events through portfolio development, resume writing, and fashion show production.

Year One Objectives:

  • To provide students with an overview of the fashion industry as a whole and promote awareness and exploration of the various fashion career possibilities.
  • To cultivate the fundamental skills needed to develop design concepts, communicate ideas, produce patterns and create garments intelligently.
  • To develop fundamental skills in standard apparel industry computer programs.
  • To provide practice and understanding of appropriate professional communication techniques.

Year Two Objectives:

  • To provide students with practical skills, experience, and practice to design and develop marketable apparel products from concept to consumer.
  • To provide students with the skills and experience required to develop and produce promotional products and events through portfolio development, resume writing, and fashion show production.
  • To provide students with the resources and information needed to prepare a business plan and develop entrepreneurial skills.
  • To encourage and support students in seeking and obtaining employment within the fashion industry.

Course descriptions

Year One

Introduction to Fashion

In this course students explore the organization and operation of the fashion industry as a whole. Potential career avenues and job opportunities will be presented and discussed. Students will have the opportunity to visit local designers and apparel production facilities to see the fashion industry in operation.

Digital Imaging for Fashion

Using the Mac operating system in conjunction with the Adobe design software, students will learn how to create digital illustrations. Working with Adobe Illustrator, students will become versed in the use of tools for drawing shapes and creating illustrations. Students will then learn how to scan existing work, art, images and even fabric swatches into Adobe Photoshop in order to manipulate and colour their designs.

Design Fundamentals

Using concept boards and illustrations, students study the elements and principles of good design and learn basic colour theory. Students create projects that demonstrate how colour is used to create stimulating colour palettes and dynamic colour combinations in their apparel designs.

Fashion Illustration

Students will gain an understanding of the basic anatomy of the human body and learn how structure, balance, and movement of the human form is incorporated into fashion images. Emphasis is placed on visual awareness of perspective and proportion. Using colour and mixed media, students will learn to illustrate garments for the apparel industry and render a true fashion image.

History of Fashion

This course is a survey of fashion from the Renaissance to the modern era. The type of costumes worn in a given time period and the social and economic influences aiding their development will be presented. Visual material is provided to support discussion and understanding of apparel for each of the time periods studied. Students create visual presentations inspired by historical period dress.


The principles of pattern development and manipulation will be demonstrated and practiced through patternmaking exercises and assignments. Students will draft basic block patterns using standard measurements and learn how to manipulate them to achieve stylized designs. Throughout the terms in the first year, students will study skirts, bodices, sleeves, dresses, jackets and pants.

Garment Construction

Through a combination of lecture and lab sessions, students will learn various construction and finishing methods used in the production of well-made garments using industrial equipment. Students will create a construction sample book demonstrating their acquired sewing skills as well as garments of original design developed from their own patterns. This course is closely linked to courses in Patternmaking.

Professional Communication

This course is an introduction to professional communication within the workplace. Students will learn basic strategies for creating engaging correspondence, reports, and research documents while developing oral and visual presentation skills through in-class presentations and assignments.

Fashion Awareness

This course is an exploration of the contribution, methods, and focus of the major fashion designers of the 20th century and their influence on current fashion. Current events and trends within the fashion industry will the studied and explored through research and assignments.


Understanding textile composition and production provides the knowledge needed to make informed decisions regarding fabric suitability and care. This course provides a broad overview of textile topics including the examination of natural and synthetic fibres, how fibres are made into yarns, which in turn are made into cloth. The weaving process, dying, printing and fabric finishes will also be explored. Performance, care, and labeling laws are also covered.

Technical Fashion Drawing

This course is an introduction to the concept of fat sketching and emphasizes the development of technical drawings for specification development, storyboard presentations, merchandising fashion lines, and communicating apparel design intent clearly. Students practice their flat sketching skills in Adobe Illustrator and learn how to develop industry appropriate specification sheets for their designs.

Concept Development

In this course students will learn how to research, analyze, and develop their fashion design ideas into complete collections. Students develop the mood, colour, fabric, and style storyboards that communicate their design concepts.

Fitting and Pattern Alteration

In this course the basic principles and techniques of apparel fitting and pattern alteration will be demonstrated and practiced. Students will learn how to recognize good fit, employ basic fitting techniques, and alter basic patterns to correct common apparel fitting issues. Student will be introduced to industry methods of communicating fit issues through spec measurements and pattern correction illustrations.

Year Two


The study of three-dimensional draping techniques teaches students visual awareness of how fabrics will behave when hung on the human form and demonstrates the principles of fit. While handling fabric, students acquire a feel for fabric drape-ability in relation to the dimensions and silhouette of a dress form and in turn a human figure. Couture embellishment and construction techniques will be demonstrated and practiced.


This is an advanced course in pattern development and tailoring construction. Students draft and create patterns for structured jackets and coats, and practice tailoring techniques to construct structured garments of their own design.

Product Development

This course guides the student in the development of their first complete fashion collection. Students begin with developing their line through research and storyboard development, fabric sourcing, computer flat sketching, spec sheet development, costing, and production planning. Students will present their line and receive feedback as to its viability in the current fashion marketplace. The focus is on creating a collection of marketable garments that will be developed and constructed for showing in the year-end fashion event.

Business of Fashion

Cultivating strong entrepreneurial business skills is the focus of this course. Students will study the fashion business cycle and the key business skills required in running a successful fashion business. Students will research and create a complete working business plan for a fashion related business of their choice.

Apparel CAD

Students will work with the Optitex software to practice computerized patternmaking, digitizing, grading and marker making. The 3D component of the software will be introduced and students will generate 3D samples of their original designs within the computer software.

Fashion Illustration

Through a series of discussions, demonstrations and assignments, students will explore illustration and painting techniques that effectively communicate design intent. Students will use the skills learned in the illustration of their final collection and the development of their fashion portfolio.

Collection Production

In this course students use the fashion collection designed in the Product Development course and implement and produce their garment designs using industry standard patternmaking and construction techniques. Students will present their collections to instructors and fashion industry representatives and have them assessed for quality and marketability. Final collections will then be shown in the year-end fashion event.

Fashion Styling

Students explore fashion styling through creating and experimenting with apparel and accessories to create specific fashion looks and themes. Students will create and style their own looks for editorials, catalogues, and the runway for their final collections and fashion show.

Fashion Photography

The basic principles of digital photography will be demonstrated and practiced. In this hands-on course, students will actively photograph and experiment with a variety of photography techniques and lighting styles used in dynamic fashion photo shoots.
*This course requires students to have access to a digital camera for completion of class projects.

Grading and Production

Industrial apparel sizing and grading theory is introduced and practiced using manual and computer grading techniques. Students will create graded specification charts and produce sizing sets for basic patterns and develop an understanding of marker making and other production processes used in the apparel industry.

Fashion Marketing and Promotion

The visual and theoretical concepts of fashion marketing and promotion will be introduced and practiced. This course will cover promotion, advertising, and e-marketing strategies used in the fashion industry. Social media, website development, and blog creation will be covered in depth through assignments focusing on fashion branding and promotion.

Portfolio Design

The portfolio is the primary tool used to document the experience, training, skills and accomplishments of each student. The focus of this course is to develop a strong fashion portfolio that represents each student’s strengths and showcases his or her best work. Students will develop their portfolios, resume’s and cover letters as well as practice interviewing skills to prepare them for entrance into the fashion industry.

Fashion Show Production

In this course students will be guided through the process of planning, promoting, managing and producing the year-end fashion show. Lead by an instructor, students enrolled in this course will be responsible for the creative direction, location, budget, schedule, model casting, and promotion of the show, which will be viewed by the industry, press, and public.