“To reflect your thoughts, style and personality in the way you dress – that’s fashion.”
For Worood Abdul Karim, a student reading the Bachelor of Arts (Hons) Fashion Design with Marketing at UCSI University, fashion is who she is.
A trendsetter among her friends, she loves wearing what she designs.
Her dream of becoming a fashion designer started when she started watching shows like Project Runway, sneaking peeks into the lives of fashion designers around the globe.
Now, she is on the road to fulfil that dream and credits UCSI for giving her avenues to step into the fashion world.
Her first fashion show took her all the way to Johor Baru to participate in a bridal competition cum exhibition, themed, ‘Victorian High Tea Time’, which saw her clinch second runner-up and RM2,000.
Inspired by classic designs that accentuated its wearer’s sophistication and femininity, Worood designed a ‘vintage’ wedding dress; a unique combination of white wedding dress complemented by black-laced gloves and a belt.
“The really defining moment for me was seeing my design on my model on stage, and receiving the prize,” she enthuses. “It’s an experience I won’t forget.”
At UCSI’s De Institute of Creative Arts and Design (ICAD), fashion students like Worood are encouraged to test their skills at fashion shows and competitions.
Passion is key to any great design and ICAD advocates this by ensuring students are equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to produce stunning collections.
The process of producing a garment – from idea conception to actual production – is not a complex one.
Students are first given a theme – for example, evening wear – to work on before creating a customer board and sketches. Once their designs are finalised, the students decide on the colours to use and proceed to the ‘pattern drafting’ stage – where they draft a paper pattern for sewing. Fabric is cut according to the pattern and sewn accordingly, before it is presented to the lecturer.
Sharing her own personal experience on sewing, Worood – who aspires to open her own boutique in her home country, the Republic of Iraq – points out with a laugh that she found sewing a challenge at first.
“Like all beginners, I wasn’t that skilled at sewing when I first started out. But it’s really all about practice. I’m much better (at sewing) now,” says the 22-year-old teenager.
Technical skills is only one of the many aspects that ICAD emphasises. Practical experience is another.
Through UCSI’s Co-op programme, fashion students are placed at companies for two months each year and Worood, who was placed at the Valiram Group – a leading luxury goods and specialist retailer with over 100 stores in Southeast Asia – is no different.
There, she has deepened her knowledge in marketing fashion goods and is glad that she can apply what she studied at UCSI –
such as conducting research, competitor analysis and marketing reports – to practice. What used to be a ‘hobby’ is now a full-fledged passion and Worood is grateful that her repertoire in fashion has expanded.
UCSI University Nurtures Design Talents
UCSI University strongly embraces holistic learning and the glowing testimonies from students like Worood successfully illustrate this.
However, the true story behind this philosophy is about its lecturers; the people who bring this concept to life.
Abdul Rashid Bin Hamid is one of them. An ICAD lecturer with almost 15 years’ experience in the fashion world, his passion for the arts knows no boundaries and he is keen to impart his knowledge to his students.
He explains that many fashion designers out there do not have a fashion background and as such, are not well-versed in the ‘basics’.
“To be a good fashion designer, you need to understand colours, the basics of art, the cut, and such,” says Rashid. “By knowing these things, your design will speak for itself.”
For Rashid, teaching fashion is all about guidance.
For example, during his fashion marketing class, he helps his students understand market demands by visualising and conducting ‘research’ on the customer.
“In fashion marketing, you need to have a proper understanding of your customers, their lifestyles, where and what they eat, and their hobbies, for example. When you do, you know what your price range should be, what to sell and what they like,” he explains.
“This is why I teach – because I want to share my experience with students. It’s fun to work with young people and understand
what inspires them.”
With lecturers like Rashid who love what they do, ICAD has created a place where students are encouraged to shine. To spark. And to thrive in the fashion world.
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