Paris London: New Approaches To Fashion Design

Dual City 2017 - Paris

This programme is aimed at current fashion students or new professionals who wish to broaden and enrich their design experience in two great fashion capitals...more information below 

Taught by: Aimee McWilliams (Central Saint Martins) and Jayne Estève Curé (Institut Francais de la Mode - IFM)


Central Saint Martins and Institut Francais de la Mode are world leaders in the field of Fashion education. This is your opportunity to understand what makes them different, how their teaching methods differ and immerse yourself in an advanced course for fashion graduates to rejuvenate your current practice. Fashion design studies will include references to London and Paris, with projects incorporating influences particular to each city. Studio sessions will be supported by visits to places in Paris and London to gather research material.

Who should attend? 

This programme is aimed at current fashion students or new professionals who wish to broaden and enrich their design experience in two great fashion capitals.
To attend this practical course participants must have completed at least two years of an undergraduate degree in fashion or have at least three years fashion industry experience and be competent in pattern making and sewing.

Course includes 

  • Contemporary Fashion in London 
  • Research Skills 
  • Practical Fashion Design, Draping and Textile Development 
  • Developing 2D Concepts into 3D Prototypes


The course content will be structured around 3 main phases:

1: Analysis

2: Definition

3: Venture

Analysis Accomplish an in-depth analysis of your inspirational and narrative universe based on a ‘5 senses’ workshop. 
The process aims to help unravel the meanders of your creative universe and enable you to  better understand the sources of inspiration that define your creative personality. This understanding will enable you to define your creative intentions and help develop a new insight into how to use it in your creative production.

This phase will enable you to answer the following fundamental questions: 
What makes my creative universe unique?
How do I proceed in my design process?
During this phase you will produce the following elements that will allow to articulate and communicate your creative identity and vision:
« 5 senses » pictorial board(s) that will visually communicate the key aspects of the creative universe and inspirational sources
A concise written "manifesto" of your creative intention with a choice of the key words that make up your individual creative vocabulary.
Definition, Allow you, through this second phase, to define the key elements and components of your style and how they can be translated into a collection in terms of key pieces, structure, volume, colour range, details, choice and use of materials and consistency of vision.
Venture, in this final phase, you will achieve an upon an in-depth understanding of who designs are aimed at, thus conceptualising your work as a fashion designer in response to the following questions:
Whom am I designing for?
What can I offer in order to catch his/her attention?
What are the reference brands I should take into consideration in order to position myself on the market ? 

The course will provide additional contextualised topics through lectures and workshops that will allow participants to enrich their fashion design creative database and vision. These include: Haute Couture, Brand DNA and how to analyse a Fashion Show. You will explore the contemporary Parisian world of fashion by researching the retail scene and thus discovering the newly launched major Winter collections. You will also be given the opportunity to discover the design process of a young fashion designer.


The course content will focus on understanding your research and your creative identity: The London side will be an initial analysis of past projects and of your current research. Through group discussions and individual tutorials the tutor will help you to focus your research and identify your individual strengths. The tutor will help you to distinguish characteristics within your research that will lend itself to a successful design process. Together you will discuss design methodology, creative identity and developing your own creative philosophy. You will have time to digest and analyse your own work in the context of what you were doing in Paris.

The initial stage will focus on translating your research in to a design process. This phase will differ for each individual and will be discussed at length in individual tutorials. You will be free from restriction and able to explore the transition from a body of research in to the early stages of your design process. For some 2D work will commence be it sketching, collaging or photo-shop experimentations. For others further research may commence through sourcing and styling experiments.

You will also learn how to explore initial ideas in 3D through stand work, draping and styling exercises on the mannequins. The group will spend half a day on a group exercise named the mannequin experiments. This is an exercise that will free up your attitude to stand work. It will explore possibilities in shape and silhouette through the augmentation of existing garments. There is one rule: Nothing is to be used in its conventional sense.

All students will be expected to participate in this section irrespective of the specifics of their project, and this touches heavily upon the influences of styling upon design and image making. This exercise is designed to free up your expectations and increase your fluidity from 2D to 3D. You will then return to working on the stand with a more considered approach that is relevant to the specifics of your current projects.

Following this exercise you will continue the design process in 2D and 3D. In groups and individual tutorials, you will evaluate how to push the specifics of your design process to the next stages, thus incorporating your 2D and 3D developments. You will have the time to develop your work further at this stage. Throughout the week you will be given the opportunity to explore London, experiencing first-hand, our culture and how it has affected the contemporary fashion scene in London.

We will focus on the east end of London: the most densely populate area in the world for creative people. We will access the rise of the young designer scene, the new labels immerging and its impact on the London Fashion week schedule. There will be a series of hand-outs that will recommend areas of London to visit.

There will be an opportunity to meet several key speakers during the week including a designers and creative director who will reveal the specifics of their own design process and discuss her relationship to working in the Capital.

A visiting lecture from a stylist at the forefront of cultural movements and who works predominantly with the up and coming and can deliver insights into their role.

A guest speaker who will discuss the idea of creative processes and how design methodology can be utilised to reinvigorate your creativity.

Tutor Information


Aimee McWilliams is a graduate of Central Saint Martins and Associate Lecturer within the BA Fashion Design department and is also a tutor on the MA at the Royal College of Art. In 2007 she won the prestigious Scottish Designer of the Year Award. Find out more and view her collections at


Jayne Estève Curé reflects her French-English heritage by being a graduate of Park Lane College in Leeds, the Ecole Supérieure des Industries de Vêtement and the IFM in Paris. She worked with the Paris-based designer Olivier Guillemin, for whom she developed and implemented an international development strategy, helped Les Chemins Blancs to reposition their women's ready-to-wear brand, and is currently working with the Berlin-based Esther Perbrandt on the launch of her contemporary fashion and accessory line. Through her own consulting business, she provides regular advice on marketing and development strategy. At the same time, she has always worked as a teacher of fashion marketing, product development and fashion culture, at the IFM and other highly-regarded schools in France, as well as in the UK and Asia.


Please bring with you to the first session, Paris:

All types of visual data (on paper and / or USB key) you find inspirational and that convey/symbolise your creative universe and sources of inspiration. You may already have these and/or will collect during the summer before your arrival in Paris.

These can include:

  • Photos: your own or photos (taken by others) that you find inspirational
  • Drawings/Paintings: your own or by other painters/artists
  • Magazine cut-outs/photocopies/scans
  • Other references to sources of inspiration music / films / poetry / literature / architecture

Please bring with you to the first session, London:

Please bring in your portfolios, past projects and your summer project for the first day.

SUMMER PROJECT: this may be research for a new collection or continued research from an existing project that you would like to continue.

The rest of the week will vary from student to student, but we advise that you to bring your laptops and camera, and your preferred media for design ie; pens, paper, tracing paper, collage material.

Please note the course is tailored to the needs of each individual designer. So please allow a small budget to respond to the advise of your tutor. For example you may be asked to explore in a material you have never worked in or to use alternative drawing equipment that is more preferential to your style.

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Additional Information

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Please note that teaching in London is delivered by CSM short course tutors, and teaching in other cities is delivered by our partner institutions. 

All Dual City course fees are inclusive of teaching. Please note that accommodation and travel fees are additional and to be organised directly by the student.