Jason Kass is Course Leader for BA (Hons) Creative Direction for Fashion at LCF. Here he tells us about his experience working for magazines such as V magazine and Visionaire and for brands including Marc Jacobs, reflecting the breadth of opportunity that creative direction offers.
Tell us about your professional experience and background?
I began my career as a freelance designer and production artist in New York, before moving into the world of fashion publishing. I worked in the art and photography departments of GQ and then on both editorial and production aspects of Visionaire and V magazine. While at Visionaire I had the opportunity to lead on a number of collaborations with companies such as Krug, Lexus, Mini Cooper and Lacoste. Most recently I managed creative post-production for editorial and commercial clients including Marc Jacobs and Estee Lauder.
In addition to my professional experience I am trained as a visual artist and hold undergraduate degrees in art history and studio art. I completed a postgraduate degree in digital art and am currently working towards a PhD that investigates the psychology of pictorial address.
How did you become Course Leader?
I had been working as an associate lecturer before taking on a staff lecturer role at London College of Fashion. Working closely with the Programme Director on curriculum development, when the opportunity to lead the course came up it seemed a natural fit. My vision for the course aligned with the School’s aims of pushing the boundaries of fashion media and communication.
What do you think your course offers LCF students?
First and foremost I believe that the course offers students a chance to get to know themselves as designers and creative thinkers. We encourage constant experimentation, both conceptually and in terms of materials and processes, which provides students with the opportunity to become reflective and informed practitioners. In addition, because so many course tutors are leaders in their respective fields and we are fortunate to have regular visits from industry guests, students learn from the best.
And what do you learn from them?
The course team and I are constantly learning from students. They bring with them contemporary references and fresh perspectives. Due to the number of individual tutorials that students receive, especially in year 3, we often get to know them well and share in their excitement as they research a new topic or have a creative breakthrough.
What, if anything, have you found surprising about teaching on this course?
I have been surprised by the sheer diversity of approaches that students take to the idea of fashion and also how ambitious and motivated young people can be.
What inspires and excites you in terms of your area of practice?
Fashion communication touches upon so many disciplines and requires an awareness of social, cultural, political and economic developments. Also, because communication technologies are advancing so quickly there are always new things to learn and try.
Personally, I am interested in the intersection of art and fashion and particularly the application of traditional notions of aesthetics to fashion. I recently co-organised a conference on Aesthetics, Fashion and Psychology to explore the possibilities in an interdisciplinary approach to studying fashion.
What do graduates of the course go on to do?
Graduates of the course go on to do a wide range of things. Some take up postgraduate study, some work as freelancers and others take up full-time work. We currently have graduates working at Selfridges, COS, Patternity and iD magazine, to name just a few. A number of graduates have started their own publications and several have launched their own businesses.
And briefly, how would you sum up the LCF experience to prospective students.
It is difficult to sum up something that is so layered and complex. But I would say that if you work hard and engage with all that LCF and the wider University have to offer then you will come away with knowledge and skills that will serve you well into the future.