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Expand what you know about fashion with a short course

A collection of magazine cut outs Molly Hood used to mind-map her ideas
  • Written byYusuf Tamanna
  • Published date 21 April 2021
A collection of magazine cut outs Molly Hood used to mind-map her ideas

“After I wasn't successful in my master's application to Central Saint Martins, I was advised to look into short courses. I am so glad because the Art Direction for Fashion Online Short Course was exactly what I needed!” Alisia Heslop tells me.

With a background in fine art, Alisia says she loves to style and collaborate so she can create her own innovative fashion images that factor in their context and differing cultural perspectives. In her day-to-day life Alisia is a support worker, but always finds time to nurture her creativity by working freelance within beauty and styling when she finds the time.

A photo of Alisia Heslop directly facing the camera

It’s a similar story for Stefanos Chrysafis, who also studied the Art Direction for Fashion Online Short Course. The 25-year-old designer from Greece is currently working as a designer’s assistant at Vejas Kruszewski's studio in Paris - Vejas is the youngest winner of the prestigious LVMH prize in 2016 – all the while trying to also establish himself in a foreign country.

It was after Stefanos previewed some of his own designs to some figureheads in the fashion industry that he realised he could really benefit from doing the short course.

“After previewing some of my work, I realised that there are some technical skills that I don't have and as a fashion designer I want to have the knowledge so I can develop the whole image of a brand,” Stefanos explains.

A model standing in a field wearing a baggy garment staring away from the camera

A woman wearing an olive dress standing wide legged on two boulders in the river

Beyond that Stefanos admits that studying at Central Saint Martins has always been a long-standing dream of his. Even with a BA in Fashion Design and an Advanced MA in Fashion Management from Instituto Europeo Di design in Madrid, Central Saint Martin’s remains the goal.

“Central Saint Martins has always been the ideal university for me. Coming to Paris I realised how many doors can be opened by where you study. I would like one day to be part of the Central Saint Martins MA program, so doing the short course was nice to have a sneak-peak first of what may be in the future.”

For Molly Hood, she decided to do the Art Direction for Fashion Online Short Course because the fashion communication and marketing degree she’s currently doing at the Fashion Retail Academy leans heavily towards business and less so on fashion.

“I have found the course I’m doing to be more business oriented. I know this will benefit me in the future, but I believe there's always more to learn and experience,” Molly says.

A collection of magazine cut outs stuck on black boards that Molly referred to for inspiration during the course

The avid nano-blogger, who writes about fashion, beauty and lifestyle on her blog The Life of Molly, says when she stumbled upon the short courses and she knew she wanted something that would allow her to be more visually creative. She was initially torn between an art direction short course and a course that focused on journalism.

“I decided because I already have a strong understanding of writing through my blog, I'd try something different and booked on to Art Direction for Fashion Online Short Course. Short courses really are the perfect opportunity to dip your toe and try something new!”

While doing the course Alisia enjoyed being given the tools to prepare for a photoshoot, to the point where she feels confident enough to put that into practice going forward. She adds that the nature of the course brought out a plethora of new skills in all the students who took part.

“The tutor encouraged and brought out personal skills in everyone, and mine was the styling of clothes. I have always loved fashion but for this to be recognised as a skill was a real discovery and big moment for me personally,” Alisia says.

Alisia's mood-board of different creative inspirations

A collection of clothing inspirations Alisia used during her photoshoot

A collection of model pose references Alisia used to map out her idea of the photoshoot

Molly appreciated being given the space to be as creative as she wanted to be on the short course. “I loved how free I could be with my creativity throughout, even though there were 3 stages we had to follow, the brief we worked towards was whatever interested us,” Molly says. “The course was something I looked forward to working on every week. For me, it was all about refining skills, learning more about art direction, and having a passion project through these unusual times during the pandemic.”

Stefanos also enjoyed the freedom he was given to choose his own clients as part of the brief. More so, on the course he discovered just how much work goes into designing and organising images for different mediums.

“These can be images for a brand, an advertisement or even a social media post. By having the safety net of a second and third option for images and learning step by step how to plan a story, you become more confident in your own ideas.”

An image of sketches by Stefanos Chrysafis showing the early design process of a garment he made

Looking ahead, Molly’s plans are to continue building up her experience and understanding of the ever-changing world of fashion.

“My next steps are to continue to experience as much as I can, develop my passion of blogging and creating content. I graduate next year so that's exciting!”

“I had a successful six-month internship through the first lockdown, so I'd love to secure another one, and I am actively trying to get my door in the fashion world. My end goal is to have my own sustainable fashion brand, so watch this space!”

Since completing the course, Alisia feels more confident in her own skills and capabilities that post-lockdown, she’s ready to put everything she’s learned into practice.

“This course gave me the confidence I needed so when I am in the creative field again after lockdown, I feel equipped with the skills and knowledge to succeed. Before the course I felt I had the passion and awareness of the field, but the course has really equipped me with the skills to put this into practice.”

A collection of magazine cut outs that Molly Hood used as reference points for her work

A collection of cut outs of famous models put together for Molly Hood's mood-board

On the topic of lockdown and the on-going pandemic, Stefanos says because of continued work and travel restrictions, he’s not yet been able to apply the skills he’s developed but he’s excited to get started once he can.

“The course was definitely very constructive, and I am using my new skills even in everyday life. Unfortunately, because of Covid I haven't been apply the skills I have to my work, but I am hoping to do this in the future when hopefully the situation will be better. But I am more confident to take on more responsibilities than before.”

With all three students getting exactly what they needed from the short course, they’re all in agreement that they’d be more than happy to recommend other students to try a short course for themselves. Whether it be to finesse your skills in a certain topic or something to help you find a bit of direction on your creative jaunt.

A mood-board by Molly Hood full of fashion magazine covers

“If you feel you need to focus your skills, gain confidence in your chosen area or that you don't know what step to take next, then the short courses will definitely help you succeed!” Alisia says.

Molly was so impressed by her experience on the course that she took to her blog to write all about it where she told her readers “If you have free time, and if you don't have free time, make time, to do a short course. Learn something new, or refine any skills, do it, and you won't regret it.”

Stefanos adds: “Definitely try it! Everyone will have a different experience, mine was really good and I would like to do more like this in the future. I hope everyone else’s experience is just as exciting!”


If you think you could benefit from some additional training delivered by industry experts, we offer a growing number of short courses that focus on an abundance of creative specialties.

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