Savannah College of Art and Design is setting the trend for fashion education
New York City or Los Angeles are likely the first cities that come to mind when you think of U.S. fashion hubs. But the South isn’t sitting on the fashion show sidelines. Savannah College of Art and Design, with the help of the SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film, is equipping the next generation of leaders to make their mark on the world of fashion.
And they’re turning a bright spotlight on the history of fashion and their students’ forward-looking work.
Want to know what we’ll be wearing a few years from now? Get an idea during a visit to the SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film in Atlanta.
“Fashion and film intersect beautifully at SCAD FASH, the first and only fashion and film museum right here in Atlanta, Georgia,” Paula Wallace, the museum’s founder and president, said in announcing the museum’s opening in 2015.
Raffaello Piraino, a museum curator from Italy, noted just how rare the combination of a university and a fashion museum is. “In Europe, a fashion museum that links to a university doesn’t exist. There are only those prestigious museums like that in London and Paris. This is special.”
SDAC FASH museum exhibits celebrate fashion’s history and future
It’s true. SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film is not your typical museum.
The 37,000-square-feet facility includes a public gallery space, a fashion conservation lab, academic studio space and a media library for educational film and digital presentations. It’s a stage for diverse exhibitions, installations, films, performances, and events. Museum leaders say its many facets are brought together with the mission of enlivening and inspiring both SCAD students and the greater community.
And the museum’s selection of exhibits bring this mission to life, as they shine a spotlight on fashion’s history and its future.
In February, SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film unveiled its long-anticipated exhibit, Masters of Cut. The showcase brings sleek designs and tailored looks by celebrated designers Azzedine Alaïa (1935–2017) and Gilbert Adrian (1903–1959).
Alaïa was a Tunisian-born couturier and shoe designer, and Adrian was an American costume designer, whose most famous costumes were for The Wizard of Ox. Adrian also designed hundreds of costumes for MGM films, and was usually credited on screen with the title “Gowns by Adrian.”
“The garments on display show the intricate detailing of Adrian’s suits — the mitered stripes, clever seaming, and unexpected appliqués — and Alaïa’s body-celebrating designs,” a press release from the museum states. “Pairing their work, the exhibition reveals the designers’ intertwined and enduring legacies.”
In addition to tailored looks from both designers, Masters of Cut features a selection of Alaïa’s career-defining gowns worn by fashion icons like Grace Jones.
While the coronavirus pandemic has temporarily shuttered the museum—and most around the world—there should be plenty of opportunity to see Alaïa-Adrian: Masters of Cut exhibit before its scheduled to leave in mid-September.
Students’ passion fuels SCAD museums
Fueling the brilliance of the Museum of Fashion + Film is a powerhouse of educators and students. The museum’s diverse exhibits, films, installations, performances, and events showcase the best of the university’s broad array of academic disciplines.
SCAD enrolls more than 15,000 undergraduate and graduate students from more than 100 countries. Earning its nickname as “the university for creative careers,” SCAD offers more than 40 degrees — from animation and furniture design to sequential art and sound design.
The school’s fashion program, one of its most popular, invites students to earn a bachelors or masters degree in fashion at its campuses in Atlanta, Hong Kong or Savannah, or through an online eLearning program.
The university’s fashion program has helped put SCAD on the map. The program is bolstered by its worldwide connections to renowned contemporary fashion designers, filmmakers and creative professionals. And with each graduating class, the university’s impact on the world’s fashion scene continue to grow.
SCAD fashion students have gone on to land internships at Chanel, Nordstrom and Vogue. The list of celebrities SCAD grads have designed for is also impressive, with names like Lady Gaga, Lizzo, Michelle Obama and Taylor Swift.
Rafael Gomes, director of fashion exhibitions at SCAD FASH, said the success of the university and the museum go hand in hand.
“It’s very, very important for the students to have such easy access to the museum and to the garments. They can study very different techniques and have access to all the history.”
Take a virtual tour
Those interested in learning more about SCAD’s art programs or award-winning museums, can learn more at scad.edu or check out these opportunities:
- Get a closer look at SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film’s creators and exhibits through video interviews and tours here.
- Discover the array of offerings at SCAD’s Museum of Art in Savannah here.
- Take a virtual tour of SCAD’s campuses in Savannah, Atlanta, Lacoste or Hong Kong here. Each is led by a SCAD graduate who serves as a virtual tour guide.
- The university is also offering a Virtual SCAD Day, where prospective students can attend an online open house event. Join them for live presentations on SCAD’s Savannah campus on April 18, or on SCAD’s Atlanta campus on April 25. Learn more here.
Journalist and author Danielle Nadler grew up in South Dakota, where a patient writing teacher fostered in her a love for stories told well. She's worked for newspapers in the Midwest, on the West Coast and the East Coast, and recently launched a storytelling company called Tales and Ales.