Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum’s Hive Fashion program wrapped up its last session of the year with the twelve high school students pitching their own fashion design concepts to a jury of designers and business professionals at Roc Apparel in New York City. The students come from different high schools across the city and were selected from a pool of over thirty applicants representing all five boroughs. This design pitch marks the midpoint of the 24-session intensive program with twelve sessions held this fall and twelve more sessions to come beginning in January.

In these bi-weekly sessions after school, students explore the complexities of the fashion industry and how these issues impact a fashion designer. Guided by Christopher Bevans, the Design Director for Pharrell Williams’ and Jay-Z’s Billionaire Boys Club street wear brand, and his team at Christopher Bevans Atelier, students learned about product life cycle, fabric and construction, manufacturing, pricing, marketing, creating mood boards, brand positioning, and customer profiling. Along the way guest speakers Tim Gunn and Ada Calhoun spoke with students regarding the history of fashion. Students also visited a shoe factory in the middle of Manhattan to learn about manufacturing processes and perused the aisles of Mood Fabric to collect swatches.

At the end of the sessions, students combined their creative skills with their newfound business savvy to create a fashion brand from the ground up. In their presentation they spoke about brand positioning, target customer, color stories, and ideal silhouettes. The design professionals then responded with positive feedback as well as design criticisms and suggestions. In January 2013, students will expand on their initial presentations and work on creating concept sketches to translate into product samples for their final presentation. Debrian Carson, senior at the High School of Art & Design, said, “I’ll never not be here [at the Hive Fashion sessions].” He mentioned that he was so thankful to be a part of the programs, because “where I’m from nobody does fashion design, especially guys.”

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