Blog post by short course student, Leandro De Sousa Benito.
“I think when you’re young you should be a lot with yourself and your sufferings. Then one day you get out where the sun shines and the rain rains and the snow snows and it all comes together.” – Diana Vreeland.
On the 4th of February 2017, myself and five other students began our short course in Fashion Styling at the Design Academy of Fashion. For me, it was the moment that Diana Vreeland described – everything was starting to come together. I had a pretty good idea that I wanted a career in Fashion before I started the course, but it was only during the 8 weeks at DAF where my ambitious dreams were articulated, given direction and became more attainable. The course helped me believe in myself and my own dreams, and I was able to value myself as a stylist and be confident in my creative abilities.
The course allowed us to meet great, influential people in the industry. Luke Doman from the Cornerstore gave us a talk about his journey into the Fashion Industry and the importance of originality and hardwork. We then got the opportunity to present our briefs to him and received meaningful feedback. The briefs were inspired by South Africans Menswear Week and highlighted South African fashion design talent. We also had a talk from Lee-Anne Johnson from One League who gave us practical advice on how we can start our careers in Fashion Styling.
The 8 weeks spent at DAF was a perfect balance between practical work and theory. Thandi Jasmine Kleinsmith presented lectures on colour theory, fabrics, garments and silhouettes, influential designers and important fashion icons. We walked away each week with a handful of useful notes and a more clear understanding of how the fashion world operates. I am so grateful for all of the love, dedication and enthusiasm that Thandi poured out each week.
The Fashion Styling course was exciting and dynamic, with something new to look forward to every week. We took to the streets of Woodstock taking pictures of outfits and then formed our own trend reports. We also learnt how to do an image consultation and the techniques involved with personal styling.
The Design Academy of Fashion has established great relationships with other creative schools in Cape Town. We collaborated with photography students at the Cape Town Creative Academy and designed our own flat lays.
The final project was for each student to think of a concept and plan for an editorial shoot. DAF collaborated again with the Cape Town Creative Academy, as well as the MakeUp Issue. My editorial dealt with the concept of aging and the passage of time, as well as looking at the anxieties young people face when they transition from their teenage years into their adult life. This concept was articulated with a beautiful model, quirky colours and a symbolic birthday party for one.
My experience doing the Fashion Styling course is one that will always be close to my heart. I met great people, learnt so much about fashion, and most importantly, I started to believe in myself. I cannot wait to see all of the students that completed the course flourish in the Fashion Industry.