I get a lot of questions about where in get training in knitwear design. As many of you reading my blog know, I took the training course at Knit-1 Ltd, a company in Brighton, England. If you are planning to attend a design school specializing in fashion, and you want to study knitwear, these are some schools I would suggest looking into. However, if at all possible, I highly recommend taking the Knit-1, because it will save you so much time in your learning curve, you would be more capable of working productively while attending these schools.
(Central Saint Martins Class of 2008 MA program. Style.com)
Central Saint Martins
This schools is widely known throughout the fashion industry for its famous graduates, Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen. They offer both a BA and MA course. I know several people that have attended this school. The course structure, is that there is nearly no structure at all. There are tutors and technicians to help you complete your projects, but there is no actual instruction. So if this is still your dream school for completing a fashion education, your training will mostly be self-taught, though not useful for learning machine knitting. If you think you would like to be able to machine knit, I do recommend taking a machine knitting course such as the one at knit-1 beforehand. Two of the current students at the course are coming from Central Saint Martins.
(DKNY Cosy project from RISD)
Rhode Island School of Design
This school offers instruction on knitwear design. The techniques taught are only basic. But you will have the guidance of noted design Liz Collins, and the chance to participate in collaboration projects with Donna Karan's DKNY design team. They offer a summer course, but it only runs for six hours a week for six weeks. Noted graduates from RISD, Lutz & Patmos.
Fashion Institute of Technology
FIT offers knitwear design as one of their courses. I've been told that is only a light primer on the basic techniques. However, you can choose to specialise in this area for your studies.
(Grad work from Academy of Art University)
Academy of Art University
Situated in downtown San Francisco, this school has great connections to the industry. I don't know much about the program itself, but I have seen its graduate work in knitwear. I recall one of the knitwear graduates being awarded an internship at McQueen
Nottingham Trent University
This is one of the first schools in the UK to specialize in knitwear design. One of my colleagues is attending this school, and in the past, many interns here are Knit-1 came from here. When I attended Pitti Filati, many of the student visitors were also from Nottingham Trent. It is a three year course with an extra year taken to do work placement.
This is not a fashion school, but a textiles school. This school offers the use of computerized industrial equipment! It's very rare of a school to offer that. So if you are interested in being technically focused, this is a good opportunity. It is an undergraduate program.
This is one of the top manufacturers of industrial knitting machines. They do however, provide training courses for industry professional and machine buyers alike. They offer a short training session at their headquarters in Germany and China. Do note that this is NOT a design course. It is merely an instructional course on how to use the machines. For knitwear students wishing to learn the use of industrial gauge machines, this might be an option.
These are just some of the options that I know of. I know there are plenty more! If you're attending one of these schools or one that I haven't mentioned, please share with our readers about your experiences there!
See Part 2 for more study options.
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