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Fashion students strut to Czech Republic

By Amanda Hancock
On March 14, 2014

For students with Project Runway-esque aspirations, it is an exciting time to be at Miami. Along with a recently-launched fashion minor, a brand new study abroad workshop will allow students to bring their designs to life.

Miami's fashion minor will offer its inaugural International Fashion Workshop in the Czech Republic this summer. For the month of July, a group of about 15 students will study apparel, jewelry and shoe design along with an advanced studio art option. By partnering with University of Western Bohemia, students will be taught by international professors and take part in an already established program. At the end of the month, a runway show will present all the finished products, complete with professional photography and a catalogue.

Associate Professor John Humphries will be codirecting and teaching portions of the workshop.

Humphries said overcoming the language barrier will provide a learning experience.

"It's unique to have an international community this open," he said. "I think students will gain the ability to communicate their ideas through making objects to an international students."

Humphries taught in the Czech Republic last summer with all international students and said its youthful culture will lend itself to learning as well, as students will travel to Pilson and Prague, with excursions to museums and galleries.

"The Czech Republic is still a relatively new country, so they're still defining who and what they are," Humphries said. "The students you meet and study with have an interesting perspective; they are in the modern age, but they are building the first generation of this country."

Sophomore Lucy Hurley said she looks forward to be a part of Miami's first fashion workshop in the Czech Republic.

"It will give me a unique perspective on American fashion and show me how trends evolve from Europe to America," she said.

As an interior design major, Hurley has been involved in MU Club of Fashion Design (MUCFD) since her freshmen year. Since Miami had no formal fashion program until this semester, the club was the main outlet for students interested in that type of arts.

"It's composed of a group of students who share a passion for fashion and every spring we host a huge fashion show that features all student produced designs," she said.

The club has been working hard to get the fashion minor approved, and Hurley said she's happy it is finally up and running. One of the positive features of the minor, according to Hurley, is that the curriculum incorporates a variety of different types of art classes coupled with fashion-focused courses.

"The arts are very complementary of one another and therefore, the integration of these classes creates a deeper understanding of design principles which will build stronger designers," she said.  

Humphries said this makes the minor and the workshop all the more unique.

"A lot of universities have fashion design, but Miami is the only one that I've heard of that built a minor out of a grass roots movement by the students," he said.


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