Back in 2015, I was a guest lecturer at FIT (ranked 2nd for fashion in the US and 7th in the world). I was pretty nervous about teaching at such a prestigious school and practiced my Illustrator lecture way too many times the night before.
But despite my anxieties, it went great.
In fact, it went AWESOME.
I taught a 30 minute AI lesson and then hung around to answer questions. As I shuffled around the room, helping students one on one, it became clear there was a BIG problem.
I’d heard about this problem, but this was the first time I’d seen it firsthand.
The FIT students were half way through the semester, and they were hobbling along in AI. They barely knew the fundamentals, were doing things with super bizarre workarounds that took a kajillion hours, and none of them actually *understood* how anything in Illustrator worked.
And at this moment, they too realized how bad the situation was.
Many of them started whispering to me:
“Why aren’t you teaching this class? Why isn’t our teacher showing us this stuff? We’re paying for this expensive degree from FIT and not learning anything.“
They were enraged.
They were frustrated.
And they tried to do something.
Earlier this week (3+ years after that guest lecture), I got an email from “C”.
She was a student in that class, and she told me that she and 99% of her classmates signed a petition to try and have me come teach the AI class.
I was flattered, but like her, I was also enraged.
Because this is the SAME STORY I’ve heard for 10+ years from designers like her who pay top dollar for fashion school educations and never get what they need.
We hopped on a call yesterday because I wanted to hear more about how things ended and see if there was any way I could help.
It seemed like things would ever change…and unfortunately, I wasn’t surprised.
For a while, I tried to get into FIT (and a few other fashion schools) as a teacher. I was told (confidentially) by a faculty member that:
“As long as there’s a warm body teaching the class, they won’t change anything.”
And you know what happens because of that?
It’s exactly what’s happened to “C”:
She told me that despite her education, for the last two years, she hasn’t had the confidence or skill to apply for fashion jobs. She loves design, and thought FIT would prepare her for the industry.
But the ONE thing she’s lacking is Illustrator skills.
This stuff makes my blood boil. It literally makes me want to scream at the top of my lungs:
For me, her email was a tipping point. I am done with this half a$$ education system that promises you the dream and then sets you up for failure.
I’ve heard this story from sooooo many of you, and I’m sick of it. Like Luan, you guys are sick of it too:
So I’m going to do something about it.
I’m not sure what it’s going to look like. I’m not sure how I am going to do it. But I am finally going to call these schools out on their sh!t.
I know this means putting my head on a chopping block. I know this means being pretty controversial. I know this means potentially making FIT and all the other fashion schools hate me.
But honestly? I don’t really care. Because it’s a disservice to you. They are sh!tting on you and they don’t care. They are taking your money and then delivering crap education that leaves you unprepared for the real world or even an entry level job.
Now I’m not saying all classes at fashion school are crap. I know there are good teachers out there. But when Illustrator proficiency is REQUIRED for 99% of jobs and they’re not teaching it to you? HOW IS THIS ACCEPTABLE?!
They can nurture your creativity and show you how to make pretty mood boards all day long. But if you don’t have AI skills, you’re not getting into the industry.
Which is why I’m determined to make this better for all of you. If you have any ideas of what I can do to help, or if you just want to share your story, I’m all ears.
Email me at hello (at) sewheidi (dot) com. I personally read every message.
(Sorry for all the cussing and rage, but I am too fed up with this to not say anything.)