Off the runway
Seminal fashion designer Elie Saab and LAU announce the launch of a bachelor’s degree in fashion design.
The curriculum has been designed with the idea of exposing students to international trends in fashion by incorporating international workshops, and through a blending of local and international designers.
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For those who dream of pursuing a higher education in fashion, LAU is offering budding designers an academic degree in Fashion Design spearheaded by none other than the internationally venerated Elie Saab.
The program, for which entry is expected to be highly competitive, will be open to students in fall 2013. It will be housed in the School of Architecture and Design (SArD), under the direct supervision and leadership of Saab. It is the first of its kind in Lebanon to merge an American education with such a high-profile designer.
“I could never pass up an opportunity related to encouraging young people,” says Saab. “When we began discussing the possibility of such a course, I felt LAU could be the first university to grant students a truly academic diploma in the field of fashion design.”
At 48, Saab has boutiques all over the world and leads a team of 190 employees, running a global fashion empire. He is a member of France’s exclusive Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture and was the first foreigner to become a member of Italy’s Camera Nazionale della Moda.
“It really saddens me when I hear of parents sending their children abroad to continue their studies. I have no doubt that our program will be on par with those of universities abroad,” says Saab.
Supporting a local program for indigenous talent is a key motivation for both parties.
The B.A. in Fashion Design will be greatly enriched by its place within a distinguished liberal arts school, says LAU President Dr. Joseph G. Jabbra. “Fashion is a part of culture, anthropology and art history,” he notes before adding, “It’s a subject with meat on it and one in which students will be greatly stimulated by LAU’s diverse academic offerings.”
SArD’s Dean Dr. Elie Haddad says the curriculum has been designed with the idea of exposing students to international trends in fashion by incorporating international workshops, and through a blending of local and international designers as visiting faculty. It will start with foundational courses that will focus on the cultural and historical aspects of fashion. The first year will then be followed by technical pattern design and clothing construction and higher level theoretical classes. A fashion show will conclude the senior year.
“The university administration has made a commitment to creating a selective program with state-of-the-art facilities, labs and workshops,” says Haddad.
According to SArD’s Associate Professor Yasmine Taan who is heading the task force in charge of creating the major, “the program is designed to turn future students into real trendsetters.”
Indeed, expectations for the program are as great as Saab’s past successes. In addition to retaining Lebanese talent within the country, the ultimate goal is to attract budding designers from Tokyo, Milan and Paris to come and study fashion in Beirut.
If you build it, they will come, goes the saying. The visionary ambition shared by Saab and LAU promises to make Fall 2013 the most anticipated season of all.
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