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FAQs about CSM Fashion that piss me off


Sometimes I hate my guts for writing about a certain famous Fashion school...

I wanted to debunk the middle-class myth that all you gotta do is go to the best schools and your career/ life will be sorted - very ambitious of me.

So I made peace with my impostor syndrome by always disclosing I'm writing based on my personal experience; always being transparent about how much I sucked before going through it and how much I had to grow; even sharing how I could've handled things with more calm and maturity.

But I still got many questions that were actually cries for attention, and that made me feel stupid for starting this - very dramatic of me.

Why not use these conversations for more FAQs? The material's ready, I just need to copy-paste them from my Gmail and Instagram!

So here they are:

How do they teach classes in MA Fashion - Womenswear? Does the teacher do a lecture? 

First of all (and this I'm including now): you shouldn't ask me about the MA Fashion CSM because I didn't do it.

You should reach out to current students or recent graduates, and if you're afraid they're gonna be divas, that's something you need to work on. 

Of course some of them will be divas. But if you do get into the MA, these guys are gonna be your classmates and even your future co-workers, so it sucks if you're already going in with a resistance to connect with them. 

I did reply with the general outline of CSM Fashion full-time courses:

You mostly get project briefings, then tutorials where you show what you worked on, then Crits (final critique sessions) with the whole group to show your final project.

Their reply: do I still get to learn more techniques in garment construction?

Your learning will be self-directed, there are no formal classes specifically to teach you garment construction techniques.

What is CSM looking for in a portfolio, and how is it different than Parsons?

What CSM is looking for: a strong creative process, otherwise you won't be able to benefit from the courses (why can't they just take your money regardless, right?)

What Parson is looking for: I have no idea. Ask someone who did Parsons.

Is there any chance one can get in the Graduate diploma without taking the Fashion Folio course? 

To give a straight answer: YES.

To give the answer that truly expresses my emotional state when I receive a question from someone who didn't pay attention to what I said and came to cry under my skirt:

Where did you get that from? Certainly not from me.

Because every time I did say I WAS THE PROBLEM: I did Fashion Folio because I was total fucking clueless. 

The special thing about Folio is: they saw enough potential and skill to accept me into a PREPARATORY course, but otherwise I was way too green to be at CSM.

So where is your level at: are you actually good? Who are you getting your feedback from?

And if you realise that you're actually not that dope, then what? What are you gonna do?

Are you strong enough to receive critiques, and carry on working to develop yourself?

Are you mature enough to accept it'll take longer than you wanted, if again and again you get told you're not at the level required?

My portfolio is just okay, so if I had the opportunity I would take Fashion Folio in a heartbeat but money is always the problem, isn’t it? (sometimes there's even a LOL following these)

Yes, sucks to be broke. It's not even funny.

But I don't understand why people share so candidly about their financial situation. 

Good that you're brave enough to send me an email, now use that boldness to contact people who might actually have the power to do something about that.

Looking for a postgraduate course. I'm interested in Graduate Diploma Fashion, I'd like to ask you if through this course it'll be easier get in a Master course and what I have to show in my portfolio.

I read on CSM's website they require a minimum of 4 projects, but I'd do something like your portfolio on YouTube. If you could give me some tips, that'd be great!

This is from my early days, so I replied at length and very enthusiastically:

Many international students in the past did Grad Dip first before the MA, and my year had an exceptional acceptance rate (5 or 6 people for MA CSM; 4 for the RCA).

That's not always the case to be honest, but of course doing Grad Dip makes a huge difference on the level of your work.

 The CSM website recommends 4 projects:

  • to see the scope of your work, and how you made progress in your BA - but it's better to have 2 or 3 good projects than 4-5 rushed ones;
  • to check if you're not sort of a one-hit wonder, and your one good project was a fluke.

Fashion Folio is an exception because:

  • we're working closely with Patrick and other experienced tutors and MA alumni; 
  • the tutors will be able to tell David all about you (which can be a good or bad thing...); 
  • prior to that many of us are completely clueless about portfolios and the whole "design process" thing, and if you're applying for a post-grad, you need to develop yourself to produce work at a much higher level than the guys applying to the BA. 

You won't be doing only one project on your MA, and many people take their aesthetics towards a different direction entirely, so I don't know if they're still doing the one, very in-depth project, though.

UPDATE HERE: I heard through the grapevine that Patrick - course leader for Fashion Folio - doesn't even allow people to apply straight to the MA by the end of Fashion Folio. 

Hope that was helpful, but can't advise much on what to include in your portfolio without knowing more about your course and your work.

Last, here are the links to my blog posts on CSM: 

I listed them and then came the reply...

I think I'll have like 2 projects with a final garment each one, and a bigger project with 2/3 looks.

Obviously it's a matter of quality, but do you think it would be enough for Grad Dip application? And my last question, which is better: Fashion Folio or Grad Dip in order to apply for a master course?

My reply then:

  • I've already answered both, in my first email and on my blog posts;
  • As I said: can't advise much on what to include in your portfolio without knowing more about your course and your work;
My reply now:
  • Don't you dare ask me to teach you for free, when I had to pay £4,000 for each term of Fashion Folio;
  • Don’t you dare ask me to take responsibility for your future;
  • Don’t you dare ask me to work with you for free, that’s a serious problem in the Fashion industry and each and every person needs to start saying HELL NO to these “opportunities” to be exploited.

Hope you didn't take any of this personally. Remember: I'm a recovering whiny little shit myself, so who better to tackle this?

And my local international office LOVED IT!

Nothing like desperate applicants to sell expensive short courses to when they can't get into the main ones (aka the ones that give an actual diploma).

Stay tuned for part 2 - more personal, more drama!