Dive Right Into Iconic Designer Marc Jacobs’ Design Process from Inspiration to Runway in His Fashion Design MasterClassJul 12, 2020 | 0 Votes by Mel - rate In his first online fashion design class, former Louis Vuitton director and 11-time CFDA Award winner Marc Jacobs joins MasterClass to share his hands-on process for creating avant garde, trendsetting styles for the past 30 years. Learn about his inspirations, his love of fabric, construction techniques, creating shapes and silhouettes, and how you can develop your own ideas from the first sketch to the final piece.
One of the first fashion designers to establish "street-wise aesthetics” in fashion—"a little preppie, a little grunge, a little couture," Marc Jacobs created both controversy and history when he dressed models in flannel shirts, granny dresses, and Doc Martens for his 1992 grunge collection for Perry Ellis. And while he got fired from the fashion house for his rebellious choices, the collection inadvertently ushered in the iconic grunge subculture of the early 1990s, earned the up-and-coming designer a CFDA Award for Women's Designer of the Year, as well as the label of the most exciting and talented American designer of his generation, following Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, and Ralph Lauren.
Since then, Jacobs has been revolutionizing contemporary ready-to-wear clothes and accessories ever since becoming creative director of Louis Vuitton from 1997 to 2014 (introducing the luxury brand’s first ready-to-wear collection) as well as establishing his eponymous upscale brand and the popular mid-range Marc by Marc Jacobs line, and making the annual CFDA list of the fashion industry’s most creatively successful designers so many times that he was awarded the group’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011.
Now, in his first online fashion design class, Marc Jacobs joins other illustrious creative artists and influential figures on the MasterClass platform to impart his creative genius and rock-and-roll style approach to aspiring fashion designers and fashionistas alike.
Rich with references to music, art, celebrity, and culture, the Marc Jacobs Teaches Fashion Design 18-lesson course has over 4 hours and 30 minutes’ worth of videos demonstrating his step-by-step design process, from gathering inspiration and pattern making to garment construction and staging a runway show. And while most aspiring designers can only dream of having the same amount of Jacobs’ innate talent, at least in this MasterClass, you will definitely learn how to operate exactly like he does.
After an Introduction where the designer explains the scope of his class, he explains the importance of having at least a fundamental knowledge of the craft–including sewing, knitting, pattern making, and embroidery. He then segues into his own creative process wherein he uses mostly music, architecture, and fictional characters as Inspiration and then goes on to advise students to both pursue that which seduces them visually as well as to look at the past to create something new.
Once you have an idea, it’s time to expound on the Creative Process by using mood boards to organize ideas before Sketching them out on paper. Here, Marc acknowledges that his processes are old-school, by sketching the old-fashioned way with a No. 2 pencil on Xerox paper and using the traditional technique of “croqui” which is, as he explains, “a kind of template,” a blank figure the illustrator places underneath a piece of paper and draws over. He explains, too, why he always draws a consistent body type. Because the sketches go to the pattern makers--who must decode the designs into patterns—to draw on figures of different shapes and sizes would confuse the communication about silhouette and proportion.
After the initial drafting of a creative idea comes the physical craft of putting a design together, including Choosing Fabrics, Creating Shapes and Silhouettes and Patterns and Muslin Prototyping where in the span of three episodes and close to an hour he talks about a creation coming together starting with fabric, which Marc describes in a manner akin to having a sensual relationship where you should look, touch, feel and be inspired by it. He also stresses how choosing the right fabric colors can help tell your story and—using a sweatshirt as a case study—how to re-imagine a piece of clothing into something new by simply changing the fabric.
Next, the fashion designer fleshes out the shapes and silhouettes of his creations. Inspired both by the shapes of the past as well as by experimenting with every fit you can imagine until it simply doesn’t work; Jacobs uses three of his designs to demonstrate how to use a mix of fabrics to create a silhouette as well as to look to history and old silhouettes to reinterpret them into something novel and exciting.
As for the pattern making stage of the design, Marc admits that, for him at least, it is not a crucial part of his personal creative process since expert pattern makers are already highly skilled at taking a sketched design and knowing exactly how they should drape on a figure. Still, his rudimentary knowledge of patterns helps immeasurably in communicating to his pattern makers what will be the blueprints, muslin prototypes, and final pattern cut on actual fabric for his complicated constructions.
With the pattern finalized, Lessons 9 and 10 delve into the favorite ways Marc Constructs His Garments. Showing off his sewing skills, the designer takes three pieces from his past collections and deconstructs each one, explaining the various techniques used to achieve each garment’s final look. Techniques discussed include embroidery and intarsia.
Episodes 11 to 14, meanwhile, all deal with the post-design creation process, such as putting together a Collection (which is more than just a series of garments, but a constant editing until the collection tells a “story”); forging a seamless Collaboration with teams of artists so that everyone’s vision for a piece is realized to satisfaction; a complete breakdown of the entire process for creating Marc Jacobs’ Fall 2017 Collection from inspiration to runway; and staging a Runway Show (renowned for his standing-room-only, rock-concert-like catwalk extravaganzas, Marc tells his students that the runway is far more than a messaging platform from which to telegraph silhouette, texture and color. It is also, he says, “about emotion, about style, about spirit. It’s…a theatrical experience which, for me, is what inspires dreams.”
Finally, Marc spends the last four modules sharing his personal stories, from working for Louis Vuitton for over a decade and surviving the cutthroat fashion industry to his first experience with fashion and his gradual transformation to famous, award-winning designer. He then ends the course with an encouraging spiel for students to keep asking questions, be fearless, and always pursue their love of fashion.
As is with all the other MasterClasses, apart from the cinematic-quality produced videos which you can access anytime, anywhere from your desktop, mobile, or TV; student subscribers will also be able to download Marc Jacobs’ PDF Class Workbook which students can use to follow along with the video lessons, and complete the assignments to put Marc’s advice and techniques into practice, particularly the modules on pattern making. It also contains suggested resources, a supplies and materials list (so you can do the projects), and more.
Like most of the MasterClass instructors, Marc also offers an Office Hours segment where you can leave a video question for the designer to answer, as well as “The Hub” Community forum discussion section for each lesson that allows you to discuss lessons, ideas, and more with hundreds of others enrolled in the course.
Marc Jacobs is just one of the renowned designers and artists sharing their stories, insights, techniques, and creative genius on the MasterClass platform, joining such luminaries as Anna Wintour (Teaches Creativity and Leadership); Bobbi Brown (Teaches Makeup & Beauty); Dianne von Furstenberg (Teaches Building a Fashion Brand); Frank Gehry (Teaches Design & Architecture); Kelly Wearstler (Teaches Interior Design); Annie Leibovitz (Teaches Photography); and others whose courses you can also access in their entirety with your Masterclass All-Access Pass for just $180 billed annually, which also grants you access to 80+ other MasterClass courses available from the most famous and respected experts in design, fashion, lifestyle, business, politics, science, film & TV, culinary arts, sports, literature, music & entertainment, and more.
MasterClass also has a Gift option where you can present your loved ones with either an All-Access subscription for $180 or a single course for $90. Whatever you choose, students can enjoy a 30-day refund policy for both packages if you are unsatisfied with the platform for any reason at all.
Fashion designers tend to be a quirky, sometimes temperamental, bunch who aren’t exactly liberal with sharing their style techniques and creative processes. That’s why MasterClass is privileged to have one of America’s most talented artists and iconic CFDA Lifetime Achievement Award-winner Marc Jacobs teaching Fashion Design to a whole new generation of bold, maverick creators. And at just $180 for a MasterClass membership, you can learn even more from 80+ other revolutionary thinkers, artists, experts, and influencers who are at the top of their game.