Through experiential learning opportunities, students are able to engage in their passions, sharpen skill sets, expand knowledge and understanding, and broaden their perspectives. “Learning by doing and reflecting” is an inductive process based in theory which allows students to actively engage in experiences outside the classroom and academic setting. This project showcases an experiential learning opportunity in the form of an eight-hour art and fashion design battle, le Art de la Mode. It was held simultaneously in six different locations featuring teams consisting of a fashion design student, a local artist and a fashion retail student who were partnered with a local food/beverage business in the downtown city center. The participants met for the first time minutes prior to the start of the battle. They were tasked with creating an art/design piece based on the brand identity of the business with found materials on 18” wooden mannequins.
The impetus for this project was Théâtre de la Mode, an exhibition of 200 miniature mannequins wearing French couture garments that toured Europe and the United States during 1945-1946. It also featured the work of noted jewelry designers, milliners, and shoemakers showcased in exhibition sets crafted by theatrical designers.
This art and fashion design battle format was crafted to disrupt the creative processes of both the student designer and professional artist in order to not only bring awareness and insights to their own work, processes and practices but to stimulate and challenge their creative and critical thinking/making skill sets.
It furthermore aimed to bring community into the process through active participation in the public spaces and posts from the fashion retail students, in real-time, via a variety of social media applications.