Friday, August 26, 2005


Remember I once said I was preparing to fail a module?

The other day, my lecturer bumped into me in the lab.

"Do you need to pass this subject?"
"Ya.. of course. But I can't, I've already failed by attendance."

"Well, as long as you complete the final two assignments by next lesson, I'll give you a grade."

And so, my lecturer has graciously given me another chance. But frankly, she is secretly doing this against the school rules, because she does not believe in churning out warning letters for absenteesm and unpunctuality.

In fact, she'll be leaving after this semester because she can't stand the structure (I don't mean the architectural aspect) of the school.

Another part-time lecturer in my course has lamented that the stuff we are doing are "crap" and the skills we learnt are not up-to-date.

I agree with them. If I have the money, I'll go to Raffles LaSalle and concentrate on studying Fashion Design, and bask in the shadow of Sven Tan.

But because I'm an average Singaporean who haven't strike lottery, I can only afford to study in government tertiary schools such as, wat-eh-ver-wat-eh-ver, and learn things such as sewing, grading (machiam I am graduating to be a Seamstress), stuff like manufacturing and sourcing (machiam I wanna be a factory supervisor), and retail and merchandising (machiam I wanna be a sales personnel). All in the name of grooming us into well-rounded graduates who knows a little about everything (but their design are mediocre).

When people ask me what am I studying I go, "I'm doing apparel design." And they go, "Huh?", and then I say, "which is fashion design lah."

I cannot say the latter first because they'll assume I am in some arty farty school, whole day design design design, but in actual fact, I am running around in school, trying to squeeze in time to write report/sew/draw and other stuff unrelated to design.

The more I think of it, the more disillusioned I feel. My school environment is NOT focused on creativity but submissions, attendances and punctuality. I think that's all they are concerned about.

Now I know why I see some lecturers wandering around in school like zombies, going to class when needed to, and run off to the busstop at 6p.m. on the dot.

All thanks to a school soooo clean with no graffiti at all - the real freedom of expression.


Blogger s said...

wait till you learn what became of the graduates of yesteryears ...

last i heard, the best designer of my cohort ended up as a sales personnel for LV, and many of the designers ended up in merchandizing anyway - or they'd left the industry/country.

in ADM, they don't plan on grooming the next Galliano or something, they're looking to groom the next founder of an Esprit-like chain.

6:58 AM  
Blogger The Angry Little Girl said...

yea, I heard sooo many graduates ended up doing sales. Sales as in sales assistant, sales personnel.

In fact, one of the best design grad of last year is still "bumming" around, saying she don't wanna begin working yet. But I think in actual fact, she hasn't found the opportunity yet.

All the lecturers always brain-wash us by mention the very ONE designer who managed to cliched a deal with some established brand, such as The god-knows-what Tree. But they always keep quiet about what happened to the other designers.

Ah well, need to inspire the students mah.

12:07 PM  
Blogger JayWalk said...

Really nice of your lecturer to give you the break.

Don't lose it again! :)

8:22 PM  
Blogger ampulets said...

Hmm, I wonder if it's what you make of the education, and not so much the school itself? After all, a designer's education is more than a school.

Sure, a great school does more than teach you "up-to-date" skills - it should also inspire, provide resources that opens new doors, give an environment where your peers motivate and challenge you, and have lecturers who are constantly showing you you can do more.

But for every designer that "fails" (whatever that means), there's always more than just the school/lecturers behind it, no? If having learnt more about "apparel design" eventually makes you a better merchandiser (if that's what you want to be), why not? The design industry needs more good business managers and educated clients that will demand and support good design, than it does designers. Without good clients, we will always have crap designers. So I say there is no "shame" if you don't become a "designer" in the strict sense of the word when you graduate.

And if you have set your sights on being a damn good designer, nothing can stop you - definitely not a school. If your lecturers don't inspire - look elsewhere. If your classmates are not serious about design, find others who are. Sure, it's tough when your school discourages more than it helps, but keep at it if you are serious. Because when you graduate, it's even tougher out there!

Hey, hope you don't think I'm being too harsh here, i guess you are just griping after a crap day...this is just the ex-teacher in me talking! And believe you me that I also always complain about the appalling standard of our art/design education (as a client/observer!)...but you know, I am envious of you - having a shot for 3 years in a formal design programme - however crap you think the school is!

J and I, we dream of being able to take 3 years without a job just to be design students - but we have to be content now with just hanging out at Basheer& PageOne, dabbling in our little projects during our free time and, most importantly, supporting Singapore designers as consumers ;P You are one lucky angry little girl! Make the best of the opportunities you have ;>

2:37 AM  
Blogger The Angry Little Girl said...

I am not really grousing abt some areas I am subjected to learn. It's more like, because of these areas, lecturers often do not pay attention to the creative aspect. They go, "as long as you do it good and do it well, I'll give you a good grade." They hardly ever touch on creativity. Being in an environment that is not inspiring can be stifling at times.

Sometimes I wake up in the morning feeling glad, glad that I am really lucky to be in the course of my choice, doing certain things that I like. Thank you, your comment gave me a different perspective to look at =)

4:13 AM  
Blogger just anotheR said...

Hello to you. Are you from a po**? Sorry, though it looks surprisingly like a bad word (I'm sure we all know it's not), it's merely to keep stuff private. Am an (aspiring) fashion designer myself... ^-^ and studying at LaSalle SIA. Being in this graveyard of art we call Singapore, I'd simply like to let you know that you are not alone. May we all become as great as _____(insert name of a great designer)_____ "in the near future", and not something as uninspiring as "someday". Well, I sure hope I do. "If your lecturers don't inspire - look elsewhere. If your classmates are not serious about design, find others who are." Here's a serious one.

Actually, LaSalle SIA's annual fees are in the vicinity of $3600, including materials- just a little more than govt tertiary and quite affordable- so why not settle for it first? I do not know what difficulties you may have so please pardon me but I'd like to suggest it as a feasible option. I too, wanted to go to Raffles Design and lacked the moolah, but my dissatisfaction died out eventually. I heard from several past students of Raffles that the school is getting worse with each passing year because it's succumbing to commercialism. They are now accepting so many more students than they first did. Their strength was in the fact that they had very intensive classes due to little intake and thus, successfully grooming their students to become top notch designers. However, it's simply less of that case now- not completely bad, just less good.

Question: Would you recommend Raffles Design as a good art school?
Reply: Last time yes, but now no. It used to be alot better... but now it's just... crappy.

Therefore, have moved the search elsewhere and discovered greener pastures... like Central Saint Martins in London. I realised that all hope is not yet lost. After I'm done with my diploma in LaSalle, I have grandiose plans to complete my BA(hons) in Fashion at CSM. CSM has produced several top designers, such as Hedi Slimane of Dior Homme and Paul Smith. Everything there is so new and groundbreaking... Of course, if only I have the goddamn cash by then. If not, better get a bloody scholarship. Heh.

Again, I mean not to offend but I'd like to urge you to consider LaSalle if you decide to leave behind this hell so obsessed with submissions/attendance/punctuality. Your life as a fashion designer seems sadly repressed in that wherever place and you sound so passionate about fashion and creativity that I can't help but suggest you get out of there ASAP. I know saying is easier than doing. I only survived for 2 weeks in a po**.

LaSalle is an adequate place. The school building is filled to the brim with graffiti- it's against rules but no one gives a damn. We have people like Marc Jacobs and Eley Kishimoto giving talks in the auditorium! We're moving to a new campus soon. Not sure if they'll let us desecrate a multi-million dollar building with spray-paint though. As they say, NAFA is for fine arts, Raffles is for fashion, LaSalle is all-round. A good and less expensive choice for the average Singaporean. It may be less “prestigious” and intensive but the module is not inferior. Just gotta get past the foundation year and it's off to mannequin wonderland. :D

P/s Your dress looks lovely for someone who hasn't learnt to sew but didn't you say you have to learn sewing in school? I'm dying to learn dressmaking/sewing techniques (just got past my first year you see). Cheers. (: I wish I had a sewing machine.

12:23 AM  

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