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What I learned in Fashion School

Posted by Regine Tessone- founder of the Original Modest swimwear line Aqua Modesta on


In my previous blog you read how I came about designing my line of modest swimwear called Aqua Modesta. In the next few blogs I want to describe a little bit of my fashion design training at FIT (acronym for Fashion Institute of Technology) known as one of the top design schools in NYC. In our fashion illustration class, we learned that the best way to draw a fashion figure is to extend the legs to be way longer than they actually are. Already from day one we learned that to enhance the woman’s body we must begin to change it. Next we learned to illustrate her with a much smaller waist than humanly possible. We were told the hips and shoulders should be similar in width. If the shoulders are drawn in one angle direction then the hips shall be drawn in the reverse direction thereby giving the illustration much attitude. The arms too had to be elongated and thin. There was little difference between the upper arm and lower arm in terms of width. The arms always had to reach slightly below the hip line of the woman we drew. The hands too had to be thin with long and thin fingers. We then learned to draw the ankle and feet much thinner and longer in proportion to the illustration. As for the face it had to be on a small perfectly shaped oval head with large thick lips and perfect almond shaped eyes with a small upturned nose. The ears too must be drawn small and flat to face preferably covered by thick long hair. As for neck it too had to be elongated. All that they taught us was actually very correct. It did make the fashion model on paper truly outstanding and beautiful. However; it was far from portraying what real women look like.

As a student we were taught really well. As a young lady I understood that it was only a fashion illustration and not an actual view of what women should or do look like. I really hope that young girls and women today can understand that difference. Just like an author will write a book that is fiction based on a true story so too, we draw women’s bodies as fiction based on a true story. Albeit there are women today who make their best effort to look like a fashion illustration. It is their right to do so. I believe that each of us should make effort to present ourselves in the best possible way outwardly with clothing and accessories as well as inwardly by improving our character, irrelevant of what designers and illustrators seem to dictate to us.