Herberger in process of developing fashion design program

The Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts is in the process of adding a degree to its registry: fashion design.

“Fashion is something that we haven’t really been with,” said Adriene Jenik, professor and director of the Institute. “We needed to integrate that into our educational activities.”

Currently, the school’s majors are focused around art, film, dance, theater, music and design.

The design school does not include aspects of fashion and clothing lines. Design is centered on architecture and landscape architecture, industrial design and visual communication design.

Jenik said ASU is one of the few colleges in the area that does not offer much in regards to fashion. Mesa Community College, for instance, has a program that teaches students everything from the industry to display of clothing to the sewing and construction of it. The community colleges in the area don’t offer degrees in fashion design.

“We thought that would be a really great thing to offer students… (to) support the fashion activity here in the Valley and wouldn’t have to go to other states in order to pursue (it),” Jenik said.

The plan for the fashion design program goes beyond wardrobe and costume design.

“We recognized that fashion, and thinking about style, is more than just a superficial kind of activity,” Jenik said.

Part of this is new textiles, she said. One of the courses offered will be based on the fiber arts program, which will teach students how to develop new materials using fibers.

They’ll be looking to the future and attempting to advance the fashion culture. A part Jenik mentioned was space exploration.

Fashion is more than just how an article of clothing looks. It is based around the usefulness of it. In space exploration, the spacesuit can save or kill an astronaut. The suit for deep-water scuba diving can do the same. Fashion stretches from cooler, sweat-resistant athlete clothing to more effective janitorial clothing, and ASU is looking to develop these.

Classes include aspects from culture and history, along with courses like the fiber arts program.

“It’s a unique combination of courses,” she said. “We’re combining those classes with some specific fashion classes and then also being in a research University just provides a pretty unique degree.”

Communication and media specialist Deborah Susser said the program is still being worked on.

“It’s all kind of still in the making,” she said.

Much of the staff doesn’t know very much about the program.

Office specialist Patty Dixon, who works in the Herberger Institute, said colleagues are looking forward to the program starting.

“I feel like there’s a lot of excitement surrounding it, but that’s kind of all,”she said.

The idea of a new degree and a new research opportunity contributes to this excitement.

“We wanted to be able to have a degree program where there could be good, strong knowledgeable people about that discourse,” Jenik said.

Reach the reporter at logan.newman@asu.edu or follow him on Twitter @Logan_Newsman