For more information please visit our website at www.ecoleholtcouture.com
WHAT IS COUTURE
Couture and haute couture are fashion terms which are often used interchangeably meaning distinction of design and technique that remains an influence more lasting and prestigious than fashion trends. It is a discipline of ultimate imagination and accountable exclusively to its clients.
Authentic haute couture persists in providing us with the best of the most beautiful clothing that can be envisioned and made in any era; it is as it began – a dream of quality in an era of industry and mass marketing. At the top end of fashion design is ‘haute couture’, a prestigious field in which a designer works on unique creations for exclusive clients.
“Haute Couture” is a French term for ‘high dressmaking’ or ‘highest sewing’ and in France is protected by law and defined by the Chambre de commerce et d’industrie de Paris based in Paris, France. Their rules state that only “those companies mentioned on the list drawn up each year by a commission domiciled at the Ministry for Industry are entitled to avail themselves” of the label haute couture.
EHC is a private school that offered post secondary training for people 18 years and older seeking a professional career in the fashion industry specializing in Couture and Bespoke Ladies Tailoring from 2007 to June 2021.
From September 2021, EHC discontinued its full-time on-campus programs and transitioned to online instruction combined with on-site workshops. As we are still in the development of our online course modules, the date when we will offer our online courses is yet TBD.
EHC’s program has a strong emphasis on combining hand and technical skills to preserve these traditional skills and master craftsmanship, creating contemporary design. We encourage our students and graduates to engage in entrepreneurial business activity as well as marketing themselves as artisans.
Our Vision at École Holt Couture is to present competent, knowledgeable, talented, and skilled graduates of ‘couture fashion’ by providing expert instruction, individual attention and encouragement to pursue excellence at a professional level.
At EHC, we give equal weight to working with the mind as working with the hands – learning by doing. We don’t disregard modern technology, but insist upon connecting first hand knowledge with quality materials in a tangible way. We encourage students to strive for excellence in their work, to increase their experience and to put into practice what they have acquired while they are learning so that they may develop independent careers or pursue employment upon graduation.
One of the differences between a fashion designer and a couturier is that a designer may not be able to turn their creation into workable realities on their own without the help of the pattern maker, or have sufficient knowledge of fabrics and their properties along with respective technical structuring methods and skills. These other experts may also advise the designer on occasion that what they have designed is not possible to achieve.
Couturiers have the advantage of being insiders to all of this knowledge and experience. Of course, the training to become a couturier is therefore more intense and takes longer to master the skills. For example, being able to draft original patterns from a set of measurements and a working sketch is a valuable and uncommon skill today, but necessary for creator makers.
Couturiers also are also trained to visualize garments in three dimensions. How a garment appears from back and in profile is as important to a successful design as the appearance from the front. In this respect, creatively concealing how and where a garment is closed, rather than the standard front-centre, back-center or side closure. Also how a particular element of design will be invisibly supported is so important.
EHC is only one of a handful of places around the world where the teaching of traditional skills is carried out within in its own active Couture Studio. The curriculum is absolutely unique in that Elfriede Holtkamp, Founder of the school, has written original material based on her own European training and 60 plus years of professional experience as a couturier and business operator with a world wide clientele. The Program Elfriede has created is pragmatic and an effective method of teaching the skills of the trade from the basics of hand sewing to advanced and complex garment design, original pattern making, and garment creation by hand through a practical approach.
Ecole Holt Couture is committed to preserving the art of couture sewing and design as being vital to the understanding of valuable traditional skills by connecting them with the present, and so creating a sustainable future.
We are convinced that in this very time of the 21st century, we are all attempting to reconnect ourselves with our various cultural roots and social heritages, forming our creative imagination – giving us our particular sense of identity. We challenge typical business models, which have developed over the past few decades regarding the handing over of local garment production to overseas facilities focused on cheap labour and unsustainable or unethical business practices, by consciously choosing a more ethical and environmentally gentle approach. We believe that when people reconnect ‘work’ with pride of craftsmanship and life long fulfillment – giving it meaning – through excellence, professionalism and artisan ship our mission can be achieved.
Founder of Ecole Holt Couture –
Instructor of Ecole Holt Couture –