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Tag Archives: Cultural Human Resources Council

Tuesday March 31st, 2015 – Back to class

We’ve just left two weeks of Spring break behind us. Well, it wasn’t so much a break as quiet work-time to catch up for most of us here, and part one of the final Certificate exam is being written today. The programs are pretty intense, and if you do get behind even for one or two days, the work piles up incredibly quickly. Students all work very long hours for the duration of the programs, and as an administrator as well as instructor, my job doesn’t end at the close of class either. It usually runs late into the evenings and into weekends replying to emails and keeping up with necessary paperwork. It didn’t get any easier when Ecole Holt Couture became a designated Private Vocational Training institution licensed by the Alberta government of Advanced Innovation and Education department.

We often get questions about EHC’s programs and the equivalency of its certificate awards to other degrees. So here it goes.

Both Ecole Holt Couture programs are recognized by the Advanced Innovation and Advanced Education government department of Alberta, Canada.

EHC’s Dressmaking Certificate program is designed for self directed employment as well as the prerequisite program to enter the EHC Couturier/Tailoring Diploma program. The Diploma program is designed for self directed employment or free lance work, as well as entry level positions for apprenticeships. As such, there is no equivalent to our Certificate and Diploma programs. The entire curriculum is unique and original, written by the Founder, based on her education and 60 plus years of professional experience in the trade of couture and tailoring in Europe and Canada.

The reason that Ecole Holt Couture was established and its sole existence is to preserve and pass on traditional practical skills with its related professional technical knowledge not currently being taught in fashion or design institutions. As we’ve ventured to more modern approaches, focusing on off-shore manufacturing and marketing, the nature of educational programs have evolved to meet the demands of the fashion industry.

What is being left out is formalized training in couture and tailoring. Expert mentoring, the transference of knowledge and sharing of experience, not least of which is teaching the fundamental skills for a couture and tailoring career alternative – not typically included in the ‘industry’ statistics today.

So where are the statistics for couturiers and tailors to be found then, if not in the fashion industry? In our research, we have found them to be placed squarely in the arts and culture sector as craftsmen and artisans. see Cultural Human Resources Council

At EHC we do not teach quick and easy step by step do-at-home projects, that follow trendy designs adapting ready made patterns for sewing enthusiasts nor do we teach how to manipulate CAD programs. This training is meant for the serious career-minded individual to gain the expertise to take an original design idea and craft it into a fully formed product, by your own hands. What then is the exact degree equivalent, remains a good question. Cheers! J

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Posted by on March 30, 2015 in College degrees

 

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Can emerging artist and designer forums help me?

“I am pro-solitude not anti-social…”

You love to and almost always do work on your own. Statistics prove that as a creative type – artisan or fine craft worker – you work your own crazy hours and like to make decisions about all aspects of your business. This is perfect, except that you are also responsible for keeping paper work up to date, promoting and marketing yourself all on your own.

Starting out you will have limited cash funds. You are a highly responsible person working at least one part time job, paying yourself, paying off student loans, while you establish your business.

Who do you bounce ideas around with? How do you get crucial insider knowledge, industry insights and helpful information to get you started when you’re an emerging talent without long experience?

While attending PARK’s Emerging Artist and Designer Forum this past weekend, it became obvious that these forums are the perfect way to connect with working professionals to gain valuable information and possible mentor-ship leads in Calgary. Participating professionals are interested in sharing their how-to tips and wisdom on issues a variety of issues. Key words “interested in sharing”.

The forum is also a networking opportunity that is organic, rather than constructed.  Networking with people who you feel may be your competition? Surprisingly, not everyone whom you feel is your competition actually is. Everyone is unique and has something of value to share that benefits all. Recognizing commonalities and identifying pitfalls and challenges is eye opening and the first step to overcoming them. You may discover that partnering with someone just for certain projects or situations would be an ideal solution to a challenge that you face.

Being open and transparent about relevant issues benefits everyone in our local (cultural, arts and fashion) community. Change or progress in the industry will not necessarily happen from the top down, or from the inside reaching out. New opportunities, ideas and attitudes emerge from the bottom up, from the outside pressing in, and from knowing what is going on elsewhere.

Your journey is completely unique. No single guru can tell you everything you need to know, but is comforting to know that you don’t need to be alone while on working on your own. I would encourage any artist, designer and artisan in the Calgary area to attend these PARK forums.

As a city we are going through cultural growing pains. Working together to create a more diverse cultural community is beneficial to increasing everyone’s chances of success.

knowledge vs experience

knowledge vs experience

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Artist: Hand-Mind-Heart Maker

“He who works with his hands is a laborer.

He who works with his hands and his head, is a craftsman.

He who works with his hands and his head and his heart, is an ARTIST”.

– St. Francis of Assisi  ***

As an Artisan, your personal philosophy and way of making a living, and everything you do makes you and how you do it totally unique.

Professional high or ‘haute’ couture and bespoke tailoring are careers more akin to siblings than to cousins, both are born from the same roots, require years of training and experience, are extremely creative, hand-mind skills based, and are clientele specific, but neither profession is given much attention within the fashion industry, or the crafts or arts disciplines, which makes it extremely difficult to find statistics on, or to find applicable practical business marketing plans for and both are very difficult to find training facilities or mentors for.

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada lists these collective industry skills separately under several reference NOC headings: Couturier, Fashion designer 5243,  Tailor, Dressmaker, Furrier, Milliner 6342, Artisan and Craftsperson 5244, and Patternmakers textiles, leather and fur 5245, Theatre, fashion, exhibit and other creative designers 5243, Inspectors and graders, textile, fabric, fur and leather products manufacturing 9447 (listed under ‘fitters’). Each of these descriptions combined covers much of what couturiers and tailors do as self-employed and small business owners, but they also actively manage their independent business. HRSD says the National Occupation Classification should be updated next by 2016.

Couturiers and Tailors serve a ‘niche market’, a focused, targetable portion of a market addressing a need for a product or service that is not being addressed by mainstream providers. Marketing activity is perhaps more important for niche market businesses than for any other kind, because the niche market business is by definition, unknown and succeeds or fails on making the connection with exactly the right kind of customer/client, and today couturiers and tailors need to devote time to marketing as well as their craft.

They are of the few highly skilled disciplines in the fashion garment industry which still is and always will be a ‘time consuming creative mind-hand making process’or what the industry generally terms ‘labour intensive’. Let’s be clear about when technology becomes involved, it is for the specific purpose of speeding up very mundane repetitive tasks that does not detract from the final outcome (consider an electrical steam iron or sewing machine as technology versus tools of the trade being primarily your hands, and scissors, needles etc.). Extremely useful technology tools useful for today are the computer, the internet and social media.

However, humans will never be separated from and always will do the more interesting tasks in any discipline or industry, no matter how much mechanisation and technology has replaced mundane labour to speed up processes – they will never replace the work only humans can and love to do. This includes making contacts and the very special aspect of personal service.

Couture and bespoke tailoring entail the continuous assessment of the best approach and technique to use to attain the creative vision of the maker using a great variety of fabrics, colours, textures, layering of materials, draping effects, pleating, easing, structuring, detailing, to make a perfectly fitting unique and lasting garment, and every piece is different.

Decisions are not each dictated by miniscule savings on the unit cost of materials, quickest methods, or worse yet – shortcuts, as they are in manufacturing where profit margins only become lucrative in the thousands of units sold.  In couture and tailoring the fabrics and the methods, must each serve and protect the design, the client, and ultimately the environment (natural and economical).

Personal inventiveness and creative exploration are often the most distinguishing features of successful crafts practitioners. Career craftspeople constantly “play” with ideas, materials or processes, forms, images, functions, even markets, and indulge in a path of life-long learning.

How you think about your world, your philosophy, your way of being and living is expressed in how you do your work, and in everything you do – which makes what you do totally unique – and there is nothing ambiguous or vague about the garments couturiers and tailors create.

Some craftspeople talk about the meditative or entrancing aspect of their work and how important that is to them. Most importantly, they love being part of a world that explores the meaning and values of society. Creativity, originality and distinctiveness are probably the most important long term factors in developing a successful couture and tailoring career. This concept of individuality is the root of both personal satisfaction and market recognition — whatever and wherever those might be.

***Quote share thanks to Sunil Joshi

Ecole Holt Couture Fashion Event Fundraiser- "ONE"

Ecole Holt Couture Fashion Event Fundraiser- “ONE”

 

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EHC Back to School April 3rd

This ‘March break’ thing is passing by all too quickly! And I wonder when we will see some green buds on the trees here in Calgary? I understand that EHC students have been very busy during their time off and are preparing to return after the Easter long weekend.

New applications for the 2013-2014 Fall Term are arriving at the office, and so for registrants it will be quite busy  during the summer months, getting resources and home studios all lined up.

The last Term of the 2012-2013 school year, April to June, will be especially exciting for those who are graduating. A full day workshop is planned to develop their professional portfolios, led by Leela Jacobs experienced in producing and directing photo shoots across the country and down south of the border. Students will be working on Term 12 projects plus planning their final projects – which are entirely designed and created following a set of requirements – and will be involved in producing the EHC Fashion Show and Fundraiser Event held on November 17th, 2013, at the Calgary Winter Club.

As part of the curriculum we have been covering and reviewing the importance of creating your ‘business plan’ using Cultural Human Resources Council ‘the Art of Managing your Career’ manual, the only one developed for cultural workers in Canada, (specifically for artistic and creative types who work on their own or run their own businesses). As well, EHC incorporated much of what it takes to run an atelier with good customer service (and how that is defined), the typical paperwork that needs to be done in day to day operations, etc. as Ecole Holt Couture is a real couture and tailoring business as well as teaching facility.

Also, a workshop is planned in May at EHC School, led by a Business Accounts Manager from the Royal Bank of Canada, outlining what you should do in creating in your ‘business plan’, plus introducing resources for up and coming entrepreneurs and start-up businesses. This workshop will be open to all current and past EHC students, which is a unique opportunity to get information from ‘the horse’s mouth’ so to speak.

Looking forward to seeing everyone next week – Happy Easter! – J

working on the most comfortable shirt dress - 100% linen

working on the most comfortable shirt dress – 100% linen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

cashmere winter coat - in progress

cashmere winter coat – in progress

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working with fur and traditional tailoring methods

working with fur and traditional tailoring methods

 

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