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Joanie Willgues

Instructor Challenges Students to Modernize an Iconic Brand

Joanie Willgues's experience ranges from costume design houses to Broadway

Theatre Costume Design instructor, Joanie Willgues, holds a BFA from University of Texas, Austin. She has extensive industry experience, ranging from costume design houses to Broadway.

Describe a favorite class project at FIDM. 
The final project for my 20th Century Designers class is a hit. The students work in groups and randomly choose an iconic fashion designer, e.g. Chanel, Poiret, Schiaparelli. They collaborate to dissect the basic elements of this designer's style, influences, color palette, etc. and apply these terms and descriptions to a brand new modern line. Once they have those elements, they forget the past designer's looks and come up with a new brand that includes research on their target market, a mood board, four clothing designs. They then expand the brand with their choice of jewelry, shoes, handbags, home decor, perfume, etc. I'm always amazed at what they come up with.

What do you enjoy most about teaching at FIDM?
I'm going to be honest and say the thing I love most is the library. Everytime I go in there I can't believe I'm so lucky to have all that information about things I love at my fingertips. I love lecturing, but OMG that library!!!

If you could give advice to young people entering the industry today, what would it be?
Keep in touch with the classmates you've made a connection with. Relationships are key in these industries. I've done freelance work for most of my life and most of my jobs have come from people who knew that I did good work and that I was easy to get along with.

Please note: The information contained herein was confirmed at the time of original publication.

Categories:  Theatre Costume Design Faculty