One year Masters of Arts (MA) in Fashion Design: New Materials & Technologies

Paris College Of Art

Program Description

One year Masters of Arts (MA) in Fashion Design: New Materials & Technologies

Paris College Of Art

The Master of Arts (M.A.) in Fashion Design proposed by PCA, focused on new materials and technologies, is a one-year program aimed at equipping designers with the knowledge and skills required to make the most of emerging new technologies and materials.

New materials are being developed at a fast rate, enabling garments to do more than clothe: they can measure temperature, transmit information about the wearer’s physiological state, provide stimulation, release compounds into the skin, etc.


These materials are often used for sportswear and underwear, but they can serve a purpose outside of technical wear. The goal of the program is to encourage and enable designers of ready-to-wear to incorporate them into their design, whether it be men’s, women’s or children’s wear. Students will also learn to work with new technologies, such as using 3D printing to produce a garment or creating connected garments.

France hosts many companies specializing in innovative materials (Lytess is a pioneer in cosmetotextiles, which are textiles containing a substance or preparation intended to be released permanently on different parts of the epidermis) and connectivity (Cityzen Sciences was the first to launch a connected T-shirt), and we will draw on this local expertise for our Professional Practice Workshop Series.

The program combines technical knowledge and principles of design research and theory. Studio classes and workshops conducted by professionals from relevant fields (materials experts, engineers, designers) emphasize the mastery of new materials and technologies and their incorporation into a wide range of designs (not only technical gear), while theory-based and methodology courses help students develop their personal creative visions.

Students with a background in fashion design or tailoring will be well-suited to enter the program, while also continuing to broaden their knowledge and skills through supporting courses on sustainable production processes and ethical responsibilities.

The structure of the this degree is composed of three types of classes: Studio: Creativity & Inquiry (core and elective courses) Research: Investigation (core and elective courses) Professional Skills (core and elective courses)


Studio I & II: New Materials & Technologies

Each semester, the Studio course brings in experts in new materials and technologies to teach for a 4-5 week segment each. Workshop topics include cosmetotextiles (a textile containing a substance or preparation intended to be released permanently on different parts of the epidermis), illuminated textiles that can be used for phototherapy, textiles that conduct heat or that can capture body temperature and heart rate, textiles incorporating LED screens, and 3D printing, among others. In each segment students learn a different technique and are encouraged to apply it to their little black dress (fall) and final graduation collection (spring). Students will attend the international professional fair dedicated to new materials, Première Vision, which is held in Paris each September and February.

Connected Garments

In this course students will study examples of connected garments, the next frontier after smart watches, smart glasses, and fitness bands. Students will visit and study cases such as Cityzen Sciences, which innovates in the field of data collection and management through integrated solutions involving sensors, smart devices and data management. They will then work with students in the M.A./M.F.A. in Transdisciplinary New Media to come up with prototypes for connected garments outside the realm of technical gear for specific athletic disciplines.

The Fashion Lab

In the second semester, after the Studio class on new materials and garments and the Connected Garments class in the fall, students will develop projects for Dassault Système’s Fashion Lab incubator.

Atelier I: From Ready-to-Wear to Haute Couture

Design and create three versions of a little black dress: one for mass retail, one for ready-to-wear retail and one for a couture house. The learning objectives are to teach students about different market segments, to teach them to calculate costs and to adapt a design to different buyers. The final productions will be reviewed by a jury of industry professionals representing the three market segments, and students will be asked to explain and justify their design choices for each one of the three versions of the dress.

Atelier II: Graduation Collection

In this project-based semester-long class students have to design and create a collection of six looks (garments, accessories, etc.) that will be presented to a jury of professionals at the end of the semester. Students will complete research around the theme they will have selected and apply the techniques they will have acquired in the Couture Craftsmanship and other studio classes and elective courses.


History of Fashion & Accessories

In this course, students will review the history of fashion (including accessories) in the 20th and 21st centuries. Students will consider how it is represented in catalogs, newspapers and other visual supports. The Maciet archives at the Bibliothèque du Musée des Arts Décoratifs (Library of the Museum of Decorative Arts), a PCA partner institution, will be an invaluable resource for student research. The main focus will be on Europe in order to take advantage of the resources at hand.

Sustainable Production Processes

Students learn about sustainable production alternatives through readings, discussions, case studies and direct applications to their studio work in the Atelier. How will the garment they are designing be produced? What are the costs and benefits of this production at every step of the process? Students also select a garment from one brand that they research to unveil its entire life cycle, from the choice of materials and means of production to the final recycling or destruction.

Professional Practice Workshop Series

Professionals from the Parisian fashion world will come in to introduce students to their professional practice and engage them in practical exercises preparing them for the job market. Instructors will be drawn from a broad range of fields: designers of accessories for men and women, designers of sportswear, children’s apparel, lingerie; buyers, magazine editors, I.P. and licensing lawyers, etc.

Master’s Thesis

Students will document the research they conduct on the theme of their final project, as well as the research they have done on the cost and means of production of their project. Some of the criteria for evaluating the thesis will be the extent to which the student’s work is situated in a historic and cultural context, the quality of the student’s research, and the appropriate use of documentation, artifacts, and the learning resources available to them in Paris.

Designer’s Social & Ethical Responsibility

In this course, students are brought to think about the ethical implications of a designer’s choices on the life cycle of an object (materials, means and conditions of production, recycling, etc.). Each student will select a garment line from a given brand and research its life cycle.



Students take a placement test to be placed into one of three levels of French language: introductory, intermediate and advanced. Classes meet twice a week for written and oral exercises designed to strengthen vocabulary and grammar. These courses use dialogues, oral exercises, short compositions and literary texts to establish a firm foundation in the language. Students approach everyday life situations in French, while learning the fundamentals of grammar and the complexity of conversation. The intermediate and advanced courses serve as a more sophisticated introduction to French culture and lifestyle and as a means of consolidating grammar and vocabulary.

Concept Development: Storytelling

In this semester-long course, students learn to quickly develop and research concepts to tell a story using images and words. The aim is to provide them with the tools, skills and processes that they will need to respond to a client brief in a professional and convincing manner. It is open as an elective to students from other departments, since the ability to come up with creative ideas, researching them and then “packaging” them in a compelling verbal and visual story is a key skill for any designer, whether it is to develop a story for a fashion editorial, an accessories line, or the concept for a new restaurant layout. The disciplinary mix of students also serves to prepare them to work within interdisciplinary teams, which is what they will be faced with in the professional world.

Still Life Photography

The main aim of this class is to provide students with the tools and techniques required to document their work in a professional manner in order to share it with prospective clients. Students in all the new M.A. programs (accessories design, fashion design, fashion photography, interior design) will need to be proficient in photographing objects and/or interiors. Photographing still life is different from portraiture or street photography, and requires mastery of lighting and mise en scène.

Intellectual Property Rights

The I.P. course covers issues related to copyright, patents, contracts and liabilities as they apply to art and design. Students will learn about international laws related to copyright and patents and understand how to protect their intellectual property and the best strategies to adopt in different circumstances.

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated October 23, 2017
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Sept. 2018
1 year
Full time
France - Paris, Ile-de-France
Start date: Sept. 2018
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Sept. 2018
France - Paris, Ile-de-France
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info