The only school subject we require for acceptance at Xela Fashion College is maths. Either pure maths or maths literacy, minimum 50% pass. When we explain this to the learners visiting the various career expos we’ve attended, they are surprised. “But I can’t draw!” they exclaim, “I’ve never done art nor sewn a thing in my life.” At Xela we don’t care if you cannot draw or sew. We can teach you those things. But maths knowledge you need. Now you may be wondering what maths has to do with fashion! Well just as in draughting, certain mathematical functions have to be performed in pattern cutting. Patterns need to be manipulated in order to fit certain sizes. It’s all about proportions. So you make a specific pattern but as we are not all “one size fits all”, that pattern would have to be manipulated – and that’s where the maths comes in (which is way too involved to get into here, just trust me on this one!)

There is a misconception that maths is a “left-brained”¬†subject. Not so, says founder and principal Alex Asman. Maths is a picture, problem solving subject. Maths builds logic and teaches you to think in pictures. Maths can be a story and maths CAN be taught. The problem is that not everyone who is good at maths is as good at teaching the subject to others. Then it becomes a bit of a roller coaster ride, to be honest. One wobbly wheel, you derail and you lose it. You end up spending the rest of your life believing you are hopeless at maths. Yet Asman maintains that if you can see the pattern and understand the process it all becomes pretty easy. She goes even further and says it is less about the process you use, rather that you get to the correct conclusion. Right brained people may use different creative ways to get to the right answer.

Maybe there is hope for us maths failures yet!

So, if you are wanting a career in Fashion Design, don’t be put off by your perceived lack of artistic talent and sewing abilities. Just focus on that maths.


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