The Department of Fashion Design at the University of Applied Sciences in Trier is not only one of the most renowned in Germany, it is also the oldest still existing institution for fashion design, which was founded as a design class in 1922 at the State School of Crafts and Arts and Crafts.
Today, after several renovations, it is housed in the building of the former Dominican convent of St. Catherine at the Irminenfreihof, which was built in the 18th century under the master builder Johannes Seiz. After various uses - as a military hospital during the Second World War and then as a state building school - the historical building complex was renovated for the last time at the turn of the millennium.
From the founding of the fashion design class in 1922 until the mid-1950s, the graduates1 found their professional field of activity primarily in self-employment with the design and manufacture of individual artistic clothing for private customers.
From around 1950 to 1955, companies were established in Germany where young people with artistic and practical training - so-called direct trainees or later designers graduating2 - were needed for the design and cutting sector. Increasingly, students from Trier found a new field of employment in textiles and fashion. Some of them also worked as fashion illustrators, in fashion journalism and in the sales and marketing departments of various German textile companies.
In percentage terms, the ratio of freelance to employed graduates in the 1970s was about 40 to 60 percent. These are cautious estimates, as detailed studies are lacking.
Since about 1970, fashion designers with a wide range of training have been employed to manage fashion departments in the emerging fashion industry, covering and managing all areas of this field. The Trier curriculum proved to be the ideal prerequisite for this and leading companies began to give preference to graduates of fashion design from Trier.
This has resulted in existing contacts and the Fashion Department of the Trier University of Applied Sciences is constantly receiving requests for recommendations from graduates.
1 Due to the small number of male students, only female graduates are mentioned here. Only from 1961 onwards is a male student identifiable in Trier.
2 Old term for university degree in the field of design.
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