Fashion school: learning the trade

Business is most certainly in fashion for one small French institute that is training up the next generation of savvy designers

When French fashion guru Tamara Hostal arrived in Dubai in the mid-nineties she found a dynamic metropolis, but one without a degree-granting college for fashion. Possessing the creativity and courage that is now synonymous with her fashion school, she leveraged her fashion industry experience to found Esmod Dubai, the regional satellite for one of the world’s oldest fashion institutions.

The Dubai campus of the Parisian school opened in 2006 and is now the leading light of Dubai’s fashion education sector, focusing on pairing French fashion know-how with a mission to nurture the next generation of made-in-the-UAE fashion designers.

“We run our school with passion and a love of the arts,” says Hostal. “The future belongs to our students and it is our job to shape them into the future drivers of the industry: ‘From Design to Business’ is the motto of Esmod Dubai.”

The school prides itself in the professional qualifications it offers in Fashion Design and Pattern Making across ready-to-wear, couture, new couture, haute couture and stage costumes and caters to students from all across the Middle East. Esmod’s strategy of proactively seeking out a new market in Dubai has paid off in reputation and prestige. Its main programme is centred around a three-year French Higher Diploma, which is the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree in France.

The qualification is issued from France and accredited by the National Chamber of Professional Certification, an accolade that serves to open doors to fashion houses worldwide and offer graduates a wider scope of internships and career opportunities.

“Many of our graduates have their own showrooms and fashion houses, with their collections distributed throughout the region's multi-brand stores,” comments founder Tamara Hostal. “Some graduates have also launched careers as fashion journalists, editors, buyers and bloggers - working either here, back in their home country and even in Europe.”

Supporting student’s move from the creative world of education into the reality of the commercial sphere, the Esmod Fashion Designer’s Incubator is a savvy business initiative.
The fashion store located in Wafi Mall is a confident move for a small school and illustrative of the constant link it seeks to form between the theory and practice of fashion. Hostal is a great believer in learning by doing. “With assistance in creative back-up, production, marketing, branding and merchandise support, we are guiding our graduates into their fashion businesses,” comments Hostal.