I graduated from Lisof in 2003, yes it is a long time ago already and the industry is ever evolving. At the time there was no BA Fashion Degree or Honours option. I have worked in the industry on various levels and I believe having an Honours would give a candidate an edge when going into the job market place, but why? What can an Honours Degree in Fashion do for you…and me? I spoke to some industry leaders, lecturers and students to find out more.

Lissa: What does an Honours in Fashion offer me and others interested in furthering their fashion designing education?

Erica: An Honours in Fashion offers you a supportive environment to further explore the concepts and critical theoretical frameworks that underpin notions of fashion, the dressed body, and the complex identity constructs in a changing postmodern society.

Lissa: How does having an Honours affect me in the working world?

Erica: A number of LISOF Honours graduates have been accepted into Masters programmes (locally and internationally) across a wide range of disciplines that includes sociology, cultural studies, anthropology, art history, gender studies and cultural history, which points to the value of the programme in building capacity within this emerging field of study, to articulate both authentic research, and opinion, on the dressed, fashioned body. The ability to discuss (any aspect of) fashion with greater academic merit would benefit all career directions (whether commercial or creative). An understanding of the complexity of the phenomenon of fashion, its semiotics and applications (in design, in society, and in personal identity constructs) prepares the learner for the complexity of a multi-cultural and interdisciplinary world of fashion.

Lissa: What do think the greatest impact of this is on the industry?

Erica: The opinions, arguments, essays, posters, or project proposals (research outcomes of an Honours in Fashion) contribute to a wider academic field, such as conferences and journals; as well as adding to public spaces, like museums, magazines and exhibitions, so that the knowledge produced in the programme resonates beyond the institution, as valid contributions to broader transformations of the South African economic and cultural field.

Erica De Greef

Who is Erica? Erica de Greef, PhD Scholar in African Studies, and Research Fellow with the Archive and Public Culture Research Initiative at The University of Cape Town, is currently working on a body of research that focuses on the possibilities for transformation in the postcolonial museum via the curatorial potential of thinking through fashion. Erica holds a Masters in Fine Arts (Wits University, 2011), and a Postgraduate Diploma in Higher Education (2013). Having developed the critical field of fashion studies in South Africa, predominantly in the context of fashion education, Erica has promoted the understanding and use of fashion with a strong local content, whilst engaging with notions around fashion, history, society and identity.If you’re looking to study further, or gain a deeper understanding of the exciting fashion realm, then come and join one of our research evenings to see what the Lisof Honours Programme is all about.

Lissa: Who studies an Honours in Fashion and why?

Wendy: We have such a multi-talented, eclectic group of students who come to us from all sectors of the South African fashion industry – we have students joining us from other universities for the fashion-specialisation that we do so well; we have planners, buyers & merchandisers coming back to study from industry because they want to improve their academic standing; and, of course, we have our own past students continuing their degree studies into their chosen specialisation. This makes for a diverse and engaging classroom environment – and you can only begin to imagine the network connections and friendships that are built in this space. Our lecturers are experts in their fields and they really help to fuel the debate and research capacity of the Honours student group. They’re certainly a vibrant and ambitious group this year, and I’m looking forward to seeing their research outputs at the end of the year.

 Who is Wendy? WENDY SCHULTZ, Head of Department: Honours Commercial Courses at Lisof


Lissa: What has studying and Honours in Fashion impacted you?

Danielle: Fashion has a very academic side, one that is not often explored or discussed by the glamazons who attend fashion week. The Honours program has deepened my knowledge not only of fashion but also society. Fashion is a great medium to study cultures, psychology and politics. I am discovering that fashion does not exist in a vacuum but is rather a culmination of the world around us. This program not only extends to academia but also design philosophies, giving my own work gravitas, going beyond aesthetics. People are often surprised when I explain that I am doing my Honours in fashion, “You can do that?” is the normal response. I explain that fashion is not about fabulous fashion shows and retail stores, but rather it is about people. When you study fashion you study people and all the crazy complexities of the mind that we as the human race express through our appearance.

Who is Danielle? Danielle Kushlick is a 4th year Honours student, currently working on her Dissertation on Body Modification. She is a Sales Rep at LISOF and continues to work on small design projects in her spare time.

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Lissa: What do you value most from doing an Honours in Fashion at Lisof?

Lusanda: The Honours programme has provided an additional perspective into the psychological and socio-cultural elements that exist outside of the fashion system, while playing a hand in influencing fashion. I value being able to elaborate on the theories we learned at LISOF at an undergrad level, then applying them to practical and real-life phenomena. We also explored business and marketing concepts that are familiar to a commercial major student, yet are more sophisticated and require more individual application of ideas.

Lissa: Would you recommend this programme?

Lusanda: I would highly recommend the programme for students who are competent in undergrad theory and enjoy a practical and less authoritative and formal lecture format. However, it must be acknowledged that the course is very time consuming, given the substantially higher level of learning and the required independent research, so a steady commitment to the programme is necessary to truly appreciate the knowledge you will gain.

Who is Lusanda? Lusanda Ntintili is a 4th year Honours student, administrative assitant at Lisof and passionate about menswear.

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To learn more information and enquire about the Lisof Honours course click HERE.

Who am I? A question I often ask myself! Lissa Leandro Correa Mendes is my full name and I graduated from LISOF 2003. My namesake ladies wear label “Lissa Leandro” was born from humble beginnings and grew to appear in over 100 SA media publications, graced SA TV screens on lifestyle shows and soapies and walked on several SA Fashion Week runways. I am currently a Social Media Strategist at Lisof and full time mom to two fashionista girls!


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