New York Fashion Academy – Admission Letter

December 7, 2013
Terry Horlemus
New York Fashion Academy
5201 Ballard Ave Northwest
Seattle, WA 98107

Dear Ms. Horlemus,

I am writing to issue a formal statement acknowledging my intent to seek admission into the New York Fashion Academy’s Certificate program in Fashion Design and Construction. After carefully and thoroughly reading the information provided to me about your program I have decided to pursue the Certificate. Initially I had considered taking a few classes, but after reading about the experiences and opportunities offered by the program, I have fallen in love with it.

My formal interest in sewing began in early high school when I enrolled in an elective class called, simply, Sewing Class and taught by a freshmen boy with no adult supervision. My mother lent me her all metal ‘50s era “portable” Elna and a pair of shears in a metal box marked “CLOTH ONLY” that had been teasing me my whole life. I carried it up the half-mile hill to my high school. After three one-hour Sewing Classes, (which consisted of sitting down at the machine alone and tinkering with its parts, while occasionally getting advice from a high school underclassmen) I brought home piles of finished and half-finished pieces. My mother could tell I had fallen for her sewing machine and in it I had met my lifelong partner in creative design. For my 15th birthday, my mother bought me a shiny new Elna of my own and thus began my new life with my sewing machine.

My interest in design and costume, however, started well before that class. I had been taping, pinning, and gluing fabric together to form a basis for costumes and canvases for screen-printing my whole life. I was extremely lucky to be raised by two hippy-hearted liberals that believed following your art would lead to success. As such I was frequently given gifts of at-home screen printing kits, all the x-acto blades I could ask for in the pursuit of using hand-cut stencils, reused fabric scraps, and eventually my very own sewing machine. I went on to create perfect recreations of my favorite theatrical costumes, imagined female-positive superheroes, or high fashion pieces for my rock star older sister.

Ever since the gift of that first machine I have been creating costumes. Any excuse will do: theme parties, Halloween, anime conventions, comic conventions, picnics at the park, or for no other reason than the desire to make a costume. Being entirely self-taught, my skills have improved slowly by trial and error, and have left me with a mismatch of abilities—but never a lack of passion. I have been driven to sew and create for my entire life. The longer I do it the more clear it becomes that costumes and costume design are at the center of that drive.

After completing my education in English Literature and Fine Art in my hometown of Denver, Colorado I struggled to find my way. I had worked in a sushi restaurant full-time while in school, and after graduating I moved into a 50 hour a week management position with the company. Despite having worked all through college and pursuing a relatively non-creative degree, this was the first time in my life I had to limit my costume design time. I slowly realized that without drawing, cutting, painting, sewing, and altering in my spare time, I had lost my drive. Costume design revealed itself to me as the real passion of my life—the force that made the rest of life worth living. So, I quit my job and moved across the country in pursuit of a new career path. I have been fulfilling myself creatively with another hobby, website design, since arriving in Seattle, but every time I’ve passed the creatively stationed busts in the windows of New York Fashion Academy I’ve felt a fluttering in my chest for that original love of mine.

At first, I was timid. I was just going to look. I planned to see what classes were available and maybe think about taking a few advanced sewing techniques courses. Then, after looking for a while I thought maybe I would take a few classes first,just to see what it was like. After all, I had already graduated, maybe I just needed a little more to supplement my degree. But the more I read about your program, and the more minutes passed that I wasn’t pursuing it, I knew I had found what I had come to Seattle to do. I have read and re-read the documentation sent to me, and although it appears you put a serious emphasis on fashion and high fashion, I believe that my passion for creation and your expert curriculum can lead me to a fulfilling life in costume design.

I am ready to begin my life as a costume designer with the classes at New York Fashion Academy. I want to learn how to draft patterns and take measurements to create perfectly fitting costumes. I want to take a history of fashion and use it to make costumes for big movies, small theater pieces, or a five-man Dickensian caroling troupe. I want to stop being afraid of the bust and start using it to my full advantage. I want to walk into a fabric store and know that all those beautiful pieces have potential for me.That I will select the right material and the right patterns to make the images in my head a reality on a body. My goal for myself at the New York Fashion Academy is to walk away knowing that I took my passion and made it a reality: that I have the technical skills and professional experience to create costumes full-time and be confident in who I am while doing so.

Sincerely yours,

Kelley Kavanaugh