My Summer in Paris

I have always been infatuated with both art and travel, and last summer, I chose to expand my passion and travel to Parsons Paris for their three-and-a-half week summer intensive program. Carefree and ready to get out of the States, I ventured to Paris for the summer without knowing one single person or even the French language. During those three-and-a-half weeks, I not only explored the city, but I was taught lessons about the fashion industry that I can keep for years to come.

Eiffel Tower Image 1To anyone else interested in the program, I would not hesitate to tell them to take this amazing opportunity to learn about art and design in one of the most historically artistic cities in the world. The class I took was called Fashion Design Process, and it taught me the basic lessons behind the research and processes that fashion designers go through to form their collections. I was placed in the college-level course, and although I was nervous at first, the environment quickly became very comfortable and open for creativity.

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Fashion Image 5I would say that the second day of class can help to sum up the course as a whole. Our class had three projects total throughout the summer, and with the first project, our professor, Jasonpaul, didn’t waste a second before throwing us into the unknown city streets. With a partner, we were given two random metro stops, and were told to travel from one to the other, taking pictures and researching along the way. I had never been alone in a foreign city before, and somehow, with my partner from Uruguay, whom I’d met only the day before, we made it around Paris on our own and back to the hotel safely. This immersion-inspired research led to a collaborative project, and although every student had been given the same base experience, each garment told a completely different story about Paris. The class forced me to move outside of my comfort zone, and looking back, I am very thankful for that.

This program helped me to define a personal style through both class lessons and journeys through Paris. But, in addition to exploring the city, I was also taught that in the fashion industry, the final garments are not the most important part of a designer’s job; it’s the process leading up to the final show that is crucial because the clothes would be nothing without the research, mood boards, and illustrations behind them. This lesson truly opened my eyes to fashion as an artistic process, and it fed my love for the dynamic world that is the fashion industry.

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On this trip, I was able to learn multitudes of valuable information about my desired career, form lasting relationships with new friends, and fall in love with a city that continues to inspire me from thousands of miles away. Paris left a lasting impact on me, and I hope to study and live there again one day. This opportunity allowed me to meet and make connections with people of my age from all over the world. In my class alone, there were students from the United States, Uruguay, Mexico, Spain, Portugal, China, India, and Lithuania. This experience will stay with me forever because the ability to collaborate with classmates from all walks of life is something that I find very valuable, especially in the art world.

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This class and experience helped me to grow as an artist, and filled me with lifelong memories and inspiration. I would recommend this program to anyone else interested in pursuing a career in the art field because I think it’s a good preview for what I feel art school will be like for me next year when I attend Parsons School of Design in New York City. I fell in love with the city of Paris this summer, and hopefully, I will be back there creating art again soon.

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Carly Blumenthal is a student at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School and is a guest API student blogger.  Carly studied abroad with API in Paris, France.

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