The Genteel
March 9, 2021


ESMOD Berlin. Source:

ESMOD Berlin is one of twenty-three schools now proudly sharing the ESMOD title. The original university - l'Ecole Supérieure des Arts et techniques de la Mode - was established in 1841 by master tailor of the Empress Eugenie, Alexis Guerre-Lavigne, and was the first fashion school to call France home. Since then, ESMOD schools have been founded across 15 different countries, forming an international network rich in heritage with a prestigious reputation - one that the members of ESMOD Berlin constantly strive to uphold.

Runway presentation at ESMOD Berlin

Runway presentation at ESMOD Berlin.

Aiming for Excellence

From compulsory class attendance and mandatory internships abroad to a highly demanding workload- staff at ESMOD Berlin expect the best from their students. With past graduates including assistant designers at both Alexander McQueen and Calvin Klein, such hard work clearly pays off.

Speaking with The Genteel, final year fashion student Leonie Appels agrees: "[Our teachers] expect a lot...they push you...and open your mind to things you never [expected] from are furthered on the highest level [to bring]...out [your] best."

Outstanding Opportunities

High levels of commitment are undoubtedly exchanged for a top quality education. First year affords students a solid foundation in design, dividing their attention equally between technical drawing and practical craftsmanship: "It's the perfect combination of both," Leonie reflects.

In following years the students are encouraged to become increasingly industry minded through a series of workshops with professionals - including Esprit, online retailer DaWanda and international premium label Laurél - as well as a chance to receive feedback from a jury of designers at the end of their second year.

Speaking with The Genteel, Fashion Design Professor Thorbjorn Uldam explains how the opportunities offered at ESMOD, intend to afford students,"practical and direct contact with industry partners [thus preparing] them for their future careers." Perhaps most notable of these experiences is the mandatory completion of internships abroad, which have seen ESMOD students intern at world-renowned fashion houses including JW Anderson, Donna Karan, Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen.

It is marvellous to see how differently we communicate who we are through the clothes that we wear, or the different ways designers see the time we live in...

International Dimensions

Fully utilising its membership of the ESMOD community, many opportunities offered by ESMOD Berlin are international in nature. Taught in both English and German, the Bachelor of Arts awarded at the school is recognised worldwide, attracting students from across the globe: "For me that was...important...because I want to [complete further studies] outside of Germany...which is easier with an international bachelor," Leonie admits, "[Also, by offering] classes in different can easily improve your language skills [alongside your study of] fashion."

Undoubtedly advantageous when forging industry relations, the cultural diversity exhibited among the students at ESMOD Berlin adds another dimension to work and life at the school. "Currently we have students from more than 40 different nationalities," explains Professor Uldam, "[supporting] great cultural exchange within the B.A."

Individual Development

Diversity is celebrated widely at ESMOD Berlin with high academic goals coming at no cost to individual development. "Third year is built up to guide the students on an individual level," Professor Uldam tells The GenteelLectures and workshops subside to allow students to focus on their graduate collections- aided by individual mentoring from their professors.

"Since all students are different, their work is also, and in this sense we assist to develop [and] personalise their work," Professor Uldam continues. "It is marvellous to differently we...communicate who we are through the clothes that we wear, or the different ways designers see the time we live in and try to communicate this through their work."

"ESMOD mentoring leaves a lot of space for being creative yourself," student Leonie agrees, "[The professors] always push you further without changing your idea or style. [They] don't teach you exact ways of doing stuff [but] help you in your way of thinking [to bring] out the best in you and [your] creativity."

A classroom at ESMOD Berlin

A classroom at ESMOD Berlin.

Great Expectations

Such dual focus on the advance of both work and self development is central to Fashion Design at ESMOD Berlin. From challenging curricular to meticulous mentoring, each element of the course aims to equip its students with the academic and industrial know-how needed to thrive in the fashion trade.

"[At ESMOD Berlin] you do not [learn fashion alone]," Leonie continues. "You learn how to manage time, how to [prioritise] and...[achieve] what you want [by] going [to] the last bits of your strength but never loosing [your] love or motivation for it. Amazing collections...happy motivated students [and] a really good atmosphere." Though jokingly stating she has "no life beside it in third year," life at ESMOD is clearly one Leonie wouldn't change for the world.

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