Full Time Instructor
The Art Institute of Austin, a branch of The Art Institute of Houston
When creative students are really inspired, there's nothing they can't do. Brittany Allen , Full Time Instructor , The Art Institute of Austin, a branch of The Art Institute of Houston
Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?
Believe it or not, I started college as a pre-nursing major. I hated it. I loved sewing and patternmaking, so I signed up for a few apparel classes. That inspired me to study Fashion Design, and that led me to take my professional life in the direction of creativity—and a career where I’m head designer for four brands.
How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?
My diverse career as designer of custom leather pieces, footwear and accessories, western lifestyle ready-to-wear women's apparel let me incorporate the industry into the classroom as much as possible!
What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?
In my Draping class, students work to meet weekly deadlines leading up to their final presentation. I bring in resource and inspiration books and fabric swatches, and do hands-on draping with them so the gears are turning in their minds. They’re excited to see their personal, unique design aesthetic come to life with this project.
How do you inspire students to push themselves beyond their perceived limits?
I try to inspire students as much as I can. When creative students are really inspired, there’s nothing they can’t do.
How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?
I believe strongly in the value of collaboration between creative students in different disciplines—for example, a fashion design student working with a photography student on a fashion shoot. There are so many creative and talented people that you can always use what someone else has to offer and learn some new ways of thinking and approaching art.
What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?
The most important thing I teach students is to find out what it is that sets them apart from the competition. Find that unique characteristic and make yourself irreplaceable to your employer.
What’s your one piece of advice for a student embarking on a creative career?
In fashion, if you miss a deadline, you lose your job. So, I don’t accept late work. That’s the way it is in the industry, and it should be the same way in school.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I absolutely love teaching Fashion Design at The Art Institute of Austin!