Jessica Laché Fulks
The Art Institute of Charleston, a branch of The Art Institute of Atlanta
I love the Art Institute of Charleston because it gives me an opportunity to help students and prepare them for the fashion industry. Seeing their success in learning the technical part of the fashion industry brings joy to my day. Jessica Laché Fulks , Fashion Instructor , The Art Institute of Charleston, a branch of The Art Institute of Atlanta
It happened by accident. My freshman year of college, I switched majors from zoology to fashion, just to give it a try. I knew nothing about fashion. I only knew I was an artist and wanted to apply that to clothing.
How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?
My wealth of industry experience allows me to translate what we do in the classroom to the real world. I’m dedicated to teaching students the fashion, textile, technical, and pattern design skills they’ll need to succeed. I call on my interdisciplinary fashion and textile background, my denim research with Tumbling Colors, my technical design experience with Spanx, and my experience as a professional designer for Laché Supply & Company, J.Stark, and André 3000 to put the learning in a real-world context.
What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?
I try to bring out students’ critical thinking skills by asking purely creative questions— not just technical. It helps them achieve their big "ah-ha" moment, and makes them more receptive to the material they’re studying.
In what way do you inspire students to push themselves beyond their own perceived limits?
My objective as a fashion instructor is to motivate students to define, develop, and create their own aesthetic using critical thinking skills, 2-D and 3-D design, as well as gaining an understanding of textiles and keeping up with technological advancements that will help them become leaders in the classroom and ultimately in the fashion industry.
How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?
When a student enters the workforce, they forever become part of a team. So I try to make sure they collaborate on at least one project. Working together teaches them to deal with a wide range of personalities.
What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?
Always practice your craft. Create outside of school and outside of the classroom. Experiment with your craft, enter your work in competitions, and showcase wherever you can.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I love teaching here, because it gives me an opportunity to help students and prepare them for the fashion industry. Seeing their success in learning the technical part of the fashion industry brings me joy.