Fashion Design Instructor
The Art Institute of Phoenix
Commit to your work. We all have passion... but without true commitment, that passion can easily go to waste. Helen Nosova , Fashion Design Instructor
, The Art Institute of Phoenix
Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?
There was no single defining moment, but my childhood was full of wild fashion risks, customizing and altering my own wardrobe, and coordinating my friends’ outfits. I ventured into theatrical costuming at an early age.
How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?
As a former museum professional, I require my students to visit and participate in fashion-related events at Phoenix Art Museum. They’re exposed to extraordinary objects that represent some of the most important moments in fashion history, as well as current designer works. I encourage them to be scholars of fashion, so they can become more intelligent and creative designers.
What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?
While teaching a Theater Makeup course years ago, I created an assignment I called Rapid Fire Quick Change. Each designer performed various makeup and hair changes on a fellow student in under 30 seconds each—working in near total darkness to simulate the focus, speed and technical skill needed to succeed as a theater technician. It was high-pressure, but it was always great fun.
How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?
In fashion, we work with other artists and designers to help us with inspiration, creation, promotion, and selling our designs. We must surround ourselves with talented professionals who support our vision and help bring our products to the marketplace. Our students have a rare opportunity to begin networking now with fellow artists who’ll go on to be photographers, graphic designers, and more. They can become their "go-to" professional contacts.
What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?
Commit to your work. We all have passion, and that’s certainly an integral part of being an artist. But without true commitment, that passion can easily go to waste. I teach my students to research and analyze their ideas, sketch constantly, understand the business of our industry, and most of all practice good time-management.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I encourage my students to surround themselves with people that inspire them, challenge their ideas, and celebrate their achievements.