Tailoring Education: The Cut Design Academy Takes a Student-Centric Approach

Vancouver-based fashion, graphic, UX, and interior design school, The Cut Design Academy puts students front and center.

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After thirty years’ experience in the industry, fashion mogul Liza Deyrmenjian –  Founder and Dean of the The Cut Design Academy – is a powerful ally for budding talent. Knowing the value of personalized instruction, Deyrmenjian provides one teacher to every eight students. The only fashion and design school to have such an intimate ratio, this is a commitment that will not change even as the Academy grows. 

“It is a vital part of our mission for us to get to know our students, to see where they belong in the industry and help create that pathway for them,” says Deyrmenjian. “The Admissions & campus team and I deeply care about every one of our students and offer guidance and support throughout their journey with us and beyond.”

With a dropout rate of less than 1% every year, this student-centered approach is clearly onto something. “Some courses involve challenging subjects, such as pattern-making which is math-based,” explains Deyrmenjian. “I tell the class they will not believe what they will be capable of by week 6, which helps them get through the struggles in weeks 2 and 3! They are always amazed by what they have achieved.”

Checking in regularly with students to support them through any obstacles is another feature of the courses sewn into the DNA of the school. Many students coming into the school have a diploma already and are coming to The Cut Design Academy for accredited second level training in various areas such as fashion design, graphic design, UX design, or production. However, it is also possible to mix and match certificates for the students to create their own portfolio of skills. 

Offering 14 week full-time or part-time certificates (which can be done alongside full-time jobs) The Cut Design Academy allows students to tailor topics to suit their professional goals. The courses are hands-on and comprise practical application of skills. For example, fashion designers will make a collection. Product development students will source suppliers and manufacture their own product domestically and overseas. UX designers will find a customer to design and build a website for. 

“We want our students to graduate with the confidence to know they can take on any challenge,” Deyrmenjian says. “With real world experience built into the courses, we are broadening their minds and teaching them how to learn in general, which can be applied to any future ambition. I want our alumni to confidently know that they are adding value when they go to a job interview or start their own business”

No stranger to mentorship, Deyrmenjian has been guiding young unknown designers to be at the top of their game for decades. “One designer had a shirt that she wanted Michelle Obama to wear. I guided her on logistics and production, sales and strategy and then two years later her collection was picked up by Bloomingdale’s. The shirt was not only worn by Michelle Obama but included in Oprah’s Favorite Things.”

Happy to be a reference and an advice touchpoint for students, Deyrmenjian recalls a student that couldn’t afford a diploma but was invited to attend multiple part time courses at The Cut Design Academy nonetheless. Eventually, she was offered a job in the industry but the low pay made her hesitate. Deyrmenjian encouraged her to take it, explaining that the company could pay for further training and the work would make her highly sought after. As the student developed, Deyrmenjian continued to recommend her to industry contacts. Two years later, the student was earning over $100,000 doing design & production. She was even traveling to New York and Paris to source fabrics and suppliers – an exciting start to a career many only dream of.

“The greatest strength in business is to know your limitations,” says Deyrmenjian. “I’m passionate about production and I know I’m not a designer. My heart isn’t in it. I have a gift for helping others hone their vision into an eloquent pitch and then breaking it down into practical steps to make it happen. I can bring anything to life, that is my talent.”

After many years of wardrobe design for film, running a design studio and factories, Deyrmenjian spotted a gap in the market in education. She noticed the qualified applicants didn’t have the practical skills she would expect. Understanding the shorter attention span of younger generations, she set up focused and exclusive skills-based courses that provided real value for money. “88% of our graduates are working in the industry they studied” 

“The most rewarding thing for me is to offer this avenue for creativity in young people. To see them express themselves, experiment, and grow is glorious for me,” says Deyrmenjian. “Cross-collaboration between experts of varying fields is critical to the success of a design project. We connect our fashion, graphic, UX, and interior design students together to pursue group projects that provide real-world experience.” 

This student-centered philosophy threads through all elements of The Cut Design Academy, making it an ideal choice for studying design. 

To discover the wide range of courses that The Cut Design Academy offers, check out their website or Instagram.

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