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Design & Style

Getting Started: Teach Yourself Design

Marc Jacobs

Lesson time 16:53 min

You don't need to be an expert at knitting, sewing, or pattern making to be a great designer. But Marc recommends learning the basics to help you find and refine your creative voice.

Marc Jacobs
Teaches Fashion Design
In 18 lessons, iconic designer Marc Jacobs teaches you his process for creating innovative, award-winning fashion.
Get Started


I learned to sew when I was younger. I took a Home Ec class. And I was at Parsons. And so we had sewing classes. I mean, I learned to sew pretty well. I mean, I think I was pretty good at it. I took it took me forever. I'm certainly not fast. But I think it's important to have an understanding of those skills. To me, it felt important that I had an understanding of knitting and sewing because it seemed impossible to be a designer in my mind without a fundamental knowledge of those things. I also had an interest in the construction of clothing. And I also like the craft of making things. So craft to me, is very important. And I do like making things. So sewing, knitting, a small knowledge of embroidery, of how textiles are created. I mean, I find it very important. And I certainly don't think it hurts to know these things. It doesn't mean one has to, because there are designers who started out as architects and don't know the first thing, couldn't sew a garment if their life depended on it. And probably can't sketch either. But they still make beautiful clothes. So I don't think it's an absolute, but it certainly has helped me. And I would recommend that if you really are interested in clothes and how they're made that you learn a little bit about sewing. And run some fabric through a sewing machine. Change the stitch. Change the tension of the stitch, and see what it does. Because again, it's experience, I think, that is the best teacher. I learned a little bit about draping and pattern making in school and sewing in school when I was at Parsons. I also had a home economics class when I was in sixth grade, which I learned-- I think the first thing I ever made was a boiler suit or what we call a jumpsuit, which I was very proud of. Yeah, that was the first thing I ever made for myself. I learned a little bit about pattern making even before I actually studied pattern making by trial and error. Again, I laid pieces of fabric out on the floor. And I cut a jacket out of these dish towels, et cetera. And it was terrible. It was the most awful fitting garment in the world because I didn't know anything about pattern making. But again, I did learn through the experience of trying. To be able to cut a pattern to make a garment, to try to make a garment, I don't know that it's absolutely necessary in terms of becoming a designer or being a designer. But I am a big believer in the experience. So again, if you can get your hand on a sewing machine or a needle and thread or anything where you start to understand what it is like to construct a garment. I mean, making a garment by hand is probably a bit overwhelming. But a sewing machine is usually accessible, I think. And I think it's a good experience to have. I would certainly recommend sitting down with a piece of fabric and just experimenting a...

Create your own trends

Marc Jacobs’s infamous grunge collection got him fired. It also won him the CFDA Womenswear Designer of the Year Award. In his first online fashion design class, the 11-time CFDA Award winner teaches his hands-on process for creating clothes that push boundaries and set trends. Learn Marc’s construction techniques, how he creates unique shapes and silhouettes, and how you can develop your own ideas from the first sketch to the final piece.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

I like that he taught more than just talked about random stuff like some of the others. He showed sketching, talked about fabrics etc.

I loved this class! It really helped me understand the concept of putting a show together.

Learned a lot. Totally appreciated Marc talking about how he got the opportunities of working at LVMH and all the experiences and anecdotes of what he had to do (and still does) to get into the industry and keep up with it. I'm probably not designing soon, but with these fundamentals I can take my own approach and try to find direction on the set of skill I want to put in use.

Excellent presentation and wealth of advice and information! loved every minute of it! Thanks


Madison H.

I found it really unique how Marc said he looks at things and how he is interested in diversity and things that wouldn't normally go together.


Asalamu alakum, this is bint Abdullah I have very little experience with sawing in general but I am good at drawing designs and imagination.

Erika Von Finck

So true, the experience is the best teacher, because is where you can discover and understand more about yourself. I think it´s important to never lose your sense of curiosity. This can lead you think to think outside the box, it allows you to go beyond the mind, it allows you to try different things, to create something that maybe you didn´t planned and to finally realize what you want to do.

Arianna M.

Thought I would share a list of my design inspirations: Vivienne Westwood, Paul Smith, Hedi Slimane, Natach Ramasy Levi, Raf Simons, Alexander McQueen (of course) and Maison Margeila. I'd love to hear some of yours!

Eden D.

I am really interested in eventually starting my own fashion company, but I'm not sure what to focus on. Any ideas?


I enjoyed knowing a little about where Marc gets his inspiration from and who has inspired him the most. It's nice to hear an established designer admit that they don't know everything there is to know about design and that he sticks to his preferred methods of "rearranging inside the box". Can't wait to learn more and read up on the resources he suggested.

A fellow student

Mildred - I'm beginning this MasterClass. I'm interested in learning how to make my own patterns. I have a classic yet modern style. I retired from my career in 2014 and now I'm pursuing my passion. I love to sew and have been sewing since in my teens. My challenge today is finding clothes age appropriate. I don't like all the trendy styles that appear to focus on the younger generations. I grew up when Diane Von Furstenberg came on the scene with her wrap dress and it still is attractive today. I'll eventually be taking that class. However, I'm excited to get started with this MasterClass with Marc Jacobs!

Cristelle S.

Dear MasterClass, Hello. My name is Cristelle. I was inspired by the topic about opposites in the "Marc Jacobs Teaches Fashion Design" class, "Getting Started: Teach Yourself Design" lesson. Sincerely, Cristelle Nicole


I like that he mentioned knowing which aspects you are continually drawn to and the listed some styles/ideas/concept that he goes back to again and again. It was not something I had ever considered much, but I know in terms of design I have always been attracted to beautiful tailoring and construction. I can respect exaggerated proportions or even unfinished seams and edges for the statements they make, but that is not what I enjoy making myself. I think of designers like Charles Worth, Givenchy, Dior, Olivier Rousteing for Balmain, Hedi Slimane for Céline. I kind of want to go back through the archive collections of some of those brands and see how they have changed.

Mary S.

This is my 13th MasterClass. I have explored such a variety of topics with the goal in all to expand my knowledge and peak my interest in the subject. I love fashion and am looking forward to hearing his perspective.