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  • Locations: Don Matias, Colombia
  • Program Terms: Summer
  • Budget Sheets: Summer
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Fact Sheet:
Area of Study: Fashion Design, Fashion Merchandising Minimum GPA Required: 2.0
Language of Instruction: English Recommended Program: YES
Program Description:
VCUarts Jeanology Programportugal jeans rotated
New York City, NY and Don Matias, Colombia
6 credits in Fashion
VCU Campus: 4 June - 15 June 2018
New York City: 18 June - 22 June 2018
Don Matias, Colombia: 25 June – 29 June 2018
$1,600 + airfare + applicable VCU tuition. Find full details on the Budget Sheet!
Program Directors
Henry C. Swartz, Associate Professor or Fashion Design and Merchandising
Donwan Harrell, Founder and Creative Director of PRPS and Affiliated Professor, VCU Fashion Design and Merchandising
Registration Deadline: 15 March 2018
The Global Education Office and the VCU School of the Arts, in conjunction with VCU alumnus Donwan Harrell of PRPS, are pleased to offer a unique opportunity for fashion design and merchandising students to delve into the intricacies of how to develop, design, manufacture and properly position denim in the market place.

Please note that there is a current US Department of State Travel Warning for Colombia.

Course and Credit Options
  • FASH 391: The History of Denim & Jeans (3 credits)
  • FASH 401: Design II Studio (3 credits)
The Education Abroad office will enroll students in the course upon receipt of the registration.

Course Description
FASH 391: The History of Denim & Jeans (3 credits)
Lectures focus on the history and impact of denim on western society, while understanding the current denim market share and how it's made globally. Participants will learn how to prepare denim specs for manufacturing consistency, how to speak the denim language and how to prepare a portfolio worth of the high-end denim brands.
FASH 401: Design II Studio (3 credits)
In the first half of the course, participants will be working out of the PRPS studio and offices in NYC. Participants will work in groups using the stores in the city to research and prepare a denim/jean analysis of what is trending in the market. At the end of the week, the group will make a presentation of their findings along with a forecast of where they see the market going.

For the second half of the course, students will be learning from the factory floor in Don Matias, Colombia. Participants will become familiar with modern wash methods and machinery, develop basic understandings of the wet and dry processes of mass manufacturing and will meet first class professionals from denim mils and button suppliers.

All participants must be degree-seeking students in Fashion Design or Merchandising, from VCU or another university. Other participants from outside a university environment, such as fashion professionals, may also apply. Participants will be selected by the program leaders on the basis of their preparation, motivations and maturity. Spanish language skills are not required.

A personal letter of reference is required. Please submit this with your application materials.
Accommodations and Meals
In New York, students will be housed in a dormitory. Students will share a room, which includes a bathroom with a refrigerator and microwave. In Colombia, students will share rooms in a local hotel. Breakfasts are provided in Colombia.
Program directors
Donwan Harrell is an Alumni and Affiliated Professor of Fashion at VCU. He is also the owner and designer of the premium jean company PRPS.  He is considered a “Denim Head”— someone who is extremely knowledgeable and current on the denim industry.  Jeanology is his way of sharing his love and passion for the denim industry with students, from history to contemporary production techniques.
Henry C. Swartz earned his BFA in Fashion Design and Merchandising from Pratt Institute, and his MFA at Virginia Commonwealth University. He has designed for Bobbi Rodgers Industries, as well as freelancing for Erin Fairchild, Jay Jacks, and Victor Costa. Henry is passionate about teaching, and continues to enjoy the creativity of his classes and the energy of his students.

A valid passport is required to leave the US. If a student does not already have a passport, they are advised to begin the application process as soon as they are accepted into the program. The processing time for new passport applicants can be as long as 8 weeks. For students who already have passports, they will need to verify that the passport’s validity dates extend 6 months past their return date. For more information about passports and the application/renewal process, please consult the State Department's website.
Payment of fees
In order to complete the application, students are required to submit a $250 registration fee and deposit. This $250 registration fee and deposit is refundable in two cases: if the program is cancelled, or if a student is rejected by the faculty member based on their qualifications to participate in the program. Reasons for rejection could include, but are not limited to, GPA, lack of a pre-requisite, unacceptable or inappropriate statement of interest, etc. and are at the discretion of the faculty program director. However, if a student pays the fee and is not given final acceptance to the program based on failing to complete application requirements, as determined by the Education Abroad office or faculty director, the $250 is non-refundable.
Students will receive two separate charges to their student accounts for this program: one charge will reflect the balance of the program fee (minus the $250 deposit and application fee) and the other charge is for VCU tuition costs (based on the number and type of credits being taken by the student). These bills will be charged through VCU Student Accounting and should appear by May.
Please note: While these charges may post to the student’s account simultaneously or separately, it is the student’s responsibility to make sure the account balance is paid before the billing due date.
Withdrawal procedures and financial commitment policy
All withdrawals must be made formally in writing and submitted to the Director of Education Abroad. Otherwise, the program fee will not be refunded. After committing to the program, students deciding to withdraw will be held accountable for a portion of or the entire program fee based on the following schedule:
  • Formal withdrawal submitted later than 30 days before the first day of the program abroad: 100% of the program fee will be charged
  • Formal withdrawal submitted within 30-60 days before the first day of the program abroad: 75% of the program fee will be charged
  • Formal withdrawal submitted within 60-90 days before the first day of the program abroad: 50% of the program fee will be charged
In the event an unexpected emergency occurs within 30 days before the first day of the program abroad, students must provide a physician’s certification that his/her condition prohibits participation. In this case, refunds will be limited to only those funds VCU is able to recover or that have not already been spent on behalf of the student.
See above for refund policy on $250 registration fee and deposit.
Travel health
Students should schedule an appointment with their physician or at a travel clinic (such as VCU Student Health) at least 4 to 8 weeks before the program to inquire about recommended and/or required vaccines/immunizations. It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that all routine and travel immunizations are up-to-date.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on recommended and required immunizations for travelers. To view the health risks and requirements for the country to which you will be traveling, please visit the CDC's website.

VCU Student Health offers in-depth pre-travel consultation with a health care provider as well as most of the vaccines recommended for safe travel. Prescriptions for recommended medicines are also available. Please visit their website for full details.


Every effort is made to provide updated and accurate information at the time of publication. The sponsors reserve the right to make necessary changes to the programs and costs.  The university reserves the right to revise or alter all fees, regulations pertaining to student fees, and fee collection procedures at any time.

Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.

This program is currently not accepting applications.

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