About Us

Candace Cantaloupe

Candace Cantaloupe

Illustration skills are necessary to communicate ideas.

Design skills are necessary to transform ideas into garments.

Sewing skills are necessary either to produce a garment or to direct the production of others.


Is Seattle Fashion Academy for you?

Students of all ages and abilities are welcome at Seattle Fashion Academy. No prior knowledge, ability, or experience is required or presumed. Imaginative, creative beginning students are particularly encouraged!

Academy instructors are all experienced, talented professionals currently working in fashion. Their teaching methods emphasize fundamental fashion design principles and helping students fully understand and master subject matter. By focusing on mastery of core skills, students will develop the confidence to tackle more difficult projects.

Small class sizes are an important and effective element of the SFA approach. Class sizes rarely exceed 10 students. This enables instructors to treat every student as an individual.

Students are encouraged to develop their own style as they design and produce their apparel. The goal for students at SFA is to demonstrate mastery in the skills they are taught, not to reproduce a particular look, and to understand the elements of good design, not to learn a single approach to design.

SFA accepts the reality that people come in as many different shapes and sizes as there are humans. The fashion industry as a whole employs mass production techniques and standard sizing that allow clothes to be made cheaply and quickly. At SFA, we teach you how to make high-quality, beautiful clothes to fit your body, instead of expecting your body to fit the clothes.

Mission Statement

Seattle Fashion Academy is a private, locally owned and operated, fashion design school. The academy's mission is to promote creativity and imagination by teaching proven industry techniques that will give students the foundation they need to achieve their fashion goals.

SFA believes fashion is a skill-based art and vocation. In order for students to execute their design visions, they need a strong technical foundation. By studying and practicing couture techniques developed over hundreds of years, students learn to recognize true quality and create garments with couture-level construction and design.

The basic skills necessary for placement or advancement in the fashion industry are: pattern design skills, fashion illustration skills, and sewing skills. SFA teaches these skills in the context of high fashion.

Design, illustration, and sewing classes are each taught in a sequence of beginning, intermediate and advanced classes. These classes are in turn supported by a number of ancillary classes which broaden and enrich the scope of the student's education. Because classes are small and intensively taught by working professionals, students efficiently gain mastery and advance through the curriculum.

In addition continuing the old school techniques, SFA looks forward to expanding its curriculum to include an exploration of textiles and their creation. This will further enhance the study of fashion art by deepening the students experience of creating unique garments from start to finish.


The NYFA Legacy

New York Fashion Academy was founded in 1979 by Terry Horlamus and is the most awarded fashion school in Seattle.

Terry is a professionally trained designer who received her education in New York. She chose to study in New York because the Seventh Ave. garment district is an important apparel and distribution center known for high quality sewing, and it has long been the creative epicenter of American fashion.

NYFA teaches high fashion in the educational tradition of the Traphagen School of Design.

Ethel Traphagen, who is credited with introducing shorts and slacks into American women's fashion, founded the Traphagen School of Design in New York City in the 1920s. The school was known for its technical orientation toward fashion design, with courses in pattern making and draping.

NYFA director, Terry Horlamus, is an honors graduate of Traphagen.

Terry's goal in founding NYFA was to create an environment in which students could learn about New York-style high fashion and master the skills necessary to succeed in fashion. Since its opening, NYFA's mission has been to provide students with the technical foundation they need for placement or advancement in the industry.

After 39 years of running NYFA, Terry is retiring and passing the curriculum and philosophy of the school to former student and current instructor and assistant director Candace Cantaloupe.