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Effingham Magazine

Fashion Designer Provides Industry Expertise for Educational Immersion Experience

Fashion Designer Provides Industry Expertise for Educational Immersion Experience


When we think of learning the fashion industry, our minds often travel to Paris, New York, Milan, London and other cities that have birthed some of the world’s top fashion designers. But what if there was no need to globe-trot to learn from an international teacher? What if you could travel to Springfield, Ga., and immerse yourself in fashion design classes and build your fashion industry skills in a chic industrial space?

Judiann Echezabal, owner of Judiann’s Fashion Design Studios, has made this dream a reality for burgeoning designers with a new business that opened its doors in September 2022.

Judiann has been a Fashion Designer for over three decades. She is a distinguished educator whose career has allowed her to be a Fashion Design Professor at the Parsons School of Design, the number one design school in the United States and Pratt Institute, which is ranked one of the World's Top 10 Art & Design Colleges.

She continues to teach master classes online for them as well as an institution in China. She holds a BFA in Fashion design with a minor in manufacturing and an MBA in business management.

Judiann offers beginning and advanced classes, and her courses range from Tailoring workshops, Pattern Making courses, Draping Making courses to Couture fashion courses.

Her intensive, 5-15 day training courses are designed for a small class size and devoted to creating garments. These particular courses are created for a designer who needs professional development classes. For instance, a “Tailoring Masterclass” allows students to learn what it takes to make a bespoke custom tailored jacket, coat, trousers or any other garment of their choice. Students will complete a finished garment while learning how the structure of the inside of the garment is engineered to control shape, how to choose exterior and interior fabrics to create the end product, machine sewing, bespoke methods and fitting methods.

The class dates can be flexible to allow students to take breaks to do the homework and can be customized so they do not need to run continuously.

Additionally, the 59-year-old designer is creating her business to meet a need.

“There are many high school students aspiring to go to art and design school who need assistance to learn more before they apply to these competitive institutes,” Judiann explains. “These students are looking for something that’s going to give them an edge over the competition and will help elevate their skills.”

Judiann teaches the students to build their portfolios in such a way where they stand out. “It’s not just sewing. It’s the design, pattern making, draping and construction to create the whole package,” she says.

Developing a Love of Fashion Design

The genesis for Judiann’s ability to see all the design elements constituting a whole began early in her life when she began sewing at the age of seven. She comes from a family of “makers”—her father being a wood craftsman, her brother an artist and creator of many things and her grandmother a quilter. Judiann’s mother started teaching her sewing on her 1950s model Singer; and they made clothes for her Barbie dolls.

“Sadly, my mother passed away at the age of 29,” she says. “But I recall making coats and dresses for my Barbies and my mother giving me leftover fabrics to work with.”

Her father continued her education by taking her to the mall in Milford, Connecticut, and she went to the Singer sewing classes.

“And from there I never stopped,” she says. She made her own clothes during her teenage years, made clothes for her younger brother and made her own prom dress. “One thing I remember is that a lot of the girls’ dresses looked the same because they came from one store. My prom dress was very different and had white lace with lime green ribbons, and I remember feeling really good about it.”

An entrepreneur, Judiann helped put herself through college. As she studied fashion design in Miami, she created wedding gowns. “It would take me five or six months to make one gown and I charged $5,000 to make it. I was so proud because my father did not have to pay for all my college expenses,” she says.

By her junior year in college, she had begun her first business called American Baby, where she created children’s wear. She began with three employees and ended up employing 20 people and occupying a warehouse to make the garments.

“We made everything to order and it was all sewn in-house and nothing was sent overseas,” she says.

Her business took off and she sold to Saks and Bellini Baby for years. In 1992, her warehouse and business were destroyed when Category 5 Hurricane Andrew slammed into Miami’s coastline.

“I lost my car, my house, my machinery, my workforce. It was devastating, so I moved back to Connecticut and started over,” she says.

Her move home allowed her the opportunity to expand her career and share her skills with others. She began teaching at some of the finest institutes in the country and became a published author of the book Modern Sewing Techniques. Instead of children’s wear, she started designing small collections of luxury fashions and wedding gowns.

And now she’s venturing into this new business where she’s creating a one-of-a-kind patterned enterprise where education meets design.

“The space is an old rail yard building that’s been refurbished. When you walk in, it feels like an art studio with beautiful floors and high ceilings. It’s located on this charming street and has a New York feel to it,” she adds. “I can’t wait for my students to experience this big open canvas of space so they can create and design….right here in Springfield.”

Learn more about instructional courses offered by Judiann’s Fashion Design Studios by calling 912.483.3600 or visit