Fashion Design Lesson Plan for Elementary School

Instructor: Suzanne Rose

Suzanne has taught all levels PK-graduate school and has a PhD in Instructional Systems Design. She currently teachers literacy courses to preservice and inservice teachers.

Using Coco Chanel as inspiration, this lesson plan guides elementary students in the exploration of fashion design, considerations for design, and the importance of being an individual. Activities include designing sneakers, a backpack or a hat, and designing and making a t-shirt.

Learning Objectives

As a result of this lesson, students will:

  • Identify Coco Chanel as an important designer
  • Articulate the importance of being an individual, like Coco
  • Explain common considerations in fashion design
  • Draw a design for a backpack, hat, or sneakers
  • Draw and implement a design for a t-shirt


30-45 minutes

Curriculum Standards

National Core Art Standards

Creating: Students will generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work.

Please note that each state has different standards for Art. Please consult your state's standards to ensure proper alignment.

Materials Needed

  • Different Like Coco by Elizabeth Matthews (1 copy for read aloud).
  • Paper (blank or with templates for sneakers, hats, backpacks)
  • Crayons
  • Synthetic or synthetic blend t-shirts (1 per student)
  • Fabric Crayons
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Cardboard
  • Paper towels


  • Fashion
  • Fashion designer


  • Read aloud the book, Different Like Coco to the class. This book stresses being an individual and being yourself, and it tells the story of Gabrielle 'Coco' Chanel, the only designer who was named to Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People of the 20th century.
  • Ask the students questions such as:
    • Why do you think Coco was so successful with her designs?
    • Coco started out as a poor orphan; how did she get to be rich and successful?
    • What is a fashion designer?
    • Why do you think women liked Coco's hat and clothing designs?
  • Put students into groups of three. Each group should discuss:
    • If you were shopping for clothes, what would be the most important thing to you? Put these in order from the most important to the least important to you:
      • How much does it cost?
      • Is it comfortable or not?
      • Will it last a long time?
      • Is it attractive?
    • After you have the questions in order for you, think about how your parents would answer the same questions. Put them in order from most important to least important, as you think your parents would.
    • Are there differences in the order? Why do you think this is the case?
  • Pull the whole group back together and see if they agree on the most important things in fashion design. Lead them to the understanding that people look for different things when buying clothing, so designers need to think about who is going to be buying their products so they can design them well.
  • Students will be divided into two groups for the activity. One group will work with the teacher, the other group will work independently. Give directions for the independent station before starting the activity.


Station 1: Independent Group

  • Tell students that they are going to design their own fashions! They may choose to design a pair of sneakers, a hat, or a backpack.
  • They should consider these things when designing their fashions:
  • Is it for boys, girls, or both? What ages?
    • What materials will it be made from?
    • Will it have any special features, such as flashing lights or music?
    • What colors will you use?
  • Allow students to choose the item they would like to design and give them a blank sheet of paper. For younger students, provide a handout with an outline of the item already on it for them to design.
  • When students are finished with their designs, ask them to give their design a name and set a price for their item. This information can be written on the paper with the picture of the item.
  • Gather the designs together and display them on a bulletin board.

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