Finding a good fashion school, choosing the right fashion course, one that will benefit your career, has never been so difficult. This page, video and fashion schools reviews below are designed to help you.
How to choose a fashion school
In the last 15 years, fashion education worldwide has experienced an accelerated growth. At every level of education, students make the choice to “study fashion”. All over the world, new fashion schools public and private, are being opened. They offer a bewildering number of fashion courses and specialisms. National and international accreditations have multiplied and too often seem to welcome the Good, the Bad as well as the Ugly.
Before committing to study fashion you must seriously question your motivation and explore all of your options. Studying fashion is not a soft option; to succeed you must be willing to excel. The fashion industry is an extremely competitive industry.
Generalist or Fashion dedicated Courses
In the 1990s most fashion students would study fashion design or textiles. The fashion industry however has always offered a broad range of jobs. Universities and fashion schools have fine-tuned their courses and now offer very specialised training in fashion communication, fashion journalism, artistic direction, fashion curation and of course fashion business management, to name but a few.
For most courses – apart from fashion design and textiles – students have the choice between a generalist course and one specifically designed for a fashion career. Before investigating fashion course providers it is important to consider the generalist options.
If you are considering a fashion business management course for example, ask yourself whether you would consider a role of business manager in an industry other than fashion? A less specialised degree may serve you well in a competitive job market: while providing you with skills applicable to the fashion industry, it will also prepare you for multiples options.
Generalist courses however, may lead to work experiences you may find too far removed from fashion. Few fashion journalists for example, would consider sport journalism as an alternative. In addition fashion courses offer a culture of fashion and access to their own professional networks.
Ask yourself if the fashion specialisation is valuable to you for the job you would like to do.
The remit of a fashion design course
Degrees achievable in fashion design vary greatly from country to country. Every year in the UK, over 5000 fashion design students graduate with a BA. The industry does not offer as many fashion design jobs.
Fashion design graduates acquire however, skills and knowledge valuable in many fashion careers from fashion buying to visual creation. Students often underestimate the range of skills needed to complete a fashion design course.
Working as fashion designer requires much more than the ability to draw desirable garments. You also need to source material, produce prototypes, organise industrial production, manage a complex selling process, negotiate commercial relations and communicate effectively with many collaborators. A fashion design course might provide you with three types of skills: artistic, looking and creating; vocational, making; and commercial, selling. The weight of each type of skills varies with each course and schools. Typically, fashion design courses in the USA train excellent commercial designers while Arts Schools in the UK will focus on artistic individuality.
What makes a good fashion school: tutors & curriculum
Fashion is usually taught on a project basis with few grand lectures. Instead skills are acquired through practice. Contact time, the amount of time you will spend with a tutor is often limited. Contact time is important to acquire vocational and commercial skills; ask what you can expect it to be.
Fashion tutors and lecturers are in general, passionate about fashion and about their students. These are important qualities you should be looking for. Industry best practices in communication, business, and technology change quickly. It makes sense for lecturers teaching vocational and commercial subjects to maintain proximity with the industry through part time and freelance work.
Most countries hold open days organised to inform prospective students and show the work done at the school. Make sure to attend those events and talk to as many tutors and students as possible. Do it with an open and practical mind; do not be afraid to ask questions.
What makes a good fashion school beyond its tutors & curriculum
The number of students on the course and within the school can vary greatly. Getting the attention of your tutor and personalized advice is far easier in a small structure. It is easy to get lost in a large crowd but a bigger pool also offers more opportunities, especially for collaboration based projects. Larger schools usually provide good networks and more specialised infrastructures.
The success of recent graduates gives a valid estimate of the quality of a fashion school. Ask what kind of jobs they got, how quickly etc. Remember to take the age and size of the school into account. A large school will produce a proportionate number of success stories; demand valid statistics.
The location of the school can have a big impact. A large city can often prove expensive and competitive but also stimulating and rich in opportunities. It is advisable, when possible to consider doing successive degrees in different fashion schools. Try to change institution between Art Foundation, BA and MA courses to gain varied perspectives, practices and contacts.
The cost of a fashion course
Depending on the local cost of living and the level of tuition fee, the cost of a fashion course may vary a lot from one city to the next. Make sure to do your sums correctly before committing to a course. Pay particular attention to the cost of material and equipment – studio costs – you will have to purchase.
As recommended by the course leaders Modeconnect interviewed in this video, you are encouraged to gain as much work experience as possible. Account for the effective wage you might expect from internships and temporary jobs and related expenses (transport, food …).
Studying fashion requires significant financial, emotional and time investment. It should NOT be considered lightly. We are passionate about fashion so we think it is an excellent idea. This however, is totally beside the point: only you can decide whether this investment makes sense for you.
FASHION SCHOOLS FEATURED ON MODECONNECT
Fashion Schools in the UK
Fashion Schools in the rest of Europe
Fashion Schools in the USA
Fashion Schools in the rest of the World