Fashion design is one of the most exciting careers anyone can explore, but because it is so dynamic, it is also extremely competitive. The courses you take and the education you pursue can make all the difference between excelling or struggling to survive in this space, which is what makes choosing the best school to support your learning all the more important.
In this guide, we will share exactly what it takes to become a fashion designer, starting with the qualities you will need to enjoy a successful career in this field and the courses you need to take to move ahead.
Are You the Right Candidate for the Job?
Having a love for fashion, clothing, and accessories is important, but many more qualities are necessary to thrive in the fashion industry. Some of the most important qualities are:
- Creativity: Fashion designers need to be innovative in order to stand out and impress others
- Colour Sense: Colour sense can be taught, but for most who do well in this industry, they will have an innate sense of which colours complement one another, which contrast, and which should never be near one another
- An Eye for Design: Students will have an appreciation for fresh and cutting edge designs
- Passion: Being in any creative space requires a heightened level of passion for it. Passion is necessary to keep a student learning about fashion and learning about the latest trends.
When looking at schools, it is also important to note the eligibility requirements. Many schools require students to have a minimum of a high school diploma or equivalent prior to being accepted. If you are an international student considering coming to the UK to learn fashion design, you will also need to meet the school’s visa requirements.
Your Education Options
Fashion design students will have a few options when it comes to how far they wish to peruse their fashion design education. The first course which every student should and will likely need to take is a foundation course in fashion design.
What Will I Learn in a Foundation Course?
A foundation program is geared towards giving students the skills and knowledge necessary to further their education in fashion design and textiles. The best schools in the industry will introduce students to a wide range of different fashion activities which will help you and your teacher assess your strengths, weaknesses, and, most importantly, affirm your belief that you wish to further with your fashion education.
Apart from giving students a better understanding of what it takes to be a fashion designer, enrolling in a fashion design program will also help you build your portfolio. The top universities in the UK require that a portfolio of your work be provided, along with your application for fashion design. This portfolio will make all the difference in whether or not you get into your school of preference, and the foundation program you attend will make sure that your portfolio is as polished and ready to be shared.
What to Expect from a Foundation Course
Depending on the teacher or teachers who will be in control of the course, students may partake in different activities and enjoy different experiences. Most programs will be broken down into three stages:
- The Research Stage. The purpose of this stage is to allow students to explore different areas of fashion and to discover where their interests and strengths lie.
- The Pathway Stage. During this stage, students will choose a more focused discipline in textiles and fashion design.
- The Project Stage. Often the most exciting and anticipated part of the program is the project stage. During this stage, students will use their previous experience and skill to create their very own project.
At the end of your foundation course, you will then be able to put your project on display for the public to see. Most schools will host a fashion show and exhibition so that students can get a sense for what it is really like to work in the fashion industry.
Expanding Your Education
Most of the best fashion designers in the world will move on from a foundation program and will continue with their fashion design and textile studies. Depending on your educational and career goals, you can choose from any of the following:
- Certificate and Diploma Programs: These programs are shorter, ranging from being only a few months in duration to a couple of years long. These programs are intensely focused just on fashion design and can be taken at any time to expand one’s skill set and employability.
- Bachelor’s Degrees: Students who choose a bachelor’s degree program will have a more well-rounded education in the liberal arts.
- Advanced Degrees: Those who choose to obtain a higher level degree may be more competitive in the job market.
How to Find a Great Fashion Design School
Not every fashion design school is alike, with some offering greater opportunities and experiences than others. When looking into your fashion design school options, these are the characteristics to look for:
The School Must Be Accredited
Attending an accredited school legitimises your learning and ensures that the education you receive is going to meet or exceed industry standards. It also helps ensure that your credits will transfer over should you choose to pursue a higher degree at a university.
- Some colleges will be affiliated or partnered with universities. Strongly consider enrolling inthese schools, as they will know exactly what it is necessary in order to be accepted into higher learning programs.
The School Should Offer Internships
Internships are key to expanding your experience and getting a sense of what it is like to work in the fashion industry in the real world.
The Teachers Have Experience in the Industry
The teacher or teachers who will be guiding you through the program should have years of real working experience in the fashion design and textile industry.