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Career options for those involved in field of fashion

There are loads of jobs in fashion out there, and plenty of degrees to help you get them, but what’s the right job for you, and which course should you take?

Rachel Jacquest
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With basic fashion degree, you can also specialise in certain areas within the field of fashion. Consider specialising in Public Relations or Management to build a successful career in the industry.

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It is always important to love your profession and make a career out of something you are passionate about. If designing clothes and accessories for others and yourself has always inspired and stimulated you, then you should probably consider getting yourself qualified for commercial success.
 
Fashion design has evolved over the years and is no longer seen as an alternative career option - it’s become a mainstream study option in many countries around the world, thanks to the global fashion industry which has grown by leaps and bounds in recent times.
 
But there is always a question running through your head - where do I start and where will I end up? If you have decided to go beyond the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), which is definitely your best bet for a domestic qualification, then there are many institutes and universities abroad which offer courses in fashion design. But it’s always wiser to try and choose the best courses and college available to you, as it’s the quality of the training and exposure you receive during your course that can make or break your career. 
 
For this, you need to consider the reputation of the college, course accreditation, industry contacts the college has, the on-campus facilities, the public exposure you will get in the form of students shows and hands-on training through internships.

How do I choose within the fashion industry?

Think about what it is about fashion that you love so much. Is it the glamour and the photo shoots, or is it the adverts, the brains behind the beauty? Identifying where your passion lies will really help you decide which route to pursue, and will be useful in interviews further down the line.
 
What are you really good at? Different skills suit different jobs, so get thinking about whether you’re better on the management side or the creative side. Of course, the two aren’t mutually exclusive, but you’ll find that whatever job you go for will either be more managerial or more creative.
 
So, what jobs are out there and which degree goes with them? Most fashion careers can be into one of three categories:

Management

If you’re good at organising things and aren’t afraid to boss a few people about, a management job is right for you. There are so many different management jobs in the fashion industry, including production management, where you would be in charge of the production of clothing. This is an important role as customers are always looking for cheap, quality products, and you want to keep production costs down by using materials economically. Look into this job if you’ve got a head for logistics.
 
Retail management is all about making a shop as good as it can be and maximising profit, so it suits people who know how to please customers and can instruct staff well. Public Relations is in between the two, dealing between the manufacturer and the retailer. For this, you really need good people skills!
 
Now, to consider some fashion degrees. A basic fashion degree is great, but you can often specialise in certain areas. Look into specialising in Public Relations or Management and you’ll be well on your way!

Marketing

Marketing is a massive part of fashion – all those products need to be sold somehow! If you want to work in advertising, you’ll need to be creative. Think about studying for a degree in graphics so that you’ll be well equipped to create adverts for the fashion industry.
 
There are so many jobs in the marketing category – just think about all the different things that need to be marketed to different people. Some jobs will require work with clients, and other jobs will be about communicating with the general public. A degree that specialises in marketing will cover it all!

Photography

Fashion photographers come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Some work in studios, some on location shoots, some at events, and their photographs are used everywhere from online clothes stores to glossy magazines. Thankfully, a good degree in fashion photography will prepare you for all of these.
 
In many cases, it can seem like a degree is not necessary for a job in fashion, but having a degree will allow you to enter your profession further up in the ranks than you would’ve done otherwise. If you’re planning to go freelance, a degree gives you more credibility, so don’t turn your nose up at the idea!Why not leave a comment and tell us why you love fashion so much?

The qualifications you need

Fashion designers typically need an associate or a bachelor's degree in fashion design. Some fashion designers also combine a fashion design degree with a business, marketing, or fashion merchandising degree, especially those who want to run their own business or retail store. Basic coursework includes colour, textiles, sewing and tailoring, pattern making, fashion history, computer-aided design (CAD), and design of different types of clothing such as menswear or footwear.

Let’s look at the ideal destination countries to study fashion:

Paris

When you think of fashion, you think of Paris. Paris Fashion Institute, in France, provides a beautiful and stimulating environment where you can gain hands-on knowledge of all aspects of the industry - design, marketing, manufacturing, merchandising and retailing. The month-long seminars they offer allow you to study with legendary designers and industry professionals. Invaluable information is provided for future retailers, from consumer behaviour and buying patterns to the workings of distribution channels.

Paris Fashion Institute, in France, provides a beautiful and stimulating environment where you can gain hands-on knowledge of all aspects of the industry - design, marketing, manufacturing, merchandising and retailing. The month-long seminars they offer allow you to study with legendary designers and industry professionals. Invaluable information is provided for future retailers, from consumer behaviour and buying patterns to the workings of distribution channels.

If you are keen on doing a bachelor’s degree, you could consider the Paris American Academy, which offers a three year UG degree in fashion. The course exposes you to haute couture, costume research, art and fashion history, draping, textile design, etc.

London

Many universities in London offer accredited fashion courses at the undergraduate level. They take three years to complete, and include a short placement period within the curriculum, whilst all fashion courses dedicate time to working with the fashion industry in the form of sponsored projects, visits or visiting lecturers. In order to gain a place on a typical course in the UK you will need a good portfolio which demonstrates your ability in drawing, design development, problem solving, colour work and interest in fashion.

Many universities in London offer accredited fashion courses at the undergraduate level. They take three years to complete, and include a short placement period within the curriculum, whilst all fashion courses dedicate time to working with the fashion industry in the form of sponsored projects, visits or visiting lecturers. In order to gain a place on a typical course in the UK you will need a good portfolio which demonstrates your ability in drawing, design development, problem-solving, colour work and interest in fashion.

Many universities in London offer accredited fashion courses at the undergraduate level. They take three years to complete, and include a short placement period within the curriculum, whilst all fashion courses dedicate time to working with the fashion industry in the form of sponsored projects, visits or visiting lecturers. In order to gain a place on a typical course in the UK you will need a good portfolio which demonstrates your ability in drawing, design development, problem solving, colour work and interest in fashion.

Many universities in London offer accredited fashion courses at the undergraduate level. They take three years to complete, and include a short placement period within the curriculum, whilst all fashion courses dedicate time to working with the fashion industry in the form of sponsored projects, visits or visiting lecturers. In order to gain a place on a typical course in the UK you will need a good portfolio which demonstrates your ability in drawing, design development, problem solving, colour work and interest in fashion.Most fashion courses organise a fashion show at the end of each academic year as a celebration of their students’ work and to allow graduating students to present their final collections to a wider audience. A number of the UK Fashion courses take part in Graduate Fashion Week, held in London each June, and event which attracts a great deal of media as well as industry attention.

Most fashion courses organise a fashion show at the end of each academic year as a celebration of their students’ work and to allow graduating students to present their final collections to a wider audience. A number of the UK Fashion courses take part in Graduate Fashion Week, held in London each June, and event which attracts a great deal of media as well as industry attention.

Italy

Milan and Tuscany in Italy are well-known fashion destinations and home to some of the most prestigious fashion schools in Europe. In Tuscany you'll find a wide selection of excellent fashion courses of various levels and duration, from undergraduate courses, Master’s programs, summer classes and specialization courses.The Koefia International Academy of Haute Couture and Art of Costumein Milan offers a three year course which provides complete and methodological training (drawing, paper patterns cut and tailoring) within the field of fashion.

The Koefia International Academy of Haute Couture and Art of Costumein Milan offers a three year course which provides complete and methodological training (drawing, paper patterns cut and tailoring) within the field of fashion.

USA

The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising is North America’s most popular fashion and merchandising college. The Institute offers many two-year specialized Associate of Arts degrees, including Fashion Design, Textile Design, Apparel Manufacturing Management, Merchandise Marketing, Beauty Industry Merchandising & Marketing, Visual Communication, Graphic Design, and Interior Design. Additionally, 1-year Advanced Programs such Advanced Fashion Design, Footwear Design, International Manufacturing & Product Development and Interactive Multimedia are available.

American Intercontinental University offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Marketing and Design (BFA): Specialization in Fashion Design, which you could consider pursuing. If you are looking for a master’s degree, the MA in Fashion (specialising in Design and Atelier) from the University for the Creative Arts is a good option. 

One of the nation’s finest and most extensive Costume Museums, as well as an extraordinary fashion research and resource library, are located on FIDM’s Los Angeles campus. Study tours and student exchange programs to international fashion capitals include travel to Paris, Rome, Milan, London, New York, Florence, Mexico City, Hong Kong, and Asia.

Career opportunities

A course in fine arts will give you a sound foundation for a master’s degree in fashion designing. Once you graduate, you can either choose to start your own line, retail outlet or boutique; or work with an apparel manufacturer. You can also specialize in costume design for performing arts, motion picture, and television productions. Some designers choose to freelance for different fashion houses and brands. Fashion journalism is also an option open to you.

Before deciding on pursuing fashion design, you need to understand that “it's not all catwalks and photo shoots…”, as James Fowler of International Academy of Design, Toronto puts it quite candidly (quoted from Faze Magazine).

Worried about choosing the right course?

Neha Jain Neha Jain,
Study abroad expert.
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