Updated: Aug 6, 2020
The topic of whether a formal education in Fashion is one that seems to regularly do the rounds… and everybody has their own opinion on the topic.
For me personally, I think that unless you do a long apprenticeship with a someone reputable, established and knowledgeable within the industry it would be near on impossible to start a Fashion Career without a formal education, unless of course you have an endless amount of cash to pay for freelancers to support your business project… but even then you would still need a good idea of what you are talking about!
The main issue is that there are not many businesses out there willing to take someone on without a qualification, even for some retail roles which can be highly frustrating, and so the pressure comes from the top.
There are of course a countless stream of famous Fashion Designers who have made it without a formal education, however in the case of so many of those – they trained on apprenticeships within the industry and worked their way up learning every aspect of the business before spreading their wings on their own… in order to have a successful business it is imperative that you understand exactly how it works and this, unfortunately can only be learnt in two ways – one being by the aforementioned apprenticeship by a master in the industry or two by means of a formal education.
Fashion degrees today are very expensive, and it is difficult to determine whether or not you will get the payback in terms of a good career.
It must be said, however that many institutions are now offering short courses in various areas of Fashion at a much more affordable rate than universities and are worth considering if your route into Fashion industry is clear, for example if you wanted to become a freelance pattern cutter you could do a selection of short courses and maybe an apprenticeship to gain the skills and knowledge which you need to succeed on that career path, although you must remember that nothing is guaranteed and even some students whom have spent years on a Fashion degree course end up in a career that is not in the industry at all.
The problem is that there are so many different choices and very poor career guidance for prospective Fashion Students, how are you supposed to know what you want to do if you don’t entirely know what a role entails?
In my podcast, I do hope to cover many of your unanswered questions on roles within the industry from the people who are actually doing them!
Your skills and interests will ultimately determine the career path that you take, but you must be open minded… as what you plan to do in your career in not always the route you are destined to follow. Our life choices shape all of us, but the keys to success are determination and passion – as long as you have those you will go far!
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Another thing which is so important for your career success is networking!! As the term “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” – now this is not a term I am particularly fond of because I believe we all work hard to get to where we all in life, but the difference is, in order to be noticed, you HAVE to make connections – join groups, conversations, webinars, social media platforms and get talking! Networking is the silent key to your success!