Insider’s Guide to Studying For the Fashion and Design Industry

Many people have a preconception that the fashion industry is very glamorous! What they don’t know in fact is that it is a very fast paced and cut-throat environment – especially if you choose to go down the pathway of becoming a designer. Fashion design firstly requires talent. You need the passion, enthusiasm, drive and commitment to survive in this kind of industry. Along with excellent organisational skills, a good eye for detail, colour, form and line. But with all the hard work, the results are very rewarding. When you see someone photographed or walking down the street in something you have designed/created it is a very surreal and proud moment.

Our Top Tips

– Stay patient! It will pay off
– A lot of people find pattern cutting boring initially, but once you have mastered it, it won’t be, so keep at it
– Watch out for pin pricks! You don’t want any drops of blood on your garment
– Look out for inspiration at all times, wherever you are always keep a camera handy
– If you can’t already use Photoshop, buy yourself a self-teaching book, it will really help when producing range plans and illustrations
– Always make a toile, before making the real thing, this will save making costly mistakes
– Recycle old garments/fabrics to keep costs down
– Keep good care of your equipment, if you do so it can last you a lifetime
– Any work experience in the industry would be a great insight. Try to keep in touch with anyone you meet or work for
– Be well rounded: it’s not just about great designs; it’s about communicating, negotiating and working to tight deadlines. Use skills learnt at school or college
– Regularly read fashion magazines such as “Women’s Wear Daily” and “Vogue” to remain current on trends and future trends, and industry magazines such as “Drapers”
– Try and visit as many shows as you can, for example London Fashion Week, and Graduate Fashion Week, to get an insight into how a professional show works

Training and Qualifications

You can gain qualifications by studying part-time whilst working or you can take a full time college or university arts, crafts or design course.

– NVQs and City and Guilds are available part time whilst you are in work
– If you stay in further education, you have a wider range of qualifications to aim at – GNVQs, A-levels, various Diplomas, there are vocational qualifications specifically designed to qualify you for entry into employment and many will open the doors of higher education
– If you go on to higher education, a range of Diplomas and degrees are available – HND, BA and so on
– You could then go on to postgraduate studies and take a masters or PhD. Taught and research courses are available

But whichever route you choose, your first step is to decide which branch of the industry you wish to be involved with and then research the places that can offer you the right course or courses to enable you to succeed in this industry. And one final tip, keep your portfolio up to date, interviewers will almost certainly want to see it whether you are going for a job or trying for acceptance on your preferred course.

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