Fashion design is a form of art that focuses on the creation of clothing and accessories with significant emphasis on aesthetics. It is highly influenced by cultural and social trends and varies greatly over time, place and cultural groups. The constantly changing tastes of the masses and the evolving perceptions of big names in industry ensure that fashion is always transforming.
Fashion can range from mass-produced clothing to haute couture. Fashion is everywhere, and the industry is often seen as glamorous and exciting, and with the number of designers aiming to be the next big thing, there is high competition.
Fashion Design is a very specific field. Most fashion schools provide different courses at different levels. When you undertake a degree in fashion design, you will likely take courses on the history of fashion, different fashion movements and types, and fabrics and materials. The curriculum will also most likely have technical classes for sewing, draping and pattern making. Design classes would include sketching, drawing and 3D design or CAD (Computer-aided design). In addition to these, students may also take business classes related to fashion such as fashion merchandising.
Hands-on experience is a significant part of most degrees in fashion design. In most curriculums, students are required to manage and execute a major project in their later years in the program wherein they will be required to demonstrate the ability, skills and knowledge they have gained throughout the program.
The accreditation of a degree usually depends on the country where the degree is awarded. In most cases, countries have their own accrediting systems for universities, students and graduates. Please check with the institution you are interested in for their accreditation details.
There is no universally recognised certification or required board exam for graduates with a degree in fashion, because fashion designers are usually evaluated based on their designs, experience and shows.
Generally, fashion design is considered to be a specialisation in most arts or fine arts degree programs. Because fashion design is such a very specific aspect of the field, actual specializations is normally gained through mentorship or professional experience and known as the look or aesthetic of the designer.
The timeframe of completing a fashion design program will depend on your goals. An undergraduate degree in fashion design can typically take four years. Another option, which is shorter, for those who want to take a fashion design program is an associate's degree which takes two years.
There are some master's degree programs available for fashion design, which allow you finely hone your skills in a specific area of fashion. Master's degree programs in fashion can take from between one to four years depending on the award and study mode you choose.
Entrance into a fashion design degree program varies from institution to institution. Some universities require you to take an entrance exam, while some will take into consideration national or standard exams.
Another possible consideration or requirement would be a creative portfolio. Creative portfolios can usually be sketches and pictures of previous design work or be based on a case study provided by the school or institution. For a complete list of requirements, we advise you to check out or contact the institution you are interested in applying to.
If you do not meet the entry requirements you may want to consider a pathway course.
A significant percentage of fashion design graduates end up working in fields and positions directly related to design and fashion. Some work with or as clothing designers, while a number work as fashion buyers and procurement or merchandising officers for stores. Graduates of fashion design degree programs can also choose to pursue a career in fashion marketing, textile design, fashion consultants or public relations. Other positions for fashion design graduates are personal and photoshoot stylists, fashion brand managers, fashion journalists, fashion or creative director, and store manager. Positions are also available in magazine or publishing houses and other media outlets.
Students who have gone through a degree program focused on fashion design also gain valuable skills and knowledge. Most graduates are very well versed on fashion trends and consumer lifestyle, while at the same time having a keen sense for brand and market awareness. In addition to these, fashion designers also have the advantage of being highly skilled in visual communication and design principles.
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