Think you have what it takes to do a graduate-level fashion degree? Read our guide to see if this competitive industry is for you.
London, Paris, Milan, New York: such cities are synonymous with fashion, and annual shows that dictate styles for the year ahead. But these famous centers are also great seats of fashion learning for graduate students.
London boasts Central St Martins College of Art and Design and the London College of Fashion, part of the University of the Arts London. Paris has the Instituto Marangoni, which also has branches in London and the fashion capital of Italy, Milan. Milan is also home to the Domus Academy, while LIM College in New York offers an MBA with a focus on fashion management and entrepreneurship.
Getting to know the fashion industry
The fashion industry is complex and varied, and this is reflected in the wide range of courses available at graduate level to prepare students for work in this highly competitive environment. For instance, the Instituto Marangoni runs master's programs in fashion design, fashion promotion, brand management, fashion buying and fashion styling.
Meanwhile graduate specializations at the London College of Fashion include fashion and the environment, footwear, costume design for performance, fashion photography, fashion journalism, and fashion curation.
The list of options continues, but of course the best-known part of fashion remains the central design process. As well as a strong understanding of different textiles and technologies, this involves learning about trend analysis and prediction, collection development, and product launch and promotion.
Create looks, predict trends, sell the brand
Future fashion stylists may also benefit from similar graduate courses, getting a strong understanding of all aspects of the industry in order to work confidently to create 'looks' for celebrities, photo shoots, adverts and brands.
These elements are also key for fashion buyers, who essentially need to be able to predict the future buying habits of consumers - working out a complicated equation based on trends, time of year, weather, demand and promotional work to ensure they have the right products in the right numbers at the right outlets. Not an easy task by any means!
Then there are courses focusing more on the promotion and marketing side of the fashion industry, preparing students to become future events organizers, brand managers, PRs and journalists by learning how to effectively represent fashion to different audiences.
As all fashion courses are based on creativity and a feel for the industry, a good portfolio is essential for anyone thinking of applying to a graduate program. This should demonstrate your ability to draw, develop designs, and respond to broader trends while also showing innovation and individuality. You may also be expected to submit some written work, perhaps detailing your inspirations, aspirations and experience to date.
(You can read the profile of a fashion graduate student here.)
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