To be a fashion designer, you will have to take one of the three roads:
One – Full time fashion design program
Two – Short courses
Three – no course
Which one should you go for?
This will depend on your target and ambitions, time availability, financial situation and at what stage you are in your life in terms of career and personal life.
ONE – full time fashion design program
A full time fashion design program will teach you everything about being creative and bringing out your creativity in the garments; you will learn the skills that are required by companies and you will learn what it takes to have your own brand.
This option is best suited for those that have just finished high school, another university program or that have plenty of time on their hands, and money, to invest in a full time 2-4 year fashion design program.
You may either plan to work in the industry for a while or you plan to start your own brand immediately after graduating.
If you opt for the career in the industry to first understand how the industry works, what makes a business profitable, to gain contacts and learn the “tricks of the trade” which you won’t learn in school, then you will need that valuable degree to get your foot into the top companies. Surely, the higher the degree the higher the salary to start with, as is the case in all industries.
Some careers in the fashion industry: fashion designer, costume designer, pattern maker, fashion stylist, fashion merchandiser, buyer, production manager, PR, fashion journalist and the list goes on.
If you opt to start your own fashion company and you want to bypass working in the industry, then your passion for fashion hobby will need reinforcement by taking a full time program that will teach you everything about everything in fashion: fashion history, fashion illustrations, fashion marketing, pattern drafting, sewing, colour theory, etc.
TWO – Short courses
Short courses are offered as individual courses. Depending on what you are interested in or feel that you are lacking skills in, you will take one or more short courses which can last from one day to several months per course.
This option is best suited for those in the middle of changing careers, those that have limited time due to other responsibilities or those that are interested to get going quickly.
You perhaps don’t plan to work in the industry, or if you do then you would like to do internship or part-time work to understand a little better how a fashion design company operates.
From here you are either in a financial situation to invest in opening up your business or you will start by making smaller collections or a few pieces either yourself or getting a tailor to make your designs.
In this case you will take short programs offered at a nearby art center to understand the basics and the core of whatever course you decide to take and will soak up as much information as you can from the course and from your teacher :)
THREE – no course
This option is basically for those that have no time on their hands or money to invest in taking any course at all.
Not the best option to go for, however I have come across very talented individuals that have started without any course and are still in business 40 years later.
Basically these would be your designers that have great passion for fashion, who soak up all the information they can get from the internet and from their contacts, and happen to be at the right time at the right place and with the right product.
As in everything, there are always exceptions.
Those that succeed are those that persevere.