If you want to make a big splash in the fashion design industry, then choosing the right school is the best place to start. Fashion design may not be everybody’s choice of career, but if you have talent in this field, there are plenty of opportunities available.
There are 7 main things you need to look for when choosing your fashion design school. Although there are fashion design schools around, they can be few and far between, and have quite different backgrounds and focus. So knowing what things to consider makes a big difference. Let’s take a look at the main things you need to assess.
If you have a particular area of the industry you want to focus on, such as women’s casual wear, then it’s important that you find a fashion design school which is strong in this field. Also, look at what the school has to offer. Does it focus solely on fashion design, or does it offer lots of other courses as well. Is the school well known for fashion design, particularly in your field of interest? Also, does the school have a history of participating in fashion design competitions, or does it have any other projects that help to take students out into the fashion world.
This can take a little more digging, but it’s worth finding out what exactly is covered in the curriculum. The range of subjects covered can vary widely between different fashion schools, so it’s worth doing the research to find one that covers the types of subjects you want to study. To some extent this comes back to your main area of interest in designing. So if you have a specific area of fashion design you want to pursue, choose a school with a curriculum that matches. If you’re not sure what you want to do, then choose a school with a more ‘one size fits all’ curriculum.
Check to see what forms of accreditation the fashion design school has. Accreditation is a way of ensuring a school has attained certain levels of educational quality. Look for accreditation from the U.S. Department of Education. You can also check with the State Postsecondary School Licensing Bureau.
See if you can find out the quality of the teaching staff. It’s great if there are established designed teaching there, because that indicates the industry has confidence in the school. What is the usual student to teacher ratio? This can make a big difference, particularly in hands-on subjects, because a big group makes it hard for the teacher to assist everyone individually. Be wary, though, if the class sizes are too small – this could mean the school is struggling in some way, and also limits the opportunity to share ideas and brainstorm with other students.
Probably the factor that’s most important to many of us – how much will it cost to attend the school? It’s nice if you’re in a situation where cost doesn’t matter, but for most of us, we need to be practical. If the tuition fees are high, you may find you have to spend far to many hours working in a part-time job and so leave yourself short of time for your schoolwork.
If finances really are a problem, then it’s worth asking your school of choice if they offer any sorts of scholarships. This can be a great way to attend the fashion design school of your choice, because some scholarships are based on fashion design competitions. If you have talent, you may be able to win a scholarship. So found out what scholarships they offer, and what sort of terms they have.
Finally, this may not seem important when you’re first heading off to the fashion design school you’ve chosen, but it can matter in the long run. Does the school offer any assistance with job placement? This can make the difference between finding a job fairly quickly, and spending months searching. Also, take a look at the alumni of the school. What sort of careers have they developed? If there are plenty of successes, that can indicate a good training program at the school, as well as open up opportunities for job placements.
In the end, only you can choose the fashion design school that best meets your needs. If you have a favorite fashion designer, maybe check out his or her educational background and see where they studied. That may help you to decide. But make sure you spend some time investigating all your options. The school you choose will make a big impact on your life and career prospects, so choose carefully. If you do, you’ve taken the first step to a successful career in fashion design.