Discovering the World of Fashion: All About Fashion School

Interested in pursuing a career in the fashion industry? Fashion school may be the perfect path for you.

We’ll explore what fashion school is all about, the different types of fashion schools available, the courses and curriculum offered, as well as the specializations and skills taught.

We’ll also delve into the various career opportunities that await after graduating from fashion school, as well as the admission requirements and the time it takes to complete a fashion program.

Let’s get started!

Key Takeaways:


  • Fashion school offers a variety of courses and specializations for students interested in the fashion industry.
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  • Students can develop essential skills such as design, sewing, pattern making, draping, and textile knowledge in fashion school.
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  • Career opportunities after graduating from fashion school include fashion designer, buyer, merchandiser, stylist, and illustrator.
  • What Is Fashion School?

    Fashion school, also known as a Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), is a specialized academic institution that in exchange for a program fee provides a curriculum that teaches the foundational knowledge and skills students need for successful careers in the fashion industry. The new graduates usually find entry-level jobs as assistant designers, visual merchandisers, or buyer trainees, but may start their own businesses, work in fashion media, or fill other roles that are part of the business side of the fashion industry.

    What Are The Different Types of Fashion Schools?

    Fashion schools can be certified or degree-granting. There are three types of degree-granting institutions, all of which are considered fashion schools to some extent. They are colleges offering associates or bachelors degrees, universities offering Masters degrees and even PhDs, and art and design institutes offering certificates, bachelors, and sometimes as masters degrees known colloquially as fashion design schools. Fashion schools can be field-restricted or specialized, which is typically found at certificate programs and specialized colleges, though it can still apply to broader institutions. Community and local colleges are typically the most affordable options and are more likely to offer the benefits of smaller class sizes and hands-on learning, although they are less varied in terms of the programs and specialisms they offer. Eligibility requirements vary between these types.

    What Are The Courses Offered In Fashion School?

    The courses offered in fashion school range from 2-year associates degrees to 4-year bachelor degrees. Some take even less time such as the 16-week intensive program to be a personal stylist and even day courses in beauty and etiquette at Yanai Designers College in Japan.

    Calling them short courses rather than full-time degree programs might be more appropriate. Courses cover numerous fashion-related core disciplines including top tier fashion design, marketing, management, production, merchandising, and technology. Degree programs also include general subjects such as English composition, art history, social science, and business theory.

    The master’s degree is useful when pursuing advanced positions in management or business. As can be seen in the list below, there are fashion schools available in almost every country, and each of the top fashion schools might offer slightly different variations based on fashion niches of interest for the country it is based in.

    A Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree is the most common major. Degrees named Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA), Bachelor of Science (BS), or Bachelor of Design (BDes) are also common. A Master’s degree is a good preparation for complex responsibilities such as owning a business or overseeing a fashion team. Doctorate degrees exist as well, such as the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). However, graduate degrees are not so common in the fashion industry.


    What Is The Curriculum Of A Fashion School?

    The curriculum of fashion school includes coursework specific to the degree major such as textiles, pattern making, tailoring, knitwear, computer-aided design software, and sewing. Core requirements will include classes such as art history, fashion history, costume history, science of textiles, computer fundamentals, professional practices, and so on.

    Bachelor’s programs typically require around 120 credits to graduate, which means around 30 semesters of different courses from the areas we have discussed. Graduate programs also have both core requirements and electives, and students may pursue a combination of specialized knowledge of garments, as well as an understanding of fashion as a cultural, psychological, and political phenomenon.

    What Are The Specializations Available In Fashion School?

    These are Specializations Available in Fashion School:

    1. Textile design
    2. Fashion design
    3. Retail management
    4. Fashion marketing
    5. Historical and sociological facets of fashion

    Textile designers specialize in producing weaves, prints, embroideries, accessories, and apparel for different products. They have unique collections based on the seasons, prices, and design moods on a regular basis. Extensive market research helps to meet the current fashion trends and consumer needs which are determined at this stage.

    Fashion design is the most popular of the programs. It involves a broad range of technical, design, and marketing skills. They work in all areas of the fashion industry from small private design houses to large international manufacturers, developing original clothing, accessories, or footwear.

    Textile designers share some of the skills in developing original and appealing patterns and design combinations. Fashion designers have in-depth knowledge in biotechnology, material sciences, environmental systems, fabrication methods and presentation techniques.

    Other forms of specialization in fashion school business degrees might focus on specialties such as retail management, fashion marketing, historical and sociological facets of fashion etc. Having these foundations can build on the career of a fashion designer in various management roles or help open up additional avenues such as designing for live performances where historical fashion influences might be a key requirement.

    What Are The Skills Taught In Fashion School?

    • Conceptual thinking – By enabling students to craft original sketches based on their creative imagination. This aspect of their practical education encourages them to find their own voices without abandoning any fundamental commitment to the dynamic changes that currently shape the industry.
    • Cultural awareness – They learn how global cultural elements domestically impact the fashion of that country.

    Design Skills

    • An ability to choose appropriate fabrics and colors
    • A comfortable knowledge of fitting requirements in design;
    • Understanding of various sewing techniques, to best turn their sketches into a reality.

    Design skills are the cornerstone of the fashion industry. Whether designing for a mass market or individual consumers, designers should have a solid grounding in the core skills and techniques that apply to design. .

    Proper guidance and feedback are crucial to refining and honing these abilities, so reputable fashion schools pay a lot of attention here, using small class sizes and feedback-rich environments to ensure students develop their design strengths to their full potential. With this strong base, graduates will be better able to evolve with global fashion trends and ensure innovative value for themselves and their customers down the road.

    Sewing and Construction Skills

    Sewing and construction skills are another very important aspect of fashion design that is highly emphasized in fashion school practical training. Making detailed clothes as well as accessories and gaining a professionalism in this area through perfect work require a good knowledge of sewing and construction techniques. The student would not be able to become a professional designer if they do not take enough time to practice or try out new things as they will be left with skill holes.

    Pattern Making Skills

    Pattern making is known as the process of translating a garment design into pattern pieces of uniform size that when sewn together will create the intended oth design. Pattern makers draft initial paper patterns based on constructing standardized sizes of garments, using construction methods to estimate how much fabric is required to make a design.

    Students learn flat pattern making which is the most common method and involves creating a garment’s pattern shapes to correspond with the body’s contours in 2D. Alternatively they may learn draping which is the older traditional method making a garment directly on a mannequin in 3D.

    Draping Skills

    Drapping is another valuable skill imparted by fashion schools. Draping is the designer’s method of designing by working with a dress form directly rather than using patterns. Draping is how you use muslin or wide, unbleached fabric drapes to create clothing that suits a model’s curves. This is a very effective way to transform an existing piece or to create a new style of clothing from scratch. This is highly valued because it helps to create a garment that yields with the sociobiological forces which bring the garment into existence in the first place. These forces include the person’s body form and movement as well as the parameters of physics at play.

    Textile and Fabric Knowledge

    Fashion school often provides formal education on key components of textile development and garment manufacturing. In today’s global fashion industry, textile science is especially important for sustainability and transparency throughout the production chain. As such, the coursework in a fashion program must include textile science and manufacturing, the science of comfort and functional apparel, quality control, supply chain management, cost factors, quality assurance, consumer demands, and changes in the garment industry.

    At Barton Solsons College of Fashion Design (B.S.C), fashion education programs will include features that will enable one college graduate to confidently discuss core aspects of garment manufacturing, similarly the Academy of Art University’s schools of fashion design and textile design provide students with the opportunity to conduct research into the innovation and new trends within fashion including wearable tech.

    What Are The Career Opportunities After Graduating From Fashion School?

    The list of career opportunities related to fashion schools is virtually endless. To narrow this list down slightly, here are 50 different job opportunities in the fashion industry, either directly or indirectly related to having studied at fashion school.

    1. Admissions Counselor
    2. Buyer
    3. Dean of Students
    4. Financial Advisor
    5. Guidance Counselor
    6. Human Resources Director
    7. Brand Manager
    8. Content Manager
    9. Online Marketing Manager
    10. Public Relations Manager
    11. Social Media Manager
    12. Strategic Planner
    13. Styles Manager
    14. Corporate Sales Director
    15. Customer Service Manager
    16. Export Marketing Manager
    17. Regional Sales Manager
    18. Store Manager
    19. Territory Sales Manager
    20. Brand Manager
    21. Product Manager
    22. Production Designer
    23. Production Manager
    24. Project Manager
    25. Sales and Marketing Manager
    26. Sales Manager
    27. Senior Merchandiser
    28. Assistant Designer
    29. Fashion Designer
    30. Fashion Illustrator
    31. Stylist
    32. Purchase Manager
    33. Quality Manager
    34. Retail Manager
    35. Retail Purchaser
    36. Assistant Manual Designer
    37. Brand Manager Manual Designer
    38. E-commerce Manager Manual Designer
    39. Garment Manufacturer Manual Designer
    40. Manual Designer Marketing Executive
    41. Pattern Maker Manual Designer
    42. Production Manager Manual Designer
    43. Product Development Manager Manual Designer
    44. Quality Controller
    45. Showroom Manager Manual
    46. Visual Merchandiser Manual Designer

    In North America, the BLS summarizes careers related to the fashion and fashion design category that are only attainable with some type of undergraduate degree or have most roles employing experts from a fashion design academic background. The following are careers in the fashion industry for which it notes duties, the degree normally expected, pay averages in the US as of 2019, and job outlook plan in comparison to all jobs in the US. Some of the most prominent of the above choices are explored below. These careers include top jobs for fashion designers, fashion merchandisers, manual designers and retail managers.

    Fashion Designer

    Fashion design is an art totally dedicated to clothing and lifestyle accessories. Fashion designers research, visualize, conceptualize, sketch and sew their programs intended for a specific group or market. They are engaged with many elements of a product from textiles to marketing for the creation of prototypes and an eventual product line.

    One of the core focuses in fashion school is in the design segment, which will usually include Color Theory and Sketching, Draping and Sewing, Patternmaking, and Fashion Design Concepts. Degree students will receive extensive training in design and technology like computer-aided classes. Fashion designers may work in one or more specializations such as in high fashion as those graduating from prestigious institutions such as the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York, working in ready-to-wear fashion, sportswear, fashion/activewear, or working in the world of children’s wear.

    Fashion Buyer

    Fashion buyers are responsible for creating unique and interesting collections and have to work directly with suppliers, designers, and manufacturers. They have to be involved in the business aspects of the company, such as budgeting and forecasting. Concurrently, they should be aware of how to generate more sales and how to maximize profits through running promotions.

    Our research from job postings shows that buyers have to hold at least a Bachelor’s degree and need to have two or three years of professional experience in the fashion field. They also need to have good negotiation and networking skills and have an emotionally intelligent team player.

    Fashion Merchandiser

    A fashion merchandiser is responsible for buying, developing, and presenting a brand’s product line for wholesale distribution to large and small domestic and international retailers. This includes product design and cost analysis. A fashion merchandiser will help coordinate budgets and schedules with design and production teams and present auxiliary products and proposed schemes to clients to make effective recommendations.

    Fashion Stylist

    Fashion stylists determine which clothing options someone uses, for example in daily life, in a company, or in the movie and television industry. They develop ideas for the visual presentation of goods and services.

    You need to learn from experts at fashion institutes and take part in practical exercises in which you assist designers with styling their products or have entire fashion photo shoots and presentations organized by yourself with the outfits and themes of your choice. School students are offered direct market contact by gaining practical work experience during studies.

    Fashion Illustrator

    A fashion illustrator creates visual interpretations of designs, items, and fashion collections, then displays them in digital or physical formats for fashion designers, companies, distributors, and customers to see. This role is a way to leverage some of the creative and artistic skills that are developed at fashion college. Important skills are strong drawing and stylistic abilities, and fluency in how to use technology and software including the Adobe Creative Suite, CAD, and Sketchbook Pro.

    What Are The Admission Requirements For Fashion School?

    Admission requirements for fashion school are different from one school to another, as they depend on the country, level of study, specialization, and other school-specific criteria. A good overview of general admission requirements for fashion school in the United States can be seen for both undergraduate and graduate fashion programs.

    1. Undergraduate programs:
      • High School GPA in the 2.5 to 3.5 range
      • 701 to 1000 SAT scores
      • Undergraduate GPA 3.0 or higher
      • Official school transcripts
      • Financial Reference Form and proof of financial support
      • PASS Personal Statement of Intent
      • TOEFL score plus minimum TOEFL score called for by the desired program
      • Resume/CV (encouraged but not required)
      • 3 letters of recommendation
    2. Graduate Programs:
      • Well above average to high cumulative undergraduate GPA in a baccalaureate program in the desired field
      • A combined GRE score of 2800 to 3200 points
      • Offical transcripts demonstrating coursework at the undergraduate level in the desired field
      • A clear prospective study and research goals statement for the desired field of study
      • TOEFL score of 120 as well as the financial reference forms and supporting documentation

    Portfolio Submission

    Portfolio submission is the most prominent reason why people attend fashion schools that provide degrees. Most fashion bachelor and associate degree programs require that applicants submit a personal work portfolio. The New School’s Parsons School of Design, for example, requires eight to twelve pieces of original work. This can include Date or Print work, Pattern Drafts (Women’s, Men’s, Children’s or Unisex wear), Illustrations, Photography, 3D work, Coding, etc. This does not require new work but ideally it includes no previously used material and selected to represent the widest range of work the applicant has done. If the application is late, one month from the published deadlines, a brief personal essay is required. Those earning their Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Fashion might be required to wait until the semester one year after filing to begin courses. Applying to a top program like the Bachelor in Fine Arts in Fashion Design program at the New School’s Parsons School of Design is a highly competitive process. Undergraduate programs experience an acceptance rate ranging from under 5% to slightly over 20%.

    Academic Requirements

    To attend fashion school, students typically need to meet certain academic requirements which are often laid out by the school’s admissions office or registrar office. These requirements vary and are eligible for both undergraduate programs and degree programs. Information on academic requirements can typically be found on the school’s website.

    For undergraduate degrees in fashion, students will need a high school diploma or GED. Transcripts are required from high school and must show a competitive GPA as academic institutions typically have minimum academic requirements.

    For degree programs, students will need a high school diploma or GED, and once again, transcripts showing a competitive GPA for the same reason as undergrade programs. Additionally, applicants applying to obtain such degrees must have a bachelor’s degree. The bachelor’s degree does not have to be in a fashion field, but some programs may require or prefer it. For PhD fashion degrees, there is no standard requirement for undergraduate or graduate degrees in fashion. Most students seeking PhD degrees in fashion come from industry with extensive hands-on experience.

    Research institutions that do not require a previous background in fashion might want to see experience in a similar field at another business school, as well as high-level mathematical analysis and computer research skills.

    Interview/Entrance Exam

    Interviews and entrance exams are part of enrolling in fashion school. During these processes, students’ interest in the subject, their background and experience in the field, their style and psychology are evaluated by these experts in the field.

    A student’s participation in extracurricular activities, especially in art and design, is a key factor in getting acceptance, although not compulsory. Some schools do not require an interview after acceptance or only conduct a Skype interview.

    Quantitative entrance scores determine whether a school will require an in-person exam for a department. If they do at that time they will most likely conduct the interview as well.

    Letters of Recommendation

    Letters of recommendation for fashion schools allow faculty to form a more complete opinion of the artistic and academic abilities of a prospective student, as provided by someone who is independent and unrelated. These letters usually contain some overall assessment of the student’s work in previous schooling or during the workaday life and what they believe the student’s probability of success in the field they propose to study is.

    They should be written by teachers and/or former employers who are knowledgeable about your work or potential in the field of fashion.

    Letters of recommendation for the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) and other fashion schools provide solid examples and advice for what students should include in their application. They recommend including the classes and internships you have taken-Having knowledge of related industries and concepts can give you credibility.

    How Long Does It Take To Complete Fashion School?

    It takes 2-8 years to complete fashion school depending on the degree obtain. Associate degrees last for 2 years (4-6 semesters), and a bachelor’s degree is usually 4 years (8 semesters). Two years is typical for master’s degrees and other post-secondary programs in a fashion school’s curriculum. All together because the associate’s and bachelor’s degrees add on top of each other, students will typically spend 6 years obtaining an associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degree in fashion within an LTF (Ladder of Tertiary Fashion Education).

    Associate’s Degree (2 years)

    A two-year Associate’s Degree from a community college is a good place to begin fashion school. This level of degree usually involves introductory, broad classes that will prepare a student for further study at a Bachelor’s or Master’s level.

    Typical courses include basic design skills and introductory classes in textiles, computer-aided design (CAD) skills, pattern drafting, history of fashion, retailing and marketing, as well as general academic and business subjects. There may be some specialized coursework in this degree level, such as fashion journalism or a course on sustainability. It is worth researching each school’s curriculum to see what their Associate’s Degree offers.

    Time Requirement: Depending on the individual college, this level degree usually takes 2 years of full-time study. The duration of part-time study can take much longer.

    Affordability: This is usually the most affordable option for a 2-year fashion degree. A degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology (with their associated fees, book costs, etc) costs approximately $31500 per year if living on or off-campus.

    Bachelor’s Degree (4 years)

    Fashion design bachelor’s degrees are intensively focused 4-year training programs primarily teaching students the creative expression and technical skills in the design of fashion products. Students are continuously designing, drawing, and creating their own patterns. These programs normally begin with 2 years of foundational studies after which students specialize in Bachelors in Fashion Design, Bachelor of Culture & Arts with a major in Design for Fashion, Bachelor in Style and Fashion Design, or other similar majors.

    Master’s Degree (2-3 years)

    A Master’s Degree in Fashion Business, Fashion Studies, Fashion Management, or an internationally equivalent degree in a specialized area of the fashion industry are the specialized degrees that can be earned in fashion, with the curriculum and course requirements varying by program. Master’s degrees can include a thesis or a capstone fashion project with mentorship or internship requirements and can be undertaken upon completion of the BFA when 120 to 180 credits for a Master’s have been completed. Those wanting to undertake a Master’s degree must have already completed a Bachelor’s, and the Fashion Business degree has an average of either 45 semester or 90 quarter credits for completion. Master’s degrees help recipients develop specialized design skills for their area of fashion. These design skills can often lead to higher executive positions in the industry and their maintenance through graduate research and thesis work ensures the prestigious nature of the degrees. Fashion masters degrees help fashion managers remain up-to-date.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is Fashion School All About?

    Fashion school is an institution that provides education and training in the field of fashion design, marketing, and merchandising. It offers various programs, from certificate courses to undergraduate and graduate degrees, to equip students with the necessary skills and knowledge to pursue a career in the fashion industry.

    What are the different areas of study in Fashion School?

    Fashion school covers a wide range of subjects, such as fashion design, textiles, pattern-making, garment construction, fashion history, fashion marketing, and merchandising. Some schools also offer specialized programs in areas like fashion journalism, visual merchandising, and fashion photography.

    What are the qualifications for admission to Fashion School?

    The admission requirements for fashion school may vary depending on the institution, but most schools require a high school diploma or equivalent. Some schools may also require a portfolio of your fashion-related work, letters of recommendation, and standardized test scores.

    What are the career opportunities after graduating from Fashion School?

    Fashion school graduates can pursue various career paths, including fashion designer, fashion buyer, fashion merchandiser, fashion stylist, fashion marketer, and fashion journalist. With the growing demand for sustainable and ethical fashion, there are also opportunities for careers in sustainability and ethical fashion consulting.

    Is it necessary to attend Fashion School to have a successful career in the fashion industry?

    Attending fashion school is not a requirement for success in the fashion industry, but it can provide you with essential skills, knowledge, and industry connections that can help you succeed. Many successful fashion designers and industry professionals have not attended fashion school, but they have honed their skills through hands-on experience and self-study.

    Are there any scholarships or financial aid options available for Fashion School?

    Yes, many fashion schools offer scholarships and financial aid options to help students fund their education. These can include merit-based scholarships, need-based scholarships, grants, and student loans. Some schools also offer work-study programs and internships to help students gain practical experience while studying. It is best to check with the specific school for available options.

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