Discover the Minimum A Levels Required for Fashion School

Are you interested in pursuing a career in the fashion industry but unsure of what qualifications you need to get into fashion school?

This article explores the different types of fashion schools available, the requirements for admission, and the recommended A Levels that can boost your chances of acceptance.

From traditional four-year fashion schools to vocational programs, we will cover all the information you need to know to kickstart your journey towards a successful career in fashion.

Key Takeaways:

  • A Levels in art and design, textiles, photography, and business studies are recommended for fashion school.
  • Other helpful qualifications for fashion school include internship experience, additional art/design classes, and foreign language skills.
  • Holding A Levels can demonstrate creativity and technical skills, provide a strong foundation for fashion studies, and increase acceptance chances to top fashion schools.
  • What Are Fashion Schools?

    Fashion schools are unique institutions focusing on education and research in the study of fashion design, marketing, management, and production. While studying any specialized field in their own model of education and degree offerings, both traditional university institutions and highly specialized schools are labeled as fashion schools. Only the most distinguished institutions with a very comprehensive selection of programs will offer a range of options to students interested in breaking into the fashion industry from a variety of professional backgrounds. The creation of such programs is becoming common, but the variety and style differentiate modern fashion education.

    What Are the Different Types of Fashion Schools?

    These are the main types of fashion schools you can attend. Click here to jump to Qualifications for Colleges Administratively Outside of the US.

    1. Community colleges: usually two-year associate degrees are offered by community colleges.
    2. Four-year colleges and universities: award from a bachelors (bfa or ba) to a doctorate.
    3. A phrase used by the fashion industry to suggest an especially creative means of educating oneself is youtube and friends in the industry?minimum of online courses?
    4. certificates earned from entities such as portfolio india’s NID university of london’s central saint martins, or, lydia elise millen’s fashion masterclasses?

    Moira Nelson, owner of, a fashion recruiting and consulting firm, says there is a wide range of degrees in fashion, and the competitive caliber of the school that awards them is more impactful on your career than which institution did the granting. Associates, two-year or master’s,? Fashion industry professional. Themed functionality beyond organization? Bachelors, four-year, PHD? (to a lesser extent).

    Traditional Four-Year Fashion Schools

    In the US, traditional four-year bachelors programs in fashion design and merchandising generally have admissions requirements of an accredited high school degree or equivalent. In the UK and Canada, high school completion is also required. Grade requirements vary, but according to DeMontfort University for Fashion, Design, and Textiles in the UK, typical requirements are 112-128 UCAS points calculated from A-levels or level 3 BTEC modules. In Canada, typical requirements for a bachelor of arts or equivalent will be calculated from the student’s Grade 12 marks, but scores of 70-95% would be advised.

    Art and Design Schools

    For art and design schools, the equivalent of an Aai level is usually needed. Require- ments for admissions to art and design diploma and certificate programs are generally lower than those for degrees. A-levels in Art & Design, Design and Technology, or one of several creative arts fields are relevant to the field of fashion. Yet because they are academic qualifications instead of artistic qualifications, they are not a perfect fit.

    International students who apply to quick admission art and design programs do not need a strong profile of extracurricular activities or high-level academic performance. There is usually no strict li guideline. That there is no set A-level requirement have several fashion schools maintained admissions standards that are subjectively selective and focused on portfolios and interviews. London’s Central Saint Martins, for instance, regarded as one of the most esteemed UK arts and design institutions, offers as an example a study program in Textile Design and admits on the basis of exhibiting a broad mix of work including design, photography, fine drawing, mark-marking and manipulation of material. Future students must demonstrate a wide range of results of their own and test their ability to apply design principles to both two- and three-dimensional work such as ceramics and photography.

    Vocational Schools

    Vocational schools are similar to community colleges, with the key difference being the applied knowledge that they offer with more hands-on experience in specialized subject areas. This may include areas such as 3D fashion design or specialized techniques such as creating runway outfits, studying fashion history, or learning about different fashion trends and fashion technologies. These courses are usually either one or two-year programs. You will need at least 3 GCSE qualifications which are at least grade C and in relevant subjects.

    What Are the Requirements for Fashion School?

    The typical requirements for fashion school are a high school diploma or GED, a portfolio of personal works, and previous academic experience completing coursework equivalent to a C+/B- average. These criteria represent the general guidelines for practically all fashion schools, though they sometimes vary slightly depending on the school’s location and reputation. Some schools may override typical requirements for exceptions, and additional components are sometimes present.

    High school diploma or equivalent – At a minimum, students interested in gaining entry into fashion schools will need to possess a high school diploma or a certificate of equivalency such as the General Educational Development (GED) program.

    Portfolio of personal works – Most institutions request portfolios from potential students that include a variety of their creative fashion work including sketches, garments, pattern-making, and other prior projects.

    Academic performance – A typical requirement is a minimum GPA of 2.5 out of 4.0, although this can vary widely depending on the institution. Some schools request a GPA as high as 3.0-3.3, while the entrance GPA for some other schools in the USA can be as low as 1.5. In almost all cases, all post-secondary attempts at education are taken into consideration. Some schools require faculty and/or employer recommendations.

    High School Diploma or Equivalent

    Before applying to a fashion school at undergraduate or graduate levels, you will need to have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent. For those who do not have a high school diploma, there are GED programs offering training and a test to achieve the equivalent of a high school diploma in the U.S. A completed GCE A-Level is equivalent in the UK. Such qualifications will provide eligibility to apply to most fashion schools as well as institutions of higher learning in general.

    Portfolio of Artwork or Design Projects

    Your portfolio of artwork or design projects is the primary determinant of success beyond the foundational entry qualifications. Most fashion schools will spend significant time ranking applicants based on the depth and originality of their submitted work. Scoring involves degree-level curriculum content if the portfolio is content-rich, professional organization if the presentation and layout are strong, and demonstration of hard/foundational skills like drawing or draping.

    Your portfolio might be required to have a theme. For Elisava School of Design they recommend a concise visual statement and a strong graphic and text identity that can encompass the work or research. At Polimoda they recommend portfolios…with a clear message and a cohesive representation of their creative abilities.

    A typical portfolio may include development work, experimentation, analysis, and final outcomes according to the University of Arts London (UAL). Some fashion schools only apply their own internal rating, no matter if the potential student has a Nobel prize in their pocket. At the London College of Fashion, according to the Complete University Guide, the portfolio accounts for 100% of the weighting in their selection process for undergrads in most programs. That makes it very important.

    Adjust Your Search is a channel at the JFA-U-Express News Network. They showcase successful applications, including the portfolio part for Polimoda. For Americans planning to attend a school outside the US, Aidan Flowers and the USA Scholarship Program at Polimoda discuss portfolio tips in the following video.

    Letters of Recommendation

    Letters of recommendation sometimes referred to as references, are a big part of the degree admissions process in order to quantify a candidate’s personal qualities such as honesty, responsibility, creativity, problem-solving, task management, teamwork, and communication skills. They provide the evaluator with an unbiased, real-world assessment of the candidate. The typical recommenders include teachers, tutors, volunteer supervisors, internship coordinators, former employers, and professional contacts. In the field of fashion business and production – although it also applies to fashion design – two letters of recommendation are mandatory for your eventual success.

    Personal Statement or Essay

    Adding a personal statement or an essay is common when applying to fashion schools. Many fashion schools require students to submit an essay or personal statement as part of their application. This essay allows the admissions committee to better get to know the applicant. The admissions committee looks for students with unique qualities, and the essay can show the student’s creativity, thoughtfulness, leadership skills, and passion.

    For instance, the Polimoda Institute – an Italian fashion college – asks for a maximum of 2000 character personal statement that describes applicants’ personality, fashion professional goals, and which of Polimoda’s programs they would like to attend. The essay can express the ways studying this program at Polimoda will improve their creative skills and in which way they envision their lives in ten years. The University of Arts London provides a 1000-word essay requirement to further understand the applicant’s creative and conceptual abilities, past experience, research interests and topic frameworks. Essays can highlight any experiences outside of traditional education, any over and above academic attainment such as industry qualifications, and any hardship or obstacles have been overcome.

    What Are the Recommended A Levels for Fashion School?

    The following A levels are recommended for students applying to fashion courses according to listing and informational articles by academic institutions, universities and colleges. They provide a strong base and source of knowledge for fashion related study.

    • Mathematics
    • Fine Art
    • Textiles
    • Theatre Design
    • History of Art
    • Design & Technology
    • Product Design
    • Photography
    • English Language & Literature
    • Developed Media Studies

    Studying math helps with budgeting, so can be beneficial for fashion school students. Worldwide Education UK in their article Best A Levels for Fashion Marketing and Management recommend students take Fine art with textiles to gain practical experience and theoretical knowledge about fashion design and use. An article by the British School of Creative Arts in an article called Selecting the right A-levels to maximise chances of university acceptances says doing Sciences is good to complement your aesthetics.

    The following A’ levels students (except for the UK no students outside of the European Union take A-levels) are not recommended by the sources noted as of the time of this report:

    • Law
    • Politics
    • Architecture
    • Domestic Science
    • Leisure & Tourism

    Art and Design A Level

    An Art and Design A Level teaches you the fundamental principles of design and is recommended to students interested in studying fashion design and development, marketing, merchandising, or business at both the degree and sub-degree levels. This degree covers drawing, painting, fine art, graphic design, three-dimensional design, and lens or light-based media. It also explores fashion design, fabric decoration, and clothing construction.

    Textiles A Level

    At a vast majority of top fashion schools, but not all, Textile A levels are required. Textiles study at the undergraduate level can include technical aspects to fabric production and consumption, color theory, and different principles of design and ornamentation. The practical aspects of textiles study can include how different fabrics drape, how different methods of printing or ornamentation can achieve different cosmetic effects, and how fabric choice can influence the structure and function of a garment.

    While not required for a fashion career, the study of textiles and color theory can help promotion fashion careers such as digital marketing or design that are grounded in an understanding of the texture, color, and design of clothing. Furthermore, product design students often study human-computer interaction to understand how computers, computers peripherals, or related electronic devices might feel or look for individuals. Knowledge of textiles can aid this.

    Lasell University: Basics of textiles and material analysis. Monash University (Australia): Human-computer interaction in product design. Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi: Study of engineering textiles. University of Manitoba: Study of the fabric graphics printing industry. Printer Maintenance Company: Study of ink jet and laser printers, some of which print on fabric.

    Photography A Level

    Photography A Levels are sometimes also required for applications to degree programs in fashion design. MODEM Fashion school in Budapest, for example, also requires an A Level in photography in addition to the three A Levels in art or related subjects. Other schools might not require photography as an A Level, but it is fast becoming an important skill in the modern fashion industry which has a far greater focus on the digital realm now.

    Business Studies A Level

    While not a hard requirement, for a lot of higher-tier design schools that are either part of universities or still have a fine arts focus, Business Studies A Level can be a preferred supplementary A level to strengthen your application. They are particularly valued in the key area of fashion business management. While art curriculums for fashion careers tend to be very narrowly focused on dentistry, lifelong careers in the world of fashion are as likely to be looking at excel spreadsheets as they are hunched over a sewing machine.

    What Other Qualifications Are Helpful for Fashion School?

    Education which revolves around fashion encompasses a wide range of departments and areas of study. Consequently, different tertiary fashion schools might favor different areas of qualification. According to UCL Design & Manufacturing Engineering MEng (Hons), these are types of levels that may be useful to have in addition to degrees in fashion. These A levels will be most helpful if you are pursuing further education after a foundation degree in fashion. Standard A-level passes are at grades A* to E passing one A-level subject is worth 30 UCAS credits and passing two A-levels is worth 60 UCAS credits. Secondary school students usually work toward GCSEs as opposed to A-levels. Most students take either GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education)or a standard equivalent in their country.

    Internship or Work Experience in the Fashion Industry

    Many leading fashion schools recommend students in high school or at least undergraduate students who are still deciding whether they want to undertake a fashion degree or work in the industry ‘fool around’ a bit to see whether they enjoy it. Try organizing an internship or some work experience at a fashion company. Real-life experience can often be very different from the expectation, either positively or negatively. In addition, students stepping into some part-time work before graduating to high school stresses could prove to be very beneficial.

    Part-time roles generally don’t require a high level of daily commitment but still ensure a weekly touchpoint with the industry. This basic experience may be enough to push some towards the fashion industry with greater gusto as they feel the rush that a part-time role avails them of or conversely help some measure their interest and commitment levels better. Real-life experience allows for networking opportunities – if you excel while interning at a fashion house, you are more likely to be recommended for a job or reference. A stellar performance can also equate to a permanent job with the company.

    Additional Art or Design Classes

    Although less crucial than other requirements for fashion school that are listed above, it is helpful and adds weight to an applicant’s resume if she has taken additional art or design classes beyond the minimum requirements in school or later. Programs at universities and colleges are very competitive, and more experience in design or art makes an applicant more competitive. This can include workshops, artist collectives, maker spaces, etc.

    Just like a writer’s quality is improved by consimproving language and grammar skills, quantity and diversity of design projects improve an artist’s skillset. However, even if university requirements are less stringent and they do not require additional art or design coursework, it is still recommended that applicants do so. This is because art and design classes are where people predominantly learn basic or advanced techniques and best practices from industry professionals.

    Foreign Language Skills

    Foreign language skills for where you are applying to study are mandatory! If you are applying to study in France or in the United States, you need to speak English and French respectively. The knowledge of the country’s spoken language probable requirements in addition to initial admission exams are shown in a chart here. For prestigious US schools such as the Fashion Institute of Technology at the State University of New York, demonstration of English proficiency as determined by an official TOEFL examination score of at least 600 (paper-based) or 100 (Internet Based) and of a US grade 12 high school diploma is mandatory.

    Beyond mandatory requirements, other schools around the world place a large emphasis on language skills. For example, some of Italy’s leading fashion schools require prospective students to pass a C1-level examination in English known as IELTS, even those not following courses in English. Equally, France’s very top schools, including the Institut Fran├žais de la Mode (IFM) and Paris College of Art expect international students to have a good knowledge of French, equivalent to B2 to enter BA programs and C1-C2 to enter more advanced programs. This is not surprising given that IFM’s Luxury Business School in Paris offers 99% of its accounts in French.

    Marketing or Business Courses

    Marketing and business courses at A level in England are good to study in high school if you are interested in majoring in fashion design, fashion merchandising, or fashion marketing in college. In the US and Australia, courses such as Business Studies, Marketing, and Economic BSs would offer better preparation for such majors.

    Marketing is a leading field in the fashion industry and covers virtually all areas of the business from design and product development to production and product delivery. Social media marketing courses will study a number of well-known and yet-to-emerge brands, studying their target markets, channels, positioning, and marketing strategies, including how they have pivoted to mobile and web platforms.

    The biggest names in fashion marketing have historically come from the New York School of Design, FIT, LIM, and Boston University. Schools from the UK include new ones like the London School of Fashion’s (LCF) Fashion Business School with traditional ones like the London College of Communication (UAL).

    Independent accreditation entities have rated design and marketing programs in Canada, which offers a healthy range of high-quality studies. 2019’s #1 fashion business school in Canada, the university of British Columbia (sauder), which was named by the global business accreditating agency AAAHC, known for accrediting leading global schools including Delhi IIT in India and Vienna University of Economics and Business in Austria.

    What Are the Benefits of Having A Levels for Fashion School?

    The benefits of having A Levels (as well as other general academic qualifications) when applying to and studying for an undergraduate degree in fashion are that they provide a more legally and administratively secure option. In the UK they allow students to apply through the formal UCAS system for fashion courses that are not the more professionally-oriented BTEC HND in Fashion. In the US the American Honors Program can also help bypass less confident admissions counselors and navigate standardized testing.

    Students holding A Levels have the possibility of choosing to study on a fashion BA course while enjoying the greater flexibility in subject choice and cost, and being able to change major. It is worth mentioning that continuing a design or applied arts related course of study at a trade school after completing A-Levels can be more difficult.

    If a student wishes to enter directly into a higher-level fashion course, A Levels can complicate the entry process somewhat and are often not the preferred qualification for degree entry in the fashion industry. In this case, the student would require a more specific foundational knowledge of fashion for entry at the current level and would prefer a more practice-oriented BTEC (and in certain cases IBDP) rather than the general academic background of an A Level.

    Demonstrates Creativity and Technical Skills

    Fashion students typically take a wide range of courses in art, design, and computer technology. Fashion school acceptance requirements are intended to showcase this strong foundation which reflects a successful fashion student’s ability to demonstrate creativity and technical skills. Students need to display not only talent and skill but a readiness to move forward and gain additional skill. This is why structured portfolios are often required for admission to top schools.

    Provides a Strong Foundation for Fashion Studies

    • A levels are academic qualifications that provide a strong foundation for fashion studies. They help prepare prospective fashion school applicants for bachelor and master’s degree coursework and boost their chances of being accepted into highly competitive fashion programs.
    • According to the British Council, advanced levels equip students with the knowledge and abilities required for success in the wider world, whether in further study or at work.

    Students normally take three to four subjects in the A level program, but they may be required to take two subjects in AS levels before advancing to A levels. General studies and key skills are compulsory except for a few high schools and colleges.

    It is suggested that fashion aspirants pick subjects like Art and Design, Photography, Textile Design, Graphic Design, Theatre Studies, History of Art or Geography to boost their candidacy. Many students pick up subjects during their A levels that provide them with useful skills during various seasons of pursuing fashion.

    For example, geography could provide understanding and insights about sourcing fabrics and where they are produced. Comparative Literature could provide insights about different cultural periods where a designer can take inspiration from.

    Cambridge Assessment International Education and the American Council on Education’s College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE CREDIT) have ranked the academic value of A levels and their equivalents in a few other countries. The diagrams below provide detail about how many universities globally they are accepted by, their credit equivalent and what the approximate percentage is for each letter grade for the A level system.

    Increases Chances of Acceptance to Top Fashion Schools

    High grades and exceeding normal requirements in the most competitive secondary school exams ensure acceptance. Additionally, by having at least 3 A levels in the normal school curriculum, an A level in a general subject might still place one above the competition in the acceptance process. Excellent A level scores and extracurricular fashion industry experience will be of further help because they demonstrate dedication and passion for the field, increase the chances of acceptance, and stand out on the application.

    Prepares Students for a Career in the Fashion Industry

    The most basic part of the courses needed for fashion school is that students learn relevant skills. These are skills such as development of a professional portfolio, draping and construction, fashion retail management, and fashion marketing and merchandising. These are some of the essential knowledge areas for an undergraduate degree or diploma in fashion design, but other areas such as business, marketing, science, and engineering are also vital.

    In addition, these programs provide instruction on working conditions in the fashion industry such as job outlook, benefits, average salaries, and so on. They allow people to experiment with different branches of the industry and decide what fits them best.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What a Levels Do You Need for Fashion School?

    The specific A Levels required for fashion school may vary depending on the institution and program. However, some commonly required subjects include Art and Design, Textiles, and/or Business Studies.

    Can I Study Fashion with Any A Levels?

    While some A Levels may be more relevant to the fashion industry, most fashion schools will consider a variety of subjects as long as they demonstrate a strong academic background and creative potential.

    Are There Any Mandatory A Levels for Fashion School?

    It is best to check with the specific fashion school you are interested in to determine their specific A Level requirements. Some may have mandatory subjects while others may have a list of recommended subjects.

    Are STEM A Levels Accepted for Fashion School?

    Yes, science and math-based A Levels such as Physics, Chemistry, and Math are often accepted for fashion school programs. They can demonstrate strong analytical and problem-solving skills, which are valuable in the fashion industry.

    How Important Are A Levels for Getting into Fashion School?

    A Levels are an important aspect of your application for fashion school, as they demonstrate your academic ability and potential. However, many fashion schools also consider other factors such as your portfolio, personal statement, and relevant work experience.

    What Happens if I Don’t Have the Required A Levels for Fashion School?

    If you do not have the required A Levels for a specific fashion school or program, you may still have the option to take additional courses or a foundation year to meet the requirements. It is best to contact the school directly to discuss your options.

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