If you are somebody who wants to work in the fashion industry, than you’ll know that certain skillsets, knowledge and genuine passion comes with it. There are many different areas you can go into in the fashion industry, from buying to merchandising to design. Acknowledging the path you want to go down is essential so that you can ensure you can gain the right skill sets and work experience.
One of the key questions that gets asked is if getting a fashion-related degree is vital if you want to get into the fashion industry. Are you more likely to get a job in fashion if you go university or is it better to get industry experience straight away?
Pros and Cons of University against industry:
The truth is, it is dependant on you. Getting a degree in fashion is great to have that secure qualification in black and white, and it also means that you’ll have 3-4 years of facilities that you can use at university as well as learn about the tricks of CAD, speak with industry experts and gain presentational skills. On top of that, most courses offer placements which is a great way to get your foot in the door
On the other hand, some will agree that it is just as appealing to skip the university step and get straight into working. Maybe you don’t like the idea of those big student loans to pay or you simply just don’t like the idea of studying, and that is fine! Tons of people decide to go down other avenues that do not include getting a fashion degree at university.
It will be hard to get your foot in the door for the fashion industry at first, but once you do, you have a career ladder to climb and first-hand industry experience is great as getting a good label on your CV will instantly increase the chances of you getting a better job.
Here are some alternatives to going to university:
Go to College:
Going to college is also something to consider. As well as universities that specialise in creative aspects, there are a ton of private colleges that offer fashion courses. Undertaking a fashion degree, especially in design is costly. Tuition fees as well as resources are sky high. For those dreaming off being an editor for Vogue, Conde Nast’s College of Fashion and Design come at a whopping £6,600 and a year-long foundation diploma costs £19,560- excluding VAT!
However, college will teach you the right skillsets you need to get yourself into the fashion industry and it’s a great qualification to have on your CV. To add to it, getting yourself a part-time job in a store will also give you more creative background.
The rise of people undertaking an apprenticeship is becoming more and more frequent. If you’re sick of studying and want to start working, apprenticeships can be the route for you.
I think for anything that’s creative and hands on, it’s so much better to go straight and direct and work your way up through different companies. I feel sorry for my friends – many of them went to university, had a loan and everything and they still haven’t go the jobs that they’re after. – Ada Anoje.
However, finding an apprenticeship can be hard. Finding one is the first hurdle, but the second one is having the perseverance and dedication to keep on moving upwards. You’ll find that at the start, similar to an internship, you will be running around doing a lot of small errands and not particularly doing what you want. However, all experiences pay off and if you’re self-motivated, you will work your way up to the top.
Alternatively, go at it alone:
Maybe you’ll find yourself as someone who does not enjoy studying. If this is the case, work experience can be the one for you, and it also means the amount of different types of work experiences you pursue can make it all the more exciting.
Working in different head offices is a great way to start, applying for bigger brands such as Topshop and House of Fraser are great. Composing an email which really shows your passion for working for the company that you’re applying for will make you stand out.
Most work experience goes un-paid, so if you’re going for head-office style jobs they’re usually a Monday to Friday schedule. Therefore, having a part-time weekend job is a good way to have a bit of money earnt on the side whilst your building up your experiences. Once again, you could aim to get a part-time weekend job in a fashion retail environment and help with the creative side of things. If you decide to pursue a fashion career alone, without any of the academic backgrounds, this is ideal.
But be warned… although work experience may seem like a breeze, because ultimately, you’re working for free…it isn’t. You’ll have many competitors and some of which will have more previous experience, therefore don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Apply for as many different brands and roles as you can, sometimes even smaller fashion companies will take you on and you’ll find yourself having a hand in everything, which is great and you can really progress your skills.