Are you are considering a career in the fashion industry? Maybe you haven’t even graduated from high school yet, but are already looking ahead to what you need to do to break into the career in fashion you want. Where do you begin? What path do you take to get there? Should you start planning now? Where will you attend fashion school?
The Fashion Career Path
With so many options and considerations, it is easy to get overwhelmed and not know where to begin. This post will walk you through some suggested steps you should take to make your dream become a reality. I will simplify the process for you as best I can, so let’s begin.
The diagram below is a high-level overview of a common fashion career path for you to follow. It is not going to fit everyone’s specific circumstances, but it should work as a good starting point to guide you along. I will describe these points in more detail below the diagram.
Plan – Is a Career in Fashion Right for You?
Before you get too involved in organizing your future career in the fashion industry, you need to do some soul-searching. Determine if you are truly passionate about fashion and design. Do you really want it? Do you consider fashion design to be one of your strongest talents? Is fashion merely an interest of yours, but not really a sustainable career that will keep your interest long-term? Ask yourself these questions. Try to be honest with yourself.
What Resources Do I Have? How much money do you have to cover you fashion school tuition? Do you have money saved? Will your parents or other family members be assisting you financially? Will you work part-time while attending college? Will you be using student loans to pay your tuition? Can you afford to live abroad to attend fashion school? Do you have relatives or friends who live near one of your potential fashion school choices? Determine what financial and logistical resources you have available that you can leverage.
Focus – What Type of Fashion Education Do I Want?
What fashion degrees interest you the most? What do you want to study? Are you more interested in fashion design or fashion merchandising? Are you more interested in the creative side of the fashion industry, or do you want to work on the business side of fashion? Determine where your strengths, skills, and interests align; you should strongly consider a fashion degree that takes all three of these into account. Explore different programs to see which degree may be the best fit for you.
Location – Where is There A Thriving Fashion Industry?
There are thriving fashion centers throughout the world – Paris, Milan, New York, Los Angeles, and more… You will want to attend fashion school in or near one of these thriving fashion industry locations. You want to be where the action is. The fashion industry is an ever-changing industry. You want to live and study with the industry all around you, absorbing the news, trends, and fashion scene. Living near the action allows you to observe, first-hand, how the industry works and where you might find your place in it.
There are many resources on this site that will explain why California fashion colleges may very well be your best option. For many reasons, I suggest that you strongly consider California as your starting point for an education (and ultimately a career) in fashion.
Education – Which Fashion School is Best for Me?
Which college has the fashion degree program that you want? Be sure to check the school out thoroughly before making any commitments or enrolling. Does the school seem like a good fit for you? Would you be comfortable there and in the immediate surroundings? If the school doesn’t feel right to you, trust your instincts and keep looking. Try to talk to as many existing students as you can to find out more. Meet with a school counselor (and bring a list of questions you have).
You may want to find out if there are any alternate fashion schools nearby in the event you need (or want) to transfer out of your original school of choice. For example, if you were to consider going to fashion school in California, you might want to focus on a college in Los Angeles; there are many alternative fashion school options available in the L.A. area should you need to make a change.
Internships – Get a Fashion Internship.
Once you have settled in to a fashion program and a college you love, keep moving towards your ultimate goal of landing your dream job in the fashion industry. In your junior or senior year (perhaps even earlier) try to land a fashion internship that will help you to apply your newly learned knowledge. Try not to be concerned with pay. Getting a decent internship can be quite competitive and you may not be payed at all. You are going for experience here. The primary goal of an internship is to find a way in to a career when you graduate.
Career – Starting Your Career in Fashion
It all leads up to this. If you did chose to go to a California fashion school, you are already at an advantage to many of your peers who did not. You will probably already be familiar with all the major fashion industry players in the area. You may have even worked for one of them at your last internship.
Now is the time to organize your resume and fashion portfolio. Use the knowledge you learned in college and the experience you gained from your fashion internships to land your dream job.