Is it Necessary to Go to Fashion School?

It is true that some of the most famous fashion designers of all time did not go to college and earn fashion degrees. Alexander McQueen, for example, dropped out of school at the age of 16 and learned everything he needed to know in apprenticeship and internship positions. Coco Chanel, another huge name in fashion, learned to sew in the time she spent living in an orphanage after her mother died of tuberculosis. While neither of these big names in fashion earned college degree, it is not fair to say that going to school for fashion is a waste of time. In fact, the skills you will learn in fashion school could be just what you need to get to the top.

Famous Fashion Designers Who Did Go to College

Christian Lacroix is a well known high end French fashion designer. He first earned a degree in Art History at the University of Montpellier. He then enrolled at the University of Paris and worked on a dissertation on dress in French 18th-century painting. Later, Lacroix pursued a program in museum studies at the École du Louvre. His aspiration during this time was to become a museum curator. After graduation, however, his focus shifted and he began working in the fashion industry. Today, Christian Lacroix is often referred to as one of the most influential designers of the time.

Donna Karan, head designer and founder of DKNY, attended The New School University’s famous art college, Parsons The New School for Design. From there she went on to work for Anne Klein, and then eventually launched her own label, DKNY.

Marc Jacobs also attended Parsons The New School for Design. During his time at Parsons, Jacobs won the Perry Ellis Gold Thimble Award in 1984 and in the same year was also awarded the Chester Weinberg Gold Thimble Award and the Design Student of the Year Award.

Michael Kors began designing clothes at the age of 19 and studied fashion at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. His first label, titled Michael Kors, was launched in 1981 and is now one of the most popular lines among celebrities. He has since expanded his line to include multiple labels.

Reasons to Go to Fashion School

  • Fashion degree programs will prepare you to reach your big picture career goals. You may be naturally talented, but do you know how to market yourself and your designs?
  • Fashion school will help bolster your credentials and build your profile. The fashion industry is competitive, so having that extra edge will be very important to your career.
  • Fashion school will allow you to explore a full range of possible careers. If you have an eye for business as well as design, perhaps a career in fashion merchandising would interest you. You can also learn the skills you need to become a product promoter, wholesale merchandisers, or a successful stylist, among other options.
  • Fashion school is an excellent environment to network within the industry. You will be surrounded by designers who you can not only learn from, but also make connections with. Networking is a huge part of success in this industry.

What do you think?

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