Despite natural talent and creative ability, a career in fashion design can be unnecessarily hindered if you don’t get some formalised training through a fashion design school. However, one fashion design school isn’t necessarily as good as the next, so it’s worth assessing each one to decide which fashion design school will meet your individual needs.


How to Choose the Right Fashion Design School


1. Accreditation’s and Reputation

A major problem with many tertiary institutions across South Africa – even the seemingly high-end organisations – is that they aren’t registered with any authority. This means no oversight, industry standards are not being met, and you can’t transfer credits to another school if desired. In South Africa, the fashion design schools must be registered with the Department of Education and Higher Training as either private higher education institution or government institution, as stipulated by the Higher Education Act, 1997. There are often regional, or even international accrediting bodies that could also be involved.


2. Courses Offered

You need to know what career – or have a general idea – of what career within fashion design you are hoping to pursue. You need to know your individual strengths and fashion preferences when considering. Then you need to analyse the various fashion courses and degrees offered by a particular fashion design school and decide whether they suit your particular requirements. Most fashion design schools will offer a range of short courses, non-degree courses, fashion diplomas or fashion degrees or fashion certificate in fashion design and other fashion-related subjects.


Read more: What fashion design schools offer


3. Lecturers and Instructors

The best fashion design schools will ensure they hire only the best lecturers and course instructors to give their students the greatest chance at success. Don’t be afraid to approach the fashion design school and ask about the lecturers that will be instructing the courses you wish to take. What is their real-world experience within fashion design? Who and where have the previously lectured? Find out what you need to know before enrolling.


4. Alumni

Another fantastic measure of a fashion design school’s success is its past students. Find out if they have any well-known graduates or just ask where most of the graduates end up working. If past students are working completely outside the fashion design industry, then this should raise a red flag!


5. International Affiliations

Fashion design is a global industry with trends and influences in Asia and Europe impacting fashion design in Africa…and vice versa. Cultural, social and economic activities will affect the industry, locally and abroad, which is why fashion design cannot be studied in isolation. A truly worthwhile fashion design school will have international affiliations, drawing on instruction and lessons from those at fashion design schools in other countries.


Read more: Local vs international fashion schools


6. Fees

From a practical aspect, you will need to look at the course fees to determine whether they match your budget. Don’t be put off by high fees, because quality does not come cheap. Many fashion design schools will also offer short courses so you can complete a diploma or degree in more cost-effective pieces rather than a once-off expense.


Fashion design is an incredibly diverse, dynamic and rewarding career. If you have the talent and passion, it’s worth choosing the right fashion design school so that you can acquire the real-world skills and knowledge to go far. Fashion design school will also allow you to look at your work critically – something many creatives often avoid. Become a success by choosing the right fashion design school for you!


Villioti Fashion Institute is an accredited tertiary institution that takes pride in making the ordinary extraordinary. Led by Spero Villioti, who has run a successful fashion brand for more than 30 years, Villioti Fashion Institute prides itself on being “extraordinary in the details”, which is what sets their students apart from others and secures them a future in fashion.