Fashion is an incredibly dynamic industry offers a range of exciting career opportunities for individuals with completely diverse skill sets. However, for many people, embarking on a full-time degree or diploma in fashion is not a viable option. This doesn’t mean the dream isn’t attainable.

Short Courses in Fashion

Many reputable fashion houses run short courses that focus on various aspects of the fashion industry. These can be done part-time or remotely, and are a great option for those only able to study after hours. Here is all you need to know about fashion short courses in South Africa:


Where can I study?


There are a number of fashion institutes and tertiary education facilities across South Africa that offer high-quality fashion design short courses, varying in cost and subject offerings. It’s important to check the institute is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training and other accredited institutions. Here is a small selection of institutes that offer short courses in fashion:


  • University of Cape Town: Africa’s leading university offers online, part-time short courses in fashion design.
  • Villioti Fashion Institute: a Joburg-based design institute, Villioti has international affiliations with Parsons New York, FIT (NY) and London College of Fashion and offers a range of fashion short courses.
  • Cape Town College of Fashion Design: operating in Cape Town since 1965, the college has in-depth industry knowledge and a variety of short course offerings.
  • Design Academy of Fashion: based in Woodstock, Cape Town, this academy offers a number of fashion short courses to those who can’t commit to full-time study.
  • Inscape Education: based in South Africa and abroad, Inscape allows for online learning.
  • Elizabeth Galloway Academy of Fashion: the Stellenbosch-based academy offers an ‘adult learner programme’ consisting of fashion courses.


How long are the courses?


Depending on the course selected, a fashion short course will generally range from somewhere between three to six months. These can often be done part-time to allow learners to continue with their day jobs.

What do you need to apply?


For most of the fashion short courses, you will need a Grade 7 – or equivalent – certification. Certain courses might require a certain level of skill, particularly the advanced short courses. This might be proficiency in basic garment construction, basic pattern or block making. You might also be required to have your own sewing maching for select courses.


What short courses are there?


The various fashion schools will offer different fashion short courses, so you might have to look around if you’re wanting something quite unique. However here is a list of the general fashion short courses you can expect to find:


This fashion short course gives you skills to construct a basic garment and items of clothing such as jeans, blouses and a boned bustier.

Beginners Garment Construction

This fashion short course is conducted over 5 months and will teach you the fundamentals of women’s pattern manipulation and engineering, so that you can draft everyday designs.

This part time fashion design course gives you covers illustration skills, various methods of designing and how to evolve your own vision.

Fashion Design

This part time fashion design course is over 3 months and covers the  process of fashion image making and what the job entails while you learn the means to style for a catalogue, a still life, or a fashion show.


What careers can you pursue?


When it comes to the fashion industry, career options are actually incredibly expansive. It’s a fast-paced, creative industry and well worth considering if you’re looking for a more dynamic career. Here are some of the options available:


  • Fashion designer
  • Buyer
  • Retail store owner
  • Planner
  • Fashion photographer
  • Fashion journalist or editor
  • Stylist
  • Visual display
  • Product developer
  • Brand consultant or representative
  • Costume designer
  • Fashion show production manager


A fashion short course is a great way to get a glimpse of what the fashion industry offers, expand your career horizons and develop some useful skills. Be sure to do thorough research and ensure whichever fashion academy, college or institute you select is properly accredited and will open up opportunities in the fashion industry.