Fashion is a hugely desirable career path, opening up opportunities for design, photography and journalism, among many others. However, it is important to get a solid educational foundation in fashion if you’re serious about a career. Considering how in-demand these positions are, there are some steps to take to ensure you have the edge when applying for a fashion design course.

Apply for a Fashion Design Course

– Get your portfolio together
One of the criteria for most fashion design courses is evidence of your skill through a well-structured portfolio. This will give the institution an idea of your level of creativity, better positioning you for a placement. Remember though, that every design school has different criteria for its portfolios, so while the subject matter might remain the same, you will need to research the individual guidelines and personalise each. It’s important that the fashion portfolio adequately showcases your versatility, sketching ability, colour and textile knowledge, problem-solving skills and design development, as well as your unique style.


– Apply to 4 or more institutions
As with all tertiary institutions, there is a lot of demand for places but not always sufficient space, and so is the case with the top design schools. While you will obviously have your first choice, it’s important that you keep your options open by applying to at least four fashion institutes. This will ease the pressure and certainly give you more chance for acceptance to pursue your career.


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– Go visit potential tertiary institutions
Before applying for any fashion design course, it’s worth visiting the institution to get a feel for the place and understand the organisation’s ethos ahead of time. Make sure you schedule an appointment for a tour – this shows you what to expect, but also shows the design school that you are committed to pursuing a career in fashion.


– Get references wherever possible
When it comes to applications, your word alone is not enough. You will need to gather a list of suitable references, preferably written references, outlining your particular skills’ set within the realm of fashion. Obviously, references from those within the industry will bear more weight than others.


– Chat to recent graduates
If you want first-hand insight into what you’ll expect from any particular fashion school, the best people to chat to are recent graduates. Generally, passionate students are excited to chat about the subject they love, so don’t be shy to enquire. The design school’s admissions’ officer will be able to connect you with graduates who are willing to chat. Alternatively you can see honest reviews of the institution on Facebook pages or Google.


– Keep up on trends
Although it probably goes without saying, being in the fashion industry means being on top of both the current – as well as the emerging – trends. Most people with an interest in fashion are already in-the-know as it’s just part of life, but you can never be too prepared. Check out local boutiques as well as out-of-the-way locations and international hotspots for a wider view of global and local trends.


– Apprenticeships and internships
Industry experience is absolutely vital for success in the fashion world, and this starts during high school years. Get holiday or part-time positions at any place with a connection to the career you’re looking to pursue. This will make keeping on top of trends, as well as garnering references, that much easier. It also shows your dedication to your potential career.


Read more: How to Secure a Fashion Internship