Fashion design schools provide valuable instruction and practical experience required to succeed in the cut-throat world of fashion. However, many fly-by-night institutions promise the world, but simply don’t deliver at the end of the day. If you’re considering where is best to study fashion design, here are a few key offerings you need to look out for to ensure you’re studying at the best.


1.     Industry-leading courses

The fashion industry continues to adapt and change as new technologies emerge and international influences on styles, designs, and trends shift. This means that academic courses need to be continually updated to ensure students emerging from tertiary institutions are ready for the modern world of fashion design. The fashion design school must offer the necessary basics in garment construction, pattern engineering, and fashion design, but this must be coupled with instruction in business, marketing, and other entrepreneurial guidance that empowers graduates to start their own businesses.


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2.     Apprenticeships

There is no good grounding in fashion design without the necessary real-world, practical experience which is why you should look for a fashion design school that offers apprenticeships or residency programmes. These will allow students to spend anything from a holiday through to a year working in an area of fashion design, developing the skills and knowledge needed to succeed, while also benefitting from the networking offered by this experience.


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3.     Mentorship

The mentor-mentee relationship is an important one for advancing an individual from the role of student to a fully-fledged fashion designer. A good fashion design school will incorporate a mentorship system whereby the less experienced students are partnered with a more experienced mentor to assist them, academically and even socially, while advancing their studies. The role of the mentor is to assist with personal issues, as well as professional challenges – a role that actually helps develop the mentor as much as the mentee.


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4.     Accreditation

This is a big one – the fashion design school must have the required national and international accreditations to ensure students are getting the qualification they earn. In South Africa, fashion design schools must be registered with the Department of Education and Higher Training as either private higher education institutions or government institutions, as stipulated by the Higher Education Act, 1997. There are often regional, or even international accrediting bodies that could also be involved.


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5.     Professional instructors

Teaching fashion design requires more than textbook knowledge, which is why a good fashion school must have professors and instructors with real-world industry experience. These instructors will often have worked with major labels, or be fashion designers in their own right. Don’t hesitate to ask the fashion design school about the lecturers and their previous industry experience.


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6.     International affiliation

Fashion is influenced by global trends, cultures, conflicts, and more, which means studying fashion design cannot be done in isolation. A key offering of a good fashion design school is international affiliations that allow students to benefit from global instruction and inspiration. This could include student exchange programmes, international lecturers, and more.


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7.     Fees

Finally, a key offering of any fashion design school is a fee structure that meets the needs of different fashion design students. Where some might be looking for a degree or diploma, the accompanying fee requirements are understandably higher, however, those wanting something more budget-friendly could consider short courses across various areas of instruction.


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One South African-based fashion design school that ticks all the right boxes in terms of key offerings is Viliotti Fashion Institute. Benefit from top-quality instruction from industry leaders by contacting Villioti Fashion Institute today!