The global influence on fashion trends, colours, styles and products makes the idea of international study appealing to many would-be designers. However, the reality of studying overseas is not always carefully considered and there are many aspects that need to be weighed before you decide whether you want to study fashion at a local or international fashion school.

Fashion Schools: Local or International

  1. Financial considerations

Unfortunately, studying abroad comes with considerable financial implications and is generally costlier than local fashion school options. For South Africans, the exchange rate is generally not in our favour, but added to this is the cost of relocating as well as assimilating into a new culture. This will require strong financial support from home as many foreign students are unable to work while studying because of visa stipulations. However, studying at local fashion schools means you pay less for tuition and are exposed to more opportunities to find local jobs during vacation or after hours.

Fashion School

  1. Personal growth

Studying abroad at a fashion school exposes you to new cultures, new experiences and forces you to be independent. This experience can only grow you an individual and provide a unique perspective on all aspects of life. When it comes to fashion, you are exposed to a completely different world with the ability to learn new aspects of the trade. Your creativity should be pushed into high gear as you’re forced to discover new things about your strengths and weaknesses while undergoing a life-changing experience.


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Whether you study at a local or international fashion school, you are going to be pushed out of your comfort zone, experience new things, meet new people and generally discover your capabilities. The industry tends to attract characters and personalities from across the globe so it’s likely you will interact with foreign students and lecturers even when studying locally. Fashion is a tough industry so it’s going to be a make or break experience wherever you study.

  1. Personal discipline

Being forced to immerse yourself in a new culture, without the safety net of family and friends, will require an incredible amount of self-discipline. This will either mean you discover a discipline you never thought you had, or you will flunk out. The demands of the studying fashion require personal discipline, at home or abroad, but it might be easier for some to have the security of home comforts while embarking on this journey rather than also facing the challenges of foreign life.

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  1. Language factor

If you are considering studying overseas, language will most certainly be a factor. Obviously, if you’re English-speaking and choose to study at an English-based university, then this shouldn’t prove to be a problem. But many foreign universities offering fashion courses do not conduct classes in English. This will require you to learn the language ahead of time, or you will have to learn the course content and language simultaneously.

  1. Curriculum options

One of the biggest considerations is what fashion diploma or fashion design degree you actually want to pursue. If it’s not offered locally, then looking at international options is certainly worthwhile. However, don’t be fooled into thinking that because a course is offered overseas, it’s better than local options. There are many incredible fashion schools that offer disciplines competing on a global scale, just do some research before deciding. It’s also worth looking into any exchange programmes as you might be able to study some of the course overseas at a reduced cost.


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If immersing yourself in a new culture is important, yet studying internationally is not a viable option, don’t forget you can always expand your horizons after studying. Whatever route you choose, you will emerge with new experiences, having forged new relationships and having developed your capacity as a creative with the potential to achieve your future goals, wherever they many be.


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.