If the idea of vibrant fabrics, matching accessories and the latest garments adorning models on the runways of Paris and Milan gets you excited, then you might find studying fashion is beneficial for you. It doesn’t matter what stage of life you find yourself in, there is always a way to pursue your passion for fashion if you really want to. But even if you have a natural flair for all things fashion, it’s important to have some form of structured educational instruction to put you on the right path.

Fashion Short Course or Fashion Diploma

Two options offered by a number of reputable fashion institutes are a fashion diploma, or a short course in fashion. Although pursuing either of these paths will benefit your burgeoning fashion career or passion, they have extremely divergent offerings and are suited to different individual requirements. Here is a look at a short course in fashion versus a diploma in fashion.


Short courses in fashion


Who are they for?


  • If you are busy with another career and have very little time to study but are looking to veer into fashion eventually, then it’s worth starting with a short course. These can be completed over a few weeks, part-time if needed, and will give you a boost into the world of fashion.
  • Alternatively, if you are already a fashion graduate but would like to expand and advance your knowledge for better career opportunities, then short courses in fashion are also a great option.
  • If you are looking to eventually pursue a diploma or degree in fashion, but funds aren’t readily available right now, then many undergraduate short courses will work towards your eventual qualification.
  • For those of you who would basically like to improve your skills’ set so that you are able to make your own clothes or home décor items, then non-degree short courses in fashion are also extremely useful. You will receive a certificate of attendance at the end of the course.


What short courses are there?


Various fashion institutes offer short courses in fashion – some more than others – but there is undoubtedly something that will work for your requirements. Some of the short courses offered include:


  • Advanced Pattern Engineering – once the beginners’ course has been completed, you can learn to apply the knowledge to create advanced garments, moulded to fit.
  • International short courses – certain South African fashion institutes offer international programmes which give locals the opportunity to experience design at international level.


Fashion diplomas


If you are serious about pursuing a career in fashion then it’s worth considering a fashion diploma. This will give you a solid understanding about the core principles within the fashion industry. Some of the topics covered include:


  • Fashion design
  • Business management
  • Garment engineering and construction
  • Pattern engineering
  • Finishing techniques
  • Fabric manipulation and textiles
  • History of fashion
  • Millinery
  • Styling


This is generally a three-year programme that will equip you for a range of careers in fashion. Some things you could consider applying for include:


  • Fashion designer
  • Fashion stylist
  • Fashion buyer
  • Retail store owner
  • Fashion editor
  • Brand representative
  • Brand consultant
  • Costume designer
  • Fashion show production manager


Both fashion diplomas and short courses in fashion will prepare you for the practical aspects of the fashion industry. With fashion diplomas in particular, you will benefit from aspects such as business management and entrepreneurship for real-world applications. Deciding between a short course in fashion or fashion diploma really comes down to your particular requirements. Just ensure you choose a reputable fashion institute that offers international-level knowledge and skills.