When it comes to preparing for a career in fashion, you can never start too early. This means selecting high school subjects that will align with your future studies at a leading fashion design school and provide you with the necessary skills to succeed as a fashion designer. While it’s not absolutely vital that you take all of these subjects, a selection of these subjects will certainly help you along your chosen career path.

Subjects Needed to Become a Fashion Designer

  • Maths or maths literacy

Being a fashion designer doesn’t just involve crafting beautiful garments and accessories, it also requires you to run a successful business. This means numerical and spatial skills taught in maths, and the practical applications in maths literacy, will provide a solid foundation for fashion design. You might also decide to pursue another career in fashion, such as a fashion buyer, and this involves endless calculations.


  • English

Fortunately, this is a compulsory subject at South African schools, but often students overlook the importance of the subject because it’s compulsory. In fashion design, effective communication is a hugely valuable tool – whether written or verbal. Literature, like fashion design, is an artform and also provides a wealth of design inspiration.


  • Foreign languages

If you have an affinity for foreign languages, then pursuing this talent could prove a really worthwhile addition to your skills’ set. Fashion design is a hugely international industry and it’s very likely you will be engaging with people from all over the globe. The ability to communicate in a foreign language could help break barriers and make usable design connections.


  • Art

Art theory and art history are both useful elements in the world of fashion design. Understandably, a lot of design is being done on computers, but the option of manual sketches, knowledge of colours, lines, contrast, perspective and insight into the history of art can only improve your fashion design chances.


  • Consumer Studies

Formerly ‘Home Economics’, students of consumer studies are taught to be responsible and informed consumers of food, clothing, housing, furnishings and household equipment. This provides a solid base in both the fashion industry as well as the construction of fashion itself.


  • Economics or Business Studies

An understanding of business and economy is important for all industries, and certainly fashion design. While art and creation are obviously vital aspects, there is so much that you will also need to understand on the business side of fashion design, particularly if you want to create your own fashion empire!


  • History

Fashion is greatly influenced by social, cultural, economic and political movements and is, therefore, hugely reflective of the current state of the world. Through a study of history, you are able to understand these influences and predict emerging trends which will take elements from historical fashion design.


Read More: How to Secure a Fashion InternshipRequirements to Study Fashion Design


In addition to the subject choices, it’s also worth pursuing any additional classes that can improve your chances of making it in the world of fashion design – crafts, sewing, computers, graphic design – there are so many ways to empower your fashion design chances for later in life.


Types of Fashion Degrees


Fashion Degree v Fashion Diploma


The emphasis for the fashion diploma is on the practical aspects of the fashion industry, while the fashion degree takes a much more academic and theoretical approach the the fashion industry.


Read more here: Fashion Degree vs Fashion Diploma