Fashion design is fast-paced, fast-growing industry which means only the most passionate and talented will make it to the top. If you’re set on a career in fashion, then your best option is getting a solid educational foundation at a reputable institution. Here’s a look at the different places to study fashion design.


The fashion design institutes

There are many ways you can study towards fashion design with new institutions popping up all the time. You will need to consider your budgetary and time constraints, as well as what you want to get out of your studies before embarking on this route. Here’s a look at some of the institutes and how they differ.


1.     Studying fashion design at a college or university

Starting with the most traditional format, you can study fashion design at a university or college. This generally provides a four-year bachelor’s degree with postgraduate options available. Universities tend to give a very thorough grounding in the subject which includes the practical aspects alongside the theoretical. At these institutions, you’re likely to come into contact with renowned industry professionals who are also instructing certain courses. For those with a creative flair, a university is a great option. One of the downsides to a college or university is the costs involved, but they’re well worth the value in terms of opening up job opportunities.


Read More: What Fashion Design Schools Offer

2.     Studying fashion design at a Technikon

For something a bit more economical but equally beneficial, you might want to consider studying fashion design at a Technikon. Rather than entering a four-year course, you can complete compartmentalised modules in your own time and according to your budget. At a Technikon, you’re likely to be studying towards a diploma in fashion design which has its benefits. Technikons are often more hands-on than universities, so you can generally get started in the profession from the start, even if it’s only an entry-level position.


3.     Studying fashion design online

The arrival of Covid-19 has prompted a rise in online activity, and tertiary institutions have found really innovative ways to connect with students online. While this might be slowing down now, it’s certainly shown the potential for online learning and the many ways this can benefit the modern student. In addition to institutions that are exclusively online, like Unisa, many traditional brick-and-mortar universities have also pivoted to allow for online learning through their institutions as well. This is often more cost-effective and flexible.


Read More: Online versus Offline Fashion Degree

What you need to consider

When deciding between the various tertiary institutions, you need to decide on what format will suit you best. Here’s a look at some of the questions you’ll have to answer before committing.


1.     Local or international study?

Although recent restrictions made international travel impossible, it’s now becoming a real opportunity again. If you choose to study internationally, there are a few things to consider:

  • Passport or visa requirements: Check whether you’re eligible to study at an overseas institution and what administrative requirements there are.
  • Financial demands: Studying abroad is costlier than studying locally. With the poor South African exchange rate, this can be prohibitive unless you can work while studying.
  • Discipline: Studying overseas exposes you to new cultures and experiences while having to focus on the work. You’ll need to be disciplined enough to stay on course in a new environment.
  • Curriculum: Decide ahead of time what you want to study and whether it’s offered in an international curriculum.
  • Language barriers: If you’re going to be studying internationally and can’t speak the language, ensure the institution is English-based.


Remember that just because an institution is overseas, doesn’t mean it’s better than the local options. South Africa has a number of reputable fashion design schools that will save you time and money, giving you the option to travel thereafter. If you’re keen on something with global appeal, then consider an internationally-renowned institution or one that draws on international expertise.


Read More: Where to Study Fashion Design

2.     In-person or distance learning?

Another consideration is whether you’d like to go into class every day or would rather study in an online format. You will need to have access to a laptop and data. Some of the aspects that could impact this decision include:

  • Socialising: If you need to be around people and thrive on such face-to-face learning, then a traditional brick-and-mortar institution is for you. If you work better alone, in your own space, then online is great.
  • Flexibility: If you have other demands such as work or children but still want to pursue a career in fashion design, then online is a better option.
  • Budgets: Online is a more cost-effective option in terms of travel and course fees, but you will need to consider how and where you’ll get your practical experience.

Read More: What You Need to Study Fashion

3.     Full-time or part-time?

Once again, you’ll need to consider your time and flexibility before committing to studying full-time. For older students with more responsibilities, part-time is often a better option. You’ll end up with the same qualification, it might just take a bit longer.

Villioti Fashion Institute is an accredited tertiary fashion institution that takes pride in making the ordinary extraordinary. Here you can study a higher certificate in fashion design as well as a diploma or degree in fashion.

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’, setting its students apart and securing them a future in fashion.


Read More: Choosing the correct fashion course