Much like the nature vs. nurture conundrum, fashion harbours its own double-sided issues. In an industry such as this, there isn’t necessarily a clear-cut path to career success, and those battling it out to carve their fate often have to employ unconventional methods, backed with tons of tenacious nature.
So, when Business of Fashion recently reported on the rise of fashion education, we were left wondering whether a few costly semesters in fashion school were really necessary, or if firsthand experience was the secret to success?
We’re all too well versed in the nightmare of unpaid internships that drag on for months. But, on the flip side, an internship is notably the most effective if not quickest way to enter an industry which recruits hopeful in their thousands each year – and we’re not talking in the literal sense!
Indeed, a career in fashion design, specifically, warrants the expertise and knowledge that can only be attained from enrolling on a relevant course. In the UK, universities such as Central Saint Martins and London College of Fashion are top choices, whilst Parsons and FIT are the appointed institutions across the pond, the former counting Marc Jacobs and Tom Ford in its glittering alumni line-up. But, is a pricey education crucial to getting that all important foot in the door? Would you pick experience over being schooled in your chosen subject?
Currently, several notable educational institutions offer short courses for those interested in embarking on a career in, say, marketing or buying, and distance learning is an option, too – often a cost effective one. But, the real experience and knowledge – particularly in a non-design related fashion discipline – that prospective employers crave often comes from spending time on the shop floor, as a buyer’s assistant or in a showroom. Note: no mention of classroom.
If you have the financial support available, then an education gained will never go to waste. But, considering the fee of completing a Vogue Fashion Foundation Diploma at Condé Nast College is a staggering £19,560, it might make sense to run with that menial work experience placement that, although slowly and steadily, will get you ahead in the game.
What are your thoughts on the education vs. experience debate? Have you forked out a fortune for a fashion education, or did you dive into the world of experience early? Share your thoughts below!