Fashion Careers

The #1 Thing To Consider
Before Fashion School

There are 3 ways to enter fashion careers…

1. Fashion School

This one is pretty obvious.

Go to fashion school. Do internships. Get a job.

2. The Back Door

Get a degree that isn’t in fashion but still allows you to work in fashion.

3. Entrepreneurship

With or without schooling, as a first or second career, start a fashion business.

Before you ever jump into what you should study, it is always a good idea to first understand the full spectrum of fashion careers and each job title specifically.

For example, most people will want to be a fashion designer.

That’s great.

But in what capacity do you want to be a fashion designer...

  • Do you want to work for someone else?
  • Work for yourself?
  • And have you ever found out what exactly it is about fashion design that you love?

This is especially important to answer from the onset as you decide…

Which Path Into Fashion Is Right For You

Let’s look at each of the 3 paths in more detail

1. Fashion School

This is what your career plan would idealy look like..

This is a chronological path. For those who will go to fashion school – just like everyone else goes to college. Get some relevant work experience, in the form of internships. Then get a job.

This path is best followed on location.

Meaning, if you can study in one location, and or do your internship in a certain location, being physically there. You are more likely to be able to get a job in that country, city and/or company.

It makes the most sense to pursue this path in a country that has a thriving fashion industry. So, you must either already live there or be willing and able to move there.

Extra reading: Picking a fashion school by location

Pros: This path makes you more hirable and gives a great chance at getting a job

Cons: You usually have to apply for a job. Getting through job applications is another beast and can be really stressful.

Loophole: Use internships and networking to get yourself hired

Success Tip

Focus on more than just good grades.

Be as socially involved as you can at fashion school, doing projects, competitions, internships etc. to get real world exposure, experience and contacts.

CASE STUDY: If you want to know what this looks like, check out the What Will You Do With A Fashion Degree?  article with an interview from a successful fashion school graduate.

BUT If this path seems a little out of your reach, you can always use …

2. The Back Door
To Fashion Careers

Whenever someone raises the thought of NOT going to fashion school, we all get that gut-wrenching feeling. Like your heart is being ripped out of your chest.

Why won’t they just allow you to be happy, you ask.

But on closer examination, we may see that, even if you DIDN’T end up at fashion school there is still hope!

Because it is possible to NOT have a fashion degree and still work in fashion.

This is where it becomes extremely important to research

  1. Job titles in fashion and
  2. Education requirements for those roles

It may seem obvious that to work in fashion, one would need to have studied fashion but that is not always the case.

Sometimes, often times, employers will take alternative degrees.

And other times there are roles that we may not even be aware of.

Job Titles In Fashion

This article I did on the 21+ careers in fashion is just the tip of the ice burg.

On closer examination there are many more fun creative roles within the world of fashion and the role of a fashion designer.

To break it down first figure out what area of fashion you are interested in. Because there are plenty...

Within each area there lies various roles.  You can work and play

  • as part of a team
  • on your own
  • for different markets or niches and
  • on varying scales of production

Which brings us to the 3rd and my personal favourite...

The Highway Into Fashion Careers

Why do I call entrepreneurship the highway into fashion careers?

Because we have all seen how the celebrity, sports personality even the high school dropout randomly has a clothing line that makes millions of dollars, or at least a boutique that makes enough to live comfortably.

Using entrepreneurship as a way into a career in fashion is a path that is open to anyone brave enough to take the jump. It’s perfect for those who have a passion for fashion but may lack formal training in fashion and  design.

Ankiti Bose of ZilingoAnkiti Bose of Zilingo

Just look at examples of successful fashion brands and fashion businesses run by people that came from a non-fashion background...

And just like when we discussed the back door into fashion careers, you have the option of deciding what area of fashion you would serve and in what capacity.
So there is plenty of opportunity.

Pro: Especially good if you did not or could not directly study fashion but have interest of passion for fashion

Con: Running your own business is a challenge of its own that with many responsibilities that may take you away from the creative fun parts

Success Tips

Start a business with low risk.

Find out how here. 


When you consider the 3 paths into fashion careers, is really makes one reconsider whether or not you absolutely have to go to fashion school to make it to the fashion industry.

Now I know that for many of you, the straightforward path would seem best, and I truly wish you success if you find yourself on that path.

But if not, if you cannot find a straightforward way of working towards your fashion career, there is still hope.