With the continuing worldwide growth of the luxury and fashion industry, students have new opportunities and new career perspectives, but they have also to develop a very high level of expertise and skills,” advises Lucas Delattre at the Institut Français De La Mode (IFM) Paris in France. As such fashion is a perennially popular subject for international students, and a number of programmes prepare them for entry into the trade.
“The UK houses two thirds of the world’s elite advertising and design agencies, London Fashion Week, renowned galleries and prestigious art colleges; it offers any potential artist and designer endless opportunities for true inspiration,” enthuses Nicola Smith at Cambridge School of Visual and Performing Arts (CSVPA) in the UK. CSVPA has been a specialist arts foundation school for 25 years and offers a degree in Fashion Design awarded by Kingston University, informs Smith. “We treat every student as an individual. They receive five days a week of teaching, with a maximum class size of 15 students to one tutor, their own workspace, access to studios seven days a week, twelve hours a day.”
The University for the Creative Arts (UCA), UK specialises in fashion degrees, particularly at its Rochester and Epsom campuses, advises Angela Chadwick. “The creative industries have continued to perform strongly during the recession,” she attests, adding that their graduates have continued to excel. UCA offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in a range of fashion related areas, including design, atelier, promotion, marketing, journalism, manufacturing and management. Diploma and foundation programmes are also in the syllabus.
IFM Paris is located at the heart of a city that, according to Delattre, “is at the crossroads for design worldwide and it is here that one comes to see, show, discover, test, find and compare new designs”. IFM offers English-taught postgraduate fashion programmes in Management and Creation, and the latter has a mission, Delattre enthuses, “to blend ‘limitless creation with technical knowhow’ by the means of concrete projects realised by high fashion brand houses, partners of IFM”. The school also provides an Executive MBA for young professionals in tandem with the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and Hong Kong Polytechnic University. “The Global Fashion Management programme is run on a part-time basis and is the only MBA in fashion and creative management that enables the participants to continue their professional activity.”
At the Design and Arts College of New Zealand (D&A), the two-year Diploma of Fashion Design “is designed to teach students about the fashion industry and fashion design work, plus principles of business management, enabling students to pursue a career in the industry or be self-employed”, says Patrick Yeung. The industry-focused course covers a number of key areas, “Students learn multiple facets of fashion design including design development, flat patternmaking, garment construction, millinery, accessories, fabric design and textile technology and computerised patternmaking.” An optional third year advanced level of the diploma consolidates learning and prepares for entry into the industry, and includes an internship placement.
Tokyo’s teeming streets are another perfect setting for fashion students, according to Bunka Fashion College’s Andrew Morrison. “Bunka is located in the centre of Tokyo and is only a few minutes’ walk from the world’s busiest train station. This places Bunka Fashion College at the heart of this fashion conscious city and its location is an endless source of creativity for our students.” Bunka provides a range of programmes across its four departments: Fashion Creation, Fashion Technology Department, Fashion Marketing and Distribution, and Fashion Accessories and Textiles.
Those canvassed for this article count Asia as an important student source. “Our courses are particularly strong in China, Taiwan, India, Japan and Korea,” affirms UCA’s Chadwick, and Delattre confirms these as steady sources. Yeung names India, Korea and Bangladesh as key markets for D&A, while Morrison adds, “We have over 200 students from Korea and over 200 students from China and Taiwan combined studying at Bunka Fashion College.”
“We recruit through a network of in-country agents and also attend education fairs,” advises Chadwick. For D&A, their heavily promoted fashion show is particularly successful at raising the profile of the school, claims Yeung, adding, “We also travel to key markets and build relationships with agents, and participate in education expos and events.” .
“The depth of career in the fashion industry is second to none, from Paris based designers working for top couture houses, to designers working for the high street,” exclaims Nicola Smith at Cambridge School of Visual and Performing Arts (CSVPA) in the UK. She notes that some graduates are working at Dior and Armani, while others have launched their own successful labels. Angela Chadwick at UK-based University for the Creative Arts says, “Our students have a plethora of career options open to them. Many go on to become designers, buyers and marketers in the fashion industry. Famous graduates include the designers Karen Millen and Zandra Rhodes.” According to Patrick Yeung at the Design and Arts College New Zealand, career opportunities include costume designers, patternmakers, production managers, stylists, merchandisers, fashion buyers and assistant designers.