3 Degrees That Can Prepare You For a Career in Fashion

May 27th, 2014 by

If you are serious about a career in fashion, and you are ready to plunge into the competitive industry, then one of the best ways to prepare is with the help of a college degree. Although there occasional stories about designers and fashion buyers that are able to work their way up without a formal education, those are the exception rather than the rule.

Most employers in fashion and retail are looking for applicants who have at least an associate degree in the field. Find out which three degrees are the most popular, what each entails and how to pick the one that best fits your career goals.

Three Most Popular Fashion Degrees

Ultimately, there are three major fashion degrees that you can choose from: Fashion design, fashion merchandising and fashion marketing. While they all have common elements, and may even have courses in common with one another, their objectives prepare you for three very distinct career paths. With a fashion design degree, you can expect a future of making apparel, accessories and even footwear, and your creativity is a major part of the job.

Fashion merchandising also requires an eye for detail and plenty of creativity, but the primary objective in this field is to create eye-catching displays that encourage customers to purchase certain items of clothing from a particular store. Finally, the field of fashion marketing focuses on preparing students for retail and management positions in fashion.

All About the Fashion Design Degree

If you spend your day sketching, shopping and helping your friends alter their clothes to better suit their style, then a future in fashion design will seem like an obvious choice.

While the exact elements of a fashion design degree program can differ depending on where you go to school, expect the syllabus to include courses like draping, color theory, drawing and textiles. At the conclusion of the degree, you will be ready to work as an independent designer, or you might be hired by one of the thousands of clothing companies around the world that recruit designers to create fashions for their stores and websites.

This is absolutely a very competitive part of the fashion industry, but it can also be rewarding and lucrative for those who are the right candidates for the field.

All About the Fashion Merchandising Degree

If you love being surrounded by fashion, and your friends tell you that you always pick out the best outfits, then you might have thought about turning your passion into a full-time career.

Fortunately, you don’t have to be a designer or a particularly artistic person in order to pursue a career in the field of fashion. Earning a degree in fashion merchandising is a fantastic alternative that can educate students on how clothing is made as well as how it goes from raw materials from suppliers into the finished product in stores.

What you will learn is how to increase the appeal of the finished product though store displays, buying patterns and consumer behavior. Some of the many subjects that you can expect to study while earning a degree in fashion merchandising might include textiles, fashion fundamentals, supply chain logistics, brand power, licensing in fashion, textiles and fashion retailing.

All About the Fashion Marketing & Management Degree

Another degree option to consider in the world of fashion is that of fashion marketing and management. This degree, while it absolutely requires a love of fashion, focuses on the advertising and marketing side of the industry.

This degree is best for those who are interested in math and accounting, as they will be core courses included in the degree syllabus. Other classes and subjects that you might expect to come across when studying fashion marketing and management include retail management, fashion analysis, trend forecasting, economics and fashion advertising.

Explore these online degrees to help you prepare for a career in the fashion industry.

Popular Career Choices in the Fashion Industry

Regardless of which of these three fashion degrees you choose, you will be ready to find employment in the fashion industry. You might work in a freelance capacity or run your own business, but you might also work for a large retail chain or as an assistant to a world-famous designer. With a fashion design degree, some of the most common occupations for graduates are fashion designer and creative director for a fashion company.

With a degree in fashion merchandising, you might find work as a product line manager, visual merchandiser, market research consultant or retail decorator. If you opt for a degree in fashion marketing and management, your career path might include jobs like fashion trend analyst, fashion buyer for department stores, fashion advertising manager or showroom representative.

Choosing the Right Degree Level for Your Future

Even if you already know that a degree in fashion is a must in order to get ahead in the field, you may still have some choices when it comes to what type of degree level you choose to earn. There are, once again, three common choices: the associate degree, the bachelor’s degree and the master’s degree. For entry-level careers and a chance to begin a career in the work force right away, a two-year associate degree might be sufficient.

For more job opportunities and greater earning potential, however, studying for an additional two years in order to complete the bachelor’s degree might be a better fit. Finally, those who are eager to scoop up managerial positions or lucrative careers in the field may want to earn a master’s degree, which takes one to two years beyond the bachelor’s and can be a great way to advance your position in the industry.

Fashion Degree Prerequisites

Once you have made up your mind about what level and type of fashion degree to pursue, it is important to understand that most colleges and universities do have prerequisites for application. Before you can become a student, you will need to meet the college’s standards, apply for a spot in the degree program, be accepted and then formally enroll.

The requirements for students will vary depending on where you want to attend college, but they typically start with having either a high school diploma or a general education degree. In addition, you may need to submit references, high school transcripts, a written essay or even a portfolio of your past work.

Advantages of Studying Fashion Online

For many students, the appeal of earning an online fashion degree is obvious. Rather than heading to a stuffy lecture hall, you can watch seminars from your home computer, work through course material at your own pace and even take exams when it suits your schedule. Plus, an online degree gives you the flexibility to work and study at the same time, a big bonus for nontraditional students.

Whatever aspect of fashion you love most, one of these three online fashion degrees can help you to prepare. After graduation, you will be in a great position to follow your dreams and succeed in the fashion industry.

About the Author:

Sandy Davis

Sandy Davis is a long-time educator who holds a Master’s Degree in Education, having taught English, writing, and communication on the secondary and college levels. With ten years of experience in blogging, social media and content management, she is a freelance writer and content marketing specialist for a diverse range of clients.

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