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How to become a successful clothing designer?

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How to become a successful clothing designer?


The modern world is rapidly changing the list of professions in demand, and coronavirus fever has made its own impressive adjustments. However, the sphere of fashion and design is a direction that, perhaps, is not in danger: its prospects are only in development.

Fashion and design is that perfect option when you get paid for what you love to do and what you do really well. This is an opportunity to realize your creative flights of fantasy, not to become attached to one place of work, to work remotely, and at the same time to receive a decent salary (especially if you enter the international labor market). This is actively used by both the information business and the design schools, whose name is legion: more and more often in the Recommended tab we are shown advertisements for courses and retraining programs in the spirit of “Become a sought-after designer in just 3 days! Even without work experience, even for beginners! ” Is it tempting? Highly. Really? Not really.

Please note (this item is for suspicious citizens) that the field of design is not only the profession of a designer. There are many related areas - if you want to spin in a creative environment, not being a brilliant artist or fashion designer, you have options:

  • Stylist
  • Photographer
  • Bayer
  • Brand manager
  • Fashion blogger / journalist etc.

Where to go to study as a designer?

Today, no international, large company or well-known brand can do without thoughtful design, so that demand creates supply - talented specialists are very in demand. Therefore, educational programs have become available not only in fashion-setting countries, but also in exotic destinations such as Finland or South Africa.

However, many experts, current designers, professional consultants still recommend first of all to look in the direction of the "old seniors": Italy, Spain, Great Britain and France. To come up with something new, most often you need to master perfectly well-known, and here proven areas will be the best mentors.

  1. These countries have accumulated vast experience in teaching such programs, because they have been doing this for decades (or even centuries).
  2. Truly specialized universities are working successfully, aimed specifically at these sectors of activity. This is not the only department among law schools, medical faculties and the philological sector - these are universities and institutes that teach exclusively design, fashion and related fields (such as the profession of buyer).
  3. The combination of the first 2 points leads to the conclusion: in France, Italy, Spain, Great Britain there are a great many really talented, experienced, qualified teachers. Most of them are working fashion designers or art directors, so this is a chance to get invaluable information first hand.
  4. Excellent opportunities for internships increase the statistics of successful employment of graduates.

The best specialized universities in the field of fashion and design in Europe:

  1. Istituto Europeo di Design (IED) is a leading European university of design with campuses in different countries, the main ones are located in Spain (Barcelona) and Italy (Milan, Florence). Has been working since 1966, today it teaches more than 9000 people of 80 nationalities. Many programs are offered in the language of the country of study, but the list of English-language courses is also wide. The variety of educational options is very large - from full-time undergraduate and graduate programs to retraining, advanced education, certification courses in narrowly specialized areas, seasonal summer / winter courses. The main areas 4: design, fashion, visual communications and management (based on the profession).
  2. Istituto Marangoni is another extensive network of universities, where education is mainly conducted in English, which slightly simplifies admission. Often Marangoni is called the legendary school - it has been working for more than 80 years. There are also many courses: undergraduate (for different profiles), and master's programs, and short-term courses, and certificates of advanced education / retraining. Bonus is its own career service: it organizes internships, contacts with future employers (open tables, job fairs, lectures and master classes with invited industry leaders). The second bonus is its Milano Fashion Show in the annual format: in many respects thanks to it, many graduates by the time of release are already known as the authors of their own fashion collections.
  3. De Montfort University (DMU) - The former Leicester School of the Arts, founded in 1870, quickly became a university, known far beyond the borders of Great Britain. De Montfort University immediately began to stand out with its programs, often innovative: SMAPSE recommend that you consider the undergraduate courses “Contour Fashion”, “Media” and “Product Design”.

De Montfort boasts an impressive lineup of successful graduates. Former De Montfort students make Oscar-winning films, dress Beyoncé and create outfits for Lady Gaga, design logos for companies in Silicon Valley.

  1. Accademia Costume & Moda (Rome) is a very prestigious university with education in Italian: there are incredible job placement rates for graduates and unique internship programs that young designers from all over the world receive. If you are not fluent in Italian, Accademia Costume & Moda offers intensive one-year courses for incoming foreign students.
  2. NABA Academy has been operating in Milan since 1980, and a branch in Rome since 2019. Two world capitals of fashion, history, style, design, art - a real haute couture of design education. By the way, this is the first Italian academy, the merits of which are recognized at the world level.

Today, NABA teaches undergraduate and graduate programs and provides several short-term, focused courses. The university adopted a system of educational loans CFA, which facilitates further studies - both in Italy and in any other country in the world.

  1. LISAA School of Art and Design Pari s is a private Parisian university of art and design. Since 1986, it is famous as one of the largest institutes of applied sciences in France: there are undergraduate and graduate programs. Significant directions: print design and textile design, management in the specialized field, marketing and communication.
  2. Arts University Bournemouth - the name is not the most obvious, but widely known in narrow circles. In 1885, it was founded as the Institute of Arts at the University of Bournemouth, but now it is one of the largest and most famous independent universities in the UK with the areas of "Art", "Design", "Media", "Film Production", "Architecture", "Philosophy". Arts University Bournemouth is also famous for the percentage of employment of its graduates - in this parameter, it is in the TOP-10 in the United Kingdom.

They teach undergraduate and graduate programs (pay attention to photography, costume, branding and communications), there are short-term summer programs and evening courses ideal for working professionals.

What is needed for admission?

You may be surprised, but this is by no means a resume and work experience is the level of knowledge of a foreign language (the one that is chosen for education). Yes, English is recognized as international, so in most large specialized universities, English-language programs are enough - but knowledge of Spanish / Italian will be your bonus for further employment. It is convenient that many universities even for English-speaking students offer language courses already during their studies: you will leave the walls of alma mater with a prestigious diploma of a designer and with knowledge of a couple of European languages.

Portfolio - of course, the item is very desirable: most often it is more important than work experience. You may not have time to work somewhere in the specialty, but if you are talented, this should be reflected in your portfolio. Do not have time to collect? Not a problem: there are enough schools and universities abroad that focus on this particular detail: short and long programs will tell you in detail what a successful portfolio should be like, how to assemble and present it, what components should be included in it, and even help replenish it with decent ones, “ profitable” for the selection committee work.

I realized too late that I want to become a designer - are there any chances?

Of course. Many universities abroad offer retraining programs, and the age limits of students here are practically unlimited - change the field of activity at least 30+, at least 40+.

Where can I have an internship?

If you choose a large and prestigious university, you won’t even have such a question - you will be offered so many tidbits that your eyes will run wide. Serious specialized universities have long established relations with major brands, designers, and companies: usually a large job fair is organized several times a year, where you can see others (talk with colleagues and recognized masters, make useful contacts and connections), and show yourself ( sign up for the desired internship, express interest in finding a job in the company of your dreams). If you are serious, teachers will help you “tighten up” your skills and knowledge specifically for the desired position / company, because they know the “kitchen” from the inside and are personally familiar with the requirements of different corporations and brands.

What factors will increase your chances of success?

  • Good academic performance, learning activity
  • The presence of good projects, a strong and balanced portfolio
  • Knowledge of foreign languages (English - at least, Spanish / Italian / French / Japanese - as a significant bonus). In the world of fashion and design, communications solve a lot, and it’s impossible to make connections when grumbling monosyllables in English
  • Proven practical skills. Specialized universities always have studios, workshops, craft workshops for practical work, and the practice usually begins already from the first year. You can draw ingenious sketches worthy of any Fashion Week, but if at the same time you are not able to sweep a simple line or properly open a shirt - alas, the chances will be small.
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