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It’s a bold new time in the world of fashion.The gossip which governed the ballrooms and boudoirs of past heydays of high fashion everywhere from Versailles to Venice to Vogue pale in comparison to the power of social media today.  Add to that an increased pressure to take into account such crucial hot button topics as gender equality, body image, and the impact third wave feminism is having on the discussion regarding the intersection of fashion and female empowerment, and it should come as little shock that fashion universities around the world are teaching students to adapt to these new ideals.

It’s an exciting time for aspiring designers and fashionistas alike, so if you’re looking to make a splash in the world of fashion by attending one of the many design-oriented universities, let this serve as a quick primer.

How Strong is Your Passion for Fashion?

How Strong is Your Passion for Fashion?

With the fashion industry being one of the most competitive in the world, every new hopeful faces an uphill battle just to break into the business, let alone make a splash in it.  As such, if you’re going to survive fashion school and the industry afterward, you need to first ask yourself—just how strong is your passion for fashion?

This should not be taken as a confrontational or even a negative question.  Rather, it’s the kind of blunt honesty and “real talk” you can expect if you ever hope to make your mark in the fashion industry.  That’s why in addition to teaching everything from aesthetics and design to marketing, every respectable fashion school out there will push you to ask these kinds of questions about yourself.  If your passion for fashion is strong enough to outweigh all other elements, and you can afford the risks involved, then by all means—go for it. 

This kind of soul-searching can help you find a career which taps into your passion for fashion which you might never have considered otherwise and that better represents your goals and skill set than a career in design.  For example, you may find the marketing side of fashion to be your true calling, or discover the only thing you love more than new blazers and boots is writing about them, and wind up pursuing a career as a fashion writer instead.  Fashion at its best is all about expression, empowerment, and self-discovery, and the best fashion universities encourage just that, all while giving students the tools and realistic outlook they need to succeed.

For those who do pursue the design side of the industry, you’ll want to do all you can to ensure your education is well worth it and prepares you for the gladiatorial sport that is the modern fashion world, so check into any potential schools’ rankings, record with past students, the qualifications of its staff, and the overall rigor and applicability of its curriculum.

Finding Fab Fashion Schools

There is more to selecting the best fashion university than qualifications and curriculum.  As the old saying about real estate goes, when choosing a place to study fashion, it’s all about “location, location, location.”  The fashion world, for all its elegance and glamour, is one of the most cutthroat industries in the world, and to survive, let alone thrive, you’re going to need as much help as possible, which inevitably means fostering connections with people and known fashion hotspots.  You might be the next Coco Chanel, but if you’re stuck in a location with no connection to the fashion industry, chances are you won’t succeed.  You need to be connected to the hotspots of the industry. 

In the United States, New York and California are the two meccas of all things fashion and entertainment, though if you happen to live in the Midwest, Ohio (surprisingly) is home to a few of the most well-respected smaller-scale fashion schools in the country.  In Europe, it’s again all about finding and establishing yourself in a major fashion city such as Paris, London, Milan, or Munich, to name a few.  As such, the best students coming out of the finest fashion universities spend as much time networking and forging connections as they do dreaming up new design ideas.

It’s a hard road to travel, but the best fashion universities are those that, like the finest points of the industry itself, serve to empower us as we pursue our passion for fashion.