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Fashion & Style

FASHION CAREER: Why You Should Invest In Short Courses

Summary: Here at U.Mi-1, our plan for the future entails establishing a fashion school in Nigeria. The idea of the school started with the need to be vertically integrated and control our supply chain. We wanted to open a factory. But to produce high quality garments, we need to train people. This idea has blossomed into a school that provides a fashion education – the first step to a fashion career. 

When people wish to gain knowledge of the fashion industry, they exclusively dream of degrees within the halls of the world’s prestigious fashion schools. However, fashion has been democratized in the digital age. Consequently, we plan to offer specialized short courses akin to going on an educational adventure.

Key Takeaways

  • Formal education is not as desirable or valuable as it used to be
  • Degree length courses are less likely to explore soft skills which are integral in today’s professional settings
  • Studying abroad comes with challenges that may affect learning

Background

Knowledge is a priceless asset for anyone looking to progress in a particular walk of life. Formal education was usually how one would acquire the knowledge that would propel one’s fashion career. These days, formal education is not as desirable as it used to be. This is due to the proliferation of learning and specific career options. Today, many informally taught professionals excel in the fashion industry. Their cases prove that a prosperous career in fashion is not solely a by-product of a degree from one of the best fashion schools.

Bunka Fashion College Japan

A Fashion Career

There are plenty possible career options to choose from in the fashion industry. We all know Fashion Design because they are the creative geniuses behind our favourite clothing and accessories brands. Other careers in fashion include but are not limited to: Retail Buyer, Garment Technologist, Illustrator, Stylist, Textile Design, Fashion Writer, Art Director and Photographers.

Przemek Sobocki working gif

Przemek Sobocki working

As much as fashion is a passionate endeavour, it is also a business. This is simply in many cases, what separates successful and unsuccessful fashion brands and professionals. Developing your product or service is a key factor for success in fashion, as well as addressing the arising challenges in production or service delivery. Developing an identity and supporting it with a marketing and communications plan is another aspect to owning a brand. It is also important to understand the importance of cashflow, funding, and financing in order to develop a focused sales and distribution strategy. And at a certain point, you must not resist securing specialist business partners to grow if you are a fashion brand. This is the business of fashion. 

Education Is Just The Beginning

You also have to be able to understand fashion as it changes: in the last decade for example, fashion changed greatly. Fashion trends became much less influenced by designers and buyers but more influenced by the wants and tastes of Millennials, who considered moral aspects of fashion brands. This led to the end of real fur in fashion and backlash against fast fashion’s unsustainable practices. This also led to the rise of peer-to-peer marketplaces for shopping second-hand clothing, and upcycling. Fashion is now moving forward with more diversity on the catwalk, and more elaborate technological advancements by the day. Fashion Education is about having creative awareness and asking important questions – what should fashion be in these challenging times? How should it reflect the world around us? How can we develop our craft as well as support local artisans?⁠

Education Inflation

Previously, fashion hopefuls considered which fashion school to attend in order to chase their dreams. They sought degree length courses in the best fashion schools for exclusive knowledge that would set them above the pack. A few of the best fashions schools in the world are: Parsons The New School for Design in the U.S, Central Saint Martins, London College of Fashion, Istituto Marangoni in Italy, Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne (ESMOD Paris), Bunka Fashion College, Japan.

Students at Central St. Martins drawing class

Students at Central St. Martins College of Fashion

In Africa there is a deficit of prestigious fashion universities. The Cape Town College of Fashion is currently the pick of the litter. Because of previous negative notions about fashion as a career, people were not encouraged to attend fashion schools. A lack of government funding towards the development of fashion schools across the continent further compounds this issue. Consequently, many who can afford to, study abroad. But these days knowledge is more democratized. More people are looking to specialize rather than learn the whole lot.  This change could be attributed to education inflation.

There was a time when people could get good jobs right out of high school. Later the minimum requirement for those jobs was a university degree. Now many people return to university for master’s degrees just to compete for those same-level jobs. This is education inflation. The value of education is reduced when there are too many graduates. When degrees were rare, they were valuable, but as they number of graduates increase, the advantage of having one reduces. And due to education inflation across industries, many people today are choosing careers based on interests, skills, hobbies and values. People are also choosing to create jobs for themselves. An example of this is the Fashion Influencer. Fashion is a career that many people gravitate to because they dress up every day.

 

Why Short Courses Work

Choosing a career is a decision that has one of the largest impacts on a person’s life. It is important to be open to a variety of experiences to determine what works for you and what doesn’t. You may like to pivot from one career to the other, or to learn a skill.

An African American female fashion designer working on a pattern cloth

Not everyone has the resources to dedicate to a degree, especially one abroad. This means talent may go undiscovered.  A three year course especially if abroad is expensive: travel, books, supplies, utilities and cost of living quickly add up. Culture shock is another challenge, as you’ll have to adjust to a new country, and this may prove difficult. When you study short fashion courses in a familiar environment you can place all your focus on the course.

Build Gradually

A fashion short course is a great way to get a glimpse of the fashion industry, and develop some useful skills. Short courses are perfect for students who do not want to spend four years to complete a full qualification. These courses, which emphasize the fundamentals of each subject, can be completed within a few months. Short courses are practical and convenient; they allow you to continue your current lifestyle while improving your skills and CV.

Learn Soft Skills

Short courses often delve into soft skills, and teachers interact with students in non-traditional ways. In a short course, you are more likely to find people present for personal enrichment as opposed to certificate chasing. This sort of environment fosters the sort of interactions that mirror a professional workplace.

 

Soft skills are non-technical skills that relate to how you work. They are simply how you interact with colleagues, how you solve problems, and how you manage your work. In the fashion industry most of your interaction will be with people, and most activities in fashion are hands on. Therefore, you will need to know how to handle a variety of situations in order to excel. Having technical skills is enough to get you through the door but soft skills will emphasize your value and keep you there.

Network

Taking different short courses provides a great opportunity to make new business contacts and friends. These relationships may prove beneficial later on in life.

 

Conclusion

The diversity of experiences you gain on short courses is invaluable. Embarking on an educational adventure is an advisable way to discover a favourable career path. Short courses allow you to test the grounds and discover your passion without having you put your life on hold. Our school, like many other prestigious schools that offer short courses, will be where many fashion journeys begin. We hope that it would help empower Nigerians to build a better future. We look forward to nurturing your talent.

 

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