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Can You Really Do Anything with a Diploma in Fashion?

 

Many people dream of working in the fashion industry, and earning a degree in fashion doesn’t seem like a bad idea at all, since it seems like you’d be getting a real education behind the beautiful clothes you want to design and create. However, just what can you do with this kind of diploma? That depends on your particular interests, but there are quite a few options out there! Here are some examples of what you can do with your fashion diploma.

 

General advice

If you can’t answer that question, then chances are good you’re not ready to pursue fashion professionally. If you really don’t have an idea of what you’d like to do after graduation, don’t worry about it for now. That’s actually something most designers go through when they’re starting out; being flexible and open-minded is important when it comes to jumping into any industry. If you just love fashion, and want to be around it all day long—even if your title isn’t fashion designer—you might enjoy a career in another field or area of study within the industry (think marketing and branding) or without (think retail management). With so many options, there’s no need to lock yourself into one right now.

 

Build your skillset

Getting an education opens up opportunities you might not have been aware of otherwise. Before you start looking for jobs, take some time to figure out what your personal strengths are and how they can fit into different job types. Try thinking about your hobbies and other interests—you may be surprised at how many of those skills apply to what you want to do for work. The more knowledge you have of yourself and your skill set, the easier it will be to talk about why you’re qualified when it comes time to interview.

 

Get started freelancing

Your first step is to get started freelancing. It doesn’t matter if you just graduated or have been working in your field for years—if you want to break into consulting, it’s best to pick up some early experience before you put yourself out there as a consultant. There are two main ways of getting paid work: networking and websites that connect independent designers with companies looking for clothing and accessories. If you want more guidance on how to approach both options, I highly recommend reading my tips on how to start freelance design work. There’s also one other way that fashion grads can start earning money right away—and it might surprise you! More on that later…

 

Know what to expect

If you’re planning to pursue fashion as a career, be aware that it can be highly competitive. If you are accepted into an accredited design school, you’ll likely need to commit to taking your education seriously. Because many professional schools expect students to take fashion coursework seriously, there is often an emphasis on hard work, collaboration and discipline. It is important for students to remain dedicated and focused during their education. Upon graduation from an accredited school of fashion, students should know what steps they need to take before they start looking for employment opportunities as designers. For example, graduates should be prepared by gaining knowledge of how salary structure within their prospective industry operates. Students may also choose or be required to take continuing education courses or become professionally certified after graduating from design school.

 

Know how much you want to earn

Though they may not be necessary, degrees are always helpful when applying for jobs, particularly if you want to make more money. Employers may prefer to hire graduates because they come across as more professional and likely have better time management skills. This could help you snag an interview for your dream job over someone who doesn’t have a degree but is otherwise qualified. Just don’t let your education cost too much. Paying $1,000 or more per credit hour means that you could be tens of thousands of dollars in debt by graduation day—and that doesn’t even count living expenses like rent and groceries! Talk to an advisor about loans before enrolling or invest time on your own investigating grants and scholarships for which you might qualify—there are plenty out there!

 

Take control of your career

One of your first steps as a recent graduate should be to assess your short- and long-term goals. It’s also good to look at what employers are looking for in their ideal candidate and where you think your strengths lie. Sure, it’s important to have practical skills like developing runway looks on an actual budget, but employers also want candidates who show leadership potential or are excellent problem solvers (speaking from experience here). Additionally, if you haven’t done so already, learn how to develop both soft and hard skills that will be valuable no matter what industry you enter.

 

Getting started is easy

Once you’ve figured out where you want to start and what you want to do, head over to LinkedIn and find people who currently work at your dream company. Reach out, introduce yourself, and ask for an informational interview. Informational interviews are about gaining information more than anything else—you want to get a sense of whether or not it’s really worth pursuing a career there. They might give you helpful feedback that helps steer your plan of attack. If they can’t spare any time but are willing to connect you with someone who can help (or point you toward resources that can), that’s just as good as having an actual sit-down conversation with them. In short: You never know what doors will open if you put yourself out there!

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