Hi Alexandra, I wanted to ask if it’s possible to get an internship and work your way up through fashion without a degree? I’m an American who is currently at a fashion school in London but I am thinking about leaving school since I have become really frustrated with university and it’s really taken a toll. However, I also feel a lot of pressure to continue with university just because everyone else is doing it. Do you have any advice? Thank you!
It’s not impossible to become a fashion industry professional without a post secondary education, but it will be more difficult. Here are three reasons why you should do have kind of degree or diploma before attempting to break into the fashion industry.
1. You are going to learn something. (Duh.) Even if the role you want doesn’t require a great deal of technical skills – or you already have them, you’ll be a hell of a lot better at your job if you know fashion history, the big players, and how the industry works. So I would suggest to anyone wanting to make it in the fashion world, that a degree (or at least a diploma) in a related field is very, very important.
2. A post secondary education is about more than just learning. Sure, you’ll come out knowing what a Watteau back is and that fall winter press days happen in April, but you’ll also have made a lot of connections, and you may have had a change of heart about what you want to do. I’d say about 75% of my students have started a course with a good idea of what they want to be (usually a stylist or buyer) and leave planning to do something else.
3. It gives you an edge on the competition. I’ve said it a million times before, but the fashion industry is very, very competitive and if you’re up against five other people for a job or internship, I can guarantee you that the ones with a fashion education are going to be better positioned to get the job. Having a degree says “I am willing to work hard for four years, I can meet deadlines, I am committed, and I know how to see something through to its completion.” There’s not many other ways that employers can gauge those things (certainly not through a CV or an interview) so a certificate is really quite important to land that dream job. That said, you might become famous without a formal education, if you have a lot of talent and a lot of good luck. But when you look at the successful people in the fashion world today, you’ll see that most of them went to school. Good luck! These amazing jewelry images are from a collection by London College of Fashion student Alexandra Druzhinin.