Ask Alexandra: Should I Finish my Degree?

This question about finishing a fashion degree is part of my Ask Alexandra advice column series. Have a question you want to ask me? Fill out the form here.

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Designs by Lisa Matthias

Hi Alexandra,

I am currently completing my BA in Fashion Styling at Instituto Marangoni in London. I really love the course and the opportunities that have come my way so far but I am also racking up a lot of debt living in London as I am from Canada and the exchange rate is not in my favour.

I have one more year left to complete but I was contemplating not returning and seeing if I can make it without a degree (as they will give you a diploma if you have completed 2 years of the course).

I want to specialize in PR and social media marketing and have done a lot of great internships pertaining to that paradigm of the fashion industry as well as taking an online certificate in Digital Marketing to add to my CV.

I am worried that if I do not return and get my BA that this will have adverse affects on my career and I won’t be taken seriously.

How important is it to complete my fashion degree? Should I continue on for the last year? I am so unclear if all the debt will be worth it in the end.

fashion degree, should i finish my fashion degree, fashion course, studying fashion, fashion school, how to get into fashion school

Designs by Lisa Matthias

Dear Emily,

My advice is to complete your fashion degree. Debt is a very scary thing but I think you are more likely to regret not completing the course, rather than regret the extra year’s worth of debt.

I was in a similar position when I was a student in France. I was doing an expensive course in Paris and I decided to leave before I finished the three year diploma (it wasn’t even a full fashion degree!) However, my reason for leaving was because I got offered a job on the design team at Sonia Rykiel. I think if you had a firm job offer, then leaving your fashion degree might be a good idea. But if you don’t have an offer, then you should finish the course.

fashion degree, should i finish my fashion degree, fashion course, studying fashion, fashion school, how to get into fashion school

Designs by Lisa Matthias

Ask Alexandra is my advice column. Have a question you want to ask me? Fill out the form here.

I am not saying it will be impossible for you to succeed without it, but put yourself in the employer’s shoes. If they have 5 equally good candidates in front of them, they are probably going to for the one that has the higher educational qualification. A fashion degree (or a degree of any sort) not only demonstrates that you’ve achieved a level of education, it also demonstrates that you can stick to something for several years and see it through to completion.

The additional debt will not be fun, but make the most of your year, try and intern some more, have fun (it is London!!!), network with industry and your fellow students, and get the most out of your teachers.

Good luck!

Images are from the graduate portfolio of London College of Fashion graduate Lisa Matthias.

  • R.S.

    Hey Emily,
    I’m heading into final year as well and am also struggling with living costs in London (fortunately this summer I managed to wrangle a paid internship, and am working a weekend job too. So, seven-day week for me. Fun times!) It’s nice to know that we’re definitely not alone, maybe this knowledge can bring you some comfort. When times are tough I’ve found it useful to lean on my family away from home, which I hope is helpful advice if you decide to stay on complete your degree. My friends and I always support each other, cooking meals, spending lovely evenings in (huge money-saver) and sharing school, visa and money worries. We are all exhausted and miss our families, but I will always cherish the love they’ve made me feel in my lonely times.