Fashion Without a Degree – A Guide
Updated: Oct 9
If you’re reading this right now, we’re assuming that you either feel you’re too late for a fashion degree or you don’t have access to one, for any reason. So yes, read on because here, we’re not only telling you how to traverse your path in fashion without a degree but also breaking some myths. By the end of this, you’ll be armed with the right knowledge, a draft blueprint of your fashion career, and the confidence you deserve. Here you go!
Note: Experience is Education
Of course, your degree matters and it does hold a great deal of value, but one could have all the relevant degrees in the world and yet not be up to the mark. Eventually, experience is what builds your expertise and becomes your asset. It is what truly counts and adds utmost value to your career and you as a professional. We could say that experience is education, and it’s true! As you go through your career journey, you pick up experiences and keep adding to them over the years, strengthening your knowledge, skills, aptitude and expertise. Being armed with the right experience will empower you to pursue your career in the right way as opposed to just a bunch of degrees to your name.
So, it is futile to harbour a belief that a degree is the only resource you need to accelerate or kick-start your fashion career. With the right and enough experience, you can be equipped with the right skills and expertise needed to pursue this career.
Build and Refine the Essential Skills
If you’re looking at kick-starting your fashion career without a degree, you can certainly do so but not without the basics. Whether you have a degree or not, having the basic and essential skills for a fashion career is prime. So, before you hope to delve into the industry, begin by building and/or
refining your existing skills.
Source: The Fashion Student Hub
Say, if fashion designing is your goal, make sure you learn the crucial skills like CAD, stitching, sketching and other basics of design. It’s extremely important to be familiar with the background knowledge of the industry you’re going into. You could pursue short individual courses to help you learn or refine these skills, so you at least take a step towards a fashion career without a degree.
Practise, Practise, and Practise
Practising your art is the only way to perfect it. You cannot pursue something as creative as fashion and expect perfection in the first attempt itself. Every successful professional was once a beginner and it took years of experience and practice to polish their art. Whether it is sketching, stitching, CAD, writing or any career path under fashion, you must do the same thing over and over again to hit the spot. Yes, your first few attempts may be disappointing but that’s the point. You’re a fresher, someone who is new to this and will take repeated attempts to get something right.
Intern, No Matter What Age You Are
So, here’s the deal. Practise also comes with experience and that also comes with jobs/internships. Of course, as a beginner who wants to learn and get first-hand experience, a job isn’t exactly the right place. An internship, which is as much about learning as it is about applying your knowledge and skills, is the right medium of education in this case.
At an internship, you not only learn essential skills and how to apply them but also get a thorough exposure to the real professional world of fashion. It can pose as a stepping stone for anyone trying to get a hands-on experience of the profession and its industry workings.
Approach the Career as a Beginner
And, here’s the sweet cookie! No matter what age you are, how many degrees you hold or the amount of experience you have, if you’re entering the fashion world as a newbie, you got to treat yourself and your career like that–as a beginner. When you start your career as a beginner, you pursue it from the base, from the very first step and tread the paths slowly and steadily.
That’s exactly what you got to do with your fashion career if you’re starting from scratch–approach every step in the process, right from learning basic skills to gaining experience, with a beginner’s curiosity and open-mindedness. You may be an expert or a professional in another field but in this one? You’re a student, so take every step as one!
Learn the Natural and Informal Way
A short course or workshops are one way of learning, but in today’s era, we are also fortunate enough to have access to an array of informal learning mediums. Books, YouTube videos, fashion publications, articles/blogs and other resources may not directly add to your knowledge immediately but they do add value eventually. The best part about this informal and natural way of learning is that no one can ever fall short of options. Whether offline or online, one can have access to content material of every nature, length, and format that educates, inspires, and encourages.
Source: Lifestyle Asia Hong Kong
Network and Seek Guidance from Experts
Consider networking as another natural and informal medium of learning, especially in the fashion industry. In a world where the people you know become your asset; in other words, your network becomes your net worth, it is of utmost importance to optimize every opportunity to build meaningful connections and a network of your own. No, we’re not encouraging you to make connections purely for transactional purposes, where you only reach out when in need of help.
One of the most important rules of networking is to help to receive help. It all works that way, doesn’t it? Moreover, building a network takes time and doesn’t render immediate benefits. It is all a matter of patience and the right timing. Secondly, making important connections and reaching out to industry experts for guidance, formal or informal, is a great way to not only build your presence amongst them but also seeking their wisdom as a boost for your confidence and conviction. Besides this, reaching out to people to receive constructive feedback on your practised art and approach is essentially helpful.
Be Prepared for Rejection
You’re a newbie to the professional world of fashion and you’re learning just like one. And, being a beginner, a student, and a learner is to also know that rejection is a part of this process. You may not ace that sketch on the first go, you may not land an internship even after multiple tries, and you may not be considered as a fashion professional by many people. But, that’s the norm if you’re a beginner when you’re just starting out. So, the wise thing is to be open to rejection, constructive feedback, criticism, and lessons. Eventually, it all begins with your thoughts and how you perceive your coveted career. For this, you have to let go of some baseless and restrictive mentalities and adopt change as the world shifts too. Say, some decades back, a career without a degree may not be feasible but today, as the world changes, so have the mindsets. All it takes is courage, willingness, and an open mind.