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6 Uni Degrees to Consider to Help You Land a Career in the Fashion Industry

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The fashion industry has a well-earned reputation as one of the most cut-throat of any creative areas of work, and for good reason too. It’s a discipline full of distinct characters more often known for their overflowing talent and imagination. What’s less spoken about (and unfairly so), is the fact that they possess determination and acumen to rival any in ‘serious’ business, whatever that is. Think Alexander McQueen, Tom Ford, Vivienne Westwood, Stella McCartney or homegrown designers like Kym Ellery, Nicky and Simone Zimmerman, Dion Lee and Toni Maticevski.

If you think you’re passionate and determined enough to pursue a career in fashion – whether it’s as a designer, a writer, a creative consultant or a photographer – it’s vital that you get a leg up on the competition. Hit the ground running with a university degree that won’t just unlock your creative potential but also teach you the grit you need to stay in the game and avoid the evil stilettos from landing on your toes.

With so many different courses out there to choose from, it’s hard to sift through confusing unit descriptors and fancy course names to find out what degree is right for you. To help you get a head start, we’ve partnered with Swinburne University of Technology and put together a handy guide to some of the most relevant degrees to help you get a head start in one of the most difficult industries to crack.

Communication is key

The fashion industry is a machine that is made up of an ever-increasing number of different cogs, with PR gurus, journalists and, yep, even bloggers all playing crucial roles in collaboration with the designers who actually come up with the creations that make the industry tick. Without the writers and public relations reps whose job it is to help build awareness for a label through a well-executed campaign, we may never have seen designs from the introverted and shy Tom Ford or our own Collette Dinnigan. Studying the Bachelor of Media and Communication will equip you with the sort of skills required to elevate a fresh fashion label to a highly recognised brand, and could include masterclasses on using social media to show off your brand’s most photogenic, shareable face. Without well-trained teams harnessing the power of Instagram and Facebook, cult favourite Triangl swimwear would not have been able to get their bathing suits on Kim Kardashian’s radar, or her body, or the rest of the beach-going, female public. This sucker punch of a degree covers everything from new media technologies, the impact of said media on global industries, production, advertising and more.

Find out more, here.

Get business savvy

Even in an industry like fashion that is so driven by creativity and design, the ability to execute successful and effective business strategy is a skill-set that is vital in transforming pencil sketches into an own-or-die piece of clothing devotees will camp overnight for. In an era when being a fashion designer meant only making haute couture (this was the ‘60s), Yves Saint Laurent more or less invented ready-to-wear with his Rive Gauche label. In one fell swoop, he democratised high fashion, a move that pleased his bank account as much as it did the thousands of women who could now afford something from the man who created Le Smoking tuxedo.

The Bachelor of Arts / Bachelor of Business double degree will arm you with knowledge about the duality of the fashion world by allowing you to choose from a number of arts units that will help foster your creativity and outside-the-box thinking, while also teaching important components of business such as economic principles and marketing. The potential to get a one-up on your competition when it comes to skills like negotiating deals with distributors or understanding how to diversify a brand could make or break your career in the world of fashion, and this degree will get you off to a fantastic start with a well-rounded understanding of what it takes to be successful in the fashion industry.

Find out more, here.

Harness your own innovation

At its core, the world of fashion revolves around the minds of the most forward-thinking innovators, creators and entrepreneurs in the world. Invariably, the difference between making it and breaking it could be that one great idea, but without the skills to execute the idea through solid business strategy you could find yourself on the outer, cut out of a world you weren’t ready for, shunned like a man in a cheap suit trying to gain entrance to the Met Ball. A little dramatic, perhaps, but not far from the truth – we’re only trying to prepare you for what to expect in the industry. But a Bachelor of Innovation and Design could impart the secret ninja skills you need to outsmart the next jumped-up tailor standing in your way, by building vital entrepreneurial skills to turn those ideas into tangible items people covet for their closets.

Find out more, here.

A picture says a thousand words

We don’t have to tell you again how important social media is, and if your goal is to graduate from being just another consumer to becoming an influencer, this course is an easy pick. The Diploma of Photography and Digital Imaging could help you progress from the Instagram snaps of your #ootd flat lay to your dream of being the next Annie Leibovitz. There are also stacks of roles in the fashion industry where knowledge of the intricacies of photography is a huge advantage when it comes to differentiating yourself from the pack. Not only does this course teach the finer points of photography as a discipline, but you’ll also learn vital information about the commercial aspects of photography as well as a basic understanding of how to harness your creativity as a photographer and actually create a successful brand for yourself.

Find out more, here.

Tell a story, through fashion

Fashion is all about the look of a new piece or a line, but you have to find a compelling way to present those looks to shoppers too. For brands, it’s immensely important to have a handle on visual merchandising – pitching and presenting displays and using the right language in product presentation. Who do you think is behind the department store Christmas windows – from Sak’s Fifth Avenue in New York City to David Jones here at home – that attract thousands of people every year? Fashion can tell a story through visual merchandising. The Diploma of Visual Merchandising will prepare you with the skills to do just that.

Find out more, here.

Learn to spin a good yarn

For decades, big name fashion magazines have had a make or break influence on designers’ careers. Between Anna Wintour, Carine Roitfeld and every unapologetically strong-willed and well-dressed editor in between, they’ve maintained the fashion magazine’s iron grip on its role as gatekeeper of what’s in and what’s awful. See The September Issue and The Devil Wears Prada for evidence. So how do you get to where these women are? Start with a solid foundation in writing, critical analysis, industry laws and regulations, and advertising – a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Professional Writing and Editing will serve you well. Whether you dress well, though, is up to you.

Find out more, here.