Fashion Design 101: The Ultimate guide to finding the best Fashion Designing College and Course

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So you wanna become fashion designer!

You are here because you are overwhelmed with all the information online and looking for proper guidance!

Many people ends up or give up fashion designing due to lack of proper guidance. I personally been at that stage and ended up wasting lots of time and money, all because I don’t have anyone to guide me and I am on my own, figuring things.

After tons of trails and errors I am here today for you, I can figure out anything related to fashion design in just a glimpse, be it education or fashion business.

I once used to be amateur, failed, struggled and finally stood up. None of this affected my life but they took lots of time! I don’t want this happen to you and this is what it’s all about.

This is How I get started in fashion design and the lesson I learned! (little embarrassing story)

When I first wanted to become a fashion designer, all I know is, I see a designer standing on the ramp and all the models stand behind him wearing beautiful clothes. So to me, fashion design at that time is making clothes, dressing models and fashion show.  All that seemed amazing to me!

The next second, I rushed into internet and read so many articles saying ‘fashion design has a great career and huge salaries and lots of demand and so on!’ Now I’m totally fixed for this assuming, I get a degree and jobs lines up with huge salaries.

Apparently I got a big NOOOO from family. So I had to choose less expensive college. After I got into college, I realized getting into cheaper fee college doesn’t help at all because you have to buy new materials each and every day, and it turned out material cost is 3 to 5 times more than college fee.

It was way more hard work than I thought. I had to give up on all holidays and family times and was completely buried in projects and class works. (Once I even did 4 night outs in a row. No sleep at all!). But still my passion towards it keeps me all energetic throughout.

Finally I was standing with diploma in my hand. I did learned the subjects and know what it is but I have no idea what to do further. I was all blank and realized it’s just a myth that jobs lines up with huge salaries. Jobs here are pretty less compared to other professional courses. They do have jobs but getting a designer or asst designer designation is kind of tough.

Now I started thinking, maybe I applied for better degree and top college, I would have better opportunities. So this time, I searched where the most popular designers got their degrees from. I shortlisted and finally picked the top one for higher education.

BOOM!!!! I now got better degree on hand and Nothing changed lol. I learned a costly lesson that it’s not about the college or higher education, end of the day, it was you who need to figure out your career path.

Yeah but HOW?

This my friend I put the process here to make it easier and I promise by the end, you will be very clear about your career and take so much value from the following parts. Hope it provides you with better decision and foundation.

I shared this story with you because I saw many people starting in fashion design the wrong way, I met many people who gave up and been through lots of failure stories. I wish my story teach you some insights before you step into.

Take away + truths:

  1. If you are not completely passionate and thinking about fashion design because you heard there is lots of opportunity. Then I suggest don’t go for it. Just rethink if this is for you or not.
  2. Don’t look for cheaper fee, consider material cost and plan for a part-time job or save your pocket before getting into the college to reduce financial pressure.
  3. It’s all about hard work. It’s not just reading things, you need to craft your works. Lots of mind work. You need to push creativity to limits.
  4. Getting into college gives you foundation to get started and it’s your thing to path your career. Don’t expect like studying here leads me opportunities.

How to choose fashion design course + things you need to know before you get into Fashion Design college

At the end, a Fashion designer has 3 options : Job, Fashion Brand, Fashion Boutique.

  1. Job:

It’s like working under established designer or brand. A risk free role, which fills up your wallet every month. But the thing is it’s really hard to get a Designer designation (not impossible but very high competition). Most brands and boutiques have between 2 to 10 designers and they are already filled. So you end up like floor manager or visual merchandiser rather than a designer.

If you decided you want a job by the end, then you need graduation or post graduation. The bigger the qualification, the bigger the job. And yes, college brand plays a big role in job. If a person has to choose between a guy from top college and a guy from some local college, then chances are high for top college guy.

So if you wanna settle well in job, then consider professional degree from a top college.

  1. Fashion Brand:

It’s about designing clothing line every season, market, manufacture and finally sell your clothing line to buyers. (fashion shows falls into this process. It’s a marketing channel to display a designer’s collection to buyers. It’s a lot hard work than glamour).

If you choose to be in this category, top college doesn’t matters, Diploma in fashion design would do along with a short course on marketing.

From day 1, you need to concentrate on building relationships with local clothing stores as these people are your future clients. Also clothing manufacturing companies ( it’s not difficult with social media these days, all you need to do is search in twitter, facebook, linkedin and approach them in a friendly way. Just build network and keep in touch regularly).

For this career, you need to invest before hand for manufacturing clothing line and you may end up with less sales. So it’s kind of risky career. But all the designer’s fall into this category.

  1. Fashion Boutique:

This is like designing for individual clients according to their body type, picking the right styles and colors. Designer starts working only if the order is placed. So its totally risk free but, the main challenge is getting clients.

If you wanna start a boutique, then a diploma in fashion design would do along with a short course on fashion styling. Top college doesn’t matters.

Once you completed the course, work for a boutique for 6 months to gain exposure to sales and clients.

The key in this career is networking with as many people as you can. Your future clients may be public or the celebrities. Spend an hour daily on social media to network with your future clients.

As you can see, each career has its own benefits and risks. Nothing comes easy or nothing is glamorous. At the end of the day its all about passion and hard work.

One more thing:  There are so many secondary careers other than these. Many people ask for, they wanted to work for movies and fashion shows, the more glamorous side. If you feel so, then go for fashion styling course.

What do you learn in fashion design. The Course Details

Before you pick a fashion college or career, you need to know the outline of fashion design course, so it gets easier when picking college and to check if the college is covering all the subjects.

Fashion design is all about designing, developing and selling a garment. Fashion design covers many subjects but the following 7 are very important.

  1. Textiles:

All about fabrics. How they are made? Different types of fabrics, types of finishes, printing, dying, surface ornamentation techniques like embroidery, fabric painting, cording, weaving and so on.

The whole point is to select the right fabrics and design them to fit your garment.

  1. Fashion Illustration:

Its all about technical drawing of a garment. Its not about drawing beautiful sketches. Its about communicating your ideas to a visual form. Here I talked more facts about fashion illustration.

Fashion illustration subjects covers from fashion figures called croquis, design details like types of skirts, pants, silhouettes, dresses and so on, Drawing clothes, accessories, fabric rendering techniques and many more.

  1. Pattern Making:

It’s the process of developing your design. Its about cutting out your design in paper or fabric.

Pattern making can be done in two ways. Flat pattern drafting, which is taking measurements and drafting the pattern on paper. Draping, which is laying the fabric directly on dress form and cutting the design.

Most colleges omit draping but it is really very important. While selecting the college, make sure they teach draping.

  1. Garment Construction:

This is about constructing your garment.  Starts from sewing machine basics, construction details like seams, pockets, gathers, ruffles, pleats, zippers, notions and many things.

  1. CAD, Computer Aided Design:

This is about using different softwares.

For design: Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.

For pattern Making: Tukka Tech.

Make sure college covers both design and pattern making software.

  1. Apparel Merchandising:

Business side of fashion design. Though they don’t cover much deeper but covers all basics like fashion cycle, boutique management, manufacturing process, packaging techniques, quality control to name a few.

  1. Portfolio:

Whether you want to get a job or make a clothing line, this is everything. The whole point of fashion design, where you put all the knowledge and subjects together to build a collection. Starts with inspiration, moodboard, color story, fabric selection, consumer study and finally a beautiful collection.

A college gives you all the basics and its up to you, how you implement.

After completing the college, you now have all the building blocks in front of you. Now its your turn whether you wanna build a bridge out of it or a tower.

You are not still ready for a job or business. By now you understand which subject interests you the most. All you need to do is to know how to implement and get hands on experience through internship. Which means you need to work for free or for minimum pay. But the thing is you can stand in any designation as intern, be it a designer or any other. This is your opportunity to get real time experience.

6 steps to Choose the Best Fashion design college

  1. Select the 5 best colleges.

If you choose your career as job, then goo for top 5 colleges in your nation.

If you choose your career as brand or boutique, go for best ones in your locality.

  1. Visit their websites and note their details
  • Admission date
  • Process
  • Documentation required
  • College starts on?
  • Fee structure
  • Curriculum covers everything we learned in this post
  • Career support
  1. Find facebook groups and join.
  • These days every college has a facebook group. Find them and join.
  • Find 3 students who recently passed out from that college.
  • Talk to them about faculty support, course details, career guidance from the college side.
  1. Visit the colleges in person and have a look at the campus.
  2. Take appointment for counseling,

Questions to ask:

  • Alumni, what are they doing now? Don’t fall of they say some big designer is from their college, think about what other hundred people who passed out are doing?
  • Ask if they offer any discount (they will)
  • Ask if you can pay in installments. (what if you don’t like the college after you get into? This won’t happen in general but its good to be secured).
  • Many college provide part-time jobs for students. Ask if they have any.
  1. Review your data and decide the best.

Now its up to you to pick the best that suits you and your budget

Hope this helps you choose the best fashion college and course to get started 🙂



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