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Dress for Success: 8 Key Ways to Succeed in Design School


Congratulations! After years of hard work, you’ve been accepted into the fashion design school of your dreams.

Design school allows students to harness their creativity and passion for fashion, opening doors to many highly desirable careers in style.

However, are you prepared to succeed in your course? Fashion and interior design schools can be challenging if you don’t know what to expect.

Long days on campus, time spent sewing at home, and pressure to deliver quality work can be hard on students when they aren’t used to such a hectic routine.

If you’re setting off for design school soon, keep reading to find eight key ways to succeed— they may surprise you!

1. In Design School, Networking Is Key

The key to success in fashion design school is networking. Fashion is one of the most competitive industries in the world, with thousands vying for jobs as buyers, designers, creatives, or trying to start their own label.

To help yourself get noticed, try to network as much as you can. Meet new people, connect online, and try to go to as many events as you can.

Although networking can be intimidating for some, it’s all about who you know in fashion, so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and meet new people.

2. Put Time and Effort Into Developing an Impressive Portfolio

Unlike other industries, which mainly judge you on your resume, fashion is all about your portfolio.

It needs to contain your absolute best work, inspiring future employers to take a chance on you. This means you need to have clear, professional photos of your work.

Your portfolio can contain designs from your previous school or high school, from another job, or just work you’ve done on your own. However, make sure it is all original and showcases the best of your creations.

When taking your portfolio photos, EL wire from Ellumiglow can help give your shots an edgy, exciting look that can help them stand out.

3. Spend Time on the Basics

If you want to succeed in a top school like Parsons School of Design, you need to constantly work on your technique.

Expert fashion designers understand the technical side of design well— sewing, fabric cutting, principles of design, etc.

If your sewing skills aren’t up to scratch, you may need to put in extra hours on weekends or after class to improve your technique.

Your design skills are important as well, both drawing by hand and through computer design programs. If your technical skills aren’t up to scratch, put in the extra time to improve.

4. Work Hard

Whether you’re in fashion school or a traditional university, there are unfortunately no shortcuts.

You need to work hard, every day. Try to never miss a class, take copious notes, ask questions if you’re unsure, and complete assignments to the highest standard.

In the world of fashion, there’s always a party, gallery opening, or some big event to distract you, but try to keep your eyes on the prize and put your schoolwork ahead of everything else.

5. Focus on Business Skills, Not Just Design

The fashion industry is so much more than just the creative side. If you want to do well working in design, you need to have a solid understanding of the business side of things.

Most fashion schools will require classes in business and marketing as part of your degree, so take them seriously.

For example, if you want to open your own store, you’ll need to understand invoicing, bookkeeping, payroll, commercial tax law, and marketing.

6. Follow Trends Worldwide

The world of fashion is constantly changing, with influence coming from everywhere— not just the traditional hubs such as New York, Paris, or Milan.

Follow trends in fashion and design closely. Trade and consumer magazines, social media, and conferences and events can be great places to look to see what’s cutting edge in your industry.

7. Stay Organized

Students in prestigious fashion schools like the New York School of Design have already overcome one big hurdle— receiving an offer of admission to a very competitive school.

However, once you’re accepted, that’s only the starting point. To do well as a student, you need to be organized.

Many students are juggling classes, assignments, projects, internships, family commitments, and part-time jobs. It can be easy to fall behind if you aren’t careful.

Come up with a way to balance your schedule that works for you— use a traditional planner or an online organizational tool to plan out each week, blocking out chunks of time for study, classes, and even relaxation time.

That way, you won’t miss anything important and you’ll know exactly where you need to be at all times.

8. Find a Mentor

Attending university can be challenging, especially in such a complex field as fashion.

One good way to help yourself is by finding a mentor. A mentor may be a professor, advisor, an older student, or a co-worker or manager who works in the industry and knows it well.

Finding a trusted mentor can give you many advantages. They can provide insider knowledge and information, offer constructive criticism, and act as sounding boards for our ideas.

If you can find a mentor willing to work together, it can help you with motivation, accountability, and can help you find success in the fashion world.

Make the Most of Fashion School With These Tips

Acceptance into design school is a life-changing opportunity for many students, so give your chance the best chance of success with the tips above.

Sure, it will be challenging, stressful, and will push you out of your comfort zone, but the incredible education, connections, and information learned will lead you to your dream job in fashion, interior design, or art.

Get started today and prepare for the experience of a lifetime!

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