After we released our list of the world's best fashion schools, we received a slew of emails from readers asking what they should actually study. Fashion journalism? Fashion marketing? Art history? Textile design? Fashion design?
As far as majors go, whatever you decide to study obviously depends upon which part of the industry you're most interested. We've put together some college major guidelines. Obviously, rules are made to be broken, so use this as a starting point.
If you want to be the next... Chris Benz: Other than applying to Project Runway (haha, just kidding, kind of), you should aim to attend a reputable fashion school. There, you will learn the basics of design and will most likely be able to specialize in a specific area, such as swimwear, accessories, or textiles. Plus, some of the more prestigious schools often pair up with retailers or major corporations on design and marketing projects, which gives you one stiletto-ed foot in the door before you even graduate.
If you want to be....the next Erin Kaplan: If you want to launch a career in fashion public relations, a degree in communications with a focus on PR or marketing is recommended. Along with amazing people skills and an undeniable ability to schmooze, you must also know how to navigate backstage mayhem and maintain your cool amidst inevitable last-minute changes.
If you want to be...the next Cathy Horyn: As far as fashion writing goes, there is no blueprint or fool-proof path that will guarantee you a career. In a world where bloggers are asked to contribute to major fashion mags and mag editors are blogging daily, everything is fair game. Common degrees for successful fashion writers and editors include journalism, English, art history, and communications. To gain more exposure in and after college, try pitching your fashion ideas to magazines or digital publications, intern at your favorite magazine or website, write for your school's newspaper, and start your own blog. All of these are good ways to put your name out there, make connections and most importantly, improve your skills as a writer. If you're not so sure who you want to be: While an education is undoubtedly important, the bottom line is that in fashion, it’s all about who you know and the experience you’ve had. That’s why the best thing a fashion industry ingénue can do is intern.
The fashion industry is not for the faint of heart, and interning is really the only way to figure out if it’s the right fit for you. You’ll gain a knowledge of the industry, and acquire skills that just cannot be taught in a class. Plus, you’ll make connections with people who can hook you up with a job come graduation day.