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'Business of Fashion' Launches Free Online Fashion Courses

With a little help from its sponsors.
Imran Amed. Photo: David M. Benett/Getty Images

Imran Amed. Photo: David M. Benett/Getty Images

After beefing up its editorial staff in a big way in recent weeks, London-based business publication Business of Fashion has launched a new section of its site, BoF Education. In addition to a Forbes-like ranking of fashion schools and new pieces of writing examining the state of fashion education, the section also includes free fashion "courses." These are explainers by BoF founder and CEO Imran Amed and other contributors on topics that might interest someone who wants to start his or her own fashion company.

"We hope that BoF Education will aid prospective students in making informed choices about pursuing higher education in fashion; act as a tool for universities and colleges to improve their education offerings; and serve as a resource for the wider industry to engage in a discussion about the critical importance of fashion education," said Amed in a statement. 

Amed teaches the only fashion business course at Central Saint Martins, the school ranked number one by the publication, so he certainly has some experience in the field. Each of the first three courses — Fashion Business Basics, Fashion Marketing & Communications, Fashion History and Fashion Entrepreneurship — is broken down into a mix of articles and, in some cases, videos. The Fashion Business Basics course, for instance, says it takes about an hour and a half to complete.

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Photo: Business of Fashion

Photo: Business of Fashion

While it sounds like something that could potentially work as a paid service, it's all free — so long as you sign up for the BoF newsletter in order to gain unlimited access to the site. That's because, at least so far, much of it is sponsored: Fashion Business Basics is supported by British fast fashion brand River Island, and Fashion Marketing & Communications by The Communications Store. The former also includes videos with designers James Long and Zoë Jordan that are billed as sponsored content.

A rep for BoF tells Fashionista that only some of the courses will be sponsored, with BoF "co-creating branded video content" for them. As for the future of the series, no new courses are planned imminently and "there is no overall sponsor of all the courses."

According to a statement on the site, BoF does not create advertorial content or paid posts, nor does it appear to feature banner ads. But with a slew of investors including Index Ventures and LVMH, it has to make money somehow, and doing so in a way that might help aspiring fashion entrepreneurs seems like a good (and on-brand) move.

Homepage photo: Stylist Lori Goldstein with Parsons students at an Amazon event in 2014. Brian Ach/Getty Images for Amazon Fashion