Which Fashion Career is Best for Me?

Even if you’ve never done a fashion sketch or even know how to sew, you can still have a career in fashion.  Most people will immediately associate a career in fashion with fashion design.  The designer is obviously the most visible and heard of role in the industry, but it's not the only path to a career in fashion.  It’s a huge industry that annually generates more that $1.2 trillion dollars in revenue worldwide.  It's not surprising, as many of the largest fashion brands generate billions in revenue annually themselves.  LVMH Moët Hennessy - Louis Vuitton, generates in excess of $37B in annual sales; Christian Dior at $11.9B, Coach with $4.7B and the list goes on.  This magnitude of industry generates a multitude of jobs; you can find one to suit your skills, passion, temperament and talents.  Here are a few of the most popular suggestions and ideas for getting started:

Fashion Designer

Fashion Designing is an art whereby you create new clothes that individuals would wear to help them make a statement as well as to make them feel good about themselves.  A fashion designer is someone who loves fashion, fashion trends and setting fashion direction.  A designer will create new designs.  That process usually starts will sketching their concepts and vision or even working with mannequins and sewing concepts together, to develop their vision.  They will select materials and generally will play a part in the entire production aspects of their designs which can take many months before coming to fruition.  Fashion designers can specialize in women's, men's and children's apparel and can include everything from outerwear to footwear.  Fashion designers are also involved with fashion accessories such as belts, scares, hats and handbags.  The characteristics of a fashion designer can be quite varied but generally a designer is someone who is highly creative with artistic skills, a good eye for materials and their application, a sense of fashion trends and generally very strong visualization abilities.

Fashion Merchandising

This is usually where fashion design and business meet. Designers and fashion houses ultimately need to get their product to the market.  Merchandisers track and monitor future fashion trends and consumer trends.  They are most often the ones deciding which fashions and garments will be hot each season.  These individuals generally have a mind for numbers and a ton of creativity.  They usually also require a certain type of business savvy and assertiveness to be successful.

There are many other options that fall under the Merchandising umbrella.  Retail management is one. You can get firsthand knowledge of a multitude of brands, marketing strategies, and how to manage people.

Fashion Advertising and Marketing

Fashion advertising and marketing is another path for those who have an artistic and creative mind.  Advertising and marketing offer numerous opportunities either on the corporate or retail side.  Individuals skilled in this area can also find themselves working on fashion show production and other fashion forward events.  In this age of digital media and social media consumption, it's an environment that never really stops.  There is a great amount of work at a corporate level or the retail level for fashion brands.

Visual Presentation/Styling

Visual Presentation/Styling: These are two separate, though potentially overlapping professions. It’s a profession that is on the rise in terms of visibility and potential growth opportunities.  A degree isn’t totally necessary, but again, having some understanding of numbers, business, and communications is essential.  Gaining the right internships and networking skills are probably more important in styling than in the other professions.

Public Relations

Public Relations is the middle person between a product and a retailer or consumer. PR reps are in charge of keeping a brand’s image clean, on message and making sure that the fashion community and people are talking about it. Their job is to make a brand appealing.  A charming and friendly personality is an absolute must in this field. It’s infectious, which is exactly the reaction fashion brands want to achieve.  A degree in communications, marketing, or business along with the appropriate internships will help get you there.

Fashion Journalist

This is an ideal path for those who love fashion and love to write.  The opportunities to report and weigh in on what’s happening in the world of fashion have never been greater. Fashion magazines are expanding their online presence and fashion bloggers report up-to-the minute news.  There are numerous opportunities to write for fashion sites, PR firms, and fashion trade publications for those that have superior writing skills.

What Fashion School or Art and Design Colleges Would be Your Best Options?

There are a number of highly respected fashion schools and art and design colleges in Canada that offer fashion related programs:

LaSalle College Vancouver

Toronto Film School

  • Fashion Design - prepares fashion designers to work in the exciting fields of haute couture, bespoke and ready to wear fashions
  • Marketing for Fashion & Entertainment - prepares people for successful careers as buyers, stylists, fashion editors, public relations specialists, event planners, social media marketers and merchandising.

John Casablancas Institute

  • Fashion - this program provides a comprehensive overview of the fashion industry and combines both creative and business elements.
  • Hair Art Design - the Hair Stylist and Color Technician program prepares people for the fast paced industries of fashion, film and television and photography
  • Make Up Artistry - this program prepares people to create the stunning looks necessary for fashion, photography, film and television

Blance MacDonald

  • Fashion Design - prepares people for careers in fashion design for some of the world's biggest brands as well as well as developing their own fashion lines
  • Global Fashion Marketing - prepares people for careers as a stylist, editors, product developers, buyers, managers, merchandising and talent agents.
  • International Fashion Marketing - prepares you for a career as a fashion stylist, fashion editor, fashion journalist, retail buyer, trend forecaster and more

George Brown College, Toronto

  • Fashion Business Industry – A two-year diploma program designed to allow students to gain a working knowledge of business management for small to medium-sized apparel companies.
  • Fashion Management – A two-year diploma program provides an understanding of textiles, manufacturing, supply chain, and costing as well as marketing and merchandising.
  • Fashion Techniques and Design – prepares students for careers in garment manufacturing and design rooms.

Centennial College, Toronto

  • Fashion Business and Management - examine all facets of the fashion industry, including budgeting, costing, sourcing and working with manufacturers for garment production. 

Fanshaw College, London, Ontario

  • Fashion Design – prepares graduates for employment as designers, assistant designers, technical designers, computerized fashion illustrators, pattern makers, graders, quality controller technicians, or CAD aided design technologists
  • Fashion Marketing and Management – prepares graduates for careers as Visual Merchandiser, Photo Stylist, Social Media Specialist, Marketing Coordinator, Digital Entrepreneur, and Fashion Blogger.

Ryerson University, Toronto

  • Bachelor of Design in Fashion Degree – a four-year program

St. Clair College, Windsor, Ontario

  • Fashion Design – Graduates may find employment in clothing and textiles companies, retail establishments, and manufacturing companies or find design and production opportunities in film, television, theatre and video productions.

University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta

  • Fashion Business Management – Bachelor of Science Degree prepares graduates for a management career in the fashion industry

Humber College, Toronto

  • Fashion Arts and Business – Diploma program that places an emphasis on retail operations from both domestic and international perspectives. 
  • Fashion Management – Graduate Certificate prepares you to work in the fashion industry and focuses on the management, marketing and sales of fashion apparel and accessories.
  • Fashion Management, Bachelor of Commerce  -  A degree program that is designed for students interested in the business side of fashion and offers management courses tailored specifically to the fashion industry.

Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Wilson School of Design, Richmond, BC

  • Bachelor of Design in Fashion Technology – A four-year degree program with an industry-focused curriculum gives students the design skills, business acumen and marketing savvy needed for the global fashion marketplace.
  • Fashion Marketing – A two year diploma program accepting 30 students a year and prepares graduates for careers in buying, merchandising, retail sales, visual merchandising, event planning, branding and more.