Online Fashion Schools
Online fashion schools not only provide classes examining the aesthetics of apparel and accessory design but also the social and cultural influences contributing to the popularity of fashion trends. Successful fashion designers possess the talent to integrate retro fashion with original styles, color combinations and motifs distinguishing their clothing line from another designer’s clothing line. In attempting to present functional yet appealing evening dresses, casual pants, haute couture shirts and business suits to consumers, fashion designers must also study facets of design not commonly associated with the industry.
For example, an online fashion school will offer courses explaining details of textile design and fabric texture, two subjects focusing on the material used to make clothes rather than the creative aspect of fashion designing. Some four year programs may include classes demonstrating drawing techniques relevant to fashion design, the science of color combinations and the history of fashion trends. In addition, a separate class regarding the use of CAD (computer-aided design) software is generally included in a four year fashion design program. With CAD, designers can implement customized, virtual models in order to view their creations as they would appear on a real human model.
Another course vital to fashion designing is learning how to use a sewing machine. Although the most sought after fashion designers do not assemble their own creations, they did, at one point in their career, have to sew original designs in order to present them to fashion companies. Students will also need to learn how to read patterns, mark and cut fabric, create sleeve and neckline openings, sewing hems and seams, machine embroidery and many other sewing techniques.
Students graduating from online fashion school programs usually work for wholesalers, clothing manufacturers, specialty design establishments or as freelance designers. The majority of professional fashion designers work in New York City or Los Angeles and frequently travel back and forth between these cities in response to the demands of clothing firms or seasonal fashion shows. Highly successful fashion designers are able to market originally designed clothes using their own label while most designers are employed by celebrities or department stores with the intention of creating fashions to be marketed under the name of the celebrity or store. An example of this would be clothes lines bearing the names “Jaclyn Smith” or “Miley Cyrus” and clothes specifically sold as “JC Penney” or “Lane Bryant” fashions.
Building a portfolio of original designs while taking online fashion school courses is vital to obtaining employment following receipt of a degree. A portfolio should contain all of the student’s best and most creative work so that employers can see just what he or she is capable of developing in the way of a fashion line. One way for an aspiring fashion student to gain hands-on experience and contribute to an impressive portfolio is to do volunteer work for school or community theaters. Costuming is a great way to improve skills and learn valuable techniques facilitating entry into the world of fashion design.
Online Fashion Schools
The Academy of Art University offers programs culminating in Bachelor’s and Master’s of Fine Arts degrees in Fashion Design. Courses in the AAU curriculum include:
- Introduction to the Fashion Industry
- Fashion Illustration and Design
- Fashion Journalism
- Knitwear Design
- Graphic Design in Fashion
- Textile Design
- Fashion Marketing and Merchandising
- Costume Design for Film
Fashion journalism represents the written aspect of the fashion industry and includes people working as fashion reporters or fashion critics. Even though fashion journalists may not be involved with clothes design, they should know just as much about fashion design as a professional designer. Magazines, newspapers and internet websites dealing with celebrities often employ fashion journalists as guest columnists or as a weekly column writer.
Students applying for a Master’s program with this school will need to submit their portfolio and a statement of intent describing specializations and/or outstanding skills with fashion design. If transferring from another school, students further need to provide transcript documentation and degree.
The online fashion design program provided by the Stratford Career Institute consists of sewing and dressmaking, art and fashion design and merchandising classes. In addition, Stratford has Bachelor of Science programs for those who want to major in the retail aspect of the fashion industry. Fashion merchandising, retail promotion, retail operations and retail management are some of the degrees obtainable at this online school.
Penn Foster’s Online school has a two year, associate’s degree program for those wanting to eventually work in fashion merchandising. Courses include introduction to textiles, fashion promotion, history of fashion, consumer behavior and retail management.
While at fashion school, students have the opportunity to participate in runway fashion shows. Watch the video below for an sample of fashion shows from New York Fashion Week 2012.
Accreditation for Online Fashion Schools
In addition to the regional Accrediting Commissions for Senior Colleges and Universities and the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, an established and reputable online fashion program should be recognized by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design, an organization found over 50 years ago and comprised of over 300 institutional members. Membership in this organization is achieved by applying for and receiving accreditation by a process of extensive peer reviews and recommendation.
Pell Grants are available to assist in paying tuition for online fashion design degrees as long as the school is accredited. To qualify for federal financial help, students must be a U.S. citizen (or eligible non-citizen); exhibit low-income status according to federal guidelines; have a high school diploma or GED and not be in default of any previous federal student loans. To determine eligibility, students should visit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid website (FAFSA) and submit an application.
Annual Salary and Job Outlook for Fashion Designers
As of 2011, fashion designers employed full-time are reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to make an average of $60,000 per year. However, this wage depends on experience, number of clients the designer has and type of establishment at which the designer is working. Department store designers will generally make less than designers working for exclusive, individualized brand-name clothing.
Due to many people seeking degrees in fashion design, the BLS states that employment rates for designers will experience little change from now until 2020. Competition in this industry may make it difficult for designers to obtain full-time employment upon graduating a fashion program.