Why Fashion Studies?

"Fashion is a top British money-making industry and behind every successful garment is an army of people with specialist skills to make this year’s look something we all want in our wardrobes.

There are many jobs and lots of courses to get you into the fashion world", explains Jenny Shoben at the London Centre for Fashion Studies.

The Clothing Industry in Britain is ranked amongst the top three industries for employing the most number of people and for the multi-million pound turnover it generates each year.

For the individual wanting to get ‘into fashion’, there are many and diverse ways. Every one is aware of the finished garment as seen at the latest International Fashion Show, or in the latest magazine, but who has thought of the variety of differing people that has brought the garment to the attention of the public.

I don’t just mean the Fashion Publicist and Journalist who has written and photographed the finished creation, but the less glamorous world of Pattern Cutters and Sample Machinists.

A Designer requires the expertise of such people to bring the garment to the attention of the Buyers and Merchandisers, who choose a range of garments they feel will sell in their particular store to a specific clientele.

Once a design has been chosen to go into mass production, Pattern Graders are required to produce the garment in a range of sizes and Machinists will assemble the garments for the Manufacturers.

Production Supervisors will ensure a quality garment is produced on time. Packed and delivered to the showroom or store, the garment must be marketed to sell well. Suitable promotion will ensure an image is created and projected to the ‘right’ audience.

Of course, we must not forget the Textile Designers who create the material design and weavers who make the cloth. Trimmings in the shape of buttons, lace, ribbon, etc. also have to be designed and the garment accessorised by the use of hats, scarves, bags, coloured stockings and gloves. Jewellery too makes a fashion statement and changes with the season.

Have you ever wondered how the skirt you bought in one shop matches the blouse in another and tones with a shoe in a third? Decisions on possible colours for the coming season are discussed 18 months to two years in advance and there is a general acceptance of what colours are due to be in fashion.

An important part of the fashion world is all the intelligence gathering of trends and influences which inspire and inform the coming season’s fashions.

The world of fashion is constantly changing. It matters not that this season we are seen to be copying the style of the 50s, 60s or 70s. There will be a difference in mini skirt designed in 1970 and one designed in 1990.

There were not so many stretch fibres used to make dresses in the 70s but now lycra and its cousins are everywhere. The silhouette, or shape of the garment is different although at an initial glance a mini skirt is still several inches above the knee and can still shock!

The fashions of Britain are known to be a source of inspiration for Designers all over the world. Certain well established foreign designers make regular trips to London and the other larger UK cities to see exactly how the youngsters on the street have put together their original style of dress.

The influences of Music, Films and Theatre also have a bearing on the world of fashion. You may remember the gangster film Bonnie & Clyde which spawned a range of ‘gangster clothes’ that were very popular. Similarly, the Beatles’ clothes were copied and there were Beatles clones everywhere at the height of their popularity.

To understand just what jobs are possible and how to get into the world of fashion, most people take a course of study.

Many types of courses are available from short ‘taster’ courses to see if you really enjoy a subject to three and four year Designer courses covering an area of fashion which can be covered in an academic way and then a broader experience gained by working abroad for a period of time to exchange ideas and cultural differences.

The fusion of ideas from Eastern and Western hemispheres continually bring forth new ideas and styles for the world’s fashion market.

I wish you well if you are entering the world of Fashion and know that you will never get bored with the infinite variety of ideas that are just waiting to be turned into Fashion.

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