10 things you should know before studying fashion

royal college of art

It’s that time of year when every art school in the land is gearing up for its new influx of future designers. And if you’re on your way to study fashion, congratulations! This is going to be one of the best times of your life. However, fashion school is baptism of fire – you have learn a lot and you have to learn it quickly. Want to hit the ground running? Check out these 10 tips from everyone at WGSN who studied fashion (and lived to tell the tale)…

1. You have not experienced true sadness until you’ve gone through regular brutal crits of your work (after which you’ll need tissues. And booze).

2. In the weeks running up to your graduate show, you’ll lose your mind, friends and about a stone in weight (all of which you’ll get back between the after party and graduation).

3. Start cataloging everything you do and building your portfolio from day one. No one will prompt you to do this – but the smart people do it anyway.


4. Commercial fashion is not a dirty term. Don’t feel like your designs have to be crazy to get you noticed.

5. Your professors actually don’t know everything but you do jump through hoops to meet their sometimes crazy specifications (no back zippers, no buttons, nothing black, etc).

6. At the beginning, everyone’s certain they’re the next McQueen. By the end, 96% of your classmates are happily headed to a mid-market retailer. Time + massive overdraft = realistic expectations.

7. Being at school is suddenly amazing. This is what you’ve wanted forever and it’s happening. INSANE.

art-school-sketch sketches-edinburgh art school

8. You have to do work experience almost constantly to get anywhere near employment by the time you graduate. In fact, when you start there will be people who’ve already done a bunch of placements. God damn them.

9. Can’t sketch? Learn and do it pronto.

10. It’s a slog. Continual grunt work, ego-shattering professors and you never end up creating the kind of designs or being the kind of designer you think you will. But the truth is, there’s nowhere you’d rather be – and it’s totally worth it.

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  • Realistic insight to have. I still remember point 1, many students reduced to tears after labouring their passion into to their work, it feels very brutal to take criticism.
    Just wondering is their a special rate that students can join WGSN, as it is a fantastic aid?
    If like small business/entrepreneurs/designers starting up, it’s hard to afford £10,000 for the service which is what I was quoted, and most students would not be able to afford this service.

  • Chante Jonas

    WGSN is a lifesaver. Truly inspiring

  • Farheen

    It’s really a heads for fashion students. I wish i would have known this before joining, i would have been prepared or practiced my sketches which comes out so so so bad :/

  • Nigel

    11. Eat plenty of warm salad and pack a few country polenta snack bars for long crit sessions