Art vs Fashion School: Which is Right For You?

by Sarah Clark
Fashion School Review Columnist

February 26, 2007

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Pursue A
Fashion Degree
The Art Institutes

The Art Institute
Love creative clothing design, but aren't sure whether to attend art school or a fashion school? Both can prepare you for a career in fashion, but in completely different ways. To decide which I right for you, take a closer look at your career goals and interests. Here's the scoop!

Art School: An Education for Clothing Design Aficionados
A career in fashion can take many forms. It can involve clothing design, of course, but it can also involve teaching, in the style of Tim Gunn, the fabulously charming mentor on "Project Runway." As a sculptor, Gunn's background is in fine art. He didn't pursue a career in fashion as a designer, though he's a notable fashion school director.

Art school is for those with an interest in fashion design that goes beyond construction, lines, and tulle. It's for those who want a broader, more versatile education in the creative arts - someone who might become a fashion writer, critic, editor, or, like Gunn, a teacher.

Fashion School: Preparation for a Career in Fashion Design
Fashion school, on the other hand, is better suited to those who want a discrete career in fashion as a designer or merchandiser. Fashion school will teach you the sales and marketing side of the fashion industry as well as the creative design side. You can learn about distribution channels, protecting your brand in the supply chain, and retail merchandising. In other words, this path is for those interested in the business side of fashion. Classes focus on sketching, color, fabric, patternmaking and clothing design and construction.

Put Your Shopping Skills to Good Use
Still not sure which school is right for you? Shop around! Visit the schools you're considering attending and evaluate them. Do they offer the courses you're interested in? Will they help you get the education needed to meet your short-term career goals? What about your long-term goals? These are questions to ask yourself before you embark on your fashion education. Make sure you get the education that counts - you'll be grateful you did for the rest of your career.

About the Author
Sarah Clark is a freelance writer specializing in career development and postsecondary education.

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