Tom Ford's Career in Fashion

by Sarah Clark
Fashion School Review Columnist

July 10, 2006

Send Article to Friend Send to a friend | Printable Version

Before Tom Ford took the helm at Gucci and YSL, fashion designers were generally limited to designing apparel. Advertising, branding, and other areas of the fashion business were left to business school graduates. Ford's success very well might have redefined what a career in fashion can mean for a designer.

A Hands-on Designer

Pursue A
Fashion Degree
The Art Institutes

The Art Institute
It's difficult to determine the extent to which Ford has influenced the way designers are regarded at big fashion houses. His success as a jack-of-all-trades of the fashion business, bringing Gucci out of near bankruptcy to a multibillion dollar company is sure to alter conceptions of the contribution designers can make to the marketing side of the fashion industry.

During his tenure at Gucci, Ford oversaw the development and execution of ad campaigns. He was also very involved in developing two perfumes for the fashion house, weighing in on such details as the color of packaging and notes that characterize a scent.

The Benefits of Business Classes

What does this mean for fashion school students? For those interested in aspects of the fashion business other than design, it may mean opportunities to participate in marketing and advertising activities. To prepare for such career opportunities in fashion, fashion school students should take some business classes. The better you are at speaking the language of business to business people, the better chance you will have of influencing areas beyond design.

Of course everyone can't have the supremely successful career that has been Ford's. Opportunities as dazzling as his don't present themselves often. Nevertheless, you can only benefit from being prepared for extraordinary opportunities. If you decide to pursue a solo design career, for example, you'll benefit from having some business acumen. Consider the career of Ralph Lauren, a designer who has taken a brand and slapped it on everything from bed linens to formal evening wear. Lauren's start was modest too--he was selling gloves at a clothing store when he acted on an idea to design and sell ties under a label known as Polo.

Clearly business skills come in handy in the world of fashion. Find out about fashion schools near you that offer business courses and take one or two. At some point in your career in fashion, you'll likely be glad you did.


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

Featured Schools

Matching School Ads

Learning at Full Sail University has always centered around interaction and the exchange of ideas. Our online curriculum fully embraces this philosophy. We have developed our own online learning environment with the aim of being the most people-focused education experience on the web.

-One-Click Access To Instructors
-Powerful Collaborative Tools
-People-focused Learning Environment
-Innovative Curriculum

Full Sail's educational philosophy emphasizes an immersive approach to learning, combining elements of creativity, business and life skills, technical prowess and academic achievement. From video, animation and podcasts, to more traditional lectures and essay assignments, our goal is to find the most effective way to communicate important concepts.

-Immersive, Media-Driven Education
-Based on Full Sail's Acclaimed On-Campus Programs
-Intelligent, Engaging Content

We look forward to seeing the next generation of artists, business leaders, educators and entrepreneurs come through our virtual doors on their way to career success.

See more facts about Full Sail University - Online

ABCO Technology is an accredited computer training academy that offers diploma programs for individual students, professionals and companies to learn different areas of Information technology and seek gainful employment. Our school has been serving Southern California since 2000. Our programs will empower students to prepare for certifications for Microsoft, Cisco, Oracle, CompTia and other leading vendors in the IT Job market.

See more facts about ABCO Technology

Campus Locations:

The Secret to Getting Ahead is Getting Started

Congratulations! Your interest in California College San Diego is an important first step toward changing your life. A career-focused degree is the key to a new career with a potentially higher income, better benefits, and more satisfaction.

We want to help you get that degree. Consider:

1. Start Fast, Finish Fast: You can earn an Associate's degree in 20 months, and a Bachelor’s degree in 30 to 36 months.*

2. Save up to $5,000 on your college degree.You can afford college with our new Fresh Start Scholarships!

3. Tuition Assistance: Financial aid and grants are available to those who qualify.

4. No additional Fees, No Hassles: No parking fees, no long lines, no lab fees, no cost for books, no waiting for class availability.

5. Employment Assistance: We’ll help you find your new job when you graduate.

6. Career-focused Curriculum: You’ll receive practical instruction for work-related knowledge.

7. Convenience: Day, evening and online** classes are available to fit your schedule.

8. Accredited Institution: California College San Diego is an Accredited Member of the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).

9. Programs Approved for Veterans: Take full advantage of your military benefits to earn your degree.

10. A New Laptop Computer: Get it when you start and keep it when you graduate.***

You can get started toward a high-demand career in healthcare, business, information technology or graphic arts right now. Complete the form and see how you can qualify for a scholarship (not based on grades or exams!) and save up to $5,000 on your college degree.

We invest in you! California College San Diego® is a nonprofit institution and an accredited member, ACCSC.

Accelerated Degree Programs are compared to traditional colleges and universities. See National Center for Educational Statistics, table 4 (

Financial Aid is available for those who qualify.

See more facts about California College San Diego

Campus Locations:

Liberty University provides a world-class education with a solid Christian foundation, equipping men and women with the values, knowledge, and skills essential for success in every aspect of life.

A liberal arts institution with 16 colleges and schools, Liberty offers programs in fields such as medicine, religion, law, aviation, cinematic arts, psychology, business, and more. Part of the Big South Conference, Liberty fields 20 NCAA Division I athletic teams and 32 Club Sports teams, offering fans an unparalleled college sports experience.

Liberty is, in every way, an exceptional university devoted to preparing the whole student for success.

See more facts about Liberty University

Campus Locations:

Your creativity is a big part of who you are and where you're going. To take it, and your future, as far as you want, you need an education that's focused on developing your talents and putting you on the path toward the creative career that stirs your imagination. A collaborative education at The Art Institutes is all about the work, the students who create it, and the instructors who guide them.

See more facts about The Art Institutes system of schools

Matching School Ads