Many high school students dream of entering the fashion industry but it can be overwhelming to know how to pursue a career in this field. One ideal first step for many students is to check out fashion school, where you can major in such fields as fashion design, management, merchandising or marketing, among many others.
College Confidential sat down with Rebecca Loeven, a rising junior majoring in fashion business management at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in Manhattan. She helped shed light on some of the most common questions that we receive here at CC about pursuing a college degree in this area.
College Confidential: What made you decide to apply to fashion school and how long did you know that's what you wanted to do with your life?
Rebecca Loeven: I have known I wanted to go to fashion school since third grade! I have always been interested in making clothing and art, and I started collecting issues of Vogue in middle school.
CC: When you arrived at FIT, was there anything about the school itself and/or the program that surprised you or that you didn't expect?
RL: You will hit the ground running! FIT takes pride in its reputation, and the professors definitely make sure they start teaching you everything about the industry right away, rather than other schools that have a year of more generalized classes to ease you in. This was perfect for me since I have been sure about my career choice, but it is good to keep in mind if you are unsure.
CC: What would you say to a student who is having trouble choosing between a university that has dozens of majors and a school that specializes only in fashion?
RL: Quite honestly, it is safe to say that if you are on the fence about a career specializing in this industry, you probably should not go to fashion school. I know many people that are transferring out because the school is very specialized, and that can be quite intense and intimidating if it does not suit you. You could always try to find a business school with some sort of a fashion minor if you are not ready to fully commit.
CC: What has been the biggest difference between going to a general-education, public high school and entering fashion school?
RL: As a fashion business management major, I still have to take various general-education classes at FIT, but my core classes are very math and business-heavy. Also, keeping in touch with trends and designers is essential to contribute to projects and class discussion.
CC: Is the workload harder or easier than you expected?
RL: I think a lot of people underestimate fashion school and assume it is super easy -- that’s not the case! Many of my merchandising classes are mostly math and you have to keep on top of them. Like anything else, you will do well as long as you manage your time and don’t skip class.
CC: What advice would you give a student in high school who is considering applying to a school with this specialty area?
RL: Fashion school is much different than a typical college, so make sure if you decide on going, you really love what you are pursuing. FIT is full of extremely talented and driven people, and I’ve heard the same about similar schools, so you will fit right in as long as you have a passion for the industry.