This is where top Fashion schools are missing the mark

 

Sometimes I get DMs from people who're on the fence about doing the Graduate Diploma course at Central Saint Martins.

Their current course's not helping them become more creative. They've started out wrong and now the time's against them, but they don't know if a one-year course will be enough.

So they ask me: is it worth it?

But I've lived with that same agony in my heart for a long time, I know the gist. This is just beating about the bush because what we'd really want to ask sounds super desperate:

“If I do this course, will I get a job at a cool, famous, high-end, high-Fashion brand in Europe?”

Everybody knows.

Go and have the same conversation with a tutor in one of the best Fashion schools in the world and what they'll hear is even worse: “If I do this course, will I become the next (insert name of famous alumnus)?”.

Now there's an extra layer of pressure on everybody to create another success story and that's why these schools like to talk about taking risks, being fearless and working hard.

But that's missing the mark big time.

Easy to talk about fearless risk-taking when students are the ones gambling their money away on higher education that keeps getting more and more expensive every year (but somehow there're only two printers in good working order in the whole campus), PLUS on loads of fabrics and art supplies to experiment with.

Replace  successful entrepreneur on TV  with  successful Fashion Designer you see on Vogue Runway's main page  and boom: there's your fearless risk-taking. (Click to start stalking Nassim Taleb and become smarter about this risk thing everyone likes to babble about)

Replace successful entrepreneur on TV with successful Fashion Designer you see on Vogue Runway's main page and boom: there's your fearless risk-taking. (Click to start stalking Nassim Taleb and become smarter about this risk thing everyone likes to babble about)

And why insist on this fairy tale of how relentlessly hardworking Fashion Designers have to be, when we all learn once we're in that hard work alone won't guarantee our entry to the cool kids club that gets all the favours and wins all the prizes?

But, actually, you just want a job…

A normal one where you'll get to create cool clothes - because, duh! You're a Fashion Designer! - work with a friendly team of your fellow creatives and be paid for it, of course.

Did you know that:

  • “Yeah, right!” is the answer you're most likely to get?

  • it's virtually impossible for an international student to find a job that'll sponsor their work visa in the UK?

  • if you do a Masters in France, you can stay for up to one year to look for a job?

  • CSM students are not the majority at every single major Fashion house?

  • most of my friends who did their MA at the Royal College of Arts cringe at the idea of getting a “normal job”?

  • if you try to talk job guarantees with your tutor, he'll probably yell at your face?

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