UNIVERSITY: 5 Common Misconceptions of Fashion Business Courses

fashion business course students misconceptions

If there’s one thing that annoys me in life it’s when people form stupid judgements about my current course based on the title alone. I’m not quite sure how, but “Fashion Management” somehow translates to “looking at clothes all day” in the minds of many. I wish it was that simple! Like any degree, so much work goes in to it. Just because I chose to study a course with the word “fashion” in the title does not mean that my degree has any less value! Ever since reading this (quite poorly) written article this topic has been gnawing away at the back of my mind – it really annoys me that people want to devalue what I work hard for. This is a pretty common conversation for me and in my true ranting form I thought I’d share a few of the things that really grind my gears in relation to my course.

Whilst this may be true for some, it’s definitely an exception as opposed to the norm. Both business and design students – that I know at least – are often considerably more cultured and passionate about a variety of causes and subjects. On a personal level, I’ve had people assume that my course was “all I could get in to” when my school results say otherwise. I could’ve picked from so many courses but I chose to study fashion. Whilst it’s true, we like clothes, we also like other things too. Our “passion for fashion” extends to so many other things… like my hatred of the phrase “passion for fashion”.  Issues like sustainability, child labour and animal rights often come up in our lectures and are some crucial talking points for the fashion industry.

If there’s one thing that Hillary’s Crafternoon taught me it’s that my sewing skills leave a hell of a lot to be desired. Although I’ve loved fashion for years now it’s been quite obvious to me from the start that design & production really aren’t my strong points and as much as I admire the talent of Fashion Design students I am so not cut out for that. We do a bit of design on my course – still a lot more than I’d like – but my skills extend as far as computer assisted design and making dresses out of paper. I don’t think you’ll be seeing my designs on their way down the catwalk any time soon…

Picture this: you’ve just been introduced to a friend of a friend, and the subject of your degree comes up in the typical idle small talk. “Oh, I study fashion management.” “That’s cool, can you make me something to wear?” “No, sorry, I don’t do design, we do business..” “Oh right… Okay. Well can you tell me what to wear next year then?”. Standard conversation. Sure, I could tell you, but you’ll have forgotten by then anyway. If I’m being honest this is more of a personal pet hate of mine, maybe I should start charging these people for my advice and start up my own lucrative styling business. In my dreams, eh?

Clothes are clothes, right? Well yes, there is a limit to how much fashion history one person can take, but like I said before we don’t just study clothes. Examples of my previous module subjects have been fashion communication (journalism), events management, store design, marketing & advertising and my current favourite: consumer behaviour. We learn a lot. Our degree is multidisciplinary and I love being able to dip my toes in to so many different worlds – it’s helped me know more about myself, my strengths and what I want to do. One of the courses I’ve applied to would allow me to choose so many other modules, such as German, to study alongside all of those clothes that I apparently spend my life learning about.

Sadly, my course is not all glitz and glam. Although unlike many other courses I would look a bit out of place if I turned up to one of my lecturers in leggings and a hoody – I’ve made that mistake before – and there are people who I swear never wear flat shoes; the reality of my course is that a lot of hard work, sweat and many, many tears go in to the end result. I spend hours of my life cursing at software that just will not work for me, cutting and sticking tiny bits of paper to make moodboard after moodboard and pulling the odd all nighter to get that 3000 word report on a pair of jeans finished. Yeah. That was a tough one, there’s only so many words you can use to describe the quality of denim. Last semester we had to put  together photo shoots for our magazine and whilst the finished result is lovely and glossy spending the day in the wind and rain around Aberdeen’s harbour getting soaked by giant waves is a little bit more rough and tumble than you’d like. Cold hands all round.

fashion student photoshoot aberdeen beach
Photos by Jess Christie
Even though I might be changing my academic path slightly, I still love the business side of the fashion industry. It’s such a diverse field full of talented individuals and it’s one I’d be pretty grateful to be a part of. 
Do you or have you undertaken a course that people don’t quite seem to understand? I’d love to hear your side of things as I think there are a fair few courses that don’t get the reputation they deserve!