How to Become a Fashion Consultant
Getting Started as a Fashion Consultant
You know those shows on reality TV where they give someone with a completely terrible sense of style a complete makeover? They throw out, cut up, or make disappear every piece of clothing they own and then go shopping to get a new wardrobe? Well, the people who pick the clothes are, of course, fashion consultants.
Having said this, a fashion consulting career does not have to mean working for reality TV. There are many paths to choose from. You can become a fashion consultant in the retail industry, working directly for clothing stores; you might want to work for a large brand in their main office or a fashion consulting firm. On the other hand, you can have a more individual career, consulting for private clients, and not always necessarily celebrities, although that’s a great source of income.
So what would your work look like? It could be anything from choosing clothing, shoes and accessories, to make-up, hair and working with your clients’ manner of carrying themselves to boost their confidence. You might be helping to create a brand, in the case of public figures or simply to improve someone’s look and style to help them get a job, enter an industry, etc.
Fashion consulting is a competitive industry, and while it can be very lucrative, it could also be unstable, unpredictable and difficult to get into. However, with the right mix of passion, skills and personality, it can be a great choice. Here is an infographic on the Fashion Consulting career.
The fashion industry isn’t necessarily one that relies entirely on your credentials. What it looks for is your portfolio, fashion sense and ability to network. That’s on the one hand. On the other, there are many people graduating with fashion degrees and making competition fiercer for those who have not earned one.
So while a high school diploma is the bare minimum you’ll need to become a fashion consultant, getting a degree might be a good idea to help you get into the industry and have credibility. Not only that, you will also learn the technical skills you need to be a great fashion consultant.
You have the option of getting a Bachelor or an Associate level degree in Fashion, Fashion Design, or Fashion Merchandising. You can also take related courses such as accessory design, jewelry design, fashion business, etc. Another path can be to get a certificate or diploma from an accredited institution. Finally, you can choose to self-teach through online courses and networking, although it might be the more difficult path.
WHAT IF I WANT TO GET A DEGREE TO BECOME A FASHION CONSULTANT?
- Fashion Institute of Technology
Part of the State University of New York, the FIT is located in a prime fashion location. This college offers a very wide range of programs, starting with the classic Fashion Design or Merchandising degree, but it also includes subjects such as International Trade and Marketing for the Fashion Industries, Fabric Styling, Technical Design, and Advertising and Marketing Communications. In-state tuition averages $5,200, while out-of-state tuition is around $27,362.
- Drexel University
Located in Philadelphia, Drexel University is well-known for many programs, and its Westphal College of Media Arts & Design offers a great Fashion Design program. An advantage here is that you have the option of taking a Marketing or Communications minor at the same time, which is a great path for Fashion Consultants. Average tuition with no co-op is $46,386 per year.
- Kent State University
This college in Ohio has 3 programs that you can choose from if you are interested in studying fashion. You can focus your studies on Design, Merchandising, or Media, selecting from BA, BFA, or minor options. Tuition here costs $10,012 for in-state students and $17,972 out-of-state students.
- Otis College of Art and Design
Another fashion capital, Los Angeles, is home to the Otis College of Art and Design, a school completely focused on creative and design programs. Here you study Fashion Design and focus your schooling on sustainability if you choose. Tuition is an average of $38,290.
- Columbus College of Art and Design
Another Ohio college on our list is the Columbus College of Art and Design, once again with a specific focus on creative and design programs. Prospective Fashion Consultants can take a major in Fashion Design but also a minor in Business to complement their education. BFA tuition is $28,872 per year.
GETTING MY FOOT IN THE DOOR
Like all jobs in the fashion industry, one of the main aspects to work on in order to get your foot in the door is networking. This is absolutely essential for a fashion consultant, since in order to get hired, your potential clients need to know who you are. Whether you meet people through completing your degree, going to industry events, completing an internship, LinkedIn, etc. doesn’t really make a difference. But you do need to make a lot of connections and begin to build your brand early.