Life of a Fashion Student

Truth be told, students studying fashion and arts are perceived as having it easier than everyone else; ‘All you have to do is paint a picture’,

‘Don’t act like it’s that stressful you just have to make a dress’,

‘Yours is so much less stressful’,

‘At least you don’t have to sit exams and memorise stuff’

And so the perception of a less stressful, and easy student life goes…

The truth?

It’s just as difficult, stressful and time consuming; maybe even more so, to every other university studies there are.

As a fashion and business student in Australia I have heard a number of these suggested to me by people pretty close and every time I try to explain that it’s different to what they think, even though they never understand.

The Beginning:

Truly, it starts pretty much the same way as every other university study, in high school, that stress of passing subjects that probably don’t relate to anything you will do in life, and a bunch of adults telling you to decide on what you want to do for the rest of your life or at least the next 4 years.

Studying an art or fashion related subject takes just as much consideration into what uni to apply for, there so many and each offering a slightly different outcome. And with MANY different areas of work in the fashion industry, it’s hard to know which one will steer you in the right path.

Some are lucky, and know exactly what area they want and exactly what school will get them there.

The rest of us aren’t, and kind of go in blind and not knowing what we’re really signing our selves up for.

Getting In:

After that torturous decision, we don’t go and study until we pass all subjects required to get an ATAR high enough to get in. Fashion and art students are required to do a further evaluation (as well as the studying our selves sick).

We are required to do folios…

Folios are the tough, the never ending, and quite honestly the most tedious part of studying in art fields and fashion. You show your work, your ability and your knowledge all through only a few items; some schools allow 3 items, e.g. folio, garment, drawings, others vary. But all are just as stressful. And then after that we have interviews as to why you think going to that university will help not only yourself; which is the whole reason you’re putting yourself through this, but also how your going there will help the uni (because it apparently isn’t just about giving you education).

In reality, the process is long, and stressful, we have to go through the exam process, application process as well as folio submissions and interviews.

Who said it was easy??

Finally There:

Now, there’s two ways of starting at a university.

  1. Dive in head first and give it your all without looking back at if that university was the best decision for you
  2. Dip a foot in and kind of give it your all but keep an eye out for better options.

Me? I did a bit of both.

Really, fashion school is a lot more than having lectures and memorising material but you need a good teacher to help you reach your highest creativity potential. These people aren’t just lecturers, but motivators, teachers and some times close to friends. They are the ones to get you through every folio, garment, assessment and exam and help to decide on which area in the fashion industry you are best at, and will enjoy the most.

Classes in fashion aren’t focused on one lecture and one topic but are broader to reach each individual in the class who will each perceive the lesson differently.

And then of course, there are the fashion classes that also need to extend to teach the students about the business side. See, fashion isn’t all making pretty dresses and outfits to kill but knowing how to run a business and to have a creative mind along with a business mind.

Really… Fashion is studying multiple subjects and areas.

That Never Ending Cycle:

Fashion studies are a never-ending cycle of many things…

Never ending folios that seem to go on for ever and your never actually really happy with it but it’s the due date so you have to hand it in.

Never ending sewing and construction, I have made garments where I know I’m almost finished and there are only a few little things to do but these ‘little’ things take FOREVER.

Never ending collections; when you’ve finally finished one garment… but then have another 8 to do and don’t really have the time to stop and admire your work.

Never ending work load; from garments, folios, collections, and drawings, to presentations, lecture notes, learning CAD programs, essays, reports and of course those exams; fashion students don’t have time to laze around.

And then when that 12 week semester is over and you have a week off to ‘study’ for exams, it’s flat out garments and folios until the very last second before they’re due. Because ‘Exam Week’ for us isn’t just exams it’s pretty much EVERYTHING DUE.

It’s about 14 weeks of Never Ending.

Reality Check:

Fashion students have it easy…’

‘What are doing … that seems boring’

‘Why are even stressed’

‘Isn’t it just making dresses…’

‘As if that’s in fashion…’

‘That seems pointless…’

The many insulting quotes that many of us have heard varieties of and so much more. For me, friends have said a number of these, possibly even all plus some, throughout the year.

But the truth is, fashion isn’t making pretty clothes, it’s so much more. A folio of all the influences and the upcoming trends, the 500 drawings of different garments or the same garment in 500 different ways, the narrowing it down to a collection and then having to JUSTIFY everything which can’t just be ‘I don’t like it’ and so much more. And that’s BEFORE you make the ‘pretty dress’.

A fashion student’s life has no rest, no breaks, if any breaks; you feel guilty at sit there listing all the many things you need to do. It’s difficult, time consuming and exhausting…

But in the end it’s worth it (even if your body has a break down after the semester when you finally rest).

But who ever said it was easy... You’re dead wrong!

Love always,

Paige Lillian xx