The struggle is real for former fashion students.
As a part of its new Education section, Business of Fashion provided a global ranking of the top fashion schools, surveying more than 4,000 students and alumni of undergraduate and graduate programs. The feedback was generally favorable in terms of teachers, environment, and study materials; however, a good number of people said there was a major gap between their education experience and what actually happened after college. Apparently, many of those surveyed said their schools failed to help them land a job once they earned their degrees.
“Parsons tested my work ethic and exposed me to a diverse student body and resources, but poorly prepared students for the realities of job placement and career development,” one Parsons alumnus told BoF.
So let’s break down the numbers: 83 percent of those surveyed said they were happy with the teaching they received, but only 57 percent said they were satisfied with their institution’s career services. Furthermore, only 53 percent said they thought the networking events were beneficial, and just 58 percent said they were satisfied with their business training.
So what’s the issue? The industry is thriving, but it’s not growing fast enough to accommodate the new crop of fashion school graduates every year.
“It’s estimated that each year about 10 percent of the total job pool are graduating from undergraduate programs and entering industry with degrees in fashion design, which in turn has created an oversupply,” Sara Kozlowski, CFDA’s director of education and professional development, told BoF.
So, yes, times are pretty rough for aspiring designers; however Kozlowski says the industry is shifting, and there are more opportunities within the business other than design and retail.
“Although there is currently an imbalance of supply and demand for design graduates, the landscape is poised for new sectors within innovative and hybridised specialisations that include digital manufacturing, social innovation, sustainability and new business models,” she told BoF.
It’s not the most comforting news, but at least there are still some options. And if you refuse to abandon your dream of becoming a designer, you can use this otherwise disappointing survey as a good source of motivation.