How to own your first year as a fashion student

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Studying fashion design may seem like a glamorous lifestyle when observing from an external perspective. I personally envisaged killer outfits, selecting fabric and trim samples on a day to day basis, sketching perfectly framed fashion poses and sewing up whatever garment came to mind. However, throughout my first year as a fashion design student, I have learnt that yes, there are killer outfits – but there are also the days where you and your classmates all arrive at school on one hour of sleep and rock up to school in outfits more closely associated with pajamas. In order to get through your first year of fashion design, you must be in love with what you do, because it’s not easy. But if this really is your thing, then trust me you will love every second of it, and I have provided a few tips that I would recommend taking on board if you have made the decision to study fashion design at a tertiary level.

Time management is your new best friend

If time management is something you have never taken too seriously, now is the time to change that. With deadlines left, right and center you absolutely will need to make sure you know when your deadlines are, and what small steps you need to take prior to submission in order to produce results that you are proud of. This is most critical when submitting folios – I personally take out at least one hour at the start of an assessment to break down the assessment requirements and assign mini deadlines to stick to. I find tables are a great way to do this. Best of all, if you manage to stick to your mini deadlines – you won’t be working any all-nighters the night before submission!

Start saving money now!

As a uni student, this advice is more than relevant for any course. However, having a few spare pennies to purchase a coffee or a baguette for lunch always makes the day better! Fashion schools tend to have extremely intensive contact hours (the amount of time you spend on campus), and I don’t know about you, but having a something nice at lunch to look forward to always motivates me to work harder! If you try and save a certain amount each week you may even be able to consider that “study trip” to Paris too!

Wear your personality

What to wear to fashion school can initially be quite daunting. My advice is this: Don’t be afraid to wear what you REALLY like. The people that get noticed the most at fashion school quite literally wear their personality, regardless of the cost or brand of the garment. What do I mean by that? Wear exactly what you feel like wearing – even if it feels a bit quirky or risky. People will most likely love it. Today I wore a Vintage Japanese Hipster inspired outfit to class. Huge success. You get my drift.

Embrace fashion as your life style

It may already be your lifestyle – but as a fashion student this is more crucial than ever before. Attend galleries, exhibitions, go to cute eccentric cafes and don’t forget your sketchbook! You never know where you will find something that inspires you and you should always note it down in a visual diary. I highly recommend investing in a portable notebook and sketchbook so that you can document quick sketches or notes of things that inspire you on a day to day basis. You may come back to your sketchbook in a few years and use it to produce a new fashion collection. The world around you is a source of endless inspiration – Don’t waste it!


Presentation is key

I highly recommend teaching yourself more advanced fashion drawing techniques and to learn the basics of Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator prior to commencing study at a fashion institution. It is not crucial, however having a well presented folio definitely will get you places –  not only in school but also in the fashion industry. Having a strong skill set in presentation and layout of fashion sketches and collections will set you apart from other fashion students, and I highly recommend books such as “9 Heads” by Nancy Riegelman to get you started.



Liv Perry X

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