By attaining the right qualifications, you can gain the knowledge required to become a successful costume designer. In order to receive a quality education, ensure you study at a reputable institution. A new report has revealed the top 50 fashion schools in the world right now.
Best fashion school
This report was compiled by Business of Fashion (BoF), an industry publication. BoF’s latest rankings feature 54 institutions across 17 nations, with over 10,000 students and alumni taking part. London-based Central Saint Martins (CSM) topped the list for the second consecutive year, possessing both the best BA and MA fashion programmes on earth.
BA and MA programmes
In terms of BA courses, CSM was followed by London’s Kingston University and Finland’s Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, which only enrols 60 students per year on its BA programme. Aalto ranked first among all the BA programmes included, when it came to value.
In terms of MA programmes, CSM displaced the Royal College of Art (RCA) in London to clinch the top spot this year. RCA had to settle for second place, while Paris’ Institut Français de la Mode (IFM), rose four places from last year’s survey to reach third. So why is CSM the best fashion school on earth?
Fashion and Brexit
BoF attributed CSM’s top score to its strong reputation. In the survey, CSM also showed robust improvement in student experience scores compared to 2015, with those polled showing more satisfaction in its teaching and resources. But challenging times await for CSM and other top British fashion schools, due to the UK’s recent decision to leave the EU (also known as ‘Brexit’).
CSM’s now-retired BA fashion programme director Willie Walters, said that fashion educators are now preparing for Brexit. Commenting, Walters said: “I’m worried about us leaving the EU and it becoming some ‘Little Britain’ situation again. I would be miserable if, when I leave, everything was to plummet and fall apart and some Draconian upper top management cage was to come down on my course.
“That’s why I want to leave now, while the new people can learn to be as strong as me to prevent that happening in their own time… I want to pass [the baton] over while my team are fresh and young.” Many worry that after Brexit, top UK fashion schools will lose EU funding and talent, damaging their prestige. It is key that UK fashion schools support global students going forward to attract new talent, especially EU students, who may have higher tuition fees and stricter entry requirements.
Tackling key issues
The poll also highlighted other key issues in fashion education today. Respondents noted that there is currently a lack of practical, applicable skills and careers services being offered. Just 69% of those questioned were satisfied with their institution’s careers services, while just over half (55%) of BA students expressed satisfaction with the business training they received.
Many of those surveyed said that fashion schools need to offer more diverse, advanced programmes. Speaking out, Polimoda Director of Strategy and Vision Linda Loppa said: “For fashion education to truly modernise, it has to break down the barriers between creative and commerciality.” But there was some improvement in the business courses and technology at top fashion schools, compared to last year’s study, with some institutions actively moving to innovate their educational systems.
For instance, New York’s Parsons The New School of Design has made its curriculum more flexible, offering electives such as media and business to provide a more well-rounded educational experience. BoF argued that the fashion education industry requires more far-reaching change, with student polled admitted that these is a lot more for these institutions to do, to meet their expectations.
Choosing top schools
BoF’s study is designed to help you and other aspiring fashion industry professionals choose the right school for year. The latest survey indicates that you can earn a top fashion education at a number of institutions throughout the UK, such as CSM and Kingston University. At these schools, you can gain the theoretical knowledge and practical skills required to embark on a career as a costume designer.
About Helen Beaumont
Helen Beaumont’s career started at Camberwell College of Art, where she studied the History of Art and Design, specialising in costume during her final year. After completing study, Helen became a costume buyer for theatre and opera. She has since become a professional costume designer, with a keen interest in period clothing. Throughout her career, Helen has created authentic costumes for prestigious companies such as the Universal Studios, Disney, BBC, Tiger Aspect and the Young Vic Theatre.