September 20, 2021
The best fashion short courses for UK startups
By: Peter Gregory
Looking to break into a new sector of the fashion industry? Brushing up on your skills before you release your next clothing line? Whatever your budget or time constraints, there’s a great short course out there for you!
We’ve spent hours talking to our customers about the skills and knowledge they wish they had had at the start of their journey. We have researched the UK’s best fashion short courses, and come up with a shortlist of 7 unmissable learning opportunities that can help you grow your clothing startup.
Whether you’re trying to train a new member of staff, refresh your own memory or learn more about this fantastic industry, you’ll find some great ideas below!
We spent hours researching all of the short courses on offer to fashion students here in the UK.
For our shortlist of courses, we asked our clothing & fashion customers about the kinds of training that they feel is lacking in their own business. As soon as we learned what they wished they knew in the early days, we then went out and specifically looked for courses that can help solve those problems.
Our shortlist includes 7 UK-based courses that we feel are affordable and achievable part-time. Most of these courses can be completed online, and they all have a very tight focus on one specific part of the industry. If you’re trying to break into luxury, build your own ecommerce store or take better photographs, these courses can help!
1: Starting An Online Fashion Retail Business
University of the Arts London
If you’re new to selling fashion online, then this UAL short course is hard to beat! With a price point under £500, this online course lasts 6 weeks (part time) and covers everything from competitive analysis to online store design & development. If you’re about to launch a website, this gives you everything you need to know. Take a look at the course web page on the UAL website to see a full list of the times and days that this course runs on.
2. Fashion Styling & Image Making
Business of Fashion
If you struggle to style your own models for photo shoots, then this course run by the Business of Fashion is exactly what you’re looking for! Taught by the talented stylist (…and British Elle and British Vogue editor) Lucinda Chambers, this course is a supportive video tutorial that introduces everything you need to know about organising shoots, developing concepts and using colour, shape and texture to your advantage.
3. Marc Jacobs Teaches Fashion Design
Sometimes all you really need is a shot of inspiration! Masterclass.com offers courses from lots of big names in fashion (including Anna Wintour and Diane Von Furstenberg), but the Marc Jacobs masterclass really gets the creative juices flowing. You’ll get first-hand direction from one of fashion’s leading lights as he walks you through every aspect of fashion design, from creative risk-taking to the technical properties of different fabrics.
4. Introduction to Circular Fashion Design
Birmingham City University
We all know that sustainability is a massive issue in our industry. But how many of us really know how to design and sell clothes in a truly environmentally-friendly way? Circular Fashion Design is all about coming up with new looks and new products without compromising on your carbon footprint. Birmingham City University’s short course on Circular Fashion Design provides the perfect introduction to this revolutionary concept. You’ll learn the core information you need to run a truly sustainable apparel business.
5. Contemporary Issues In Global Luxury
British School of Fashion
The luxury market is a tough nut to crack, but if you can establish yourself in this sector, the rewards can be well worth it. This course from the British School of Fashion is a brilliant course on luxury, taught one evening a week in Spitalfields, London. This course isn’t available online, so it was put on hold due to the COVID pandemic, but it should be back up and running again soon. If you’re interested in moving your business into the luxury sector, sign up to their waiting list!
6. Digital Fashion Media
Conde Nast College
If most of your sales are coming from online sources (either through your own site or larger ecommerce stores), then this course in Digital Fashion Media will be perfect for you. Conde Nast’s Digital Fashion Media short course takes just three weeks to complete and covers everything from content creation to digital storytelling and the role of influencers. It will help you up your game online and push your brand to new heights, without compromising your existing online income.
7. Certificate in Fashion Design (Home Study)
British Academy of Fashion Design
The British Academy of Fashion Design’s certificate programme offers a great foundation for newcomers to the clothing industry. If you’ve already started your small business but you still feel like a bit of an amateur, this course will round out your knowledge and give you the confidence you need to grow your business. The course lasts approximately three months and covers everything from draping to swatch books and the properties of different fabrics. It also gives you the chance to earn an accredited certificate which can count towards further study.
Fashion is a creative, instinctive sort of industry, so a lot of people are skeptical about doing a short course. In our experience, there are some very good reasons for attending a short course, whatever your level of experience.
These courses will teach you what you need to know, but it’s important to recognise that knowing is half the battle. We need to implement what we have learned, too. Whatever course you choose to go for, make sure you allocate enough time to actually test out some of the theories you’ll learn in your business. Learn some new skills, then practise those skills until they’re second-nature. That’s the best way to get a return on your investment in a short course!
Thanks for reading!