On Teaching Fashion: the competition of the final shows.


The final presentation of students’ work comes in many formats, static department exhibitions, fashion catwalks, students’ own portfolio and also, less exciting to some- but equally important: the end of year standardisation to the qualification verifiers. I spend many sessions individually with students preparing portfolios, CV’s and statements- but this can only go so far and I think it is crucial for the individual to be able to promote themselves. 


Currently I am working with students pre university who are just leaving to progress onto competitive degree courses. Recently I read an article in Vogue about what the two, at the time, mayor candidates would do for the Fashion industry in London- and quite interestingly they were questioned about the oversubscription of the prestigious fashion educational institutions. In 2014, the number of Creative arts course applications totalled 244,620. which included Fashion based courses. This, in an article by the Telegraph, was the third most popular subject area to apply for on UCAS that year.


How can you ensure students ‘beat the competition‘ and gain their dream places? Even when some students are not very strong at promoting themselves.

We all know education is a business, whatever subject you may have decided to study. More so the competition is not just for the students vying for a place on a course, but for the institutions to have the crème de la crème of learners on their courses to produce the most creative outcomes and increase standards for them to promote at events such as Graduate Fashion Week and their own degree shows.  Competition for students is fiercer as individuals come from all over the world to apply for the top universities and contribute a wonderful wealth of creativity. It was brilliant to read, after the recent controversial news, the ‘LCF loves EU’ articles on the web and social media about how important this is.


As standards and competition are pushed up in Higher Education, equally the quality levels in Further Education are following suit. Including work experience for all learners, vocational experiences, minor subject options as enrichments and live projects with industry colleagues for the students to work on. I think the core ethos of giving the students the extra strand to their experience to discuss and talk about at interviews is so essential. When I interview students, their course and qualifications are provided for me, I am more interested in what else they have to tell me? What else can they bring to the table?  I have had a far more interesting conversation with the student telling me about going on a Netball tour of Barbados, rather than hearing slightly sketchy knowledge of recent high street trends.


Final shows and presentations to finish a course are a celebration but also a method of promotion for the course and the student. Fundamentally, as I tell my students, with all the competition ahead of them for further study and then for employment they need to be able to promote themselves to the highest degree.

Related Articles

Leave a Comment

Monthly Archive


Available now: Punk Style by Worn Through founder, Monica Sklar, PhD. Find it at : Amazon.com, Powell's Books, or a bookseller near you.