What High School Classes Will Prepare Me for a Career in Fashion?

High School students taking art course

If you’re in high school and you already know that you want a career in fashion, congratulations! Getting started early can make it significantly easier to get a job in the fashion industry. For example, you can decide on a college major and apply for internships that will propel you towards your desired fashion career instead of having to backtrack after having worked in a different industry for a few years. And starting to follow fashion trends now can only help you later as you start working a job that requires extensive knowledge of past and future styles. But knowing what career you want to go into now, while you’re still in high school, might feel frustrating too; you might feel impatient to get started and pursue your dream. But consider this: many of the classes offered in high school can do a lot to prepare you for a career in the fashion industry. Here’s a list of six classes that, if you take them seriously in high school, can give you a head start on your fashion career.

  1. Business: If your high school offers a business class, take it! The world of fashion is so much more than just clothing design; if you work in the business side of fashion, you’ll be in charge of making sure designs are produced large-scale and marketed to customers effectively. High school business classes will teach you about supply and demand, the makings of a good marketing campaign, whether it be social media, print, or film, business principles and terminology, and finance management. Keep in mind that even if you decide to pursue a career in the creative side of fashion, you’ll likely have some connection to the business/marketing side of fashion.
  2. Marketing: High school marketing classes, while not offered at every school, are a great way to start preparing for a career in fashion. In a high school marketing class you’ll learn advertising and marketing principles, how to market to different sets of consumers, and how to set up and execute an effective marketing campaign. Being comfortable with each of these topics and knowing how to make companies and products attractive to consumers will make you extremely valuable in whatever subset of the fashion industry in which you work.
  3. Art History: Even if your art history class doesn’t include much about the history of fashion (though if it does, awesome!), by observing the evolution of other types of art you’ll be able to get a sense of different style trends. Trend analysis is a big part of the fashion industry, and seeing how art has changed over the years can help get you in the mindset for analyzing former and future fashion trends. Not to mention that because art and fashion are influenced by the same cultural, political, and environmental factors, there will probably be some overlap in what’s popular in art and fashion.
  4. Studio Art: Having a good eye for color and design is important for anyone in the fashion industry--not just the designers. By taking a studio art class you’ll learn different design techniques and how to recognize when a design or pattern needs edits. That will transfer well to when you’re designing, buying, marketing, or writing about fashion in the future.
  5. Photography: For much the same reasons as why studio art can help your fashion career, taking a high school photography class can be good not only if you plan on being a fashion photographer, but also if you want to be a designer, marketer, stylist or journalist in the fashion industry. Being able to style a photo shoot, recognize what makes a good picture, and edit photos will allow you to have a hand in many different parts of the fashion industry. Good photography can be the center of a marketing campaign or magazine spread, and it can make or break how a design is perceived by others.
  6. English: So much of the fashion industry is based on collaboration and communication. Designers communicate their ideas to marketers and merchandisers, marketers communicate the brand to customers, and journalists communicate news and updates to consumers, just to name a few. High school English classes are full of exercises to help you improve your written and spoken communication skills. Being able to articulately present an idea in speech or writing can help you establish designs and communicate clearly to customers and other fashion professionals.

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