Lizanne Dooner is a recent graduate of the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) in Los Angeles, CA where she studied Visual Communications to earn an Associate’s Degree. She also has a Bachelor’s Degree in Fashion Merchandising from Saint Catherine’s University In St. Paul, MN. After spending a year exploring L.A., Lizanne moved back to Minnesota to continue her career in Retail. She is currently a Retail Assistant for traveling museum exhibitions stores and also a social media and public relations manager for an intimate apparel line.
Looking at colleges and universities can be stressful. So many options, so many majors. When you narrow it down to an area of study you are truly interested in, the options don’t end there. Interested in Science? There’s Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science, Physics, etc. The list goes on and on.
So you finally chose your area of study: Fashion. Awesome! Now how to narrow it down..
1. Think about your Favorite Hobbies
Do you catch yourself making things with your hands constantly? Are you pinning new DIY projects for your old T-shirts, recreating an old pair of shorts, or taking old broken jewelry and turning it into something amazing? Sounds like you would do well as a Design major. Design can be anything from apparel, jewelry, footwear, or textile design. Design majors are not for the faint of heart. Fashion design is exciting, but it is not glamorous all the time. This major takes immense creativity, time management, and dedication. I have seen students spend countless hours designing, drafting, darting, and draping, to only result in one piece. So maybe all of this work isn’t for you. Maybe you enjoy crunching numbers, looking at trends, or creating something visually appealing without actually making the product.
Another option would be Fashion Merchandising, the business but also creative side of fashion. Merchandising majors are great if you aren’t quiet sure what you want to do with your career but know you want to work in fashion. If you have the entrepreneurial spirit, Fashion Merchandising is a great choice. Some successful merchandising students enjoy reading the top trend fashion magazines, or simple window shopping because the store window display alone brings them joy. They also have a knack for being a natural organizer or leader.
These two majors are the most common seen in Colleges and Universities that offer a fashion degree. However, there are plenty more areas of study in fashion.
2. Explore Career Options/Goals:
Once you’ve reflected on what you enjoy to do or what you are good at, think of the big picture. What do you hope to do with this degree? If you want to be the next Diane Von Furst-enburg or Michael Kors, apparel design is right for you. Maybe even coming near a sewing ma-chine disinterests you, but you hope to one day own your own boutique. Then Fashion Mer-chandising would be right for you. I can’t stress this enough for students to explore career options before choosing a major. Some majors can be misleading and others can be excitingly surprising. If you have a career goal or idea in mind, definitely take that into consideration when choosing a major. In the end it also helps you realize if that career is suitable for you or not.
3. Research Curriculum for EACH Major:
When you have narrowed it down to a few majors that seem interesting to you, make sure to research the curriculum for that assigns majored. This was a mistake I made when I dove into a Visual Communications major without taking a peek at the curriculum. I ended up having to take sketching and drafting classes. I like to do most of my work on a computer, NOT with a pencil. These classes were not my cup of tea, and after comparing other classes that went with other majors, I realized I chose the wrong major. There is always that option to change majors. That is the beauty of college. You are free to make your own choices. However, some students are time sensitive about graduating in a specific time limit. College is a time to learn more about yourself and your dislikes and likes in the classroom and beyond.
4. Debate if you could do a Double Major:
So you’ve complete steps one through three but have you come to a conclusion yet? Most students find things they like about each different fashion major and that is totally normal. Once you’ve looked at a few colleges or universities and narrowed it down, research a little more and ask if it’s an option to double major. Some colleges allow you to double major in Design AND Merchandising. I would suggest really researching the workload and talk to an advisor on how long it would actually take to graduate. While the workload is a lot, the skills you learn will help you succeed in other classes, jobs, projects, internships, etc., too.
In the end, choosing the “right” fashion major may not happen right away and that is totally nor-mal. The steps above are just guidelines that may help you narrow it down when you decided to enter this fun and exciting area of study.