Study in Style: How to Design a Fashion Concentration at NYU
Welcome back, everyone! It’s time for a fresh start this fall semester and, accordingly, this is also the time to reevaluate our semester and collegial goals. While this article will be more applicable to Gallatin students as we create our own ‘majors’ or concentrations, these course suggestions are relevant to anyone who is interested in taking fashion-focused classes during his or her time at NYU. Without further ado, here are five tips for creating a fashion-centric concentration at NYU.
1. Take classes that focus on particular fields, rather than the fashion industry as a whole
While one might feel that the only way to study fashion at NYU is to take a course load which is heavily comprised of fashion-themed courses, this is not the case. Keep in mind that most of the fashion industry’s key players never studied fashion at school! They all focused on a skill-set (i.e. marketing, communications, journalism, visual arts, computer science, biotechnology) and applied it to a respective sector within the fashion industry.
Although NYU does not offer a ‘fashion merchandising’ major, it is possible to create a concentration within the Gallatin school similar to what another university would. Let’s face it, most of us choose to attend NYU for its focus on the liberal arts. Just keep that in mind when you’re compiling your future semester's course load!
2. Get as much real work experience as possible
Going to NYU, with its proximity to the headquarters of some of the largest fashion companies and the multitude of alumni connections to prominent fashion industry insiders, gives us the opportunity to intern or gain retail experience within the fashion industry! Yes, of course we all have busy schedules and loads of coursework at all times, but these are integral experiences to have if you are serious about having a career within the fashion industry.
The majority of the skills that are necessary to acquire in order to succeed in certain sectors of the industry, such as fashion public relations or fashion journalism, can only be learned from working alongside industry professionals. Think about it: your supervisors in these environments are the content creators for (and the masterminds behind) the companies that you aspire to work for. Therefore, modeling their systems of task completion and mindsets will make you infinitely more valuable within the fashion industry in comparison to the college students who didn’t seek out these opportunities. Additionally, nowadays, almost every company requires their new hires to have had internship experience. Use these tips to get the internship of your dreams!
3. Take the fashion practicum course
If you want to take a class that truly gives you an immersive and comprehensive overview of the fashion industry, you must take this class! During my time at NYU thus far, I have found this class to be the most relevant to both my academic and career interests. Each semester, a Gallatin professor specializing in fashion-related studies and a visiting professor, a top industry insider, co-teach this course. It touches upon all aspects of a vertically-integrated fashion business—from design and merchandising, to retail math. Additionally, as a member of this class you will gain first-hand insights from other top industry professionals on field trips to the headquarters of prominent fashion companies. When I took this course last semester, we had the opportunity to converse with the CEO of Gap Inc. and the president of the global brand, Aerie. These were unparalleled experiences.
It is important to note that one needs to send in an application (a resume and an essay) to be approved to enroll in this class. A good reason to follow those aforementioned tips!
4. Take advantage of the available MCC classes
In addition to creating your own fashion concentration in the Gallatin school or focusing on luxury marketing in Stern, taking some courses that are encompassed within the MCC (Media, Culture, and Communication) program at Steinhardt is a great way for one to acquire the media skills essential for working in the fashion industry. Many of the classes directly relate to the fashion industry, such as the course Fashion and Power, while others focus on broader topics relevant to the fashion industry, such as Innovations in Marketing: Brand Strategy or Consumption, Culture, and Identity.
It is important to note that MCC majors have priority enrollment. If you’re not in the MCC program, you must wait two weeks to register for these classes. From my experience as a Gallatin student, there are a plethora of options left during the non-MCC class registration time.
5. Throughout your time at NYU, figure out which sector of the fashion industry you would like to pursue a career in – the options are endless!
Remember, while finding the career path you want to pursue as early as possible might be ideal, we are all still figuring it out. This is college, after all! Life, especially during our college years, is a learning process. We are bound to modify or switch our career paths over our four years at NYU. This journey will allow you to not only figure out what you want to do career-wise, but also to determine which career paths are not right for you.
I hope you have gained more insight into creating a fashion-focused curriculum or more knowledge about the fashion-related courses offered at NYU.
Good luck with this semester, everyone!
Written by: Elisa Lewittes