The School for Cool

The Condé Nast College of Fashion & Design will soon be opening its doors to students: what is the value of a ‘fashionable’ education?

Education, education, education. Before I overly embrace my inner Blair, he did raise a valid point regarding just how important it is. From the tumble tots years, then comes the pleasure pain experience of school, only then to further delay the real world at university, with a cherry on top in a MA for some. All of these substantial chunks of education influence us in more ways than just what we are taught. Who we marry, eventual salary bracketing, and the location that we call home are all mapped out in the class-room.

With last week’s announcement by magazine publisher, Condé Nast, that the Condé Nast College of Fashion & Design will soon be opening its doors to students, it made me consider the value of a ‘fashionable’ education. Condé Nast are the publishing name behind some of the greatest magazines the world will ever know. Vogue, GQ, Tatler and Glamour are amongst their magazine beacons. There is no doubt that this publishing house would be any fashion loving boy or girl’s dream to work for. This is why when hearing about the company’s plan to create educational programmes, I was so intrigued. What qualifications will be on offer? What are the entry requirements for each course? What career prospects can one expect after attending the college?
The Condé Nast College of Fashion & Design’s principal, Susie Forbes, former Easy Living Editor, has commented that: “Condé Nast is perfectly placed to enter the world of education.”

The college is due to commence teaching in the educational calendar starting month of September of this year. Curriculums will cover the history of each discipline, offering students a year-long Vogue fashion foundation course, 10-week intensive fashion courses, plus modules on the fashion year, print and digital journalism, luxury brand marketing and business-related skills.

To translate this over to those who are not keyed up on what this appears to mean, it would be from an academic perspective as if respected magazines such as The Economist, Financial Times or National Geographic suddenly opened a college. Your eventual aim of securing a job in one of these publications still stays strong, but now there is a slight debate: should you go to a top university which offers excellent teaching in your field, then after go through internship slavery, or would being taught at the magazine of your dreams give you a better chance at achieving a job?

For example, you go to Oxford or York to study History of Art, but your competition has on their CV ‘Condé Nast’ Fashion History: do the skills they possess triumph over yours in an application to work for Vogue? This will worry many out there who desire a career in this industry. Fashion already has its Oxford (Central Saint Martins), Cambridge (a debate between The London College of Fashion, Brighton or Kingston) and its overseas rival including Harvard (Parsons). Is there room for this new Vogue school? Does it slot into these heavy-weight fashion educational facilities in matching their elite standards? It will be interesting to see the star names of the future that are produced from The Condé Nast College of Fashion & Design.