The Condé Nast College of Fashion and Design: the future of fashion education?

Posted by: on Jul 18, 2012 | No Comments

Established in 1909, Condé Nast begun its journey to the top of the media hierarchy by conquering the world of magazine publishing. Today, Condé Nast is one of the most prominent publishers and celebrated brands in the entire media industry. Focusing on the life and style sector, the media giant has acquired an exclusive set of clientele including Vogue, Vanity Fair, GQ and Glamour. Utilising its success as an international brand, the company has now set its sights on total fashion world domination by opening the first ever Condé Nast College of Fashion and Design in London. Nicholas Coleridge, the managing UK Director of Condé Nast, suggested that the company’s prestigious reputation “puts us in a strong position to teach and inspire the fashion and decorating talent of the future.” The college’s ethos promises to offer students a better understanding of the inner workings of the fashion industry, preparing them for a “myriad of creative careers.”

Condé Nast has announced that Susie Forbes, the former editor of Easy Living magazine, will be overseeing this exciting new venture as the principal of the college. Forbes’ opening letter in the college prospectus discusses the difficulties students face while trying to break into a notoriously competitive industry. Forbes suggests the college aims to equip students with the right skills: both practical and creative, allowing them to flourish in any sector: “Our alumni will leave the college with not only a vastly improved understanding of how the fashion industry works but also a significantly more informed idea about which part of the business they might like to work in, and a greatly improved chance of attaining that goal.” Of course, entering the education sector presents the corporation with a new set of challenges, posing some important questions: how will the courses be taught? And most importantly, who will be educating the next generation of fashionistas?


The Courses

Initially, the college is offering students two new courses; a ten week Vogue Fashion Certificate course, commencing in January 2013, and a yearlong Vogue Fashion Diploma course, which will begin in October 2013. Alternatively, the college will offer a series of short courses which will run on evenings and at weekends, aimed at those thinking about returning to study or for those who have an interest in fashion. Condé Nast has also expressed interest in developing a range of Masters courses, such as Fashion Photography, in the near future.

So what exactly will each course offer their students?

Vogue Fashion Certificate – 10 week course:

This course will run for the duration of the standard Academic year, and due to its relatively short length, it will be an intensive period of study aimed at preparing students for further higher education or for employment in fashion. The course will have a selection of taught modules, alongside individual study, which will allow students to develop both their research skills and their ability to create innovative portfolios of their work. As the course is short, it will be full-time, and students will be expected to attend around fifteen hours of lectures and seminars a week. There will also be a “busy schedule of industry, museum and gallery visits”, along with personal study periods in which students will work on their essays and projects.

The following subjects are examples of what the college intends to teach the first class of 2013:

The international fashion calendar

  • Key fashion designers: their style & impact
  • The language of fashion
  • Fashion journalism – print and digital
  • PR and marketing
  • Styling and art direction
  • The beauty and hair industries
  • Brand marketing – luxury to high street
  • Retail – from the atelier to online
  • Fashion business – how it all works

Vogue Fashion Foundation Diploma – 1 year:

For those interested in developing a better understanding of the industry over a longer period of time, the college offers a one year course aimed at students from a “wide range of backgrounds” who hope to work in fashion. Divided into three semesters, the course curriculum focuses on various elements of fashion, with students studying subjects such as print and digital media, photography, styling and  learning about high-street and luxury brands. A final creative project, drawing on what the students have learned throughout the year, will bring their studying to a close. Condé Nast proudly state that they are preparing students for the “complicated jigsaw puzzle” that is the fashion industry.


The Teachers

Using their flowing list network of valuable connections, Condé Nast has secured an elite selection of lecturers and tutors for the college, who are all experts in their respective field. Well known fashion designers, editors, journalists, stylists, photographers, creative directors, CEOs and PR directors of luxury goods form part of the college’s exclusive faculty.

Costs and Fees

Interested in applying for one of the most glamorous qualifications available? As university fees have just been raised, students are more inclined to weighing up the pros and cons of further education. The Condé Nast College of Fashion and Design seems to be establishing itself as an institution for the elite; this is reflected in the price of each course. If one wanted to take the ten week Vogue Fashion Certificate course, it would cost £6,600 (excluding VAT), whereas, the Vogue Fashion Foundation Diploma course would cost £19,560 (excluding VAT) for the year. While Condé Nast is beginning to revolutionise the nature of fashion education, a very select portion of students will be able to afford the course fees, which do not account for the extra expenses faced by those who may have to move to London.

So what does the future hold?

The future for students attending The Condé Nast College of Fashion and Design appears to be promising. They will gain a network of highly coveted contacts, which will most likely improve their chances of gaining employment in the fashion industry.  Great news for those lucky enough to be accepted into the college, however, this presents a problem for the average student, such as myself, who will now have to compete with a new set of elite fashionistas! We may well see the next set of leaders in the fashion world being cultivated within this institution, but only time will tell.

Simran Bhogal