Teaching students about clothing and accessory design techniques, marketing skills, and the history of the business puts you in a hands-on, participatory realm. No matter where you’re working—a high school, college, university, or design school— never underestimate your abilities as a significant faculty member.
You may have to publish treatises or pass periodic oral examinations to be given tenure, which protects professors from being fired without just cause and due process. Usually, however, your expertise is expressed by the quality of fashion associations to which you belong, the latest collection you’ve just unveiled, or the number of fashion shows you organize.
In the fashion field, most faculty members are hired as instructors or part-time assistant professors. They typically hold a master’s degree or doctorate in fine arts or textiles for employment at four-year institutions.
A bachelor’s degree plus experience in the field is generally sufficient for teaching in a two-year design college, although a master’s degree is preferred. Technology is changing the face of this segment of the fashion industry.
More and more schools are dependent upon computerized sewing machines and pattern cutters, as well as electronic grading systems. To prepare your students for the marketplace, you will need to become adept at using the latest technology.
Because fashion education centers offer courses from fabric design to drawing and merchandising, you want to find an area where you excel. Then get experience in that particular sector, supplement your education with community activities or fashion seminars, and start a portfolio of your best work.
Hone your oral and written communication skills and get accustomed to establishing rapport with your students. Finally, be prepared to work in an environment where you receive little direct supervision.