NEW YORK — Millennials seeking a career in fashion now have the option of an online education program developed by Teen Vogue and The New School’s Parsons School of Design.
In what is believed to be the first partnership of its kind, the Certificate in Fashion Industry Essentials program begins Sept. 15. Meant to be résumé-enriching for 13- to 35-year-olds, the semester-long, $600 program will consist of five courses — Visual Style, Design, Production, Media and Marketing. The first installment will be capped at 100 students, but subsequent monthly start dates may be added to accommodate the thousands (especially among people in their 20s) that Parsons expects to apply.
Each class is designed to help students define their career paths, better understand how the industry actually works and create a personal career brand and network. Along with the required reading, Parsons-led video lessons and assignments, online students will get real-life advice from Teen Vogue editor-in-chief Amy Astley; designer Rebecca Minkoff; Parsons’ Francesca Sammaritano, a former fashion designer for Calvin Klein and others. In total, there will be 42 hours of online instruction and self-study, including more than 70 on-demand video lessons, of which at least 75 percent must be completed by students. Each assignment is geared toward developing a portfolio, according to associate provost and Parsons faculty member Cynthia Lawson.
“The demand for information about fashion careers is just kind of ceaseless, unending,” said Astley, who has continually been “besieged by young people — high school, college and post-college — asking for advice about fashion careers. …It’s not like when you go to law school or medical school where the path is very clear. People are confused. They’re intrigued by fashion but it’s mysterious even now post-‘Project Runway’ and post-Internet.
“There’s no one I meet with who I don’t emphasize technical and digital skills — whether you want to be a designer or a writer. I find myself giving the STEM speech to a lot of young women [as in science, technology, engineering and mathematics]. I’m very practical about what the opportunities out there are,” she said.
Through Teen Vogue Fashion University and the Teen Vogue Handbook, the magazine has initiated more informal education in the past. With a social media following of 11.5 million people across 13 platforms, Teen Vogue has significant opportunity to get the word out, Astley said. Parsons will also be working toward a global reach, as the school is eager to see which regions generate the most interest, Lawson said.
Andy Atzert, vice president for distributed and global education of The New School, said: “As the next generation of designers and artists continue to express an interest in the world of fashion, it is important for Parsons to offer new opportunities and gateways to access this world.”