The fashion accessory sector is an enormous market, as the public constantly looks for new and innovative pieces and styles to complement their casual, work, or evening wear. If you love fashion and handcrafting, and have a good eye for aesthetics and fashion trends, accessory design may be the perfect career for you. Accessory design schools give graduates a host of career and work opportunities in the fashion industry. Primary areas of study include, jewelry, shoes, handbags, luggage, scarves, gloves, belts, eye-wear, and hats.


Accessory design schools cover all aspects of design conceptualization, technical construction, aesthetics and materials, and the business skills to produce industry standard accessory lines. Acquiring the necessary skills in to become an accessory designer can be achieved through different types of educational establishments – art institutes; community colleges; technical colleges and trade schools; and universities. Depending on where you study, you can earn a variety of qualitative degrees, including:


• Bachelor of Fashion Accessories

• Bachelor of Arts in Jewelry and Accessories

• Associate Degree in Accessories Design

• Certificate Program in Accessory Design and Technology

• Fashion Accessory Design Certificate

• Diploma in Accessory Design


Areas of study at accessory design schools cover a wide spectrum of topics to build the student’s knowledge base. Accessory design and development focuses on design methodologies and tools. Fashion drawing and design includes sketching and technical drawing. Students will also study fashion history, as well as current fashion trends. There are a number of technical aspects to study including CAD (Computer Aided Design); sewing technology, machinery, decorative techniques, and pattern-making; and model-making and concept presentation.


Any of a number of reputable accessory design schools should also help their students to develop a professional line of accessories to suit industry standards, as well as to produce portfolios and exhibitions. Fashion marketing and advertising are essential areas to learn brand development, promotion, online marketing and selling, social media, and building industry connections. Part of your evaluation of a suitable study program should include examining the career, job, and business opportunities that the school builds into the coursework and the effectiveness of placement assistance upon course graduation.


Can you get real-world experience through internships or trainee entry positions at foremost accessory businesses? Does the coursework include opportunity to work with industry sponsors on projects and/ or competitions? At a minimum, the course should include practical exercises to visit showrooms, designer studios and workshops, and industry production facilities. Additionally, many accessory design schools offer overseas study exchange programs in fashion cities like Paris, London, Milan or New York.


Post-grad job opportunities include, but are certainly not limited to:

• Design Assistant – jewelry, shoes, handbags etc.

• Freelance Accessory Designer

• Fashion stylist

• Retail Merchandiser

• Product-Line Builder

• Lead Pattern-Makers

• Associate Staff Accessory Designer

• Accessory Designs Director


Additionally, many graduates of accessory design schools become business entrepreneurs. Many a designer has started their own accessory lines from their home-craft offices. With low start-up costs and ready access to online sales fronts and auction sites, this can be a very successful business venture.

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