Fashion designers create clothing ideas and then translate those ideas into their physical equivalents. Many high school students dream of going into this profession, and, fortunately for them, lots of opportunities exist that will help them hone their skills. While some aspiring fashionistas go on to study design at the university level, there's no reason to wait until college to get started.
Math, English and History
All high schools require that students take math, English and history courses. While these may not represent the aspiring fashion designer's favorite courses, doing well in them increases the chances that you will get into your college of choice. Additionally, an understanding of math basics will help you when you need measurements for designs, a good command of English helps you communicate ideas better, and history and literature give you a source of inspiration for your designs.
Art and Design
While the fashion designers of the future will certainly use computers, they'll also rely on having traditional art skills to do their jobs. Fortunately, for the student designer, many high schools offer classes in art, color theory and art history. Later on, these would-be designers will use the skills they've learned to make fashion sketches and drawings. Additional classes in art history allow them to observe the kinds of clothing that people have worn throughout the centuries and to build upon that knowledge when they start designing their own clothes. Finally, students who take home economics classes learn about designing patterns and sewing -- skills that a designer uses every day.
Students who participate in school activities such as plays, business clubs or the school newspaper give themselves some practical skills that a designer needs. The school play gives them the opportunity to design and sew costumes. Business clubs allow students to apply business concepts first-hand and help these students communicate in a business-like manner as they work with professional colleagues. Students can also further their communication skills as well as their fashion awareness by writing about fashion for their school newspaper.
Real World Experience
Sometimes the best way to learn is on the job. An aspiring designer who can get a job at a local retail store will learn a great deal about fashion merchandising, current styles and future trends. This type of experience also gives you the opportunity to practice some of the principles you have learned in a high school business or marketing class in a real world setting.