There is a saying:
The first generation makes the money, the second generation spends it, and the third generation studies History of Art.
History of Art (also known as Art History) is considered something of a niche degree in Britain and for too long has been considered a pastime for the wealthy and privileged. This stereotype is unfair and dated!
You may have noticed when stalking your fashion idols or your fellow fashion office colleagues that a degree in History of Art is the common denominator on their Linkedin profiles. So, is this creative arts degree a perfect, academic route to the fashion industry?
With Anna Dello Russo having studied the degree it’s hard to deny it can’t lead to success. The current editor-at-large for Vogue Japan and one of the most recognisable fashion personalities due to her daring street styles ensembles, Anna Dello Russo completed her Art History and Italian Literature degree at the University of Bari. Also, ex-Vogue employee and founder of Glossier, Emily Weiss, also studied Art History. Noticing the pattern yet?
What exactly is a History of Art Degree?
Art History involves analysing and writing about art and architecture from classical to contemporary eras, looking at key themes and art movements, techniques and material. The degree is offered at 30 academic institutions in the UK. The Courtauld Institute of Art is the first ranked course in the league tables (obviously!). And is closely followed by Cambridge University.
History of art is also starting to gain greater prestige abroad, especially in North America.
Fashion idol and current Market Editor at Harper’s Bazaar, Joanna Hilman, completed her degree in the History of Art at University of Western Ontario located in rural Canada. All before she began searching the globe for the latest trends and must-have items.
The skills you learn while studying the course are similar to those learnt on many art degree’s, such as:
- Strong written and verbal communication skills
- Critical thinking and analytical skills
- Research skills and attention to detail
- The ability to interpret and assess objects of art.
One graduate of the degree, Jerome Hassler, commented “It taught me to be creative, to research thoroughly and to appreciate that many factors can contribute to the final product. These are things I use and value everyday in my job”.
The road to fashion success
For fashion hopefuls who are academically driven, this degree offers the perfect combination of creative, visual and intellectual skills needed to succeed in the fashion industry.
Current Editor-in-Chief of Porter and previous Editor of Harper’s Bazaar in the UK, Lucy Yeomans, studied History of Art at St Andrews University. Lucy Yeomans credits the creative, analytical and written elements of her degree for paving her future career as a fashion writer and later success as an editor.
The skill set is perfect for future fashion journalists!
If you are still unsure whether Art History is the perfect choice for you, it may be a great idea to combine it with a more well-known degree subject.
Adam Shapiro is a PYT favourite and regular source of inspiration, having founded L.52 communications agency. Adam graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Columbia University in New York and lists Art History, Criticism and Conversation and French literature as his fields of study. Quite the daunting combination, imagine trying to keep up with his dinner table conversations!
History of Art is the perfect choice for creative academics who want a slight college focused diversion on their route to becoming a fashion CEO!