To become a Fashion Designer in South Africa, students should focus on specific subjects from Grade 10 through Grade 12. Here’s a detailed guide on the subjects required, APS score requirements, and additional insights for aspiring fashion designers.

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Grade 10 Subjects Required

In Grade 10, students should choose subjects that build a strong foundation in arts, design, and business. These subjects include:

  • Visual Arts: Essential for developing creative skills, understanding art principles, and honing your ability to sketch and design.
  • Mathematics or Mathematical Literacy: Important for measurements, calculations, and understanding business aspects like budgeting.
  • Consumer Studies: Provides knowledge about textiles, fashion history, and consumer behavior.
  • Business Studies: Useful for understanding the business side of fashion, including marketing, management, and entrepreneurship.
  • Information Technology (IT): Helpful for learning about digital design tools and software used in the fashion industry.


Grade 12 Subjects Required

Continuing with these subjects into Grade 12 is crucial. At this stage, students should aim to excel in the following:

  • Visual Arts: Advanced skills in drawing, design, and understanding artistic concepts.
  • Mathematics or Mathematical Literacy: Further development of mathematical skills for precise measurements and business calculations.
  • Consumer Studies: In-depth knowledge of fabrics, garment construction, and fashion trends.
  • Business Studies: Advanced understanding of business principles, marketing strategies, and entrepreneurial skills.
  • Information Technology (IT): Proficiency in using design software and digital tools for fashion design.

APS Score Requirements

For entry into fashion design programs at universities or fashion schools in South Africa, students typically need to meet certain APS (Admission Point Score) requirements. These can vary by institution, but a general guideline is:

  • Minimum APS of 24-30: This range is usually required for entry into diploma or degree programs in fashion design. Specific requirements may vary by institution.
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Further Education and Training

After completing Grade 12, aspiring fashion designers can pursue further education and training at:

Visual Arts is non-negotiable for anyone serious about becoming a fashion designer, as it is crucial for developing creativity and design skills. Consumer Studies and Business Studies provide valuable insights into the fashion industry and its market dynamics. Mathematics or Mathematical Literacy is essential for precise measurements and financial management. Information Technology skills are becoming increasingly important as fashion design relies heavily on digital tools and software.

Can I Still Become a Fashion Designer in South Africa Without These Subjects?

Can I Still Become a Fashion Designer in South Africa Without These Subjects?

Visual Arts

Visual Arts is essential for fashion designers, providing advanced skills in drawing, design, and understanding artistic concepts. If you didn’t take Visual Arts, you might lack these foundational skills. However, many South African institutions offer courses in fashion design that include training in visual arts. Additionally, online platforms like Skillshare and YouTube offer tutorials to help you develop these skills.

Key Point: Not having a background in Visual Arts can be a disadvantage, but supplementary courses and online resources can help you catch up.

Mathematics or Mathematical Literacy

Mathematics or Mathematical Literacy is crucial for precise measurements and business calculations in fashion design. If you didn’t excel in these subjects, you can still pursue fashion design, but you may need to work harder on your numerical skills. Many design schools and online resources offer courses focused on the mathematical aspects of fashion design.

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Key Point: Lack of advanced Mathematics can be mitigated through targeted learning and practical experience.

Consumer Studies

Consumer Studies provides in-depth knowledge of fabrics, garment construction, and fashion trends, all of which are crucial for a career in fashion design. If you didn’t take this subject, you might find it challenging to understand these aspects of the industry. However, many South African fashion design programs offer comprehensive training in these areas.

Key Point: Consumer Studies is beneficial but not essential, as these skills can be learned through formal education and practical experience.

Business Studies

Business Studies offers an advanced understanding of business principles, marketing strategies, and entrepreneurial skills, which are important for running a successful fashion business. If you lack this background, consider taking business courses at a university or online through platforms like Coursera or Udemy.

Key Point: Business knowledge is crucial for fashion designers who want to run their own business. These skills can be acquired through additional education.

Information Technology (IT)

Information Technology (IT) proficiency, especially in design software and digital tools, is essential for modern fashion designers. If you didn’t take IT, you might struggle with the technical aspects of fashion design. However, there are many resources available to learn these skills, including online courses and software tutorials.

Key Point: IT skills are essential, but you can learn to use design software through online courses and practical experience.

Qualifications for Becoming a Fashion Designer in South Africa

  1. Diploma or Degree in Fashion Design: South African institutions like LISOF, Durban University of Technology, and University of Johannesburg offer comprehensive programs that cover all essential subjects, including design, textiles, and business management.
  2. Short Courses and Certifications: Institutions like Unisa and various private fashion schools offer short courses and certifications in fashion design, which can help you develop specific skills.
  3. Practical Experience: Gaining hands-on experience through internships, volunteer work, and fashion shows is crucial. Many South African fashion schools have strong industry connections that provide opportunities for practical training.
  4. Online Courses and Tutorials: Platforms like Skillshare, Udemy, and YouTube offer tutorials and courses in various aspects of fashion design, from sketching to using design software.
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Notable Fashion Design Courses: