Studying fashion design is a very expensive business! So I’ve put together a few money saving tips for anyone already studying fashion design, or any of you who are planning on studying fashion design in the future!
#1 – Set yourself a budget
At the beginning of every academic year, or at the beginning of every project, set yourself a budget for how much you are willing to spend on fabrics, art supplies and anything else you may need for the time period. This ensures that you are keeping an eye on how much your spending, and stops you from getting carried away!
When you buy anything related to your course, keep the receipts as a record for how much you’ve spent and periodically check how your budget is doing throughout the year/term.
Your university will often give a rough idea of how much they expect you’ll spend in the first, second and third year – so look to these as a guideline when setting yourself your own budget.
#2 – Check with your tutor before splashing the cash!
Before you head out to buy your fabrics and haberdasheries, check with your tutor that you are buying the right thing for your design and concept. It’s easy to get stuck in the fabric shop not knowing what to buy, which results in you buying everything! Or, going to the fabric shop, buying the fabric you think is right, and then getting back to uni to be told that you bought the wrong fabric/haberdashery for your project.
This is especially important for the first year, as you may not be experienced enough to know the type of fabric you should buy, the kind of zip you should buy and also how many metres of fabric you should buy. It’s always best to check before going shopping!
#3 – Go to student friendly fabric shops
There are a good number of fabric shops out there in London (have a look at my list of fabric and haberdashery shops here), but not all of them are student friendly – price wise. This is particularly true in your first, and even second year, when you are learning the ropes and are sure to make a few mistakes here or there when sewing. My tip is to buy fabrics from cheaper priced stores, such as the ones on Goldhawk Road or Woolcrest Textiles in East London as much as you possibly can.
Of course, some of these shops may not have the quality that you are looking for, but if you look hard enough you can sometimes find some real gems of amazing rolls of fabrics that could work for your project. I think it’s best to leave the more expensive shops for your second and third year when getting high-quality fabrics are a bit more important and when you’re a bit more experienced. You can still visit and get swatches of fabrics from more expensive shops so that you can build your knowledge of fabrics so that you’re ready for your final collection!
#4 – Always ask for student discount!
Being a student is one of the few opportunities you get in life to get discounts! So make sure you ask in every shop if they do student discount or not. A lot of fabric and art stores will offer a student discount of up to 10% so it’s definitely worth enquiring as the savings can add up!
#5 – Keep all your leftover fabrics
Usually, at the end of a project, you’ll be left with a little bit of fabric left over that could be used in the future. Make sure you keep it stored somewhere safe and clean so that in a future project you can look in your own fabric collection to see if there’s something that can be used. This can help you save money for future projects, or can even be used for your own personal projects!