Career Trends: O.C. Fashion Programs Fueling Regional Industry Programs

October 18, 2018

What do runway models and the fashion industry itself have in common?

They’re always changing.

Technology may shed its skin quickly, but with trends evolving on a literal daily basis, fashion moves even faster. And missing the mark on a cultural trend isn’t like launching a piece of dud hardware or a buggy version of a program. When it comes to fashion design and branding, there are no “Version 2.0 hotfixes.”

“Market trends are constantly changing and being timely is critical to success,” says Lindsay Fox, Fashion Department Chair at Saddleback College. “Saddleback Fashion is very lucky to be located in Southern California where fashion, particularly [the] action sports industry, is very important.”

Saddleback is just one of several Orange County community colleges feeding the critical need for Fashion industry professionals in the Greater Los Angeles-Orange County region. Also fueling the Southern California workforce in this evolving industry are Santa Ana College, Orange Coast College, and Fullerton College, which earned a Bronze Star from the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office’s Strong Workforce program.

A diverse and versatile field, encompassing aspects of design, business, technology, and hands-on skill, Fashion attracts a wide range of personality “types.”

“Fashion is unique in that it is a very diverse field with many different types of related careers that suit different personality types,” says Saddleback College Fashion Instructor Diane McGroarty. “There is something for everyone.”

Varying from the “technical and analytical” to the abstract and expressionistic, programs in this department are as unique and versatile as the students that gravitate towards them. Orange County community colleges offer degrees and certificates in Fashion Design, Merchandising, Journalism, and even Product Development. These programs combine industry philosophy with cutting-edge technical theory to set a broad foundation for future employment in fashion-centric careers like Apparel Maker, Technical Designer, Costume Designer, Fashion Journalist, Brand Manager and more.

“Fashion is a very diverse filed that attracts many different types of people with different skill sets,” says Fox. “You can be male or female, creative or analytical, conservative or edgy, quiet or outgoing, hands-on or more cerebral… and you can find a career area that matches your personality and skill set.”

Fashion Design & Merchandising students in Orange County benefit from the proximity to one of the world’s premier fashion hubs. Aside from maintaining college-to-career pipelines in the Los Angeles/Orange County region, local Career Education programs have entered mutually beneficial partnerships with high-visibility brands and labels.

For example, Saddleback College currently works with companies like Stance, Hurley, Anthropologie, Element, Asics, Volcom, Oakley, and many more, to organize internships, site visits, guest speakers and collaborative workshops. Meanwhile, Fullerton College maintains its own long list of industry partners, including such contemporary brands as Roxy/Quicksilver, OBEY Clothing and Kandy Kiss.

“Industry support and input is very critical to CTE in general, but especially fashion where market trends are constantly changing,” says Fox.

With a wide variety of degree and certificate options available, Orange County’s community college grads are fueling all aspects of this FutureBUILT industry. Learn more about local Fashion Design & Merchandising career education programs by visiting the college pages linked below.

Fashion & Merchandising: Local Degrees and Certificate Programs

Fullerton College

  • AA — Fashion Journalism
  • AA – Fashion Merchandising
  • AA – Textiles and Clothing
  • AA – Fashion Design
  • Certificate – Fashion Design
  • Certificate – Fashion Merchandising
  • Certificate – Dressmaking/Alterations
  • Certificate – Advanced Fashion Design
  • Certificate – Fashion Illustration
  • Certificate – Image Consultant
  • Certificate – Patternmaker
  • Certificate – Product Development for Apparel Industries

Orange Coast College

  • Certificate – Fashion Design
  • Certificate – Fashion Merchandising
  • Certificate – Apparel Construction
  • Certificate – Display and Visual Merchandising
  • Certificate – Industrial Sewing
  • Certificate – Production/Product Development

Saddleback College

  • Certificate – Fashion Design
  • Certificate – Advanced Fashion Design and Apparel Manufacturing
  • Certificate – Fashion Merchandising
  • Certificate – Visual Fashion Merchandising
  • Occupational Skill Award – Accessory Design
  • Occupational Skill Award – Basic Costume Construction & Sourcing
  • Occupational Skill Award – Event Planner
  • Occupational Skill Award – Fashion Stylist
  • Occupational Skill Award – Accessory Design
  • Occupational Skill Award – Fashion Technology
  • Occupational Skill Award – Sustainable Fashion & Social Entrepreneurship

Santa Ana College

  • AA – Fashion Design
  • AA – Fashion Merchandising
  • AA – Apparel Production Development and Technical Design
  • Certificate – Fashion Design
  • Certificate – Fashion Merchandising
  • Certificate – Apparel Production Development and Technical Design
  • Certificate – Costume Design
  • Certificate – Dressmaking and Alterations
  • Certificate – Fashion Assistant
  • Certificate – Quinceanera Dress Design
  • Certificate – Screen Printing and Embroidery
  • Certificate – Swimwear Design
  • Certificate – Visual Merchandising