Conde Nast, which publishes more magazines than God (think every edition of Vogue worldwide in addition to Vanity Fair, W, Glamour, Allure, Lucky, GQ, WWD, etc., etc., etc.) has decided to get into the business of educating our impressionable young minds. The publisher is opening up a fashion college in London, Condé Nast College of Fashion & Design, which will be open to 300 students in September 2012 and will offer courses centered around Vogue, interior design, print and digital journalism, and fashion marketing.
I'm not sure whether the college is actually positioning itself as a degree-granting institution: will fashionistas come to the Condé Nast College of Fashion & Design as an alternative to actual college, or as a post-grad career-building intensive? The college does hope to offer Master's degrees in the future, and well, I really can't wait to see the papers that come out of that program.
As weird and creepy as it might be to wrap your head around the media giant's foray into higher education, I think this is a brilliant move. Honestly. Depending on how seriously Conde takes its new college — mainly I'm talking about admissions selectivity, faculty (not that this would ever happen, but could you imagine taking a seminar with Anna Wintour?!!), and job placement — training at the college could produce better candidates for fashion jobs than internships. Even though I wouldn't dare hope that the Conde college might offer awesome scholarship packages, enrolling in a degree program will likely give students opportunities to apply for federal aid and grants and, at the very least, student loans — possibly making the program more accessible than full time, unpaid internships. It's like a trade school for fashion media.
Oh, and one more thing: let's not forget that Conde Nast is suffering, facing weak newsstand sales and pathetic subscription rates. Tuition from three-hundred students a year isn't going to solve the publisher's financial problems, but diversifying their revenue stream and entering a new sector makes solid business sense. There are lots of opportunities for money-making in education: conferences, lecture circuits, publications. Not to mention, a better-trained, more skilled workforce can benefit every business immeasurably, for years and years to come.
I can't believe I wrote that last paragraph. What I meant was: Corporations are evil! KILL THEM!!!