It seems people can get a degree in anything these days… The UK's SOUTHAMPTON Solent University(solent.ac.uk), on the southern coast of the country, is making waves in the world of fashion academia with its new vocational course in styling.

The degree program will give students experience in catwalk production, advertising imagery and film costumes. Commencing this September, it is the first such course dedicated entirely to fashion styling, something that has only in relatively recent years become recognized as a viable career.

"In the last five years the styling industry has grown an incredible amount," says program leader Jennifer Anyan. "Public understanding of the importance of styling and the impact this has on our lives has also increased. Articles in magazines such as Vogue that are about stylists, rather than just about celebrities, make people realize that those on the red carpet didn't just dress themselves - they were styled by a professional. Young girls are avid readers of magazines and viewers of programs such as What Not To Wear, and we're tapping into that interest and power. People didn't realize styling was a career five years ago and now they do - so the Media and Styling Fashion Program is very timely - in fact, it's already completely oversubscribed."

Whether or not the art of styling is a trainable skill remains to be seen: in the opinion of many a member of the fashion community, you’ve either got it or you don’t. It will be interesting indeed to see how the careers of the fledgling stylists proceed once the first round of style-school graduates are released into our notoriously haughty and hypercritical industry.

- FCS