Validation of acquired experience / Level I Certification “Creative Director"

Validation of Acquired Work Experience – V.A.E. – is the possibility of obtaining a diploma registered under the National Directory of Professional Certification (RNCP). The “Creative Director" Certification recognized by the State as Level I (in France) and Level 7 (EU) was registered in the National Directory of Professional Certification, by ministerial decree of 7 April 2017 published in the Official Journal on 21 April 2017.
Condition required:
 The only condition for validating their experience is to justify at least 1 year of salaried, non-salaried, pro bono or voluntary work experience directly related to the certification concerned.
Please Note: The candidate may submit only one application in the same calendar year for the same diploma and three applications in the same calendar year for different degrees or diplomas.
In order to obtain the Certification, the candidate for a VAE must validate each of the certified skills, grouped for the “Creative Director” Certification into 3 skill blocks (indicated at the bottom of the page), through his/her previous work experience and/or training, where appropriate.
Each skill block can be achieved individually. A certificate is awarded to the candidate for achieving each block. Achieving all 3 blocks results in Certification.
For any questions, the VAE advisor at ESMOD is: Guillaume Thiery

Step-by-step guide to the VAE procedure


There are several stages:

Phase 1:
Submitting your application
In order to apply, you must fill in the form Cerfa 12818*1 (downloadable here) and send it to us with the documents certifying the year of experience in the field of Certification:

Service des Admissions
12, rue de la Rochefoucauld
– 75009 Paris FRANCE
Phase 2:
Preparation of the Record 2
Once your application has been considered admissible, the second step is the compilation of your Record 2. This is the file whereby the candidate will demonstrate they have acquired the skills required by the curriculum knowledge base for the diploma. 
The applicant will have between 1 and 4 interviews with our academic tutors to verify which skills can be validated by work experience or, where appropriate, by previous education.
This Record 2 thus consists of:

  • An analysis of work situations that have been significant in the development of acquired knowledge in relation to the relevant certification.

  • A justification of learning achieved in work situations (whether or not professional) that enabled the building of skills, abilities and knowledge in ways other than through education. 

Please note:
Following these interviews, ESMOD will provide you with an estimate if you need training in one or more skills. The candidate may choose training at ESMOD or any other institute of their choice.
Once Record 2 is submitted, candidates will present their work to a jury of professionals. The chairperson of the jury will introduce the candidate to the members of this jury and will explain how the interview will be conducted – it will be in two stages:

  • the candidate’s oral presentation.

  • the discussion with the jury. 

This is when the candidate presents their request for a VAE. They may use one or more media (PowerPoint, multimedia tools, etc.) or mention all the works likely to support their presentation, if the jury has previously agreed.
The members of the jury then question the candidate on the basis of their VAE file and their oral presentation.
The main purpose of the interview is to have candidates clarify certain aspects of their file and to deepen their analysis. It is by no means a test of the extent of their knowledge or a recruitment interview.
Following the interview with the candidate, the jury will deliberate on the contents of the file and matters arising from the interview. This will prompt discussion and the exchange of opinion between members of the jury.
 In the event of partial validation, the candidate has the option of resubmitting a validation file on the missing skills to the jury within a maximum period of 5 years from the notification date of the jury’s decision. After that time, the entire procedure will have to be repeated.
Each skill block validated is validated for life.

The skills evaluated to obtain the Certification of “Creative Director" certified at Level II are as follows:


Defining and positioning brand identity/DNA


  • Structuring sectoral watch strategies


  • Analysis of the image of a brand and positioning it in relation to its competitors


  • Forecasting market evolution according to local and international trends


  • Defining areas for creative evolution anchored in the identity/DNA of the brand


  • Defining opportunities for innovation, opening up and development of markets


  • Incorporating guidelines and expected directions for creative design 


  • Reconciling creative ambitions with strategic and budgetary imperatives


  • Defining creative positions in line with financial constraints


  • Drawing up and pitching a business plan


  • Analysis of the positioning of a brand in its market and its stylistic codes


  • Identifying the characteristics, values, strengths and weaknesses of a brand, and the potential for development


  • Research and development of new concepts


  • Sourcing materials and production based on positioning, factories, commission manufacturers


  • Devising the artistic direction of a collection


  • Establishing a brand’s communication focus and drawing up a communication plan


Directing a global creative process


  • Conceiving and guiding the creation of a collection by reconciling the brand’s DNA with a personal universe by defining a concept, focuses for creative development, collection themes


  • Complete knowledge of the process of designing a collection


  • Illustrating a project as part of a fashion product creation process using drawing techniques and CAD/CAM/CAP.


  • Researching and anticipating adapted production techniques


  • Defining and designing templates of items likely to make up the collection


  • Complete knowledge of the entire prototyping process


  • Communicating a vision and technical and stylistic focus


  • Supervising possible variations on designs


  • Creating universes to present theme-based designs


  • Establishing the organization and preparation for a fashion show


  • Supervising photo shoots


  • Conceiving presentation scenarios to showcase the original and specific qualities of creations


  • Devising, designing, creating and transforming locations and sets appropriate to the presentation of different types of creations

         Creating and designing outlets, concept stores, showrooms


Managing creative teams


  • Supervising and guiding the work and activities of employees


  • Directing the entire creative process within a company


  • Setting out the plan for producing a collection


  • Taking account of and forestalling collection validation times (in both design and production techniques)


  • Scheduling workloads and deadlines


  • Complete knowledge of the process and techniques of designing a collection


  • Checking the finished quality and effects of the created garments


  • Supervising the choice of techniques for the work and assembly of materials


  • Directing the fitting phases in the making of a garment


  • Adjudicating on technical problems and necessary adjustments


  • Forward planning of workloads and presentation of a realistic schedule for the production of a collection


  • Deciding on the size of teams and the necessary skills depending on the workloads


  • Defining, coordinating and monitoring performance


  • Leading team meetings and motivating employees towards goals


  • Appraising and evaluating the performance and dedication of an employee

         Conducting an evaluation interview and considering possibilities for employee’s progress

For all inquiries on how to compile your VAE file, please contact the VAE advisor: By
By phone: 00 33 (0)1 44 83 81 50
 €800 fee for application file and €1,000 fee for presentation to the jury, in addition to training fees if necessary and if the candidate chooses to train with ESMOD.
Teaching Committee:
The committee in charge of examining the candidate's file, and providing advice and guidance, is composed of:
Pattie Loue Milanese, Academic Tutor
Paul Marchand, Academic Tutor
Tamara Moreno, Academic Coordinator

Download the CERFA VAE

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