Fashion Design Schools. A rewarding but hard job path is fashion designing. As a result, if you’re considering a career in the fashion sector, you should be extra prepared to work in the field.
Therefore, a degree from a respected institution will have a beneficial impact on and advance your career in fashion design, whether it involves designing or producing clothing for sale. Before we list the top fashion schools worldwide, let’s examine the benefits of attending one and the methodology used to create our rankings.
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A Synopsis of Fashion Design History
The practice of fashion design first emerged in 1826. Between 1826 and 1895, Charles Frederick Worth is regarded as the world’s first fashion designer. In Paris, Charles, a former draper, founded a fashion firm. He was the one who first thought of fashion houses and advised his clients on the appropriate clothing to buy.
At that time, a large number of design studios began using artists’ services to create clothing patterns. Clients would be shown patterns, and if they liked them, they would make an order. In place of the previous system, when clients were given finished clothing, the idea of providing patterns to them and having them sewn started around this time.
Who Is A Fashion Designer?
The art of producing stylish clothing can be used to define fashion designing. But as time has gone on, the concept of “fashion designing” has expanded to include other things, such fashion accessories like jewelry, purses, footwear, etc. It wouldn’t be incorrect to define fashion design as “the creation of fashion” in light of its historical development.
A fashion designer makes an effort to create clothing that is both aesthetically beautiful and functional. They operate within a diverse spectrum of fabrics, colors, patterns, and styles after taking into account the potential wearer and the circumstances in which the garment would be worn.
A fashion designer is in charge of coming up with a specific appearance for a person’s clothing, which includes a garment’s shape, color, fabric, trimmings, and other components as a whole.
The fashion designer starts with an idea of how a garment should look, develops that idea into a design (such as a drawing), and then details how other employees (from patternmakers to finishers) should translate that design into an actual piece of clothing.
People at different levels of the fashion industry fall under the category of fashion designer, including well-known couturiers, anonymous designers working for commercial ready-to-wear businesses, and stylists who might simply make minor adjustments to preexisting designs.
There is a particular place in the world for fashion designers. They have made significant contributions to the cultural and social environment in addition to having a big impact on how individuals look.
Why Study Fashion?
A career in fashion design is in high demand. Many people want to reach the top, but not everyone is able to climb the success ladder. Consequently, mastering a wide range of abilities is necessary to succeed in fashion design. As a result, in order to succeed in this field, you must be the “best.”
From being a fashion designer to working as a buyer for a major department store, a career in the fashion industry can offer you a variety of choices.
Your creativity and passion for fashion can be shown in a variety of ways by working in the fashion industry. A profession in fashion may be thrilling and engaging, whether you are creating garments or editing a fashion spread for the newest trends for the upcoming season.
However, just having talent and creativity won’t cut it; you also need to be able to sew and design from scratch.
Anyone who like fashion and wants to pursue a career as a fashion designer should enroll in a school for fashion design, as these programs not only provide training but also industry preparation. They provide you with the necessary skill set and flexibility to remain competitive!
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What Does It Take To Become A Fashion Designer?
A college or university’s fashion design program is where many fashion designers receive their education. Some enroll in fashion design schools, while others enroll in courses offered at conventional colleges.
There are associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degree programs in fashion design available. Even MBA programs that focus on the business aspect of the fashion industry are offered by some universities.
It’s common for applicants to fashion design programs to be expected to have a foundational skill set.
When applying to a fashion program, prospective students may be required to submit a portfolio and successfully complete design and sewing assessments. Designers can learn these abilities by taking classes or teaching themselves before college. Students in fashion design programs use CAD software to learn about fabrics, sketching, sewing, draping, and pattern-making.
Additionally, they study the business of fashion, trend forecasting, and fashion history. As a final project, students are allowed to make their own collection. A designer’s portfolio may benefit greatly from the addition of collections and other student work.
Designers earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees may concentrate on a particular design genre, such as knitwear, children’s clothing, intimate apparel, or sportswear. Some design programs require their students to complete internships where they can use their skills while being supervised by skilled professionals at big design firms or in fashion merchandising.
Best Fashion Design Schools in the World
The options might be devastating if you are interested in a career in fashion and are seeking for the proper colleges. The top universities worldwide that teach fashion design are listed here as of 2023.
You should essentially use this list as a jumping off point for your own research, even though we are open about the methods utilized to generate it. It does not serve as a gauge for the caliber of a school’s curriculum.
We advise you to place more emphasis on each school’s unique characteristics and less on the rankings’ rigid hierarchy.
- Fashion Institute of Technology, New York
- Parsons School of Design, New York
- Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, London
- London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London
- Aalto University School of Arts, Design, and Architecture, Finland
- ESMOD International, Paris
- Polimoda, Florence, Italy
- Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Antwerp
- Istituto Europeo di Design, Milan
- Bunka Gakuen, Tokyo
- Kent State University, Kent, OH
- Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), Savannah, GA
- Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA
1. Fashion Institute of Technology, New York
The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) is a New York-based institution that has been rated as one of the top fashion schools in the world. This university is a center for technology, business, design, marketing, and fashion.
It offers courses linked to the fashion business and is a branch of the State University of New York (SUNY). The institute is proud of its great networking opportunities with global platforms and industry. It is a component of one of the most extensive, all-encompassing university systems in the country. Students at FIT benefit from FIT’s strategic position in New York, one of the world’s top four fashion cities.
Some well-known designers, like Calvin Klein and Michael Kors, are FIT graduates. FIT’s three academic schools, graduate program, and Centre for Continuing and Professional Studies offer a range of competitive programs that are appropriate for your interests, whether they are in fashion business or purely academic fashion studies. For instance, you could choose to pursue a degree in Fashion and Textile Studies or International Trade and Marketing for the Fashion Industries.
BS and MS in Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing and Management, Associate in Applied Science (AAS), BFA and MFA in Fashion Design, AAS and BS in Fashion Business Management, and Master of Professional Studies in Global Fashion Management are just a few of FIT’s most well-known programs.
AAS and BS programs may have yearly tuition costs between $35,000 and $45,000, while full-time graduate programs are thought to cost about $13,000 per semester. They have a graduation rate of 77.4% and an admission rate of 40.4%.
2. Parsons School of Design, New York
Of the best fashion institutions in the world. Private art and design school Parsons School of Design is located in New York. The school’s setting and cutting-edge curriculum enable its students to collaborate with classmates, business partners, and communities throughout the globe to advance their knowledge and abilities.
In addition to online courses and summer programs, Parsons provides undergraduate, graduate, and associate (AAS) degrees in a variety of subject areas. Fashion, design management, design studies, media, studio design, and other fields are among their specialties. Depending on your skills and job goals, you can select from a variety of fashion studies courses. – AAS Fashion Design, AAS Fashion Marketing, and AAS Fashion Business (Online) Certificate.
Additionally, there are degrees in fashion studies, a certificate in fashion design, a BFA in fashion design, an MFA in fashion design and society, and an MPS in fashion management. The same tuition rates apply to both domestic and international students, ranging from $20,000 to $30,000 every term.
At the time of application, merit scholarship grants are immediately recognized for all Parsons applicants. More than 120 countries are home to Parson grads who are developing their own fashion lines, many of whom have won awards like the Emmy and Coty.
For any questions prior to applying, you can visit their website and send an email to the welcoming admissions staff. The institution has a 35% acceptance rate and a 72.0% graduation rate.
3. Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, London.
London, one of the most fashionable cities in the world and the center of fashion, is home to Central Saint Martins, or CSM, a prestigious public tertiary art institution. One of the University of the Arts London’s constituent colleges. From beginner to postgraduate levels, CSM offers a variety of full-time courses in many fields.
These include, among others, interior design, fashion, drama, the arts, higher education, and spatial practices for architecture.
Many academic league tables, such as Business of Fashion, QS Ranking, and Times Higher Education, have consistently ranked the school’s undergraduate and graduate programs in fashion among the top ten.
For those interested in fashion at every level, CSM offers programs. The BA (Hons) in Fashion: Fashion Design with Knitwear, the BA (Hons) in Fashion: Fashion Design with Marketing, the BA (Hons) in Fashion Communication: Fashion Journalism, the MA in Fashion, and the MA in Fashion Communication are all well-known fashion programs.
The 1-year Graduate Diploma in Fashion is an option if you’re looking for a postgraduate program that is shorter. Numerous online programs and short courses offered by the CSM that appeal to various interests are also in great demand. Therefore, you can choose a short course in fashion business if you’re eager to launch your own fashion line.
Since its founding, CSM, one of England’s first art institutions, has produced renowned politicians, film producers, fashion designers, and more. Designers include Marc Jacobs and Stella McCartney who are well-known fashion alumnae. Online applications are accepted for CSM; consult the website for details on how to get started. The school has a 25.9% admittance rate, a 96.9% academic reputation, and a 91.2% employer reputation.
4. London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London
The London College of Fashion (LCF), a highly regarded fashion school affiliated with the University of the Arts London, is the only university in Great Britain to focus exclusively on fashion teaching, consulting, and research. The university offers a variety of undergraduate, graduate, and short courses in subjects like fashion business and fashion curation.
Famous designers including clothes designer William Tempest and shoe designer Jimmy Choo have come out of this university.
LCF offers a special semester-long study abroad program to Paris where students may learn more about fashion and culture. Apply for one of the many BA, BSc, and integrated MSc programs if you are fresh out of college and seeking a top-notch undergraduate degree. At the undergraduate level, you can study subjects like Psychology of Fashion, Hair, Make-Up for Fashion, Cosmetic Science, Fashion Sportswear, and Fashion Journalism, to mention a few.
However, there are other postgraduate courses offered by LCF if you have a degree and want to advance your abilities or change careers. These postgraduate programs include the Graduate Diploma in Fashion Design and Technology, Executive MBA in Fashion, LCF MBA, MA in Fashion Design Technology Menswear and Womenswear, and MA in Fashion Retail Management.
Before applying, potential scholars should review the program’s admission requirements. For additional information, overseas students can also get in touch with LCF’s international representatives. The institution has a 22% acceptance rate and a 98% graduation rate.
5. Aalto University School of Arts, Design, and Architecture, Finland
Finland’s Aalto University School of Arts, Design, and Architecture is a well regarded fashion school and a wise pick. Basically, if you want to learn about Nordic and Scandinavian fashion, often known as Scandi fashion, and develop your own distinctive collection, this school of art and design is for you.
The school’s academic programs are given through 5 departments, which are renowned for their excellent industry partnerships, research initiatives, and demanding programs. Aspiring designers can focus on sustainable development, co-design, fashion, design, or design leadership. One might choose between the Aalto Bachelor Program in Design, Fashion, or Design at the bachelor’s level.
One can choose between a curriculum in collaborative and industrial design for fashion, clothing, and textiles at the master’s level or one in contemporary design. Programs are created so that students can hone not only their artistic abilities but also their analytical and research capabilities.
Additionally, the distinctive Fashion/Textile Futures research group at Aalto explores the field of human-centered design research.
For international students and non-EEA citizens, the estimated annual tuition for a bachelor’s program is €12,000 and for a master’s program is €15,000. Citizens of the European Union (EU) are exempt from paying tuition for degree-related studies. Additionally, meritorious candidates may be given scholarship grants.
However, before applying, candidates must visit the website to learn more about the entrance requirements and deadlines. Its graduation rate is 85% and it has an admission rate of 8%.
6. ESMOD International, Paris
One of the ‘Big Four,’ esteemed private French fashion schools for more than 173 years is the École supérieure des arts et techniques de la mode, or ESMOD, located in Paris.
ESMOD operates 20 schools across more than 13 countries, including five networks of schools in France. The institution provides a variety of fashion design (ESMOD) and fashion business (ISEM) programs. Foundation Course in Fashion Design & Business, Fashion Designer – Undergraduate, and Graduate Program Diploma are just a few of their numerous offerings. Pattern making, the fashion industry, and many other topics are covered in Creative Director and MBA short courses.
If you are a third-year fashion designer or fashion business student, Chanel or Hermes, whose corporate offices are nearby the college, may be willing to offer you an internship or a job. Students can get career counseling and placement because to the broad industry network and alumni base of ESMOD and ISEM. Candidates who are interested should review the program entrance requirements.
The undergraduate program’s annual tuition is around 10,250 euros. The cost of tuition for postgraduate programs is 12,900 euros. Check the various fees on the application form for the other programs.
7. Polimoda, Florence, Italy
Listed in the top 20 worldwide by reputable fashion league tables. Private fashion school Polimoda is located in the charming Italian city of Florence.
Both undergraduate and graduate degrees are offered by the school. Additionally, there are a variety of seasonal programs available in the Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer. The majority of the programs fall under the following four categories: fashion design, fashion business, art direction, and design management.
Programs in fashion technology, leather technology, fashion art direction, fashion design management, and other subjects are available at the undergraduate level. You can select from a wider range of specializations at the master’s level, including Knitwear Design, Bag Design, Fashion Merchandising and Buying, Fashion Trend Forecasting, Creative Director, and others.
Bespoke fashion, fashion photography, fashion jewelry, sustainable fashion, luxury-design management, and other programs are available seasonally. Undergraduate programs at Polimoda last three years, and master’s programs are nine months long. The brief season lasts for one month. They provide the most recent programs, which are taught by professionals in the field and foreign guest lecturers.
Fashion shows, museum outings, and internship chances are all open to students. An interview is part of the online application procedure. Before completing the application form, check the Polimoda website for information regarding admission requirements. Scholarships may also be available to deserving applicants.
The school has a 20-student class size and a 91% graduation rate. 2,341 students are enrolled, and the student-to-teacher ratio is 10:1.
Undergraduate tuition is €18,000 ($20,011 at the time of this writing). Graduate: €28,000 ($31,129 at the time of this writing)
8. Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Antwerp
One of the first institutions of its sort in Europe, the esteemed Royal Academy of Fine Arts is situated in Antwerp, Belgium. The school offers a range of programs, including Sound Design, Sculpture, and Spatial Art.
In addition to theoretical classes on literature from across the world, art history, cultural studies, and more, the bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in fashion design offer specializations in areas including graphics, tailoring, and pattern design.
Students pursuing master’s degrees in their last year are allowed complete freedom to create an all-encompassing final collection that draws influence from a favorite artist, famous person, or even a social issue.
A good fashion designer needs to have a well-rounded growth, which the school emphasizes. Bachelor and Master of Fine Arts in Fashion as well as Bachelor and Master of Visual Arts in Costume Design are popular degrees. For the majority of its programs, the institute administers an entrance exam. To apply, interested applicants must review the application requirements.
9. Istituto Europeo di Design, Milan
Located in Milan, one of the world’s top four fashion hubs. Top-notch programs in Design, Fashion, Visual Communication, and Management are available in multiple languages through IED, also known as Istituto Europeo di Design, which is also present in Spain and Brazil. Portuguese, Italian, Spanish, and English.
IED offers undergraduate, master’s, summer, winter, and continuing education courses. Fashion Design, Visual Communication, and Fashion Printing are examples of approved courses.
Depending on the field you wish to specialize in, you can choose from a variety of courses such as Fashion Trends Investigation, Fashion Marketing, short programs like Fashion Design Summer Kids and Beachwear Design, and much more. Industry professionals and foreign faculty members teach the programs.
The primary campus of IED is located in Milan, which is a bonus because it enables students to conceptualize, ideate, and produce outstanding work while being at the heart of fashion, art, and culture. Fashion designer Maria Grazia Chiuri, the first female creative director of Dior, is among the notable alumni. Candidates must visit the IED website and get in touch with the IED admission office through the appropriate course webpage in order to start the admissions process.
Before starting the online application process, an admission advisor often gives out the appropriate forms, login information, and fee details. The typical annual price is from 850 to 1000 euros.
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10. Bunka Gakuen, Tokyo
One of Asia’s top-ranked fashion schools is the one at Tokyo’s Bunka Gakuen University. Studying in Tokyo, one of the world’s top 10 fashion hubs, gives you access to the best East-West Fusion, the city’s young avant-garde designers, the area’s current art style, and many other things.
Bunka Fashion College and Bunka Fashion Graduate University both offer fashion courses at Bunka Gakuen. From fashion design to research and development of fashion technology, there are programs available.
The four departments of Bunka Fashion College’s undergraduate programs include fashion creation, fashion technology, fashion marketing and distribution, followed by the department of fashion accessories and textiles.
Graduate programs in fashion creation, design, and management are available from the Bunka Fashion Graduate University. Those who are interested in the fashion industry might enroll in courses in fashion business administration or fashion management research projects.
Before applying, interested individuals should download the application form and ensure they meet all requirements. They can also write to the college with any questions. International students who are interested in attending Bunka Fashion must take the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) and be admitted by a Japanese university.
Foreign applicants interested in pursuing a master’s degree must also possess a 16-year bachelor’s degree. 4,500 people are enrolled overall, and the tuition cost is $18,750.
11. Kent State University, Kent, OH
Students who are interested in the business side of the fashion industry have a few extra alternatives at Kent State. A BS in Fashion Merchandising, BA, or BFA in Fashion Design are your options. A BS/MBA degree in fashion merchandising is one unusual option.
Given that Kent, Ohio isn’t exactly a fashion hub, it is therefore crucial that the school has its own satellite campus in New York City. Every year, about 45 students go to Florence, Italy, to attend classes at the university’s Palazzo campus. Additionally, Kent State collaborates with The Paris Academy in Paris, France. Overall, it appears that there are many options available to students for off-campus activities.
Last but not least, the school asserts that more than 90% of Fashion School alumni get placed in the fashion sector. BA, BFA, and BS/MBA fashion degrees are available.
12. Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), Savannah, GA
SCAD is a reputable, highly-rated design school with several other potent design programs. SCAD provides a BFA in fashion design (along with an MA and MFA).
The school takes pride in its capacity to stay abreast of emerging design technology, which may account for its success in luring prominent figures from the world of fashion to give guest lectures, participate in panels, and provide student evaluations. These former fashion authorities include Vera Wang, Diane von Furstenberg, Tom Ford, and Karl Lagerfeld.
It comes as no surprise that SCAD holds one of the best national student fashion shows to display student work.
Available degrees in fashion: BFA
13. Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA
Students at Drexel who pursue a bachelor’s degree in fashion design are prepared for professions in design, styling, advertising, and technical and computer-aided design. By requiring students to enter their designs in regional, national, and international contests, the school promotes practical industry experience.
For those that are interested in fashion, Drexel offers a few outstanding majors. The first is a special six-month “co-op” program, which is essentially an extended internship where students work at various businesses across the nation to hone their skills. Second, the College of London offers a study abroad program. Numerous undergraduate degrees, such as Design & Merchandising and Entertainment & Art, are complementary.
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