If you are naturally artistic, have an eye for colors and patterns, and love staying up-to-date with the latest fashion trends, a bachelor’s degree in fashion may be for you.
A versatile degree that evolves with the times, a bachelor’s in fashion allows you to study topics like:
- computer-aided design
You will gain the knowledge and training to be successful in this vibrant field, and even better, you will never be bored! Creativity is the backbone of fashion, so if this sounds like you, check out our 30 best bachelor’s in fashion and start planning your future.
What is a Bachelor’s in Fashion?
A bachelor’s in fashion is a four-year undergraduate degree that provides training for careers in the fashion industry. There are several types of fashion degrees, including a Bachelor of Arts (BA), a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA), and a Bachelor of Science (BS). Fashion degrees may be focused on different aspects of the industry like fashion design, fashion merchandising, fashion technology, or fashion management.
The best bachelor’s in fashion degrees provide you with the necessary skills to succeed in the fashion field: critical thinking, collaboration, problem-solving, and of course, creativity. Courses are centered around topics like fashion illustration, computer-aided design, textiles, pattern making, and business courses like economics and marketing.
Most bachelor’s in fashion programs require internships, which is a positive since internships allow networking and often result in future employment. Capstone projects or portfolios are also an essential part of an undergraduate in fashion. Additionally, most programs include travel opportunities either regionally, nationally, or internationally.
What are the Best Bachelor’s in Fashion?
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With a rich history that began in 1862 with President Abraham Lincoln signing the Morrill Land Grant Act to its many traditions, milestones, and achievements, Purdue University consistently stands on ranking lists all over, and it’s for good reasons—Purdue is one of the best public research universities in the nation!
Purdue University offers a Bachelor of Science in retail management (REMG) with a concentration in apparel design and technology, which is designed for students who aim to go into the exciting worlds of fashion, corporate retail, or other business enterprises. The program combines business and fashion classes, so expect to take courses like:
- Consumer Behavior
- Textile Science
In Purdue’s REMG program, you will gain real-world experience through required design internships, field experiences, and organizations like the YMA Fashion Scholarship. You also have the opportunity to study abroad or spend your junior year at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City! Purdue REMG graduates become technical/concept designers, product developers, business owners, inventory analysts, and more!
University of Georgia
Since its humble beginnings in 1785, the University of Georgia is known as “the birthplace of Public Higher Education in America!” Georgia’s flagship institution, UGA is committed to academic excellence through hands-on research and learning, both in and out of the classroom. Comprised of 18 colleges and schools, 38,000+ students, and 335,000+ alumni, UGA’s global impact is far-reaching.
UGA’s College of Family and Consumer Sciences offers a B.S.F.C.S in fashion merchandising, designed for students who aim to find careers in fashion promotion, retail, merchandise, and management. Within this program, you can choose a concentration in either fashion and brand management or product development and design.
This program entails courses divided into foundation courses, major courses, concentration courses, and electives. Expect to take courses like:
- Principles of Marketing
- Fundamentals of Fashion Merchandising
- Textile Testing
Internships are optional but available, and you can even study abroad to London, Ghana, or Peru, emphasizing UGA’s keystone statement that “fashion is not simply a business, but a cultural industry.”
Iowa State University
Known as the nation’s “most student-centered university,” Iowa State provides top-ranking academic programs with more than 800 student organizations, undergrad research opportunities, internships, and study abroad experiences. ISU’s Bachelor of Science in Apparel, Merchandising, and Design is full of opportunity—from state-of-the-art facilities and the best faculty in the field to participating in the annual Fashion Show, one of the largest in the nation!
As an ISU design student, you have options. While you will gain an array of knowledge on textiles and apparel, you will choose from the following concentrations:
- Creative and technical design
- Product development and innovation
- Product management and sourcing
- Merchandising and retail analytics
- Fashion communication
Likewise, you can also choose to complete this program in an accelerated format, which takes just three years!
While taking the courses Professional Development and Seminar on Careers and Internships, you will research potential internships and employers to gain valuable experience in the design field. Graduates of ISU’s design program are well prepared to begin careers in technical and creative design, buying, visual merchandise, sourcing, and more.
University of Cincinnati
Founded in 1819, the University of Cincinnati may be one of the largest public universities with more than 46,000 current students and 300,000+ alumni, but with small student-teacher ratios, dynamic sports teams (Go Bearcats!), and more student organizations than we can count, you will see why UC is loved by so many.
Among a handful of design degrees from UC’s Ullman School of Design is a Bachelor of Science in Fashion Design. According to UC’s College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning, this program “provides a platform for discovery, experimentation, and specialization” through a strong foundation in critical and cultural theory, experiential learning, craftsmanship, technological literacy, and sustainable stewardship.”
UC’s BSDES is 122 credit hours and takes approximately five years to complete. Notable courses include:
- Theory and Practice
- Fashion Drawing
- Trend Forecasting
- Global Fashion Issues
As a UC design student, you will gain creative and technical skills through both lecture and studio courses and gain real-world experience through internships, workshops, and travel opportunities.
Kent State University
A true blue and gold university, Kent State boasts more than 258,000 alumni worldwide, 38,000+ current students from 98 countries, and 340+ academic programs. Kent State’s School of Fashion is ranked 6th in the country and among the top 25 in the world, so don’t miss this ranking—a Bachelor of Fine Arts in fashion design.
KSU’s BFA in fashion design prepares students for professional careers through developing technical competency, creative/independent solutions, and theoretical critical thinking necessary for tackling challenges in this industry. Through a blend of fashion design coursework and experiential opportunities, you will gain the knowledge and skills to create a focused-study thesis project.
In addition, you will travel either nationally or internationally in New York City, Florence, Italy, Paris, Hong Kong, and/or London! If you’re interested in KSU’s fashion design program, you need at least a 2.75 GPA and submit a letter of intent and BFA proposal to the fashion design faculty by the established deadlines. You can read additional information on application details here.
University of North Texas
One of the country’s largest universities, the University of North Texas, is a community of “dreamers and doers,” students who become innovative leaders and transform the world. With more than 109 bachelor’s, 94 master’s, and 36 doctoral programs, UNT has something for everyone, and the Bachelor of Fine Arts in fashion design may be just what you’re looking for!
The goal of UNT’s BFA in fashion design is to arm you with the knowledge and professional skills in research, fashion history, and trend analysis to begin with a fashion design idea and end with a finished product. You will learn skills such as:
- flat pattern-making
- fashion drawing
- industrial sewing
- commuter-aided design
UNT is the only university in the region where the fashion design program is through the College of Visual Arts and Design, which gives this program extra flair. Along with learning from nationally and internationally awarded design faculty and interning at fashion houses in Dallas and Fort Worth, you will have access to the Texas Fashion Collection, with nearly 20,000 articles of historical clothing/accessories!
Fashion Institute of Technology
A New York City premier public institution, the Fashion Institute of Technology is among the best fashion design colleges in New York. Part of the State University of New York system, FIT is internationally recognized for its stellar college for design, fashion, art, communications, and business. What better school to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts in fashion design? You won’t want to miss this one.
FIT offers an AAS in fashion design that leads to a BFA with concentration options in children’s wear, intimate apparel, knitwear, special occasion, and sportswear. Regardless of your concentration area, you will gain a strong liberal arts background with expertise in creative application and critical problem-solving through both lecture and studio courses.
Experiential learning is a large part of FIT programs and all degrees require internships. FIT also features an international BFA program where students study in Milan, Italy for an entire year. Graduates are ready to enter the workforce as:
- business owners
- design assistants
- collection specialists.
They work in top design houses like Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Polo Ralph Lauren, and more.
University of Delaware
Founded in 1743, The University of Delaware’s very first class included three signers of the Declaration of Independence and one signer of the Constitution! Today, UD is one of the leading research universities globally, with nearly 24,000 students spanning ten colleges and schools. Through the College of Arts and Sciences, you can earn a BS in fashion merchandising and management.
UD’s fashion merchandising and management program emphasizes the global business end of this industry, and through this degree, you will gain skills in communication, math, textiles, product development, global business, and consumer behavior. You will take courses like:
- Foundations for Fashion Innovation
- Law & Social Issues in Business
- International Consumers & Retailers
As a UD fashion student, you will get involved through the clubs, organizations, and study abroad programs (Hong Kong, anyone?) Graduates are ready to start careers in product development, marketing/public relations, buying/planning, textiles/raw material, quality control, and more. If you’re interested in a master’s degree, UD offers an MS in fashion and apparel studies, along with an MS 4+1 program.
California State University – Long Beach
An academic institution known for its diversity and affordability, Cal State Long Beach boasts many national recognitions like No. 4 in the nation for campus diversity by Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education. Cal State’s College of Health and Human Services features a Bachelor of Arts in Family and Consumer Sciences with an option in fashion design or fashion merchandising.
The fashion merchandising and design program aims to train students to become professionals in apparel design, product development, production, and merchandising. You can also choose a minor in either fashion merchandising or textiles. Sample courses include:
- Family and Consumer Resource Management
- Introduction to Apparel Flat Pattern
- Global Sourcing for the Fashion Industry
In addition to coursework and seminars, you have the opportunity to travel to New York City, Paris, and/or Italy through fashion study tours. Cal State fashion design graduates find careers as apparel designers, manufacturer’s representatives, pattern makers, product developers, and textile evaluation specialists.
University of the Incarnate Word
Founded in 1881, the University of the Incarnate Word is the largest Catholic University in Texas with over 90 undergraduate degrees and over 20 graduate/doctoral programs. UIW’s School of Media and Design is a unique program—a Bachelor of Science in fashion management that will prepare you for a career that explores the business side of fashion.
Concentrations in merchandising and apparel production and design allow you to customize this program even further. You will complete 125 credits of a comprehensive, hands-on curriculum and study fashion from a cultural, commercial, environmental, and international point of view. Courses include:
- Apparel Construction
- Fashion Promotional Strategies
- Sustainability in Fashion
During your final year, you will complete a capstone course where you showcase your design projects through a fashion show. You also have the opportunity to study abroad during this program. UIW fashion management graduates typically begin careers in retail sales management positions, leading to positions as account managers. Other options include apparel designers, fashion illustrators, and product development specialists.
Texas State University
Check out this cool fact: Lyndon Johnson, the 36th president of the United States, graduated from Texas State University in 1930, and Texas State is the only university in the state to have graduated a U.S. president or vice president! Texas State is a large university with more than 38,000 students and 200+ bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs.
At Texas State, you can earn a Bachelor of Science in family and consumer sciences (B.S.F.C.S) and major in fashion merchandising. This program appeals to those who want to explore the fast-paced environment from manufacturing to retailing and requires a minor in business administration. You will take courses like:
- Culture and Consumer Behavior
- Textile Product Analysis
- Fashion Merchandising Administration
You will gain relevant experience through field trips, travel studies, and a required internship. As a Texas State fashion merchandising program, you will have access to many professional resources that will pave your way into a fulfilling fashion career. Texas State reviews its applicants on a holistic level and does not require ACT/SAT scores for admission.
Montclair State University
Classified as a “high research activity” university by Carnegie Classification, Montclair State University offers academic programs that have earned it the title “New Jersey’s Best Public University” (Forbes). At Montclair, you will be a part of a vibrant community with more than 300 majors to choose from. The Bachelor of Arts in fashion studies is an excellent program to consider.
Montclair’s BA in fashion studies encompasses the world of design, production, and sales and prepares you for careers in fashion manufacturing, merchandising, management, and/or marketing. You will take classes in:
- textile and apparel manufacturing
They can choose from an array of electives like Figure Drawing, Fashion Illustration, and Interior Design.
You can choose an optional minor in either business, communication, fashion design, or fashion merchandising. The faculty at Montclair Department of Art and Design are excellent—you will learn from professional researchers and artists as well as visiting mentors each semester. For more inspiration, check out the art gallery from fashion studies students.
Thomas Jefferson University
Thomas Jefferson University and Philadelphia University merged in July 2017 to create Jefferson, a research university committed to delivering the best educational value for 21st-century students. Jefferson is also one of the top fashion schools in the world, according to Business of Fashion, so the Bachelor of Science in fashion design is worth checking out.
Jefferson’s fashion design program is unmatched in excellence. You will complete between 125 and 127 credits in courses like:
- Fashion Design Research
- Drawing Essentials
- Portfolio Layout and Development
Hands-on experience through internships for companies like Lilly Pulitzer and Tommy Hilfiger and study abroad trips to Rome and Paris are essential parts of this curriculum.
As a TJU fashion design graduate, you will be “globally recognized as a team-oriented designer who understands the interrelationship between design, technology, production and business,” and highly marketable! Graduates work for notable companies like Urban Outfitters, Gap, Calvin Klein, David’s Bridal, Children’s Place, and more.
Among America’s 15 largest private universities, Drexel University is a comprehensive global research institution with approximately 25,000 students. Drexel’s Westphal College of Media Arts and Design offers design, media, and performing arts programs that empower students to succeed in creative careers. Drexel’s Bachelor of Science in fashion design is certainly one of the best in the country.
One element that sets Drexel’s fashion design program apart is that it is primarily studio-based classes that train students with not only fashion design knowledge and skills but creative thinking. The immersion of art, design, science, and technology arms students with a unique skill set, necessary for the 21st century fashion design industry.
During your third year, you will complete a six-month co-op experience working with designers in New York City, Los Angeles, and other cities all over the world as well as opportunities to study abroad. Drexel’s fashion design graduates are highly successful. They pursue careers such as:
- product developers
- pattern makers
- creative directors
Founded in 1878, Brenau University is a private, non-profit academic institution with its main campus in Gainesville, Georgia. Currently, more than 3,500 students attend Brenau through its Gainesville, Jacksonville Atlanta campuses, its Women’s College or online. Brenau’s Bachelor of Fine Arts in fashion design is offered both on the Gainesville campus and the Women’s College.
Brenau’s BFA in fashion design provides a thorough liberal arts background and training in fashion, design, apparel construction, and patterning. You will take notable courses like:
- The Fashion Industry
- Digital Graphic Design
- Art History I and II
- Fashion Textiles
You will also gain experience in historic clothing conservation and exhibition through internships at the Brenau Historic and Folk Clothing and Textile Collections.
As a Brenau fashion design student, you will have access to a fashion lab with state-of-the-art equipment for digitalizing, creating, and printing patterns. Brenau graduates pursue careers in apparel, product development, manufacturing, pattern making, fashion styling, or use this degree as a pathway to a graduate school.
A private liberal arts college with campuses in Poughkeepsie, New York and Florence, Italy, Marist College is consistently ranked among the best in excellence and value (The Princeton Review, U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance). Marist’s fashion programs are also ranked among Forbes as one of the “Best Colleges That Are Shaping the Future of Fashion.”
Described as “fun, fast-paced, challenging, and competitive,” Marist’s fashion programs include both a Bachelor of Fine Arts in fashion design and a Bachelor of Science in fashion merchandising. Fashion design majors may minor in product development or merchandising. Fashion merchandising majors may choose one or more concentrations in business, product development, or fashion promotion.
Marist College’s fashion programs are unique in that they feature exceptional resources, internships, study abroad programs, student organizations, and the Silver Needle Runway presentation! Marist fashion graduates are well prepared to pursue careers in:
- fashion design
- product development
- trend forecasting
- fashion promoter
The New School
Founded in 1919, The New School is a private research university in the “fashion capital of America,” New York City! Parsons School of Design is nationally ranked as #1 among design schools (QS World Rankings, 2021) and features many fashion degrees, including a Bachelor of Fine Arts in fashion design.
Through Parson’s BFA in fashion design, you can explore four different pathways: collection, fashion product, materiality, and systems and society, and then develop your own customized degree. During your first year, you will be immersed in art and design concepts and skills to gain a background in this industry. Your second year will begin a “holistic design-led fashion curriculum” that emphasizes self-discovery.
While you will complete a plethora of studio classes in fashion design, all your work will lead up to your senior year, where you will present your design philosophy through an innovative thesis project. BFA fashion design graduates are highly sought-after and jump right into a variety of professional careers like:
- fashion research
- visual merchandising
St. Catherine University
Established in 1905, St. Catherine University, known as St. Kate, is one of the largest private universities in the nation and holds a rich history of educating and empowering women. While St. Kate used to be a women’s only college, today the university enrolls men, too, and includes an alumni network of over 51,000!
St. Kate’s BS in fashion merchandising will teach you not only how to design and develop products but to analyze fashion markets and forecast trends. The program requires a business minor to further refine your marketability. Expect to take courses like Apparel Construction and Analysis, Trend Forecasting and Analysis, and Global Sourcing.
You will enjoy small class sizes and individualized mentoring while you learn how to manage the “triple bottom line—financial, social, and environmental performance—of your future business.” Short-term study abroad trips to Europe and Asia are also in your future! St. Kate’s fashion merchandising graduates land careers in:
- business analysis
- retail management
- trend forecasting
- product development
Founded in 1947 as Villa Julie College, Stevenson University adopted its new name in 2008 to reflect its growth. Stevenson serves more than 3,600 both on-campus and online students across 90+ majors, minors, and concentrations. Stevenson’s Bachelor of Science in fashion design encompasses the fashion market, the historical context of fashion, consumer psychology, and apparel construction.
Through this program, you will gain a comprehensive education focused on both fashion and business. While most of the courses are studio based like Garment Construction and Technical Illustration, you will also take courses like Principles of Marketing and Business Writing. Along with valuable hands-on experiences, you will also apply your talents in Stevenson’s Annual Fashion Show each spring.
Stevenson fashion design graduates embark on careers like:
- fashion designers
- technical designers
- product and textile developers
- fashion illustrators
- trend forecasters
Founded in 1833, Stephens College is the second-oldest women’s college in the nation. Recognized as one of the top fashion schools in the world according to The Business of Fashion, Stephens College offers a handful of fashion degrees, including a Bachelor of Fine Arts in fashion design and product development.
Stephen’s fashion design and product development program is geared toward career preparation. You will gain skills in:
- digital technologies
- critical thinking
You will create a professional-level portfolio to help find employment after graduation. You will also participate in The Collection, the annual student designer fashion show that started back in 1944.
One of the best parts of Stephen’s program is that you will network with top fashion professionals who visit every year through the Jeannene Booher Fashion Lecture Series. Stephen’s design graduates are enjoying vibrant careers all over the globe, including for companies like Nike, Abercrombie & Fitch, Weissman Theatrical Supplies, and many more.
Savannah College of Art and Design
A private, nonprofit institution known as “The University for Creative Careers,” Savannah College of Art and Design offers more degrees and specializations than any other art and design university. There are many fashion programs to choose from at SCAD, and the Bachelor of Fine Arts in fashion design is one of the best.
SCAD’s BFA in fashion design entails 180 credit hours divided into foundation studies, general education, major curriculum, and additional electives. You can choose from minors and certificate programs like accessory design, advertising and branding, and architecture to further customize your degree. Notable courses include:
- Fashion Technology
- Pattern Development
- The Business of Fashion
- Computer-aided Fashion Design
As a SCAD student, you will gain experience to aid you in building your future career as you collaborate with global brands like Delta Air Lines and Reese Witherspoon’s Draper James clothing line. SCAD provides services like resume development, portfolio building, mock interviews, and self-promotion, and many graduates are recruited by companies like Elle, Ralph Lauren, Marc Jacobs, and The Row.
Founded in 1887, Pratt Institute is located in the cultural hub of the world with campuses in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Utica, New York. Dedicated to preparing its 4,875 students for creative careers, Pratt is known for its innovative programs and producing students who become renowned artists and designers.
Pratt’s BFA in fashion design curriculum is described as fostering “development of individual identity within a collaborative environment informed by self-reflection and engaged critique.” The program consists of 126 credits in courses like Fashion Studio: Concepts and Criteria, Drape & Construct, Themes in Art and Culture, and Fashion Illustration. You can also choose to minor in textiles or fashion design.
As a Pratt student, you will have access to top-notch museums, archives, and design studios in the fashion capital. You will gain hands-on experiences through internships at companies such as Zero Maria Cornejo, Rag & Bone, and Ralph Lauren and participate in annual design competitions.
Dominican University is a private Catholic institution known for its academic rigor, affordability, and value-based learning environment. Ranked #10 in the Midwest, #1 Best Value, and #1 Social Mobility by U.S. News & World Report, Dominican offers more than 50 undergraduate programs and 18 graduate degrees with personalized attention and small class sizes.
Dominican offers a BA in fashion design that focuses on art and culture, technical skills, and a “deep understanding of fashion as both an industry and an art form.” Dominican’s programs pride themselves on graduating well-rounded students, and you are able to customize this program to match your interests. You can choose a minor in art, foreign language, business, or communication, to name a few.
You will study topics like textile science, fashion trends, the latest fashion technologies, and social dress from cultural, psychological, and social points of view. Experiential learning is a large part of Dominican’s fashion design program, and you will complete an internship that could lead to a job offer.
Mount Mary University
Mount Mary University is known as a place where “creativity meets purpose,” an all-women’s school with more than 1,200 students of all faiths and beliefs, 30 undergraduate programs, eight graduate programs, and two doctoral programs. Mount Mary’s fashion bachelor’s degree program was the first in the nation and is still going strong.
Mount Mary’s BA in fashion design is both exciting and challenging and includes a blend of new technology, design and manufacturing, and innovative, functional solutions. You will study:
- sewing techniques
- pattern construction
- textiles and computer graphics
- fashion drawing
Projects and internships will reinforce your learning, and you will have the opportunity to work with fashion brands like Harley-Davidson, Fashion Angels, and Jockey.
You will also network with prominent fashion professionals through regional, national, and international events, conferences, and competitions. Notable Mount Mary fashion design alumni include Donna Ricco (’81), who designed Michelle Obama’s dress worn on “The View,” and Karen Davidson (’81), who started the brand Harley-Davidson MOTORCLOTHES.
One of the oldest academic institutions for women in the United States, Ursuline College was founded in 1871 and today is known for being the most affordable private liberal arts college in the state of Ohio. Ursuline’s Bachelor of Arts in fashion design combines fashion with business and technology, ensuring your success in this industry.
As an Ursuline fashion design student, you will learn from professional design faculty in classes like:
- Construction Fundamentals
- Textile Fabrics
- Costume and Fashion
- Draping/Pattern Making
Along with learning all the essential aspects of fashion design, you will practice skills in state-of-the-art facilities and equipment like CAD, 3-D printing, Adobe Cloud programs, and more.
You will have hands-on access to Ursuline’s 4,000 piece Historic Costume Study Collection, which includes apparel dating back to the Civil War. You also may choose to spend your third year at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City (See our #7 ranking!) Ursuline accepts applications on a rolling basis, and SAT/ACT scores are optional.
In 1899, Meredith College opened its doors with just over 200 women. Over the years, Meredith has evolved into what it is today: a nationally ranked college liberal arts college of almost 2,000 current students and 22,000 alumni. Through Meredith’s Bachelor of Science in fashion merchandising and design, you will gain the knowledge and skills necessary for a vibrant career in the fashion field.
Meredith’s fashion merchandising and design program allows you to choose to concentrate on either fashion design or merchandising. Students in both the merchandising and design track will complete 40 hours of core curriculum hours and additional hours in concentration classes. Students in the merchandising track are strongly encouraged to add a minor in business.
Fashion merchandising and design students have the opportunity to complete internships with some of the top designers and retailers in the nation like Michael Kors, Ella Moss, and Vogue Magazine. You can also opt to study in Paris through the summer study abroad programs. Meredith graduates are prepared for an array of fashion careers and many work in New York City, the fashion capital of the country!
Columbus College of Art and Design
Established in 1879, Columbus College of Art and Design is one of the oldest private art and design colleges in the nation. CCAD boasts many top rankings and offers a plethora of design degrees, including a Bachelor of Fine Arts in fashion design. As a CCAD fashion design student, you will be among the third-highest concentration of fashion designers in the U.S.!
CCAD’s fashion design program entails 120 credits, divided into program requirements, CORE studio requirements, and CORE liberal arts requirements. Sample courses include:
- Visual Literacy
- Modern Contemporary Art/Design
- History of Fashion
- Studio Surface Design
During your final year, you will complete both a fashion portfolio and an internship.
CCAD graduates are well prepared for careers as fashion designers of all kinds (print, pattern, accessory, technical, costume, you name it,) fashion forecasters, pattern-makers, and business owners. Recent employers include Abercrombie & Fitch, Kate Spade, LOFT, Old Navy, Polo Ralph Lauren, and The Gap.
Otis College of Art and Design
A non-profit institution established in 1918, Otis College of Art and Design is a national leader in art and design. Money Magazine ranks Otis #4 of “the 50 colleges that add the most value,” The Economist ranks Otis #6 in the nation for post-graduation median earnings, and The Chronicle of Higher Education ranks Otis in the top 1% of all colleges and universities in diversity.
Otis’s BFA in fashion design provides a structured curriculum “with a singular emphasis on developing capable, innovative, and professional fashion designers.” As an Otis fashion design student, you have faculty mentors in a resource-rich environment that fosters collaboration. The curriculum courses like:
- Drawing and Building Form
- Life Drawing
- History of Design
As a junior and senior at Otis, you will present your work at the annual Scholarship Benefit and Fashion Show, Los Angeles’ largest runaway show showcasing more than 175 fashion designs. Over 800 guests attend, so this event is also a great opportunity to network with future employers.
Rhode Island School of Design
Established in 1877, Rhode Island School of Design is one of the first art and design schools in the country. A private, nonprofit college, RISD (pronounced “RIZ-dee”) enrolls more than 2,500 students from around the world and boasts nearly 35,000 successful alumni. RISD’s BFA in apparel design focuses on craftsmanship and diverse creativity.
This BFA in apparel design includes “immersive, studio-based practice,” and “encourages students to challenge industry conventions and work toward positive, sustainable change.” High value is placed on creative individuality, and RISD apparel design professors assign projects to foster exploration. As a RISD design student, you are equipped with technical, artistic, and social skills needed in the fashion industry through a close-knit group of approximately 65 students.
You will take courses like:
- Spatial Dynamics
- History of Dress
- Global Modernisms
During your final year, you will create a coat collection while interning at a design house in New York. RISD’s apparel design program is competitive, and approximately 26% of applicants are admitted.
Academy of Art University
The Academy of Art University is one of the largest private art/design schools in the nation and its inclusive admission policies set it apart from others. AAU’s School of Fashion offers degrees that cover the entire fashion design spectrum. Among the ten BFA programs from AAU is a Bachelor of Fine Arts in fashion design.
AAU’s BFA in fashion design allows you to choose either a fashion design or pattern making/3-dimensional design emphasis. The program entails 132 credit hours, divided into 42 major credits, 45 liberal arts credits, 36 core credits, and nine elective credits. You will study topics that encompass visual research, design development, sourcing materials, and sketching ideas.
You have plenty of opportunities at AAU. The School of Fashion hosts workshops, fashion shows, guest speakers, and other events that connect you with professionals in the industry. To add extra flexibility, you can also earn this BFA in fashion design online. AAU is looking for art and design students who want to become tomorrow’s leaders.
Frequently Asked Questions
Fashion degrees can lead to lucrative careers because the major offers studies in areas beyond fashion. From business and marketing to management and leadership, students get equipped with valuable skills employers look for when hiring. Most fashion programs offer undergraduate internships that provide practical experience before you graduate. This is one more reason that makes fashion degrees worth it.
Straight from your undergrad studies, you’ll start as an intern or design assistant making up to $45,000/year. But after a few years, you can move to mid-level fashion design jobs and earn an average salary of $76,000/year. The top 10% of earners in this industry bring in $146,000/year.
With a degree in fashion, you can get a job as a fashion buyer, fashion illustrator, or fashion merchandiser. You can also find work as a fashion stylist in clothing stores and modeling agencies. But you’ll find the industry’s highest paid positions are sourcing and product managers.
If you want to study fashion design, you can go where some of the world’s most famous fashion designers went to school. Calvin Klein attended the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, while Bob Mackie went to Pasadena City College. In the US, popular and top-ranked fashion schools include:
• Fashion Institute of Technology, New York
• Iowa State University, Iowa
• Kent State University, Ohio
• Purdue University, Indiana
• University of Georgia, Georgia
A bachelor’s in fashion takes four years with full-time study. Most fashion programs require 120 credits. Fashion students take between 12 and 15 credits per semester to graduate in four years. While four years is the standard, there are accelerated programs that allow students to finish their degree in two to three years. Most of these are online.
Attending a fashion school for four years can cost a total of up to $180,000. Fashion schools are more expensive than public universities and colleges because fashion students buy tools, equipment, and materials that the average student doesn’t need. But if you’re passionate about the field, fashion school can be worth the cost.
There are scholarships in both the fields of fashion design and merchandising, but they’re competitive because of the limited number. Many get awarded through competitions where students showcase their work and talents. The Fashion Scholarship Fund awards over $1 million each year to help students succeed in the industry.
If you have a strong application and portfolio, there’s a good chance you will get accepted into fashion school. Colleges with low acceptance rates are competitive, but many schools have high acceptance rates. To better your chances of getting in, look for schools with an acceptance rate higher than 50%.
Yes! Studying fashion can be a good choice for anyone passionate about the field. You don’t have to be an artist. But if you don’t feel confident in your art skills, you’re in luck. Many fashion courses teach you how to visualize your designs and improve your drawing abilities.
Math is an important element of fashion design. You use it to measure sample garments for fittings and to keep sizes consistent. You need a good understanding of geometry when you map two-dimensional patterns to fit three-dimensional bodies.