5 Best Colleges for Fashion Design Majors

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  5 Best Colleges for Fashion Design Majors

Prepare your designs for the catwalk or learn skills for behind the scenes work at these great schools.

By | July 23, 2013


If you have an interest in fashion, there are now many options for furthering your education. From traditional fashion degrees in design to degrees in fashion marketing or journalism, there's something for every fashionista.

While New York City may be the American hub for fashion, your options for college are not limited to the Big Apple. There are great programs throughout the country.

5. Academy of Art University: $18,360

  • Location: San Francisco, CA
  • Enrollment: 17,000 in the whole school
  • Sub-programs: Fashion Journalism, Fashion Merchandising, and Beauty Industry Retail

4. Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD): $31,905

  • Location: Savannah, GA
  • Enrollment: Over 11,000 students
  • Sub-programs: Accessory design, Fashion marketing and management, luxury and fashion management
  • Why this program? SCAD has designers like Zac Posen and Chris Benz on staff as mentors and partners with Vera Wang, Chico's, Gap, and other big names in fashion for internships and jobs for their students. Michael Fink, former Saks Fifth Avenue vice president, came on as dean of the school a few years ago and Andre Leon Talley is on the Board of Directors. They also recently partnered with ELLE magazine so that some students are featured in ELLE's show during Fashion Week in New York.

3. Rhode Island School of Design (RISD): $41,022

  • Location: Providence, RI
  • Enrollment: about 2,000 undergraduate students
  • Sub-programs: RISD also offers programs in jewelry making and furniture design
  • Why this program? RISD focuses on the technical and practical training students will need in the fashion industry. Each senior undergoes an intense internship program which gives them the opportunity to design clothes, work with models, and set up fashion shows. RISD also partners with Brown University, which is also in Providence, allowing students to have access to their excellent liberal arts courses. RISD also offers a Dual Degree Program with Brown that allows students to earn a BFA from RISD and an AB from Brown in five years.

2. Fashion Institute of Technology: $5,768 (resident), $15,430 (non-resident)

  • Location: New York, NY
  • Enrollment: 10,000 undergraduate students
  • Sub-programs: FIT offers several concentrations under the heading of their Bachelor of Fine Arts. Children's Wear, Intimate Apparel, Knitwear, Special Occasion, and Sportswear
  • Why this program? Located on Fashion Avenue (technically Seventh Avenue) in New York, FIT is in the heart of the fashion world and has been in operation since 1944. Top designers function as "critics" at campus fashion shows and exhibitions. Calvin Klein, Gemma Kahng, and Norma Kamali served as critics in the past. Cotton Inc. and Lululemon Athletica are among the sponsors for student competitions.

1. Parsons School of Fashion: $19,640 (per term)

  • Location: New York, NY
  • Enrollment: about 4,000 undergraduate students
  • Sub-programs: Fashion Marketing
  • Why this program? Parsons can boast about having some of the biggest names in fashion as alumni. Designers like Clair McCardell and Adrian alongside industry names like Donna Karan and Marc Jacobs give this school clout. These powerful alumni do oftentimes offer internships and other opportunities to Parsons students. The Parsons curriculum is comprehensive in the sense that it touches on the artistic, technical, and commercial aspects of fashion.

Quick Tips

  • These are five of the best fashion programs in the country, but they are only five out of dozens of programs. Our College Search can give you access to many more fashion education options.
  • If you want to pursue a career in fashion but aren't sure how you would fit being a full-time student into your busy schedule, consider seeking out an online fashion degree.
  • What can you do with a fashion degree? Depending on the training your receive at your school, you can be a designer or focus on merchandising, journalism, public relations, styling, production management, and more. The potential careers and possibilities are numerous.

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