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2014 Top 75 Fashion Design Schools in the U.S.
Our 2014 list of the Top 75 Fashion Design School Programs in the US. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.
1. Fashion Institute of Technology, New York, New York
The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), State University of New York (SUNY) was established in 1944. It opened with just 100 students on the top two floors of the High School of Needle Trades. By 1951, the school was home to 400 day students and 1,000 evening students. Today, FIT covers an entire city block, and it is home to more than 10,000 students enrolled in more than 30 programs from Menswear to Toy Design.
The school offers a wide variety of Associate and Bachelor’s degree programs for aspiring fashion designers. Unique offerings include a BFA in Fabric Styling, AAS and BFA degrees in Accessories Design, and AAS and BFA degrees in Fashion Design with Concentrations in Children’s Wear, Intimate Apparel, Knitwear, Special Occasion, and Sportswear. Also on the menu are a BS in International Trade and Marketing for the Fashion Industries, a BS in Textile Development and Marketing, and AAS and BFA degrees in Textile/Surface Design.
BS degrees in Technical Design and Jewelry Design are on the menu as well as an AAS in Menswear and a BS in Entrepreneurship that prepares students to start their own design studios, boutiques, or other businesses. A number of Master’s degree programs are also available and include Fashion and Textile Studies: History, Theory, Museum Practice (MA), Illustration (MFA), and Global Fashion Management (MPS). FIT also offers the country’s only Certificate programs in Performance Athletic Footwear and Millinery.
Besides an endless number of specialized program offerings for aspiring fashion designers, FIT has more Study Abroad opportunities that just about any other school of fashion. First, FIT’s International BFA program features 1 year of fashion design study in New York and the other in Milan, Italy. FIT also offers Study Abroad summer programs at the London College of Fashion (one of the world’s leading cities for fashion), as well as experiences in Barcelona, Florence, Shanghai, and more. Students may Study Abroad for a semester, a summer or winter, or a full year.
FIT also offers plenty of opportunities to work with some of the biggest names in fashion through the school’s celebrated internship program. Students have completed internships at companies such as Kenneth Cole, Ralph Lauren, Guess, Liz Claiborne, Nike, Macy's, Jones Apparel Group, Ann Taylor, Nine West, Perry Ellis, Saks, Calvin Klein, DKNY, Marc Jacobs, and Helmut Lang. Many have accepted full-time positions at other companies such as Michael Kors, Steve Madden, and Liz Claiborne.
2. Parsons The New School For Design, New York, New York
Parsons The New School for Design was established in 1896. A “pioneer in art and design education,” Parsons attracts working artists and faculty from New York and around the world. Also called “The New School” or “Parsons,” this school is home to 5,000 students enrolled in more than 40 degree programs across five schools including the Schools of Fashion, Art and Design History and Theory, Design Strategies, Constructed Environments, and the School of Art, Media, and Technology. The School of Fashion offers several renowned programs for aspiring fashion designers.
Offerings include AAS and BFA degrees in Fashion Design, an MFA in Fashion Design and Society, and an MA in Fashion Studies. Students looking to enhance their education and career opportunities may opt for the Design Business Certificate or the BA/BFA Dual degree. The Dual degree highlights trendy areas of interest such as Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Design.
In 1921, Parsons became the first art and design school in the U.S. to found a campus in the magical City of Paris. The Paris campus offers a BFA in Fashion Design, a BBA in Strategic Design and Management, and an MA in History of Decorative Arts and Design. Students may be selected to study abroad in Paris for a year or a semester. In addition, Parsons offers study experiences in Scandinavia.
3. Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, Georgia
Established in 1978, Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) houses 9 schools, offering more than 40 majors, 60+ minors, and 7 degree types. SCAD is home to more than 11,000 students across campuses in Savannah, Atlanta, Hong Kong, and Lacoste, France. One of school’s top five programs is the Fashion program. Available at the Atlanta, Hong Kong, and Savannah campuses, aspiring fashion designers may choose from a BFA, MA, or MFA in Fashion Design.
A Minor in Fashion Design is also on the menu as well as BFA, MA, and MFA degrees in Accessory Design, Fibers, and Jewelry. Other offerings include BA, BFA, MA, and MFA degrees in Illustration, an MA in Illustration Design, and a Minor in Accessory Design.
Besides a long list of exceptional program offerings for aspiring fashion designers, the Fashion program at SCAD partners with ELLE Magazine for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in NYC. This gives students the opportunity to participate in this prominent event. Many SCAD students have been selected for mentoring by renowned designers such as Zac Posen, Catherine Malandrino, and Chris Benz and all programs offer internship opportunities with major designers and companies such as Betsey Johnson, Bergdorf Goodman, Vera Wang, Marc Jacobs, BCBG, Juicy Couture, Martha Stewart, Calvin Klein, Helmut Lang, and many others.
Finally, SCAD has one of the highest graduate employment rates in the country. Around 91 percent of alumni respondents reported being employed, pursuing further education or both within nine months of graduation.
4. Kent State University, Kent, Ohio
Kent State University’s College of the Arts is home to the Shannon Rodgers and Jerry Silverman School of Fashion Design and Merchandising. At this popular fashion school, students may pursue either a BA or BFA in fashion design.
Kent State now also offers the first Master of Fashion (MFash) degree in the United States. The MFash is a 30-credit professional degree program that incorporates technology implementation, management, design, sustainability, and product development.
Program highlights include the Annual Fashion Show, access to the Kent State University Museum costume collection, the “TechStyleLAB,” and the June F. Mohler Fashion Library. Study tours of Florence, Paris, and Hong Kong are also on the menu, as well as KSU’s NYC Studio, which is located in the famous NYC Fashion District. The NYC Studio provides full-semester academic programs for Kent State fashion students during the fall, spring, and summer terms.
Established in 1910 as the “Kent State Normal School,” Kent State University’s main campus is home to more than 27,500 students from all 50 states and 100 countries. Commonly referred to as Kent, Kent State, and KSU, Kent State University has seven other
campuses in Ashtabula, East Liverpool, Geauga, Salem, Stark, Tuscarawas, and Trumbull, Ohio. With a total student body of more than 43,000 (with more than 15,500 students across Kent’s seven other campuses), Kent State University is the third largest university in Ohio and the 27th largest regional campus system in the nation.
5. Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York, New York
Founded in 1887, Pratt Institute sits on a 25-acre campus in the Clinton Hill section of Brooklyn—a lively art community, and just 30 minutes from Manhattan. The Institute, which is home to 4,627 students from 48 states and 80 countries, offers more than 60 programs, across several departments and schools. The School of Art and Design is home to the Fashion Department and a large collection of other undergraduate fine arts programs.
The Fashion Department offers the globally recognized BFA in Fashion Design. This interdisciplinary program combines Fashion Education and Design with Illustration, Photography, Film, Performance, Visual Studies, and Material Culture. Students will have the opportunity to participate in annual design competitions sponsored the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund as well as companies such as Cotton Incorporated and Supima Cotton. These events offer exposure to the fashion world and the opportunity to vie for scholarships and other support.
All design programs offer the opportunity to complete an internship in New York’s famous fashion district and many others throughout the state. Students have completed internships at Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren, Zero Maria Cornejo, and Rag & Bone. Students are also encouraged to participate in the Study Abroad program, which features study experiences in London (one of the world’s leading cities for fashion), Rome and Venice (fashion capitals), Copenhagen (home to Scandinavia's largest fashion week), South Africa, and many other places.
Besides the BFA in Fashion Design, Pratt offers a BFA in Fine Arts with an Emphasis in Jewelry or Drawing, an Associate degree program (AOS) in Illustration, and an AAS in Graphic Design/Illustration.
6. Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Founded in 1891, Drexel University sits on a 74-acre campus just minutes from Downtown Philadelphia (Center City). Home to around 21,912 students from 50 states and 100 foreign countries, Drexel University has nine campuses, and it offers more than 200 undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs across more than dozen colleges and schools. The school’s Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design is home to the Fashion Design program.
Offerings include a BS in Fashion Design and a BS Design & Merchandising. Fashion program highlights include the Drexel Undergraduate Co-op and an annual fashion show. The Drexel Undergraduate Co-op gives students the opportunity to gain six to 18 months of paid career-related work experience at places such as Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Coach, and Neiman Marcus. The Drexel Fashion Show attracts media and industry professionals, giving students to opportunity to display their best work and network with successful designers and brands.
All students have the opportunity to participate in Drexel’s internship program, which offers both local and nationwide opportunities, as well as the Study Abroad program. The school offers both short- and long-term experiences in fashion meccas such as London and France, as well as Iceland, Prague, Australia, and Greece.
7. Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa
Established in 1858 under the name Iowa Agricultural College and Model Farm, Iowa State University began with a farmhouse, 648 acres, and several dozen students. Today, the school sits on a 1,795-acre campus consisting of more than 100 buildings and 33,241 students enrolled in eight colleges and two schools. Students may choose from more than 100 majors and 800+ student organizations.
Iowa State University’s College of Human Sciences’ (CHS) Apparel, Events, and Hospitality Department is home to the popular Fashion program. Offerings include BS and MS degrees
in Apparel, Merchandising, and Design. Also on the menu is a rare PhD and distance PhD in Apparel, Merchandising, and Design. Both PhD programs prepare students to work in the fashion industry, academia, museums and more. The hybrid (distance) PhD features 1 or 2 short on-campus summer coursework sessions.
Fashion program highlights include access to the Department’s Textiles and Clothing Museum and state-of-the-art equipment and facilities such as the Digital Textile Design and Printing Studio, Design Production Lab, Sourcing Simulator, Body Scanning Technology, Product Development Technology and Testing Lab, and OptiTex Computer-Aided Design Software.
Students also participate in the Annual Fashion Show, they have the opportunity to work on the Department’s award-winning fashion magazine—Trend, and they are encouraged to enroll in the Study Abroad program, which will take them to places such as Hong Kong, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Suzhou, and Wuhan.
8. Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, California
Established in 1918, Otis College of Art and Design (OTIS) was created by the founder and publisher of the world famous Los Angeles Times—General Harris Gray Otis. The school, Southern California’s first independent school of art, sits in a 5-acre main campus on LA’s Westside. With additional campuses in Downtown LA (in the heart of The Fashion District), Culver City, and the 18th Street Arts Center in Santa Monica, OTIS accommodates more than 1,100 students enrolled in more than a dozen programs from Architecture and Product Design to Writing and Fashion Design.
The OTIS Fashion Design Department offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Fashion Design. Program highlights include an annual fashion show and access to famous guest design mentors such as Billabong, Venus Williams, and Urban Outfitters. All OTIS students have the opportunity to enroll in the school’s Study Abroad program during their final years of study. Past study destinations include the Island country of Palau, Venice, Belgium, France, China, and Italy. Travel Study Tours to New York City are also on the menu.
After completing the program, an internship, and exciting study experiences, many OTIS Fashion graduates have gone on to work with Vivienne Tam, Sean John, Michael Kors, and John Varvatos, as well as DKNY, Liz Claiborne, Max Studio, Abercrombie & Fitch, Gap, Jane Magazine, and many others.
9. Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island
Established in 1877, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD or RIZ-dee) is one of the nation’s oldest schools of art and design. “Founded and nurtured by women,” RISD is now home to a co-ed student population of 2,420 and more than 500 faculty members. The school sits on a 51-acre urban campus, and it houses several of the region’s most popular attractions including RISD Museum of Art, the Nature Lab, and Fleet Library at RISD. The Fleet Library features more than 150,000 volumes of art, design, architecture, and photography, Nature Lab features more than 80,000 natural history objects, and RISD Museum of Art is home to 86,000 works of fine and decorative art from ancient times to the present,
Rhode Island School of Design offers graduate and undergraduate degrees in 19 majors. The most popular undergraduate degree is the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree (BFA). Fine Arts offerings for aspiring fashion designers include a BFA in Apparel Design, BFA and MFA degrees in Textiles, and Jewelry + Metalsmithing, and a BFA in Illustration.
BFA and MFA program highlights include mandatory internships that often lead to employment in the industry, seminar speakers, field experiences, visiting critics, interaction with experts in the field, and an annual runway show. Although not mandatory, students are encouraged to participate in RISD’s enriching Study Abroad program.
The program offers access to 45 participating institutions in 26 countries. Study Abroad experiences last a full semester. Past destinations include Copenhagen, Rome, Mexico, France, Japan, New Zealand, Scotland, Switzerland, Cuba, Russia, Paris, Bali, Ghana, Costa Rica, and Guatemala.
10. Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
Established in 1865, Cornell University is the land-grant institution of New York State and one of the nation’s top Ivy League schools. Home to more than 14,000 undergraduate students and 7,000+ graduate students from across the U.S. and 120 countries, Cornell University houses 14 colleges and schools offering more than 80 formal major fields, 70 minors, and dozens of graduate and professional degrees. The school, which sits on a massive 2,300-acre campus, has graduate and professional units in New York City and Doha, Qatar and the recently opened Cornell NYC Tech Campus in New York City, which is less than 200 miles from the Ithaca campus.
Cornell University's College of Human Ecology, Department of Fiber Science & Apparel Design (FSAD) offers several esteemed programs for aspiring fashion designers, beginning with the BS in Fiber Science & Apparel Design with Specializations in Apparel Design, Fashion Design Management, and Fiber Science. The Fashion Design Management program offers three options including Management and Marketing, Product Development, or Communications. A Minor in Fiber Science is also on the menu.
FSAD is also home to an immersive Graduate Studies program that offers 5 degrees for fashion designers. Options include MS and PhD programs in Fiber Science, an MA and PhD in Apparel Design, and a Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Human Ecology. MPS Concentrations include Fiber Science and Apparel Design.
FSAD highlights include internship and Study Abroad opportunities in Italy, Australia, England, Israel, and Spain. The Department even offers an unheard of Semester at Sea. Students also have access to the school’s elaborate National Textile Center and Cornell Costume and Textile Collection, and The Cornell Fashion Collective. The Collective is a student-run organization that produces a professional runway show that displays student designs and fashion management skills. The show offers a tremendous amount of exposure to the industry, giving students a head start on securing a position with a top designer or brand.
11. Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon
Oregon State University (OSU) was established in 1868. The school, which sits on a green 400-acre campus, is just 90 miles from picturesque Portland, Oregon and an hour from the Pacific Coast or the Cascades. The school is home to 27,925 students from 50 states and 100 countries. OSU students have access to more than 200 degree programs across 12 colleges, 15 Agricultural Experiment Stations, 35 county Extension offices, the Hatfield Marine Sciences Center in Newport and OSU-Cascades in Bend, Oregon.
The School of Design and Human Environment at OSU’s main campus is home to the sought-after Fashion program at OSU. The School offers a BS in Apparel Design and an MA, MAIS (Master of Arts in International Studies), and PhD in Design and Human Environment. All fashion students (graduate or undergraduate) may participate in the School of Design and Human Environment annual fashion show—designed, modeled, built, managed, and promoted by OSU students.
12. Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama
Auburn University (AU or Auburn) was established in 1856 as East Alabama Male College. In 1872, the College became the first land-grant college in the South and was renamed Agricultural and Mechanical College of Alabama. The name changed again to Alabama Polytechnic Institute in 1899. It wasn’t until 1960, that the school became Auburn University. Today, Auburn University is home to 13 schools and more than 25,000 students, enrolled in over than 140 degree programs.
Auburn University’s College of Consumer and Design Sciences offers several undergraduate and advanced degrees for aspiring fashion designers. Many of these programs combine elements of fashion design, merchandising, and management, but student may choose to focus in a specific area. Offerings include a BS in Apparel Merchandising, Design, and Production Management (BS-AMDP), a Master of Science in Consumer and Design Sciences Apparel and Interiors (MS-CADS), and a Doctor of Philosophy in Consumer and Design Sciences (PhD-CADS).
Focus areas for the BS-AMDP include Apparel Design and Production Management, and Apparel Merchandising. Besides immersive study in everything from Apparel Design to Global Retailing, fashion students will take study tours to Atlanta, New York and other cities, and attend speaking events that feature professionals from the textile, apparel, and retailing fields. According to Auburn, speakers include corporate CEO’s, internationally recognized designers, product developers, store managers, merchandisers, and industry representatives.
All Apparel and Design programs include a ten-week professional internship during the final year of study. Fashion and Interior Design students also have access to the Joseph S. Bruno - Auburn Abroad in Italy program. This semester-long program takes place in the small town of Ariccia, Italy located in the Alban Hills near Rome. AU Study Abroad opportunities give students “a global perspective on international trade laws, fashion trends, and the impact of culture and economics on consumer preferences,” according to AU.
13. University of North Carolina-Greensboro, Greensboro, North Carolina
Established in 1891, the University of North Carolina-Greensboro (UNC Greensboro or UNCG) opened on a 10-acre campus with just 198 students and 15 faculty members. At the time, the school housed three departments including Commercial, Domestic Science, and Pedagogy. Today, UNC Greensboro sits on a 210-acre campus that houses seven academic schools, two colleges, a graduate school, and a population of more than 17,000 students. The school offers more than 200 graduate and undergraduate programs.
UNC Greensboro’s Bryan School of Business and Economics is home to the Department of Consumer, Apparel, and Retail Studies (CARS). The Department offers several programs for aspiring fashion designers. Undergraduate offerings include BS degrees in Apparel Product Design, Global Apparel and Related Industry Studies, and Retailing and Consumer Studies. Graduate offerings include a Master of Science (MS) and a PhD in Consumer, Apparel, and Retail Studies.
Because UNC Greensboro sits halfway between Atlanta and Washington in the Piedmont Triad area of North Carolina, students have access to literally hundreds (if not thousands) of fashion and retail companies. As such, all students will complete a mandatory internship during the final years of study. The Department sponsors many opportunities at textile and apparel companies across the region and the U.S.
The Department also offers opportunities to study abroad in Africa, Asia, South America, Australia, and Europe. Past opportunities, both locally and internationally, include Polo Ralph Lauren, Hanesbrands, VF, the International Textile Group, and Kayser-Roth.
14. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Established in 1851, the University of Minnesota (U of M) is home to 69,221 students, making it the largest university in the State of Minnesota. The school has five campuses including Twin Cities (Minneapolis and St. Paul), Crookston, Duluth, Morris, and Rochester. The Twin Cities campus stretches across 1,150 acres in Minneapolis and St. Paul, and it houses the bulk of the student population—around 52,557 students. Besides a large student population, the campus features historic architecture, green spaces, and views of the Mississippi River.
The University of Minnesota offers more than 180 programs throughout 19 colleges and schools. The College of Design is home to school’s competitive Fashion Design program. Degree offerings include a BS in Apparel Design, and MA, MS, and PhD degrees in Design with an Apparel Studies Track. A Minor in Fashion Studies is also on the menu.
Although enrollment in the school’s Study Abroad program is not required, the College of Design encourages participation. Fashion students may enroll during their third year of study and possible locations include London (one of the world’s leading cities for fashion), Australia, Fiji, Italy (home to several fashion capitals), and the Netherlands. Students may also participate in global seminars, freshman seminars abroad, and the school’s Work, Intern, and Volunteer Abroad program. Although the program is non-credit, most students agree that the experience is priceless.
15. Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma
Established in 1890, Oklahoma State University (OSU) sits on an 840-acre main campus, less than 70 miles from Oklahoma City and Tulsa. The school, which is home to 35,000 students across five campuses, offers dozens of degree programs across 10 colleges. OSU’s College of Human Sciences-Department of Design, Housing and Merchandising (DHM) is home to the school’s Fashion program.
Options for aspiring fashion designers include a BS in Apparel Design and Production (ADP) with a Focus in Apparel or Production. DHM also offers an MS in Design, Housing and Merchandising (MS DHM), a PhD in Human Environmental Sciences with a Specialization in DHM, and a Minor in Apparel Design and Production.
According to OSU-DHM, “ADP students gain real-world experience by completing an internship for academic credit, usually between the students’ junior and senior years. Recent internship sites include Vera Wang, BCBG, Victoria’s Secret, Lands’ End and Liz Claiborne.” Travel Study programs also help students reach their goals, and may include experiences in the Fashion Capitals of Paris and New York, as well as Dallas, Mexico, Berlin, and others.
DHM graduates have obtained positions at companies and labels such as J.C. Penney, DKNY, Dillard’s, Cabella’s, and Red Engine Jeans in LA, Leota in NYC, and many others.
16. Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado
Established in 1870, Colorado State University (CSU) sits on nearly 5,000 stunning acres, with an additional 4,600 acres for research centers, Cooperative Extension offices, and Colorado State Forest Service stations. The school has a main campus, a foothills campus, an agricultural campus, and a mountain campus (Pingree Park). It is home to 30,700 students enrolled in more than 150 programs across eight Colleges, six Schools, an International program, and an Online Division.
CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences is home to the state’s award-winning Fashion program. The program, which received the first Award for Excellence given by the American Textile Manufacturers Institute, offers two top-rated options for aspiring fashion designers. The BS in Apparel and Merchandising features a Concentration in Apparel Design and Production and the MS in Design and Merchandising offers a Concentration in Apparel and Merchandising.
Program highlights include participation in special projects with the Denver Merchandise Mart—located just 65 miles away in the City of Denver, participation in the Textile and International Apparel Association Fashion Show, and internship opportunities with famous designers and brands. Betsy Johnson, Diane Von Furstenberg, Miss Sixty, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, and Ralph Lauren are just a few.
Study Abroad experiences and internships are also on the menu—and they are highly recommended. Past locations include Amsterdam, Belgium, Paris, Rome, Venice, Chile, New Zealand, and more. Paris, Rome, and Venice are just a few of the world’s most celebrated fashion capitals.
Colorado State University also features an outstanding Career Services Department. It offers access to more than 7,000 full-time jobs and internship opportunities and so far, it has hosted 12 career fairs and 10 networking events, which featured more than 400 employers. The school has coordinated 3,000+ on-campus interviews and has more than 11,000 career advising appointments annually. Finally, according to the Department, 63 percent of CSU graduates secure their first destination plans by graduation day.
17. School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
Established in 1866 the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) is one of the country’s oldest accredited independent schools of art and design. Originally named “Chicago Academy of Design,” this world-renowned art and design school is located in Downtown Chicago, just steps from attractions such as Millennium Park, the Mag Mile, Grant Park and more. Home to
around 3,200 students, SAIC houses more than 40 departments and areas of study. Among them is the Department of Fashion Design, which has a remarkable 80-year history.
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago-Department of Fashion Design operates within Sage Studios for Fashion Design. The Studio sits in a historic building designed by Louis Sullivan and offers several competitive programs for aspiring fashion designers. Options include a BFA in Fashion Design, a BFA in Fiber and Material Studies, a Master of Design in Fashion, Body and Garment, a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Fashion Body and Garment, and Certificates in Fashion, Drawing, and Illustration.
All fashion students have access to the Department’s Fashion Resource Center, which is “a hands-on collection of late 20th- and 21st-century designer garments representing extreme innovation,” and instruction by prominent professionals in the fashion industry with both national and international experience + connections in the industry.
Many SAIC fashion graduates have completed internships with international houses such as Zac Posen, Alexander McQueen, Givenchy, and Vivian Westwood, while others work in senior positions at places such as Jones New York, Tommy Hilfiger, Levis, and Nike. Many graduates design for major names in the industry such as Betsey Johnson, Anna Sui, Marc Jacobs, and many others.
18. University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio
Established in 1819, the University of Cincinnati (UC) is an innovative institution that offered the first degree program via satellite, the first emergency medicine residency program, and the first Bachelor’s degree program in Nursing. This pioneering university sits on a 473-acre campus (listed as a “world’s most beautiful campus”) and it is home to 42,656 students enrolled in 308 programs of study.
UC’s program for aspiring fashion designers operates within the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP). The BS in Fashion Design offers a comprehensive curriculum consisting of coursework in the areas of Foundation Studies, Realization and Development of Fashion, Art and Design, Fashion Design, and technical courses from Pattern-making and Draping to Tailoring and Trend Development. The program also “includes a mandatory cooperative education component, where students work full-time in the fashion industry on alternating semesters.” This means graduates will already have 1 ½ years of solid professional fashion experience to their credit, which is invaluable in the competitive world of fashion.
In addition to gaining experience in the fashion industry, students have the opportunity to participate in the annual DAAPworks Fashion Show. According to the Department, “DAAPworks highlights the creative output of each year's graduating class,” at a sold-out event that is described as “the highest profile event of the year.” After the show, student creations are often displayed at the Reed, Meyers, or Sycamore Galleries of UC.
While the University of Cincinnati offers access to the city’s rich art scene—the Cincinnati Art Museum, the Taft Museum, the Contemporary Arts Center, art galleries and more, the school is also in driving distance of Chicago, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh, which gives DAAP students the opportunity to experience the “rich cultural resources of these cities as well.” The city also enjoys the presence of numerous art galleries and a strong support system among practicing artists.
19. University of North Texas, Denton, Texas
The University of North Texas (UNT) was established in 1890 as a normal and teacher-training institute. It was the first school to offer a jazz studies program, the first Bachelor's degree in e-Merchandising, and the first Master of Science (MS) program in Merchandising—offered completely online. The school, now a Carnegie Classified Doctoral/Research University, sits on an 884-acre campus and it is home to a population of 35,778 students enrolled in more than 200 programs across 12 colleges and schools.
Aspiring fashion designers will find several outstanding programs through the through UNT’s College of Visual Arts & Design (CVAD)-Department of Design. The CVAD-Department of Design Fashion program offers BFA and MFA degrees in Fashion Design. Fashion students immerse in Design, Patternmaking, Fashion History, Fitting, Flat and Draped Methods, and more. Both programs offer access to the Texas Fashion Collection—a collection of more than 15,000 articles of historic clothing and accessories, and the opportunity to study Accessories, Fashion Studio, Fashion in New York, and complete an internship.
According to CVAD, BFA graduates have landed design positions at major companies such as Dillards, Liz Claiborne, Fossil, Sag Harbor, Talbots, Tandy Brands, Panhandle Slim, Dickies, Gloria Vanderbilt, Nieman Marcus, Zales, and Calvin Klein. MFA graduates “typically progress into teaching at the college level.” Several recent graduates accepted “tenure-track positions in the Fashion Design Department at Kent State University.”
20. Philadelphia University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Established in 1884 as the Philadelphia Textile School, Philadelphia University (PhilaU) sits on a 100-acre campus in the East Falls section of Philadelphia, just 8 miles from historic Center City Philadelphia, just 30 miles from Trenton, New Jersey, and around 145 miles from New York. Home to nearly 3,000 students enrolled in 60+ areas of study, PhilaU houses 3 colleges—the College of Architecture and the Built Environment; the Kanbar College of Design, Engineering and Commerce; and the College of Science, Health and the Liberal Arts.
PhilaU’s Kanbar College of Design, Engineering, and Commerce houses the prominent Fashion and Textile programs. Offerings include BS degrees in Fashion Design, Fashion Merchandising and Management, Textile Design, and Textiles Materials Technology. The Fashion Merchandising and Management program offers 10 Clusters. Some may be suitable for aspiring fashion designers looking to enhance their education and career opportunities.
Clusters include Fashion Technology, Fashion Material Insight and Innovation, Fashion Entrepreneurship, and Global Brand Marketing, to name a few. The College also offers MS degrees in Textile Design, Textile Engineering, Global Fashion Enterprise, and Surface Imaging. A rare PhD in Textile Engineering and Sciences is also on the menu.
Philadelphia University “houses more than 20 laboratories and studios for hands-on experience” in all areas of design, including Fashion Design and Textile Design. In addition to laboratories and studio space, other program highlights include the Annual Fashion Show, a successful internship program, career discovery workshops, and Study Abroad experiences. Just a few Study Abroad destinations include Italy, Hong Kong, Manchester, and New Zealand.
21. Columbia College Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
Columbia College Chicago was established in 1890 as Columbia School of Oratory. Considered a pioneer in arts and media education, Columbia College is home to around 11,000 graduate and undergraduate students enrolled in more than 120 academic majors and programs.
Programs for aspiring fashion designers include a BA in Fashion Design, a BA in Fashion Business, a BFA in Fashion Design, and a Minor in Fashion Business. Students may also consider the BFA in Illustration or the BFA in Photography to enhance their education and career opportunities.
Fashion program highlights include the Annual Fashion Show, internship opportunities at local, regional, and national companies, and access to a Study Abroad Program that features experiences in more than 70 countries. Fashion students may travel to fashion capitals such as London, Paris, Milan, Florence, and more. Columbia College’s Study Abroad Fair takes place each fall and spring term.
Besides a nice collection of celebrated fashion programs and exciting Study Abroad experiences, Columbia College sits in the perfect location—the heart of Downtown Chicago. This means, fashion students have access to world famous art museums such as the Art Institute of Chicago, beautiful Millennium Park, and the Magnificent Mile (Mag Mile). This 13-block stretch of North Michigan Avenue is home to more than 460 retail stores and high-end designer boutiques (Burberry, Chanel, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Ermenegildo Zegna, and more), 275 restaurants, 60 hotels, dozens of attractions, and every form entertainment you can imagine.
22. University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware
The University of Delaware (UD) was established in 1743 as a small private academy. Today, the school is a Land Grant, Sea Grant and Space Grant institution, with a student body of more than 17,000 undergraduates, 3,600+ graduates, and 800 students in professional and continuing studies. The former home of Vice President Joseph R. Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, UD offers nearly 350 programs across seven colleges.
The University of Delaware College of Arts & Sciences is home to the Department of Fashion & Apparel Studies. The Department offers a variety of unique programs for aspiring fashion designers. Options include a BS in Apparel Design, an MS in Fashion and Apparel Studies, a Graduate Certificate in Socially Responsible and Sustainable Apparel Business, and a Minor in Fashion History and Culture. Also on the menu is the popular 4+1 program. This program allows undergraduate Fashion Merchandising majors to complete the Master's degree in Fashion and Apparel Studies in half the time.
All fashion programs offer the opportunity to participate in field study experiences in New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and California. One of the most highly desired experiences is The Visiting Student program. This cooperative arrangement between the University of Delaware (UD) and the famed Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) allows students to complete courses at FIT and apply them to the BS in Apparel Design or Fashion Merchandising. Upon successful completion of course requirements at both schools, students qualify for an Associate's degree from FIT and a Bachelor's degree from the University of Delaware.
Internship opportunities with top designers such as Marc Jacobs International are also on the menu as well as Study Abroad experiences. Hong Kong and Glasgow, Scotland are just a few popular destinations.
23. Academy of Art University, San Francisco, California
The Academy of Art University was established in 1929 with just 50 students. Today, the school is home to more than 18,000 students enrolled in dozens of programs at all degree levels. Academy of Art University offers Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA), Bachelor of Arts (BA), Associate of Arts (AA), Master of Fine Arts (MFA), Master of Arts (MA), and Master of Architecture (MArch) degrees. The school also offers Certificate programs and Continuing Art Education courses. Majors range from Acting to Illustration to Textile Design.
The Academy of Art’s School of Fashion offers a large collection programs for aspiring fashion designers. Options include AA, BFA, and MFA degrees in Textiles, Knitwear, Merchandising, and Design, an AA or BFA in Visual Merchandising, and an AA in Menswear. AA, BFA, and MFA degrees in Illustration are also on the menu as well as several online options including AA, BFA, or MFA degrees in Fashion and an Online Award of Completion (OAC) in Fashion Design.
Fashion students have the opportunity to participate in the biannual fashion show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Lincoln Center in New York City, and the Annual Graduation Fashion Show in San Francisco. The School of Fashion also notes that Fashion Styling students may work on the School of Fashion’s magazine projects, the Fashion School Daily Blog, and on international publications and websites.
24. North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina
North Carolina State University (NC State University) is home to one of the region’s most popular student fashion shows—Art2Wear. The annual fashion showcase gives Design and Fashion students the opportunity to create and present their art + design collections to a broad audience made up peers, professionals in the industry, professors, and more. NC State is also the home of Project Runway contestant (season 12) and College of Design Assistant Professor, Justin LeBlanc.
Besides the annual fashion show and famous alums, NC State offers several excellent programs for aspiring fashion designers through the College of Textiles and the College of Design. The College of Textiles offers an impressive 11 programs. Options for aspiring fashion designers include BS degrees in Fashion and Textile Design, Textile Technology, Textile Engineering, and Polymer and Color Chemistry. Fashion designers may also be interested in the Fashion and Textile Management program, which offers a unique concentration in Fashion Development and Product Management.
Graduate offerings include a Master of Textiles, and MS degrees in Textiles, Textile Chemistry, and Textile Engineering. Two Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programs and several competitive Graduate Certificate programs are also on the menu for designers looking to enhance their education and employment opportunities. Options include a PhD in Fiber and Polymer Science, a PhD in Textile Technology Management, and Certificates in Nonwovens Science and Technology, Consumer Textile Product Design and Development, Textile Brand Management and Marketing, and Textile Supply Chain Management.
College of Design- Department of Art + Design offerings include a BA in Art + Design Studio-Fashion and Textile Production Design, a BA in Design Studies, and a BA in Fibers and Surface Design with a Focus in Weaving, Fiber Arts, or Surface Design, and a Master of Art + Design-Fibers and Surface Design. Minors in Art + Design and Design Studies are also on the menu.
Established in 1887, NC State is home to more than 34,000 students from all 100 North Carolina counties, 52 states and 119 foreign countries, making it the largest university in the state. The campus, which sits on 21,075 lush acres, is just minutes from bustling Downtown Raleigh—the city’s source of shopping, culture, entertainment, and more. NC State offers 300 undergraduate and graduate degree programs through 12 colleges and 65 departments.
25. Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, Los Angeles, California
Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) has been the setting for Project Runway and several graduates became contestants, finalists, and a winner—Leanne Marshall, season five. In addition, several FIDM graduates have appeared on TV shows such as NBC’s Fashion Star and The Bachelorette. Considered the “first fashion college of its kind on the West Coast,” FIDM’s list of offerings for fashion designers is impressive as well.
Majors for aspiring fashion designers include Advanced Fashion Design, Apparel Industry Management, Film & TV Costume Design, Merchandise Product Development, Textile Design, and Textile Production & Development. All programs lead to an Associate of Arts degree (AA).
In addition to a sizable collection of fashion design programs, Project Runway fame, and successful alums, FIDM features an Annual televised and internationally webcast DEBUT Runway Show as well as domestic and international Study Tours to fashion capitals such as New York City, Paris, London, Rome, and Milan.
Established in 1969, the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) consists of four well-placed campuses in the state’s top fashion, entertainment, and manufacturing cities. FIDM campuses include Los Angeles (home of the famous LA Fashion District which features the largest selection of textiles and notions in the United States), San Francisco, Orange (Irvine, CA), and San Diego. The school is home to 8,000 students and 500 faculty members, and it offers 22 creative majors, 2-year Associate of Arts degrees and a BS degree.
26. Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas
Kansas State University is America’s first fully operational Land-Grant University and one of the region’s oldest academic institutions. Also called “K-State,” Kansas State University was established in 1858 with just 53 students. Today, K-State has campuses in Manhattan, Salina, and Olathe, and it is home to more than 24,300 students from 50 states and more than 100 countries. More than 250 undergraduate majors are available as well as 65 Master's degrees, 45 Doctoral degrees, and 22 Graduate Certificates across nine colleges.
The College of Human Ecology-Department of Apparel, Textiles, and Interior Design houses the Kansas State University Fashion program. Home to more than 2,000 students, the College is one of the largest of its kind in the U.S. Offerings for aspiring fashion designers include a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Apparel and Textiles with Specializations in Apparel Design and Apparel Marketing. The Department also offers a resident MS degree in Apparel and Textiles with an Emphasis in Design, Product Development, Marketing, and Merchandising and a compelling resident Ph.D. degree with a Specialization in Apparel and Textiles.
27. University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) has been around for 145 years, making it one of the oldest universities in the Midwest. Chartered in 1869, UNL is home to more than 24,000 students, which also makes it one of the largest universities in the Midwest. The school, which sits on a 600+-acre campus, is just steps from Lincoln’s Downtown area and it offers more
than 200 programs across 10 colleges.
The College of Education and Human Sciences-Department of Textiles is home to the schools Fashion program. Offerings for aspiring fashion designers include a BS in Textile Science, a BS in Textile and Apparel Design, and a BS in Textiles & Fashion Communications. The school also offers a variety of graduate programs including MA, MS, and PhD programs in Textiles and Fashion Design. Graduate students have several unique Focus Areas to choose from including Textiles and Apparel Design, Textile Science, and Textile History and Quilt Studies.
All fashion students have access to the Mary Mitchell Fashion Studio, Splinter Laboratory, the Robert Hillestad Textiles Gallery, and the Historic Textile & Costume Collection. The program also offers a very active internship program, which features sponsors such as Vera Wang, Nicole Miller, InStyle Magazine, Elie Tahari, and more. Study Tours to London, Italy, Paris, Prague, Shanghai, and Beijing are also on the menu.
28. California College of the Arts, San Francisco, California
Established in 1907 by an artist in his own right—German Cabinetmaker Frederick Meyer,
California College of the Arts (CCA) educates and trains artists of all kinds in the areas of Fine Arts, Design, Writing, and Architecture. The school, which sits on a green 4-acre campus in one of the world’s top technology centers, is located right next to the city's famous design district. CCA offers a total of 33 BA, BArch, BFA, MArch, MA, MBA, and MFA degree programs.
Just a few of the school’s most talked-about programs are the BFAs in Fashion Design, Textiles, Jewelry and Metal Arts, and Illustration. Graduate offerings include a Master’s in Design and an MBA in Design Strategy. CCA also offers a unique Individualized Major (INDI) that allows students to follow a personalized program of study. INDI students typically work in two or three areas of study.
All fashion and design programs offer the opportunity to interact with visiting artists and participate in CCA’s Lecture Series—where students attend presentations and meet one-on-one with influential fashion designers and other artists; the biennial Masters of Tradition Series, and the Annual Fashion Show sponsored by Levi Strauss & Company, Abercrombie & Fitch, and many others.
In addition, CCA is home to one of the nation’s top fashion internship programs, which allows students to gain valuable hands-on experience at fashion firms such as DKNY, Jones of New York, Abercrombie & Fitch, Ralph Lauren, Narciso Rodriguez, Nike, J. Crew, Levi’s, The North Face, and more. Unique Study Abroad experiences are also on the menu. Led by CCA faculty, students can expect to visit fashion centers such as Paris, Italy, London, and Spain, as well as Argentina, Berlin, Ecuador, Iceland, Japan, Scotland, and many others.
29. University of Texas-Austin, Austin, Texas
The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) is the largest school in the University of Texas system. Established in 1883 with just a single building, eight teachers, two departments, and 221 students, the school is also one of the largest public universities in the U.S. Home to more than 50,000 students, UT Austin sits on a 350-acre main campus and offers more than 170 undergraduate programs, more than 150 Master’s programs and 80+ Doctoral programs, across 18 colleges and schools.
The College of Natural Sciences-School of Human Ecology is home to one of the region’s best programs for aspiring fashion designers. The Textiles and Apparel program features several options including a BS in Textiles and Apparel with Specializations in Apparel Design and Conservation, and a Master of Science in Textile and Apparel Technology (MSTAT). The Conservation Specialization is the only Textile Conservation program offered in the State of Texas.
Program highlights include unique Study Abroad opportunities in China and India, access to a collection of more than 6,000 textiles and apparel items, accessories and artifacts dating from 1820 to the 80s, internship opportunities at top fashion firms, and the Annual Fashion Show. The show allows students to display their designs and collections to more than 5,000 fashion designers and other industry professionals, peers, media, and more.
Apparel Design and Conservation students have accepted positions at Calvin Klein, Betsey Johnson, Ralph Lauren, Marc Jacobs, Carolina Herrera, Michael Kors, Escada, Coach, Cosmo Girl, Vera Wang, Anne Klein, Rodarte, Zac Posen, Anna Sui, Donna Karan, Diane Von Furstenberg, Cynthia Rowley, and many others.
30. Marist College, Poughkeepsie, New York
Marist College began offering college courses in 1929 and it received a 4-year charter by the State of New York in 1946. The College, which sits on a stunning 210-acre campus overlooking the Hudson River, is located just 80 miles from New York and Albany. A leader in fusing technology and teaching to “enhance” the learning process, Marist College is “One of the 25 Most Connected Campuses in America.” Home to more than 6,300 students, Marist College offers 44 Bachelor’s, 12 Master’s, and 21 Certificate programs across seven schools.
The School of Communications and the Arts is home the Marist College Fashion program. Options for aspiring fashion designers include a Bachelor of Professional Studies in Fashion Design and a Minor in Fashion Product Development. Program highlights include Marist in Manhattan: Internships in Art, Fashion, and Media (MinM), participation in the Silver Needle Fashion Show, membership in the student club—Fashion Inc., and an exceptional Study Abroad program.
Fashion students have the option to spend a semester or academic year abroad in one of more than 50 locales such as Chine (Hong Kong Polytechnic University) and France (Marist-Mod’Spe Paris). The School of Communication and Arts also features short-term Study Abroad options during winter and spring break. Programs include France: Paris Fashion program: From Atelier to Market Place (winter), Italy and France: Fashion Merchandising: Florence and Paris (spring) and Italy and Spain: Global Fashion Trends: Barcelona and Florence (spring).
31. Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas
Texas Tech University began as Texas Technological College in 1923. It opened in 1925
with 6 buildings and modest student body of 914 students. Today, Texas Tech University is home to more than 30,000 students from all 50 states and 90 foreign countries. It houses 13 colleges and schools, 60+ academic departments, and well over 200 academic fields of study. Texas Tech is also the only campus in Texas that houses a major university, medical school, and law school.
The College of Human Sciences is home to the Apparel Design and Manufacturing
Program (ADM). Program highlights include a Senior Internship, a Design Competition and Senior Fashion Show, and an Annual Tour of New York or Los Angeles. The ADM program leads to a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Apparel Design and Manufacturing. In addition to internships and annual tours of America’s top fashion centers, Texas Tech offers Study Abroad experiences in more than 70 countries including the Texas Tech Center in Seville, Spain, Florence, Australia, and more.
32. Indiana University-Bloomington, Bloomington, Indiana
Founded in 1820, Indiana University-Bloomington (IU Bloomington) sits on 2,000 scenic acres, just 54.9 miles from the state’s largest city—Indianapolis. The school offers more than 180 majors and 330 degree programs across more than 15 colleges and schools. Besides having one of the nation’s largest collections of program offerings, IU Bloomington houses one of the country’s largest Study Abroad Departments. The Department offers 250 programs in 17 languages.
The IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences is home to the Department of Apparel Merchandising & Interior Design, which offers a BA in Fashion Design. This is IU Bloomington’s most popular program for aspiring fashion designers. Department highlights include an Annual Retail and Design Forum, a Career Development Center Internship Fair, Study Tours, and an Annual Fashion Show. Students also have access to a number of valuable student organizations including the Retail Studies Organization (RSO) and the Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) Organization.
33. Stephens College, Columbia, Missouri
Established in 1833, Stephens College is the nation’s second oldest college for women. It sits on an 86-acre campus, just 120 miles from St. Louis and Kansas City. The school offers more than 50 programs, including several top-rated undergraduate programs for aspiring fashion designers and several graduate programs for aspiring fashion entrepreneurs.
The Fashion Department at Stephens College offers a BFA in Fashion Design and Product Development and a BFA in Fashion Communication. Fashion Department highlights include 30+ visiting fashion professionals each year and participation in Stephens’ Annual Spring Fashion Show. Internships at companies such as Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Victoria's Secret, Baby Phat and WWD are on the menu as well as study trips to London, Rome, Paris, Sweden, and more.
Fashion students may earn a Master's degree in as little as one year through the Department's Bachelor's + Master's program. A Minor in Small Business or Small Business Ownership may benefit students on the entrepreneurial path. Students may combine any undergraduate program with a Master of Business Administration, Master in Strategic Leadership, or a Master of Education in Counseling.
34. Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri
Established in 1853, Washington University (WUSTL) is home to more than 14,000 students from all 50 states and more than 100 nations. The school offers more than 90 academic programs across 10 colleges and schools. Among the school’s award-winning collection of undergraduate programs are several celebrated programs for aspiring fashion designers.
The Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts (SDVA)—home of the Fashion program, offers a BFA in Fashion Design, a BFA in Interdisciplinary Studies, and a Minor in Art + Design. Sam Fox SDVA highlights include the Annual Fashion Show, Study Abroad opportunities in Florence, Barcelona, Berlin, and more, the Summer Travel Drawing program, and free membership to the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum.
35. Baylor University, Waco, Texas
Baylor University is the oldest continuously operating university in the State of Texas. Established in 1845, Baylor is home to 15,616 students from every state and more than 80 other countries. The school, which sits on a 1,000-acre campus on the Brazos River in Waco, Texas, offers 144 undergraduate programs, 77 Master’s programs, and 32 Doctoral programs across 11 colleges and schools. The College of Arts and Sciences-Family & Consumer Sciences Department houses the Apparel Design & Product Development program. Offerings for aspiring fashion designers include a BA in Apparel Design & Product Management and a Bachelor of Science in Family and Consumer Sciences Education (BSFCS) in Apparel Design & Product Management.
Program highlights include competitive internships with top designers and brands such as Anna Sui, MTC, Betsey Johnson, Quick Silver, XOXO MTV, Haggar, and Rampage, inspiring Study Tours, and access to the Parker Design Center. The Design Center features the latest state-of-the-art apparel software, equipment, and technology, which is the largest collection of its kind in North America.
Study Tours are either 11 days or 21 days. The 11-day tours allow students to explore apparel manufacturing facilities, designer showrooms, and trend forecasting agencies in the U.S. and Canada. Twenty-one day tours feature travel to the fashion capitals of Europe such as London, Paris, Rome, and Milan.
The University also offers an impressive Study Abroad program that welcomes all students. Overseas study experiences last a summer, semester, or 1 year. Students typically travel to Paris, Florence, or London. Just a few past Study Abroad internships include Ann-Louise Roswald (London), Christopher & LaLou (Paris), Amanda Wakeley (London), and Matthew Williamson (London).
36. Texas Woman’s University, Denton, Texas
Texas Woman’s University (TWU) was founded in 1901 as the Girls Industrial College, Texas Woman’s University. Today, the school is a co-educational university with a student body of 15,000 students across several campuses in Denton, Dallas, and Houston. The Fashion Department at TWU-Denton Campus, Old Main Building (OMB) is home to the Fashion Program at TWU. OMB is the school’s original building.
Degree plans for aspiring fashion designers include a BA in Fashion Design, a BA and BS Dual degree in Fashion Design and Fashion Merchandising, a BA and BBA Dual degree in Fashion Design and General Business-Entrepreneurship, a BA and BS Dual degree in Fashion Design and Marketing, and a Minor in Fashion Design. Program highlights include the Annual Senior Fashion Show, access to state-of-the-art fashion design laboratories and industrial laboratory equipment, a Career Day event, and internships at top fashion retailers, brands, studios, and publications.
Fashion students have interned at such as Rue 21, Aldo, Ann Taylor, Betsey Johnson, bebe, Dillard’s, Express, Michael Kors, Haggar, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Urban Outfitters, Burberry, BCBG Max Azria, Bergdorf Goodman, Oprah Magazine, and Marie Claire Magazine. Finally, all TWU fashion students attend Career Day each year, which takes place at the Dallas Market Center each spring. Sponsored by the Dallas chapter of Fashion Group International (FGI), Career Day features award segments, information presentations, and an additional fashion show highlighting designs from university students from more than 50 universities and community colleges throughout the Southwest, South, Southeast, and Midwest.
37. California State University, Long Beach, Long Beach, California
California State University Long Beach (CSULB) traces its history back to 1949, when it operated under the name Los Angeles-Orange County College. Today, the school has several common names including CSULB, CSU Long Beach and Cal State Long Beach and it sits on a 322-acre campus just 22 miles south of Downtown Los Angeles and 15.9 miles from hip Huntington Beach (Orange County). Home to 35,592 students, Cal State Long Beach offers 85 undergraduate programs, 64 graduate programs, and 4 doctoral degree programs.
The College of Health and Human Services-Department of Family & Consumer Sciences offers several programs for aspiring fashion designers. The Department offers a BA in Apparel Design (Textiles & Clothing), a Double Major in Fashion Merchandising and Textiles & Clothing, an MBA with a Specialization in Fashion Merchandising and Design, and Minors in Fashion Merchandising and Design and Textiles & Clothing.
The Fashion programs at CSULB prepare students for a career as a Fashion Designer, Fashion Stylist, Costumer, Retail Buyer, and more. Program highlights include the Annual Fashion Show, enriching Fashion Tours of New York City, Los Angeles and Europe, and Study Abroad experiences that take place at more than 70 overseas universities in Australia, Chile, Denmark, France, Germany, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, the UK, Zimbabwe, and more.
38. Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Louisiana State University (LSU) was established in 1853 as the Louisiana State Seminary of Learning and Military Academy. The school, which was originally located near Pineville, Louisiana, now sits on a 2,000-acre campus in the City of Baton Rouge—just a few miles from historic Downtown Baton Rouge and 80 miles from lively New Orleans. Home to more than 29,000 students, LSU offers more than 200 major fields across multiple colleges and schools.
Programs for aspiring fashion designers operate within the College of Agriculture-School of Human Ecology. The College offers BS, MS, and PhD degrees in Textiles, Apparel, & Merchandising. Areas of Concentration for fashion designers include Apparel Design and Textile Science. A Textiles, Apparel, & Merchandising Minor is also on the menu.
All fashion students will complete an internship at a local company or retailers in New York or Los Angeles. Study Abroad experiences are available as well. Students have their pick of unique destinations such as Ecuador, China, Germany, Ireland, Spain, and many others. Upon completion of the Fashion program, the internship, and an optional Study Abroad experience, students will be prepared to work with textile and apparel manufacturers, retailers, media firms, testing laboratories, or government agencies. Many graduates go on to launch their own lines or open their own studios or boutiques.
39. Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond Virginia
Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) was established in 1838 as the Medical College of Virginia (MCV). Today, the school is home to 13 schools and one college offering a broad range of programs in all areas of study. VCU offers more than 215 programs at all degree levels across multiple campuses and satellite locations—including overseas in Doha, Qatar. Sixty-six programs are unique to VCU.
The school, which sits on a 144-acre main campus in Downtown Richmond, is home to 31,288 students from across the U.S. and 100 countries—with Saudi Arabia, India, China, and Kuwait leading the pack. Besides the perfect location for art and design students, a richly diverse student body, and distinctive program offerings, Virginia Commonwealth University is home to VCUarts—one of the nation’s best schools of art and design.
VCUarts houses the Department of Fashion Design & Merchandising. Offerings for aspiring fashion designers include a BFA in Fashion Design and BFA and MFA degrees in Fine Arts with a Specialization in Fiber Arts or Jewelry/Metalworking. Program highlights include participation in the Annual Fashion Show, field trips to New York and the MAGIC trade show in Las Vegas, and short-term international trips to Paris, London, Florence, Rome, Hong Kong, and Australia.
Students also have the option to attend VCUQatar where they may earn a BFA in Fashion Design and/or an MFA in Design Studies. Study Abroad opportunities are also on the menu and last one semester. Florence or Guinea, West Africa are just a few past Study Abroad destinations.
Graduates of VCU’s Fashion, Fiber and Material Studies programs hold positions at Nordstrom, GUESS, Harper’s Bazaar, Burberry, Ann Taylor, Ralph Lauren, Cotton Incorporated, Williams-Sonoma, Li and Fung, Calvin Klein, Nautica, Jonathan Saunders, Avia, A/X Armani Exchange, Tracy Reese, Perry Ellis, Macy’s and more.
40. Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant, Michigan
Central Michigan University (CMU) was established in 1892 as Central Michigan Normal School and Business Institute with just 31 students and several rooms above an office in Downtown Mount Pleasant. Today, CMU has expanded to 235 acres and 27,000 students at its main campus in Mount Pleasant, online, and at more than 50 locations across North America. The school offers more than 200 academic programs across eight colleges.
The College of Education and Human Services (CEHS) is home to the Center for Merchandising and Design Technology (CMDT). The Center offers several competitive programs for aspiring fashion designers. Fashion design offerings include BA, BAA, and BS degrees in Apparel Design, an MS in Apparel Product Development and Merchandising Technology, and an Apparel Product Development and Merchandising Technology (APDMT) accelerated Dual Master’s degree. The accelerated program takes just 5 years to complete. A Minor in Apparel Merchandising and Design is also on the menu.
Fashion program highlights include a top-rated internship program that offers the opportunity to work at both national and international companies; industry partnerships with Reebok, Brooks Brothers, and Malden Mills, and membership in The Fashion Association of Merchandising and Design (FAMD). FAMD is a student organization that sponsors the program’s Annual Spring Fashion Show. Although not required, students are encouraged to take advantage of CMU’s Study Abroad program. Past study locations include Hong Kong, London, and Paris.
41. Moore College of Art & Design, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Established in 1848, Moore College of Art & Design was the nation’s first visual arts college for women. Originally named “Philadelphia School of Design for Women” the school became Moore College of Art & Design in 1989, but it is still the nation’s only visual arts college for women. Home to more than 500 students, Moore College offers several dozen programs in multiple areas of art and design. Programs lead to a BFA, MA, MFA, or Certificate.
Offerings for aspiring fashion designers include BFA degrees in Fashion Design and Illustration, Minors in Textile Design, Fashion Design, Fine Arts, and Illustration, and Certificates in Fashion Studies: Technical Design, Fashion Studies: Apparel Construction, and Fashion Merchandising + Production. The College also offers Art & Design Studios, which give students the opportunity to enhance their education or career opportunities. Studio options for aspiring fashion designers include Fashion Sketching, Textile Surface Design, Jewelry & Small Metals, Portfolio Prep, and Creative Process Workshop.
Fashion program highlights include access to state of the art technology and equipment, state of the art equipment and technology, the Connelly Library, The Galleries at Moore, and the Fox Center for Digital Arts, Design Media & Printing. Also on the menu are frequent trips to New York and Philadelphia to visit design studios, retailers, suppliers, and showrooms, the opportunity to compete for paid internships, and International Study programs. Destinations include London, Rome, and Mexico. The Fashion program also offers a number of fashion events throughout the year, including the Annual Fashion Show.
42. University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama
The University of Alabama (UA) was established in 1831 as the state’s first public college. The school, which sits on a scenic 1,000-acre campus, is home to 34,852 students and more than 350 student organizations. UA offers more than 200 fields of study across more than a dozen colleges and schools including the College of Communication & Information Sciences (C&IS), the Culverhouse College of Commerce, the College of Arts & Sciences, and the College of Human Environmental Sciences—to name a few.
The College of Human Environmental Sciences is home to the Department of Clothing, Textiles & Interior Design. The Department offers several programs for aspiring fashion designers including BS degrees in Apparel and Textile Design (AT) and Fashion Retailing. Program highlights include access to Fashion Incorporated, a professional organization that offers field trips to major market centers and interaction with professionals in the industry, fashion shows, and internship opportunities at both local and nationwide companies.
43. California State University-Northridge, Northridge, California
California State University-Northridge (CSUN or Cal State Northridge) is home to the Department of Family & Consumer Services, which offers one of the region’s top Fashion programs. Offerings for aspiring fashion designers include BS and MS degrees in Family and Consumer Sciences – Apparel Design and Merchandising. Program highlights include domestic fashion industry tours, access to the Historic Costume Collection, and membership in the Apparel and Merchandising Student Organization—TRENDS. The organization is responsible for the Departments annual fashion show.
Other program highlights include internship and networking opportunities through association and professional organizations such as International Textile and Apparel Association (ITAA) and California Fashion Association (CFA), and the opportunity to enter career fields such as Apparel Design, Fashion Consulting, Textile Analysis, Textile Design, Fashion Journalism, Historic Costume and Textile Preservation, Retail Buying, Wardrobe Stylist, and many others.
California State University-Northridge was established in 1958. Home to 36,208 students, the school sits on 353 park-like acres in the San Fernando Valley—just 16 miles from Los Angeles and the famous LA Fashion District. CSUN offers 64 baccalaureate degrees, 58 master's degrees, 2 professional doctorate degrees, and 55 teaching credential programs across eight academic colleges.
44. Art Institute of California-San Francisco, San Francisco, California
The Art Institute of California-San Francisco was established in 1997. The school sits in the heart of San Francisco near Civic Center Plaza, art museums, shopping, an arts and crafts market and more. Home to around 1,600 students, the Art Institute of California-San Francisco offers around 25 programs in the areas of Design, Media Arts, Culinary Art, and Fashion. Offerings for aspiring fashion designers include AS and BFA degrees in Fashion Design and a Fashion Retailing Diploma.
Besides an impressive collection of art and design programs, the Art Institute offers an exceptional career services center. According to AU, The Department of Career Services features “individual and group advising, workshops, a Career Development Class, opportunities to network with industry professionals through The Art Institute of California—San Francisco Speaker Series, field trips to companies, Portfolio Show, career fairs, and networking events.”
45. Miami International University of Art & Design, Miami, Florida
Miami International University of Art & Design (MIU) was established in 1965 as The International Fine Arts College. The school, which houses multiple studios, 20 computer labs and classrooms, lecture rooms, a library and media center, and an 800 square foot Main Gallery, is home to more than 2,000 from over 60 countries. With additional branches in Tampa and Jacksonville, MIU offers several dozen programs in the areas of Design, Media Arts, Culinary Art, and Fashion
Programs for aspiring fashion designers include AA degrees in Fashion Design and Accessory Design, and a BFA in Fashion Design. All design students have access to Miami’s thriving fashion scene and campus amenities such as multiple studios, 20 computer labs and classrooms, lecture rooms, a library and media center, an 800 square foot Main Gallery, student lounges, and a top-rated Career Services Department. The Department, which hosts a quarterly job fair, attracts some of the best local, regional, and nationwide companies.
46. Columbus College of Art and Design, Columbus, Ohio
Columbus College of Art and Design (CCAD) was established in 1879. It is home to more than 1,300 students from 40 states and 35 foreign countries. The school, which sits on a 17-acre campus in Downtown Columbus, offers Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) and Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degrees as well as a notable collection of Minor options, Dual Majors, and Visual Arts Teaching Licensure.
Programs for aspiring fashion designers include BFA degrees in Fashion Design, Illustration, and Fine Arts, and Minors in Fashion Design and Design History. Program highlights include access to high-end industry software, a surface design lab, an annual fashion show, and internship opportunities at Abercrombie & Fitch—headquartered in New Albany, Ohio and Victoria’s Secret—headquartered in Columbus.
Also on the menu are Study Abroad experiences in Chile, China, England, France, Ireland, Italy, and Scotland, and the opportunity to study in New York. As a member of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design, CCAD offers The New York Studio Residency program (DUMBO Brooklyn, NY). Through the program, students receive studio space, weekly critiques, and access to a variety of enriching seminars.
47. St. Catherine University, St. Paul, Minnesota
St. Catherine University (St. Kate’s) is home to more than 5,200 students enrolled in 100 fields of study across three schools including the School of Business and Professional Studies, the Henrietta Schmoll School of Health, and the School of Humanities, Arts and Sciences. The School of Business and Professional Studies houses the Department of Apparel, Merchandising, and Design. Offerings for aspiring fashion designers include BS degrees in Apparel Design, Apparel Design & Fashion, and a BS in Family and Consumer Science with a Focus in Textiles/Apparel. Fashion students may also combine any of these degrees with Fashion Merchandising, Small Business/Entrepreneurship or Marketing/Management, if the goal is to run their own business or retail shop.
Fashion program highlights include participation in St. Kate’s Annual Katwalk Fashion Show, guest speakers, the chance to meet with more than 60 companies each year, and access to the thriving Minneapolis fashion scene. The scene had a hand in helping mold Project Runway contestants Katherine Gerdes, Christopher Straub, Danielle Everine and Ra'mon Lawrence-Coleman. The program also offers Study in London, Paris, New York or Boston. Study Abroad partners include London College of Fashion and Acadia Fashion Institute in Florence.
Established in 1905, St. Catherine University (St. Kate’s) consists of 2 campuses in the Twin Cities—the St. Paul Campus which is 5 miles from Downtown St. Paul and 7 miles from Downtown Minneapolis, and the Minneapolis Campus, which is located in the west bank of the Mississippi River, just east of Downtown. Downtown Minneapolis offers access to shopping, theaters, the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, and Fortune 500 companies such as Target and Quest.
48. The Art Institute of California-Hollywood, Hollywood, California
Established in 1991, the Art Institute of California-Hollywood is located in the trendy NoHo Arts District, which offers easy access to LA’s hot fashion scene. Just a few highlights include thousands of retail shops and designer studios, the renowned LA Fashion District, unique street fashions, and hundreds of design firms. The school is home to more than 2,300 students
In addition to the perfect location and a friendly population of more than 2,300 artists and designers, the Art Institute of California-Hollywood offers several top-tier programs for aspiring fashion designers. Offerings include AS and BFA degrees in Fashion Design and a Fashion Retailing Diploma. The Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges accredits the Art Institute of California-Hollywood and its programs.
49. The Art Institute of California-Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California
The Art Institute of California-Los Angeles was established in 1997. Located in the City of Santa Monica, the school occupies around 107,000 square feet of computer lab, design lab, classroom, library, and lounge space. The Art Institute’s convenient location places it in driving distance from thousands of retail shops, boutiques, and shopping districts, the famous LA Fashion District, and more.
Home to hundreds of art and design students from the U.S. and abroad, the Art Institute of California-Los Angeles offers Media Arts, Design, Culinary, and Fashion Design programs. Offerings for aspiring fashion designers include a BFA in Fashion Design. The BFA program offers immersive study and training in the areas of Patternmaking, Fashion Drawing, Digital Textile Design, Trends & Concepts in Apparel, Technical Drawing, Product Development, Business Ownership, Concept Development, Sewing Techniques, Event & Fashion Show Production, and more. This well-rounded curriculum prepares students for careers such as Fashion Designer, Fashion Buyer, Fashion Stylist, Textile Designer, Costume Designer, Textile Analyst, and Fashion Entrepreneur.
50. University of Rhode Island, Kingston, Rhode Island
The University of Rhode Island (URI) was established in 1892 as the Rhode Island College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts (RICA&M. Located on a 1,200-acre campus, just 79 miles from Boston and 29 miles from Providence—Rhode Island’s largest city, URI now offers a diverse collection of 80 majors across 10 schools and 4 campuses. Home to more than 15,000 students, the school also offers one of the top Fashion programs in the region.
The URI College of Human Science and Services houses 6 Academic Departments, including the Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design Department (TMD). Programs for aspiring fashion designers include a BS in Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design with Concentrations in Apparel Studies or Textile Science. An MS in Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design is also on the menu as well as a BS in Textile Marketing, a unique Double Major in TMD and Fashion Language (French and Italian), and a Minor in Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design (TMD). URI’s College of Continuing Education also offers a Master Seamstress program.
TMD program highlights include access to URI’s Historic Textile and Costume Collection, which features nearly 20,000 objects, membership in the Fashion Merchandising Society, participation in the Annual Fashion Show, and coveted internship opportunities with Gucci, Giorgio Armani, Nordstrom, Christian Louboutin, Tommy Hilfiger, the American Textile History Museum, and Marie Claire Magazine. TMD also offers a Winter Fashion Study Tour of London and Paris, Summer Study at the Universite de la Mode in Lyon, France, and Study Abroad experiences for a semester in London, Florence, Paris, Australia, and more.
51. Woodbury University, Burbank, California
Woodbury University traces its beginning back to 1884 when it consisted of a storefront in the historic center of Los Angeles. It was here that the school began instruction in a single room under the name Woodbury’s Business College—after entrepreneur, education pioneer, and founder F.C. Woodbury. Today, the school sits on a 22.5-acre campus in Burbank, California, and it has an additional campus in San Diego. The former home of Helen Gurley Brown (Editor-in-Chief of Cosmopolitan for more than 3 decades), Woodbury University has a population of 1,552 students enrolled in more than a dozen programs across the Schools of Architecture and Business, the Institute of Transdisciplinary Studies, and the School of Media, Culture & Design—home of the Fashion program.
Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), the School of Media, Culture & Design offers a BFA in Fashion Design and a Design Foundation program (interdisciplinary). The School of Business offers another program that may interest fashion designers looking to start their own companies or work in a management position. The School offers a unique Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Fashion Management and Fashion Marketing.
The most popular program for aspiring fashion designers is the BFA in Fashion Design. Program highlights include the annual Woodbury Fashion Show (open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors), access to the Fashion Study Collection (more than 6,000 pieces, some dating back to the early 1800s), local “lectures, museums, galleries, and exhibitions exploring a variety of topics including social and cultural issues,” and Summer Study Abroad experiences. Past destinations include London, Turkey, Antwerp, and Paris.
52. The Illinois Institute of Art, Chicago, Illinois
Established in 1916 as The Commercial Arts School (and known as Ray-Vogue in the 1930s), The Illinois Institute of Art offers one of the best Fashion programs in the region. Accredited by Higher Learning Commission, the school is also one of the country’s first colleges of applied art and design. It has two locations in Downtown Chicago including the main campus at River North Point, which connects to one of the world’s largest design centers—Merchandise Mart, and the Loop campus, which is just steps from the city’s high-end shopping hub—The Magnificent Mile.
The Illinois Institute of Art offers Design, Culinary Art, Media Arts, and Fashion programs. Popular offerings for aspiring fashion designers include a BFA in Fashion Design and the Fashion Retailing Diploma. Fashion program highlights include access to renowned design, art, and shopping centers, membership in student groups such as Fashion Focused and the American Society of Interior Designers, exciting leadership workshops, and an impressive track record in the area of graduate employment.
In 2011, 93.7% of available Fashion Design (BS) graduates were employed in a related field within 6 months of graduation, as well as 100% of Fashion Merchandising (AS) graduates, and 90.4% Fashion Marketing & Management (BS) graduates. Just a few companies that have hired Illinois Institute of Art graduates include BCBG Max Azria, Chicos, Claire’s Neiman Marcus, Rag & Bone, Nordstrom, Ralph Lauren, Saks Fifth Avenue, Tip-Top Branding, and White House Black Market.
53. The Art Institute of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The Art Institute of Philadelphia offers several competitive programs for aspiring fashion designers. Offerings include AS and BS degrees in Fashion Design and a Fashion Retailing Diploma. Students master sewing and patternmaking, drawing, and fashion production techniques, as well as presentation skills. BS students typically go on to become Fashion Designers, Costume Designers, Seamstresses, Technical Designers, Wardrobe Stylists, and Fashion Buyers. AS graduates typically find positions as Associate Designers, Assistant Patternmakers, Production Assistants, Assistant Stylists, Costume Shop Assistants, Boutique Assistants, and more.
Located in Downtown Philadelphia, The Art Institute of Philadelphia has been in existence since 1971. Home to 2,820 artists from across the U.S. and 27 countries, the school consists of four academic facilities that offer Design, Media Art, Culinary, and Fashion Design programs. These facilities feature state-of-the-art computer labs, post production facilities, video studios and edit suites, photographic imaging facilities, a large library, and kitchen facilities. The school also offers “The Design Groups,” which offers the opportunity to work on projects for outside clients, under the supervision of AI Philadelphia faculty.
54. O’More College of Design, Franklin, Tennessee
Established in 1970 as O’More School of Design, O’More College of Design is home to around 200 students and it offers BFA degrees in five areas including Fashion Design, Interior Design, Fashion Merchandising, Graphic Design, and Interactive Design. The BFA in Fashion Design is the top choice for aspiring fashion designers looking to design for a top-tier design house, boutique, or studio and for designers on the path to launching their own lines.
Program highlights include the always-anticipated Eloise Student Fashion Show, O’More Design Week, internship opportunities, and both domestic and international Travel Opportunities. Past, present and future destinations include Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, New York, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Scandinavia, and Spain. Students have interned with major designers and companies such as Vera Wang, TJX Companies, Inc. (the brains behind TJ Maxx, Marshalls, HomeGoods, and more), VF Imagewear, Otis James, Kay Unger, Christian Siriano, Gustavo Cadile, Esquire Magazine, and Teresa Hays Textile Studio.
55. The Art Institute of Portland, Portland, Oregon
Established in 1963 as Bassist College, The Art Institute of Portland (AI Portland) is one of the region’s top art and design schools. Serving the Pacific northwest and beyond, the school is home to more than 1,300 students enrolled in more than 20 Design, Fashion, Culinary, and Media Arts programs. The Art Institute of Portland offers a nice collection of programs for aspiring fashion designers leading to an Associate of Arts (AA) or a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA).
Offerings include AA and BFA degrees in Apparel Design and Apparel Accessory Design. Students looking to enhance their education and career opportunities may choose the BFA in Photography & Design, where fashion photography and studio management are explored, or the Design Management BFA, which explores entrepreneurism, project management, and of course, art and design.
Besides offering several popular fashion degrees, The Art Institute of Portland is located in a bustling metropolis known for innovative start-ups, an original art scene, unusual shops and boutiques, and multiple Fashion Week events. In addition, AI Portland is home to everything students need for inspiration and success. It houses lively studios and laboratories, an eye-catching exhibition gallery, a well-supplied supply store, an energetic student success center, program specific equipment, and more.
56. Academy of Couture Art, Los Angeles, California
Established in 2005 by Designer Sonia Été, Academy of Couture Art served 10 years in the U.S. as ESAM (École Supérieure des Arts de la Mode)—a preparatory course for ESMOD International Fashion University Group and Studio Berçot in Paris. Today, the school offers an array of immersive fashion programs from the famed Flynt Building in uber-stylish Beverly Hills, California.
Program offerings include an AA and BA degrees in Fashion Design, AA and BS degrees in Pattern Design, and Certificates in Creative Fashion Design Laboratory, Professional Fashion Design Laboratory, Creative Pattern Design Laboratory, and Professional Pattern Design Laboratory.
Other Academy of Couture highlights include classrooms that “have been dedicated to their specific functions.” Lecture Rooms, the PC/Mac Lab for Digital Pattern and Digital Design, the ESL Skills Lab, and Pattern Design + Fashion Design classrooms “all have been prepared to welcome small intimate classes to foster Learning Outcomes.”
Benefits beyond the classroom include access to LA Fashion District and dozens of other fashion districts + world class shopping at Chanel, Gucci, Valentino, Versace, Bottega Veneta, Armani, Ralph Lauren, Neiman Marcus, Saks 5th Avenue, Barneys New York, and one of the world’s most celebrated entertainment and fashion capital.
57. Lasell College, Newton, Massachusetts
Established as the Auburndale Female Seminary in 1851, Lasell College sits on a beautiful 53-acre campus just eight miles from historic Downtown Boston. The school is home to more than 1,900 graduate and undergraduate students enrolled more than 40 academic programs from Applied Mathematics to Fashion Design to Sports Management.
Program offerings for aspiring fashion designers include a BA in Fashion Design and Production
and a BS in Fashion and Retail Merchandising. Students looking to enhance their education and career opportunities may consider the BA in Fashion Communication and Promotion, a BS degree in Marketing, Management or Entrepreneurship, or a Minor in Business.
Lasell College also offers an exceptional internship program hands-on training with companies such as Gucci, Puma North America, Kenneth Cole, Lord & Taylor, and Neiman Marcus. Students in good academic standing are also eligible to enroll in the school’s Two-Week Travel/Study program in Paris or Study Abroad for an entire semester or summer in one of 38 countries.
58. Missouri State University, Springfield, Missouri
Missouri State University was established in 1905 as Fourth District Normal School. When it opened a year later, the school had a student population of 543 in off-campus facilities. Today, the school sits on a lovely 450-acre main campus and it is home to more than 20,000 students from 40 states and 70 countries. Additional campuses include West Plains, MO, Mountain Grove, MO, and Dalian, China.
Besides a diverse student body and multiple campuses in Missouri and overseas, MSU offers several excellent programs for aspiring fashion designers through the College of Business and the College of Arts and Letters. The College of Business-Department of Fashion and Interior Design (FID) offers a BS in Fashion Merchandising and Design, which focuses on both (global) design and business. The College of Arts and Letters-Art + Design Department (MSU A+D) offers BFA degrees in Metals & Jewelry, Illustration, and Photography.
Students planning to launch their own lines of start a company may consider additional studies in the area of business. College of Business offerings include a BS in Management, Entrepreneurship or General Business, a Minor in Management, Entrepreneurial Studies, Entrepreneurship, Leadership or Operations Management, or a Certificate in Entrepreneurship.
However, the BS in Fashion Merchandising and Design is the most popular program for aspiring fashion designers. Program highlights include the annual MSU Fashion Show at the Springfield Expo Center, which attracts more than 1,000 guests, frequent design and merchandising competitions, Dallas Career Day, Domestic Tours, and “Study Away” experiences in Paris, China (MSU’s campus in Dalian), Italy, and Greece. Domestic Tours take place annually. Students (typically 20) visit New York City to explore fashion businesses and interview for internships. Students have explored and interviewed with Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Cotton Incorporated, Kate Spade, and more.
59. Washington State University, Pullman Washington
Founded in 1890 as Washington Agricultural College and School of Science, Washington State University (WSU) opened with just 59 students. Today, the school consists of four traditional campuses and a Global Campus (online). Campuses include Pullman (main), Spokane, Tri-Cities, Vancouver, and WSU Online. With a combined student population of 27,642, WSU offers more than 200 fields of study, 66 Master’s and 47 Doctoral programs across 10 colleges and a graduate school. The College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences houses the Department of Apparel, Merchandising, Design, and Textiles (AMDT) —home of WSU’s Fashion program.
The Department offers the only state-supported 4-year Apparel and Textiles program. Options include BA and MA degrees in Apparel and Textiles with Specialization Tracks in Apparel Design and Merchandising. Signature courses include Globalization, Environmental, and Ethical Issues in the Fashion Industry, Fashion Forecasting, and Multicultural Perspectives on the Body and Dress, to name a few. Program highlights include access to the #3 ranked apparel and textile industry in the U.S. (the State of Washington), Design and Merchandising Competitions, Exhibitions, Guest Speakers, the Annual Moms Weekend Fashion Show, and Internships with Macy’s, Nordstrom, Ann Taylor, and more.
Students may also become members of the International Textiles and Apparel Association (ITAA) and the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC). WSU has student chapters of these major industry associations. Study Tours to New York and 1,400+ Education Abroad programs are also on the menu. Students may visit London, Italy, China and dozens of other destinations.
60. University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii
The University of Hawaii at Manoa (UH Manoa) was established in 1907. It opened with just 10 students and 13 faculty in Honolulu’s Thomas Square. Since then, the school has grown to a
300-acre campus with a population of more than 20,000 students. Located in Oahu’s Manoa Valley—just 4 miles from Downtown Honolulu and 2.5 miles from Waikiki, UH Manoa offers
200 degree programs across 19 colleges and schools.
UH Manoa’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources houses the Family and Consumer Sciences Department—home of the Fashion Design and Merchandising program (FDM). The well-rounded curriculum features study in the areas of Apparel Design and Construction, Textile Properties, Fashion Trend Analysis, Costume History, International Trade Issues, Fashion Sketching, Retail Buying and Merchandise Management, and Social and Cultural Aspects of Dress. The program leads to a BS in Fashion Design and Merchandising.
UH Manoa offers internship opportunities throughout the islands and the contiguous United States, as well as a Study Abroad experiences in fashion capitals such as Paris, London and Rome. Although optional, all students are strongly encouraged to enroll in both programs.
61. Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York
Founded in 1870, Syracuse University (SU) sits on a 700+ acre main campus in the heart of Central New York. This convenient location offers easy access to New York City, Boston, Montreal, and even Toronto. The school also has extended campuses in Los Angeles, New York City, and Washington D.C. and it is home to more than 21,000 students from all 50 states and 123 countries. SU students have access to more than 200 undergraduate programs, 200+ graduate programs, and more that 100 minors. Among SU’s many programs is one of the region’s best fashion programs. The College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA)-Department of Design offers a BFA in Fashion Design.
Program highlights include unique courses such as Experimental Textiles and Photography (for fashion shoots), the Annual VPA Fashion Show where senior fashion students have the opportunity to present a six to eight piece collection and qualify to present at the Annual New York City Fashion Show, and membership in the Fashion Association of Design Students (FADS).
FADS produces smaller fashion shows and it coordinates field trips and visiting speakers. Past visitors have included Russell Simmons, Oscar de la Renta, Tommy Hilfiger, Todd Oldham, Mary McFadden, Kate Spade, Michael Kors, Nicole Miller, and many others.
Study Abroad Opportunities are also on the menu at the University’s center in London, which has direct placement with the London College of Fashion. Students will take unique courses such as Millinery Design, Electronic Machine Embroidery, and Shoe Design. Other Study Abroad locations include Africa (Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, and Tanzania), Australia, India, Ireland, Russia, Costa Rica, Israel and Japan.
VPA Department of Design graduates have gone on to work for major design houses, fashion magazines and periodicals, in numerous support industries, and more.
62. Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale (AI Fort Lauderdale) opened in 1968 with Diploma programs in Interior Design, Commercial Art, and Fashion Illustration. Today, the school is home to more than 3,000 students and it offers several dozen AS and BS degrees in Design, Media Arts, Culinary Arts, and Fashion, as well as Diplomas in selected areas. Programs for aspiring fashion designers include AS and BS degrees in Fashion Design, and a Fashion Retailing Diploma.
Fashion program highlights include access to state of the art software, equipment, and studios, membership in the Fashion Club, the Illustration Club or the Photography Club, quarterly internship and job fairs, and more. In addition, AI Fort Lauderdale graduates have found employment at prominent employers such as Perry Ellis, Pavlik Design Team, and Patty Daniels Photography.
Students wishing to enhance their education and career opportunities have several options to consider. Students may choose the BS in Illustration or the AS or BS in Photography as a second degree option.
63. The Art Institute of Seattle, Seattle, Washington
Founded in 1946 as the Burnley School for Professional Art, the Art Institute of Seattle
is located on Seattle’s Elliott Bay waterfront. This bustling area offers easy access to major shopping districts, art museums, art and design centers, and the hip cities of Redmond, Bellevue, and Kirkland. Home to around 2,800 students from around the world, the Art Institute of Seattle offers more than 30 Liberal Arts, Culinary Art, Media Arts, Design, and Fashion Design programs.
Offerings for aspiring fashion designers include AAS and BFA degrees in Fashion Design and
a Fashion Retailing Diploma. Fashion program highlights access to the Fashion Network, participation in the Annual Fashion Show presented by The Fashion League, and an active Career Services Center that features Quarterly Portfolio Reviews, Career Days, Job Fairs, Employer Presentations, Recruiting Events, and more.
64. Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana
Established in 1918 as the Indiana State Normal School Eastern Division, Ball State University (BSU) sits on a beautiful 731-acre main campus just 57 miles from Indianapolis—the State Capital and the nation’s 12th largest city, and 227 miles from Chicago—the nation’s 3rd largest city. Listed among the nation’s Top 322 Green Colleges, the BSU campus also includes 400 acres of research property and it is home to a large population of 22,000 students enrolled in well over 250 academic programs across 9 colleges. Many programs are nationally recognized, including the school’s Fashion Design program.
The College of Applied Sciences and Technology houses the well established Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) Department. The Department offers one program for aspiring designers—the BS in Apparel Design. This “Immersive Learning” program prepares students to work in all areas of fashion from Design, Pattern Making and Illustration to Textile Design, Fabric and Notions Buying, Sample Making, and more.
Other program highlights include access to The Beeman Historic Costume Collection, which includes more than 3,000 artifacts related to fashion from 1800 to the present, internship opportunities at local, regional, and nationwide companies, and a top-rated Study Abroad program. The program features 300 Study Abroad locations. Just a few include Spain, New Zealand, Japan, and England. Study Abroad experiences are optional, but the FCS Department encourages participation, which will help enhance students’ education and career opportunities.
Students looking to take their careers a step further by launching their own lines or starting their own studios or boutiques might consider the MBA with a Concentration in Entrepreneurship, the Bachelor’s degree in Entrepreneurial Management, or the Minor in Entrepreneurship. These popular career-enhancing programs are available through the Entrepreneurship Center at the Miller College of Business.
65. Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston, Massachusetts
Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt) was established in 1873 as the Massachusetts Normal Art School. It is home to 2,426 students enrolled in more than 30 programs. The school, which sits on a 5-acre campus in Boston’s Fenway area, is around 3 miles from Boston’s bustling downtown area and roughly 212 miles from New York City.
Programs for aspiring fashion designers include BFA degrees in Fashion Design, Fibers, and Jewelry/Metalsmithing. A Certificate program in Fashion Design and a BFA in Illustration are also on the menu. MassArt fashion programs hold the seal of approval by the prestigious The National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).
BFA program highlights include National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) accreditation, participation in the Annual Fashion Show, the opportunity to create a signature line (to be showcased in the Annual Fashion Show), and participation in special competitions and team projects. Just a few include the Council of Fashion Designers of America Competition, the Italian Trade Commission Project, the Chadwick's Project, and the Karmaloop Project.
In addition, all students must complete an internship. Michael Kors, Karl Lagerfeld, Anna Sui, Boston Ballet, Zac Posen, Tory Burch, Betsy Johnson, Armani AX, Tommy Hilfiger, Boston Conservatory, Vera Wang, and Nicole Miller are just a few designers that have participated in the MassArt Internship program.
66. Mount Mary University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Mount Mary University was established in 1913. The school, which sits on an 80-acre campus in Metropolitan Milwaukee, is just 92 miles from Chicago and it is home to 1,475 students from across the U.S. and abroad. Mount Mary University offers more than 35 programs through the School of Humanities, the School of Natural & Health Sciences, the School of Social Sciences, Business & Education, and the School of Arts & Design.
The School of Arts & Design offers several programs for aspiring fashion designers. Options include a BA in Fashion Design—the first 4-year fashion degree program in the State of Wisconsin, and a Certificate in Fashion Design. Each year, students travel to fashion capitals such as New York and Paris each year to explore textile and apparel museums, attend fabric fairs, and tour design studios, apparel showrooms, and shopping districts.
In Paris, students take classes at the Paris Academy; they meet with European designers and trend forecasters, and participate in the school’s Runway Fashion Show. Students also have the opportunity to participate in Mount Mary’s annual fashion show, in regional, national, and international competitions, and to show their work at local museums and galleries such as Villa Terrace Museum, Gallery Night & Day, and Harley-Davidson Museum.
Students on the path to starting their own boutiques, studios, or other companies may consider the BA in Business Administration or Business/Professional Communication, the Minor in Entrepreneurship, or a Certificate in Business Administration or Business/Professional Communication. These career-enhancing programs are available through the School of Social Sciences, Business & Education.
67. Albright College, Reading, Pennsylvania
Albright College dates back to 1856 with the founding of Union Seminary, making it the oldest college in Berks County, Pennsylvania. Located just 63 miles from Philadelphia just under 125 miles from New York, the 118-acre Albright College campus accommodates more than 1,600 students enrolled in more than 60 academic majors and programs. Albright College also offers accelerated programs at 10 locations throughout Central and Southeastern Pennsylvania.
The Albright College Fashion Department offers several programs for aspiring fashion designers. Options include a BA in Fashion and a Co-Concentration in Fashion. The BA in Fashion offers design-related tracks in Fashion Design, Costume Design, and Design & Merchandising. The
Co-Concentration in Fashion offers design-related Tracks in Fashion Design and Costume Design.
Fashion program highlights include participation in the Annual Fashion Show, the chance to contribute to the Fashion Department newsletter—Fashion Lion, and the notable Fashion & Costume Internship program. Past internships have taken place in New York at Anna Sui, Anthropologie, Eileen Fisher, Donna Karan, Gucci, Isaac Mizrahi, Marie Claire, Michael Kors, ad New York & Company, and at Nordstrom (NJ), QVC (PA), Wet Seal (PA) and Tiffany & Co. (PA).
Study experiences are also on the menu. Students will visit legendary fashion capitals such as New York, France and London as well as China, Argentina, South Africa, and more.
68. Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, Georgia
Established in 1906, Georgia Southern University (GSU) sits on a 900-acre campus that welcomes more than 19,000 students from every state and 86 nations. The school—just a short 55 miles from artsy Savannah, Georgia, offers more than 100 degree programs, across more than a dozen colleges. Georgia Southern University’s School of Human Ecology, College of Health and Human Sciences, is home to the Fashion Merchandising & Apparel Design program.
Offerings for aspiring fashion designers include a BS in Fashion Merchandising & Apparel with an Emphasis in Apparel Design. Program highlights include participation in field experiences, the GSU Fashion Internship program, and Study Tours to fashion-forward Atlanta and America’s fashion center—New York City. Students also have the option to enroll in GSU’s Study Abroad program. Past Study Abroad locations include fashion capitals such as London, Paris, Berlin, and Madrid, as well as Scotland, Ireland, and Russia.
69. West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia
Founded in 1867, West Virginia University (WVU) sits on a 1,456-acre campus in Morgantown, West Virginia—rated the 12th overall “Hottest Small City,” by Inc. The school’s main campus is home to 29,466 students from every state, all 55 West Virginia counties, and 113 nations. The entire WVU System enrolls 32,348 students and it offers 191 degree programs across 17 colleges and schools (including Potomac State College of WVU and WVU Institute of Technology).
The West Virginia University, Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources, & Design is home to the Division of Design & Merchandising. Degree offerings for aspiring fashion designers include a BS in Fashion Design and Merchandising (FDM) with a Fashion Design Track and an MS in Fashion Design and Merchandising (FDM). Students looking to enhance their education and career opportunities might consider the Minor in Fashion Merchandising or Family and Consumer Science, which offers the opportunity to study Fashion Design, Interior Design, and Merchandising.
Although WVU’s Study Abroad program is not a requirement for Fashion students, (it is for Interior Design students), the College encourages all design students to participate. Disegno Italia is WVU’s signature 4-week, 6-credit, summer program in Milan and Tuscany. Students in their sophomore, junior, or senior year are eligible to apply.
70. Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan
Home to a large population of 49,300 students from all 50 states and more than 130 countries,
Michigan State University (MSU) is one of the world’s top research universities. Established around 1855, MSU sits on a 5,200-acre campus—one of the greenest in the nation. Located just 3 miles from Lansing (the State Capital), MSU offers more than 200 academic programs in all areas of study from A-Z and at all degree levels.
Programs are available through an impressive collection of 19 colleges ranging from the College of Arts and Letters to the College of Music to the College Veterinary Medicine. The College of Arts and Letters, Department of Art, Art History, and Design (AAHD) is home to 600 students and it offers BA and BFA degrees in Apparel & Textile Design and the option to take on a secondary major in Studio Art (Photography) or other major that might enhance students education and career opportunities.
The Department of AAHD offers internship opportunities at local, regional, and national companies, access to state-of-the-art production facilities and studios, study trips to nearby Chicago, and membership in valuable student clubs such as the MSU Fashion Design Student Association (FDSA). More than 275 Study Abroad programs in more than 60 countries are also on the menu. Some of the most popular programs for aspiring fashion designers include Fashion Design in London or Paris with American Intercontinental University, The Art of Photography: History + Contemporary Practice in the UK, Visual Art in Florence, Italy, Expressive Arts Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies in South Africa, and Ceramics in China. In addition to programs offered through MSU, the Department of Art, Art History, and Design and College of Arts & Letters sponsor over 120 programs to support the goals of students in virtually every major.
71. Ursuline College, Pepper Pike, Ohio
The Ursuline Sisters of Cleveland established Ursuline College (Ursuline) in 1871. It was one of the first colleges for women in the U.S. and the first in the State of Ohio. Today, the school pays a warm welcome to male students and it is home to a population of around 1,500. Located on a 100-acre campus just 13 miles east of Cleveland, 31 miles from Akron, and less than 125 miles to Pittsburgh, Ursuline offers more than 40 academic programs across several schools.
The School of Graduate and Professional Studies offers a unique and competitive program for aspiring fashion designers. The BA in Fashion Design offers a F.I.T. Track. What this means is, students have the opportunity to spend their third year of study at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City (FIT), where they will receive an Associate in Applied Science degree (AAS) from FIT upon graduation from Ursuline College.
In addition to the F.I.T. Track, Fashion program highlights include internship opportunities at local, regional, and national companies, and access to the latest technology and facilities including the Computer-Aided Design (CAD) Lab, industry-standard pattern drafting tables, Wolf dress forms, multi-thread sergers, and more.
Ursuline Fashion Design graduates hold titles such as Fashion Designer, Apparel Manufacturer, Illustrator, Fashion Forecaster, Costume Designer, Stylist, Fashion Beading and Colorist, and many others.
72. Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Established in 1911, Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) began with a modest 100-acre campus, around 125 students and 19 instructors. Today, MTSU is the oldest and largest public university in the Tennessee Board of Regents System, with a population of 24,000 students, 900+ faculty and more than 1,000 acres in Rutherford County including a 500-acre main campus, an agricultural campus, an aerospace facility at the Murfreesboro Airport, and the Miller Horse Science Center. The school also houses nine colleges offering more than 240 programs across 40+ departments.
Middle Tennessee State University’s Department of Human Sciences offers several respected programs for aspiring fashion designers. Options include a BS or a Minor in Textiles, Merchandising, & Design (TMD) with an Emphasis in Fashion Design. Program highlights include
internship opportunities with major worldwide brands and local retailers, participation in fashion shows and other fashion events, Study Abroad in China, Egypt, Italy, and Paris, and short Study Tours.
Study Tours feature exploration of fashion capitals such as New York, London, and Paris. Tours typically last 5 to 10 days or more, depending on the destination and program.
73. Meredith College, Raleigh, North Carolina
Chartered in 1891 as an independent, private women’s college, Meredith College opened with a student body of around 200 women. Today, the school is home to a co-ed population of 1,872 students from 26 states and 40 countries. Situated on a historic 225-acre campus in the heart of Raleigh—around 21 miles from Durham, 68 miles from Greensboro, and 129 miles from Charlotte, Meredith College offers 85+ academic programs across four schools.
The School of Education, Health & Human Sciences houses 5 departments, including the
Human Environmental Sciences Department—home of the Fashion program. Offerings for aspiring fashion designers include a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Fashion Merchandising and Design with a Concentration in Design and a Minor in Fashion Design.
Program highlights include internship opportunities with top designers, retailers, and publications such as Michael Kors, Vogue Magazine, Ella Moss, and America’s Mart, frequent trips to the Garment District in New York, the Apparel Mart in Atlanta, and the National Fashion Job Fair in Dallas, and Study Abroad experiences in Paris, Italy, the UK, Africa, East Asia, South America, and more.
Recent Meredith graduates hold a variety of positions in the fashion industry. Some have launched their own lines or run their own boutiques or studios. Just a few recent employers include Belk Store Services, Cato Fashions, Bloomingdales New York, Findings Wholesaler and Meg’s Place in Burlington, NC (owner).
74 (tied). Howard University, Washington, DC
Established in 1867, Howard University is home to 10,000 students enrolled in nearly 100 degree programs, across 13 colleges and schools. The school, which sits on a 256-acre campus, is located in one of the country’s Top 20 Cities for Fashion. Even better is, Howard University is in driving distance of the fashionable cities of New York, New Jersey, and Philadelphia.
The College of Arts and Sciences houses the Department of Art, which features several top-rated programs and supplemental programs for aspiring fashion designers. Offerings include a BFA in Design with a Concentration in Fashion Design, a BFA in Photography/Printmaking (which is helpful for designers interested in Fashion Photography as well), and MFA Drawing Courses. This intense studio experience is for students wishing to enhance their drawing skills, which is a valuable asset in the world of fashion design.
Fashion program highlights include participation in fashion show events, internship opportunities at local, regional, and national studios, retailers, and other related companies, and Summer Study Abroad opportunities to fashion capitals such as Paris, Cape Town, and Barcelona, as well as Manzanillo & Rincon De La Vieja (Costa Rica), and Dakar (Senegal).
74 (tied). Marymount University, Arlington, Virginia
The School of Arts and Sciences at Marymount University offers the only Fashion Design program in the Washington DC metropolitan area. Options include a BA and a minor in Fashion Design. The program prepares students for careers in fashion design and manufacturing, product development and theater costume. Marymount boasts the largest percentage of international students in the Washington DC region, which endows the program with unique perspective. Students study and do internships in Europe, Central and South America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. They participate in international design competitions, promote their collections in the (televised) student fashion show, Portfolio in Motion, develop designs for rising apparel manufacturers in other countries, and have their senior portfolios critiqued in person by international designers, such as Oscar de la Renta, Tommy Hilfiger, Carolina Herrera, Michael Kors and Tadashi Shoji. They have interned with Anna Sui, Ralph Lauren, Josie Natori, Michael Kors and the Washington Opera.
Founded in 1950, Marymount University consists of four schools including the School of Arts and Sciences, the School of Busisness Administration, the School of Education and Human Services, and the Malek School of Health Professions. Home to 3,486 students enrolled in more than 75 programs, Marymount University sits on a convenient 21-acre campus just 3 miles from Washington DC, less than 40 miles from Baltimore, and around 127 miles from Baltimore. As a member of the Washington Consortium of Universities, students can take courses at the other colleges in the area.
75. Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Carbondale, Illinois
Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIU Carbondale) is the flagship campus of the Southern Illinois University system. Founded in 1869, the school sits on a 1,000-acre campus and it is home to nearly 18,000 students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries. SIU Carbondale offers more than 200 areas of study across 11 colleges and schools.
SIU is the only public university in the State of Illinois to offer the following three popular Fashion Specializations. The SIU College of Applied Sciences-School of Architecture offers
a BS in Fashion Design and Merchandising with Specializations in Fashion Design, Fashion Stylist, and Fashion Merchandising. However, students looking to design apparel or accessories or launch their own lines typically choose the BS in Fashion Design and Merchandising with a Specialization in Fashion Design.
Fashion program highlights include participation in the Student Showcase and Runway Fashion Show, a professional internship, and the opportunity to Study Abroad in fashion capitals such as London, Paris, and Milan.