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Top 5 Fashion Design Schools and Colleges in New York – 2017

Written by FS StaffMay 22, 2017

1. Fashion Institute of Technology, New York, New York 

The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) is a member of the State University of New York (SUNY) system. Founded in 1944, the school is home to more than 9,000 students enrolled in 49 programs across five schools. They include the School of Art and Design, Jay and Patty Baker School of Business and Technology, the School of Liberal Arts, the School of Graduate Studies, and the School of Continuing and Professional Studies. 

The School of Art and Design offers a variety of fashion programs leading to an AAS, BFA, BS, MA, or MPS. One- and two-year options for AAS students are on the menu as well as a number of credit and non-credit Certificates. An international option in Florence is available for AAS students, and an option in Milan/New York is available for knitwear and sportswear students pursuing a Baccalaureate degree. 

AAS degree programs for aspiring fashion designers include Accessories Design, Fashion Design, Illustration – Fashion and General Illustration options, Jewelry Design, Menswear, Textile Development and Marketing, and Textile/Surface Design. Baccalaureate (BFA and BS) degree programs include Accessories Design, Fabric Styling, Fashion Design (Children’s Wear, Intimate Apparel, Knitwear, Special Occasion, and Sportswear, and Knitwear options), Technical Design, Textile Development and Marketing, and Textile/Surface Design. 

Graduate programs for aspiring fashion designers include an MA in Fashion and Textile Studies: History, Theory, Museum Practice and credit Certificate programs include CAD for Fashion Design - Art, Draping, Gemology, Haute Couture, Ladies Tailoring, Leather Apparel, Millinery, Patternmaking, and Performance Athletic Footwear. Minors are available in Ethics and Sustainability, and Fashion Studies, and Non-credit Certificates include Computer Essentials for Fashion Design, Fashion Styling, Wardrobe Technician and Costume Design Specialist, and Certified Technical Designer. 

All FIT Fashion Design students have the opportunity to study abroad in Florence, London, Milan, Nottingham, England, Melbourne, Australia, or Hong Kong. Students also have the opportunity to intern at local, national, or international companies, and all students may participate in the Annual FIT Fashion Show. 

2. The New School/Parsons, New York, New York 

Founded in 1896, The New School/Parsons is home to more than 10,000 students enrolled in 138 degree programs, diploma programs and majors, and more than 50 minors across five colleges. New School colleges include the Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts, College of Performing Arts, Schools of Public Engagement, The New School for Social Research, and Parsons School of Design.

Parsons School of Design offers a Certificate, and AAS and BFA degrees in Fashion Design, an AAS in Fashion Marketing, a BFA Integrated Studies, an MA in Fashion Studies, and an MFA in Textiles or Fashion Design and Society. AAS students study Accessories Design, Drawing, Fashion, Materials and Fabrication, Sustainable Design, and Textiles. BFA students will also study Accessories Design, Drawing, Fashion, and Sustainable Design as well as Fashion History, Theory, and Criticism, Materials and Fabrication, and Textiles. BFA Fashion students also have the opportunity to complete the program at Parsons Paris. 

BFA in Integrated Studies students can study everything from Fashion and Textiles to Urban Design. MA in Fashion Studies students can study everything from Branding, Fashion and Textiles to Materials and Fabrication. The MFA in Fashion Design and Society highlights Fashion, Fashion History, Materials and Fabrication, Physical Computing/Wearable Technology, Sustainable Design, Textiles, Design Research, and more. All programs offer the opportunity to study at Parsons Paris, participation in the Annual Fashion Show, and the opportunity to work with 560—the Parsons School of Design magazine. 

Notable program alumni include Anna Sui, Donna Karan, Marc Jacobs, Isaac Mizrahi, Mark Badgley and James Mischka, Narciso Rodriguez, and many others. 

3. Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York 

Pratt Institute was founded in 1887. The school is home to 4,600 students enrolled in 48 degree programs and a variety of Certificate and Minor programs across five schools. They include the School of Architecture, the School of Art, the School of Design, the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and the School of Information and Library Sciences. Pratt Institute also houses The Center for Continuing and Professional Studies. 

The School of Design and the School of Art – Department of Fine Art offer several programs for aspiring fashion designers. Options include a BFA in Fashion Design and a BFA in Fine Art with an Emphasis in Jewelry. Specialized BFA/Jewelry classes include History of Jewelry, Stone Setting, Wax Working and Casting, Raising and Forging, Chasing and Repoussé, Color on Metal, Design and Rendering, and CAD. Fashion Design students have the opportunity to participate in “annual design competitions sponsored by the CFDA and YMA FSF and competitions sponsored by companies such as Cotton Incorporated and Supima Cotton.” 

Other program highlights include participation in the Annual Pratt Institute Fashion Show, access to coveted internship opportunities with major designers such as Rag & Bone, Ralph Lauren, and Donna Karan, and study abroad and international exchange programs in more than a dozen locations such as London, Milan, Florence, Copenhagen, and Tokyo. 

4. Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 

Founded in 1865, Cornell University is home to nearly 22,000 students enrolled in 80 undergraduate majors, 90 minors, and 108 graduate fields of study across 14 colleges and schools and 100 academic departments. The College of Human Ecology houses the Department of Fiber Science & Apparel Design (FSAD), which offers a number of unique fashion programs. Per the school, FSAD programs combine “design, art, biology, chemistry, engineering and social science concepts and methods” with the long-term goal of “effecting change in design, in materials, in people's health and well-being, in manufacturing, in economic vitality, and in the environment.” Program options include BS degrees in Fashion Design, Fiber Science, and Fashion Design Management. A Dual Degree is also available. 

The Dual program allows students to earn a BFA and a BA from the College of Arts and Sciences, a BS from the College of Human Ecology or a BS from the College of Engineering. A Minor in Fiber Science is also on the menu. Graduate offerings include MA and PhD degrees in Apparel Design, MS and PhD degreed in Fiber Science, and an MPS in Human Ecology. The MPS program offers a Focus (graduate field) in Fiber Science and Apparel Design. 

The Department of FSAD maintains the Cornell Costume and Textile Collection, which features “more than 10,000 items of apparel dating from the eighteenth century to the present, as well as a substantial collection of ethnographic textiles and costume.” The Department is also home to the Cornell Institute of Fashion and Fiber Innovation (CIFFI), which was established to “advance knowledge and foster collaborations between academia and industry in the areas of fashion design, marketing and culture, fiber science, technology, and materials testing.” 

In addition to access to the Textile Collection and CIFFI, FSAD students have the opportunity to compete for the Cornell Design Award and display their collections at the Cornell Fashion Collective Runway Show. 

5. Marist College, Poughkeepsie, New York 

Marist College was founded in 1929. The school is home to more than 6,500 students enrolled in over 140 degree programs and minors across seven schools. The School of Communication and the Arts offers several programs for aspiring fashion designers. Options include a BFA in Fashion Design and a BS in Fashion Merchandising with a Product Development Concentration. Fashion Design majors may also earn their degree in Florence, Italy or choose a Minor in Merchandising or Product Development 

Fashion design students may participate in the School’s internship program, which offers the opportunity to work at companies such as Armani A/X, Betsey Johnson, Calvin Klein, Chanel, DKNY, Escada, MTV, Nordstrom, Polo and many others. Students may also participate in Marist in Manhattan (NYC Internship Experience), Fashion Inc. (club), Marist Fashion Magazine, and the Silver Needle Runway Show. 

The School of Communication and the Arts encourages all students to complete two internships, which will give them a strong advantage when it comes to job opportunities. Fashion Program alumni have been hired by companies such as Ann Taylor, BCBG, Chanel, Donna Karan, GAP, Kate Spade, Michael Kors, MTV, Perry Ellis, Saks Fifth Avenue, Tahari, Tory Burch, and many more.