Our 2014 list of the Top 20 fashion marketing school programs in the US. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.
1. Fashion Institute of Technology, New York, New York
Established in 1944, Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) is part of the State University of New York (SUNY). It is home to more than 10,000 students enrolled in 43 majors across five schools.
The Jay & Patty Baker School of Business & Design is home to a large number of top-rated programs for students interested in a career in fashion marketing.
Options include an AAS and a BS in Textile Development and Marketing, an AA in Beauty Industry Merchandising and Marketing, an AA Professional Designation in Merchandise Marketing, a BS in Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing, a BS in Direct and Interactive Marketing, a BS in International Trade and Marketing for the Fashion Industries, and an MA in Fashion and Textile Studies: History, Theory, and Museum Practice. The AA Professional Designation in Merchandise Marketing is available entirely online.
All marketing students have the opportunity to Study Abroad for a semester or three weeks in numerous fashion capitals and other cities. Just a few locations include Paris, London, Milan, India, Brazil, Costa Rica and Mexico. Marketing students will develop and launch products, create campaigns, develop business plans, and raise brand awareness. Students will also master Database Marketing, Media Management, Direct Response Copywriting, Internet Marketing, and more.
Other program highlights include participation in fashion events such as the Annual Fashion Show, internship opportunities with major fashion companies, and optional membership in the International Trade Student Association (ITSA) or the Merchandising Society at FIT, which offers the opportunity to manage all operations of the on-campus Style Shop. FIT’s Annual Fashion Show streams live to a worldwide audience and students have interned at Armani Exchange, Bergdorf Goodman, Cotton Incorporated, Liz Coty, Donna Karan, the European Textile Trading Corp, Liz Claiborne, Marc Jacobs, Polo Ralph Lauren, Prada, the U.S. Department of Commerce, West Point Home, and Vogue Italy.
Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) has been a leader in the world of art and design since 1978. The school, which offers one of the nation’s largest collections of programs for artists and designers, is home to more than 11,000 students across several regional and international campuses. Campus locations include Savannah, Atlanta, Hong Kong, and Lacoste, France. The Lacoste location offers dozens of courses, but it does not offer degree programs.
The Savannah, Atlanta, and Hong Kong campuses offer more than 100 programs including a BFA and a Minor in Fashion Marketing and Management. Program highlights include participation in Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in NYC, mentoring opportunities with designers such as Zac Posen, Catherine Malandrino, and Chris Benz, and internship opportunities with major companies, designers, and organizations such as Betsey Johnson, Bergdorf Goodman, Vera Wang, Marc Jacobs, BCBG, Juicy Couture, Martha Stewart Living, Calvin Klein, Helmut Lang, Upscale Magazine, and many others.
Students also have access to Morris Hall, which spans a block in historic Downtown Savannah and consists of labs and lecture space for fashion management and marketing students, dedicated graduate studios, and a resource room with access to fashion books and magazines, fabrics research, and trend services such as the Peclers Paris Consulting Agency and Worth Global Style Network (WGSN).
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.
3. Columbia College Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
Established in 1890 as Columbia School of Oratory, Columbia College Chicago (CCC) is home to 11,000 students enrolled in more than 120 academic majors and programs. Programs for marketing students include BA degrees in Fashion Business and Marketing Communication with a Concentration in Marketing, Public Relations, or Advertising. A Minor in Fashion Business is also on the menu.
The most popular program for students interested in a career in fashion marketing is the BA in Fashion Business. This flexible program that allows room for students to “pursue interdisciplinary course options, a minor, or a double major,” says CCC. Fashion Business/Fashion Design is a popular double major.
Offered through the School of Fine & Performing Arts-Fashion Studies Department, the BA in Fashion Business allows students to participate in a variety of in fashion events and community partnerships including Launch—the student-produced Senior Showcase, Fashion Nation, Dress Code, as part of the City of Chicago’s Fashion Focus, and Fashion Columbia.
Students also have access to the Garment Collection, the Research Collection and the Fashion Study Collection (FSC), which consists of more than 6,000 items. Students may participate in “Fashion in the Field”—which features trips to New York City, Los Angeles, and Florence, Italy. All fashion students have access to the Magnificent Mile (Mag Mile)—a 13-block stretch of North Michigan Avenue which is home to more than 460 retail stores and high-end designer boutiques such as Burberry, Chanel, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Ermenegildo Zegna, and more.
4. LIM College, New York, New York
Established in 1939 as the Laboratory Institute of Merchandising (LIM), LIM College consists of three academic buildings in midtown Manhattan. The school is home to more than 1,500 students enrolled in 10 degree programs that prepare students for a career in Fashion Marketing, Merchandising, Visual Merchandising or Management. Options for marketing students include a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Marketing and Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Fashion Marketing, which launched in fall 2013. The BBA in Marketing prepares students to work in work in fields such as Brand Management, eCommerce, Public Relations, Events Management, Publicity, Sales, and more. The MPS prepares students for high-level positions in the Fashion Marketing industry.
Other program highlights include frequent recruitment events, professional development workshops, and internships with major companies such as Betsey Johnson, Chanel, Liz Claiborne, Tommy Hilfiger, MTV Networks, Teen Vogue, Versace, Louis Vuitton, Oscar de la Renta, Bergdorf Goodman, and many others. LIM graduates have accepted positions from Trend Marketing to Product Development at Bloomingdale’s, Burberry, Chanel, Gucci, Juicy Couture, Macy’s, Polo Ralph Lauren, Tiffany & Co., Tommy Hilfiger, Tori Burch, and more.
5. University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri
The University of Missouri, College of Human and Environmental Sciences-Department of Textile and Apparel Management (TAM) is home to one of the country’s most respected fashion marketing programs. Degree options include BS in Textile and Apparel Management (TAM) with Tracks in Apparel Marketing and Merchandising and a BS in International Apparel Marketing and Merchandising. TAM program highlights include internship opportunities, Study Tours, and access to dozens of student organizations.
To enhance their education and marketability, students may consider the Business, Entrepreneurship, or Textile and Apparel Management (TAM) Minor or the Digital Global Studies Undergraduate Certificate.
Founded in 1839, the University of Missouri (MU or Mizzou) is the flagship campus of the University of Missouri System. The school, which sits on a 1,262-acre main campus, is home to more than 35,000 students. MU offers 300+ degree programs through 19 colleges and schools.
6. North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina
Established in 1887, North Carolina State University (NC State University or NC State) sits on a 21,075-acre campus and it is home to more than 34,000 students from all 100 North Carolina counties, 52 states and 119 foreign countries. The largest university in the State of North Carolina, NC State offers 300 degree programs through 12 colleges and 65 departments.
The College of Textiles-Textile and Apparel, Technology and Management (TATM) Department offers several popular programs for students looking to break into fashion marketing or obtain a high-level position in the field. Options include a BS in Fashion and Textile Management with a Concentration in Textile Brand Management and Marketing, an MS in Textiles with a Concentration in Retail and Brand Management, and Graduate Certificates Consumer Textile Product Design and Development and Textile Brand Management and Marketing.
Program highlights include internship opportunities with local, regional, and national fashion companies, ad agencies, and marketing firms, Study Abroad opportunities in places such as Mexico and Copenhagen, Denmark, and participation in NC State University’s Fashion Week, which hosts the school’s famous Art2Wear Fashion Show.
7. Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas
Established in 1858, Kansas State University is one of the oldest academic institutions in the Midwest. Also called “K-State,” Kansas State University began with just 53 students. Today, the school has campuses in Manhattan, Salina, and Olathe, KS and it is home to more than 24,300 students from 50 states and more than 100 countries. Kansas State University offers nearly 400 programs at all degree and certificate levels across nine colleges.
The College of Human Ecology-Department of Apparel, Textiles, and Interior Design is home to more than 2,000 students. The largest College of its kind, the College of Human Ecology at K-State offers several programs for marketing students looking to start a career in the competitive fashion industry. Options include a BS in Apparel and Textiles with a Specialization in Apparel Marketing or Apparel Design and Production, and an MS in Apparel and Textiles with an Emphasis in Marketing or Product Development.
Another option for students looking to enhance their education and career opportunities is the PhD in with a Specialization in Apparel and Textiles as well as several programs offered through the College of Business Administration-Department of Marketing. Options include a BS in Marketing, a BS in Management with a strong focus on marketing, and a Business Administration Minor, which also features a significant number of marketing courses.
8. Stephens College, Columbia, Missouri
The Fashion Department at Stephens College offers an impressive BFA in Fashion Marketing and Management program, as well as a BFA in Fashion Design and Product Development and a BFA in Fashion Communication. Also on the menu are a unique Bachelor's + Master's program (where students can earn a Master's degree in as little as one year), and a Minor in Small Business or Small Business Ownership. Students may also combine any undergraduate program with a Master of Business Administration, a Master in Strategic Leadership, or any other program that matches their career goals.
Business and Marketing program highlights include 30+ visiting fashion professionals each year and participation in Stephens’ Annual Spring Fashion Show. Internships with publications and companies such as Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Victoria's Secret, Baby Phat and Women’s Wear Daily (WWD) are on the menu as well as Study Abroad in Paris, London, Rome, Sweden, and more.
9. Parsons The New School For Design, New York, New York
Parsons The New School for Design was established in 1896. In 1921, Parsons became the first art and design school in the U.S. to found a campus in the fashionable 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. A select group of students has the opportunity to study at the campus each year, for a full year or a semester. Parsons also offers study experiences in Scandinavia—to all students.
Also called “The New School” or “Parsons,” Parsons The New School For Design is home to 5,000 students enrolled in more than 40 degree programs across five schools. These include the School of Fashion, the School of Art, Media, and Technology, the School of Constructed Environments, The School of Design Strategies, and the School of Art and Design History and Theory. The School of Fashion offers several popular programs for aspiring fashion marketing professionals.
Options include an AAS in Fashion Marketing, a BFA in Communication Design, a BFA in Product 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 BBA in Strategic Design and Management, the Design Business Certificate or the BA/BFA Dual degree. The Dual degree highlights valuable areas of study such as Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Design.
In addition to Study Abroad opportunities in Paris and Scandinavia, Parsons offers an outstanding internship program, which offers the opportunity to network and gain hands-on experience at some of the biggest names in fashion, publishing, and advertising. Students have interned at The New Yorker, MTV Networks, Marie Claire, Donna Karan International, Gucci, Prada USA, AR New York (branding and advertising), Marc Jacobs, Versace, Tory Burch, OURUSE (strategic branding for art, luxury and fashion) and EDUN—a “global fashion brand bringing about positive change through its trading relationship with Africa.” –Parsons The New School For Design
10. Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, Los Angeles, California
Established in 1969, the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) prepares students for professional careers in Digital Media, Entertainment, and Fashion. Home to 8,000 students enrolled in 22 creative majors, FIDM has locations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Orange County (Irvine), and San Diego.
Popular majors for marketing students include Merchandise Marketing, Beauty Industry Merchandising and Marketing, Merchandise Product Development, Textile Production & Development and Visual Communications. These programs lead to an Associate of Arts (AA) or an AA Professional Designation. The AA Professional Designation is a 51-unit program for students that already hold a college degree. Also on the menu are a BS in Business Management and a BA in Professional Studies for students on the path to business ownership.
FIDM students “collaborate on real-world projects with industry professionals” from Anthropologie and Giorgio Armani to Saks Fifth Avenue and Disney Stores North America; they participate in the Annual DEBUT Runway Show; and students are also encouraged to take advantage of valuable study tours to fashion capitals such as New York City, Paris, London, Rome, and Milan.
Graduates of FIDM have an excellent employment outlook as well. According to the school, “of the eligible graduates actively seeking work, over 90% of graduates in all majors and programs found employment within six months of graduation”.
11. Art Institute of California-San Francisco, San Francisco, California
Established in 1997, the Art Institute of California-San Francisco is located 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 marketing professionals include an AS in Fashion Marketing, a BS Fashion Marketing & Management, and a Fashion Retailing Diploma.
In addition to the perfect location, which offers access to fashion companies, publications, advertising agencies, consulting firms, and more, the Art Institute of California-San Francisco is home to a very successful Department of Career Services. According to AI, features include “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.”
At present, 85.7 percent of available AI California-San Francisco graduates are employed in a related field.
12. The Art Institute of California-Hollywood, Hollywood, California
Established in 1991, the Art Institute of California-Hollywood is home to more than 2,300 artists and designers. Located in the trendy NoHo Arts District, the school offers Media Art, Culinary Art, Design, and Fashion degree programs. Options for individuals looking to enter the Fashion Marketing field are available through the School of Fashion.
Offerings include a BS in Fashion Marketing & Management, an AS in Fashion Marketing, and a Fashion Retailing Diploma. Students looking to enhance their education and career opportunities may choose a second degree such as the BA in Advertising. This program is available through the School of Design and the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges has accredited all programs.
13. The Art Institute of California-Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California
Established in 1997, the Art Institute of California-Los Angeles is located in the City of Santa Monica. Home to hundreds of students enrolled in dozens of Media Arts, Design, Culinary, and Fashion Design programs, AI California-Los Angeles consists of a 107,000 square foot computer lab, a design lab, dozens of classrooms, a library, and ample lounge space. The school’s convenient location places it in driving distance from thousands of retail shops, boutiques, the famous LA Fashion District, and more. The school offers a BS in Fashion Marketing & Management—the most popular option for students looking to break into fashion marketing.
Other complementary options include a BS in Advertising and a Fashion Retailing Diploma. The Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges has accredited all programs.
14. University of Rhode Island, Kingston, Rhode Island
Established in 1892, the University of Rhode Island (URI) sits on a 1,200-acre campus just 79 miles from Boston and 29 miles from Providence—the state’s largest city. Home to more than 15,000 students, URI offers 80 majors across 4 campuses and 10 colleges/schools. The College of Human Science and Services is home to the Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design Department (TMD). The Department offers one popular program for aspiring fashion marketing professionals—the BS in Textile Marketing. A BS in Marketing through the College of Business Administration is also on the menu.
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 internship opportunities with major names in the fashion industry such as Tommy Hilfiger, Nordstrom, Christian Louboutin, Gucci, Giorgio Armani,
Marie Claire and more. 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 the fashion capitals of London, Florence, Paris, Sydney, and more.
TMD graduates have accepted positions at a wide variety of companies such as Jones Apparel Group, Saks Fifth Avenue, Luxury Brand Holdings, Gucci, Fitness Magazine, Ralph Lauren, The Lace Museum, Kate Spade, Anne Klein, ROSS Stores, Reebok, Michael Hayes, Ketchum Public Relations, Lord & Taylor, New Balance, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Museum, and TJX Europe, London, UK.
15. Woodbury University, Burbank, California
Woodbury University has been around since 1884. It sits on a 22.5-acre campus in Burbank, California, and it has an additional campus in San Diego. The school is home to a population of 1,552 students enrolled in more than a dozen programs. Programs are offered through three schools including the School of Architecture and Business, the Institute of Transdisciplinary Studies, and the School of Media, Culture & Design.
The School of Architecture and Business offers a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Fashion Marketing, which is the most popular program for students interested in a career in the industry. Program highlights include immersive study in Trend Analysis, Fashion Retailing, Fashion Promotion, Fashion Production & Wholesaling, and Fashion Journalism, six-day field experiences, and access to everything Woodbury’s Fashion Design program has to offer.
Along with other fashion students, BBA students may participate in the annual Woodbury Fashion Show (open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors), they have access to the Fashion Study Collection (more than 6,000 pieces, some dating back to the early 1800s), and local “lectures, museums, galleries, and exhibitions exploring a variety of topics including social and cultural issues.” Summer Study Abroad experiences are also on the menu. Past destinations include the fashion capitals of London and Paris, as well as places such as Turkey and Antwerp, Belgium.
16. The Illinois Institute of Art, Chicago, Illinois
Established in 1916 as The Commercial Arts School, the Illinois Institute Art is one of the country’s first colleges of applied art and design. It has two locations—one in Downtown Chicago and the main campus at River North Point, which connects to one of the world’s largest design centers—Merchandise Mart. The Downtown (Loop) campus, is just steps from the city’s high-end shopping hub—The Magnificent Mile. Both campuses offer easy access to Chicago’s dynamic advertising and marketing scene.
Known as Ray-Vogue in the 1930s, the Illinois Institute of Art offers Design, Culinary Art, Media Arts, and Fashion programs. Offerings for fashion marketing students include a BA Fashion in Marketing & Management and a (complementary) Fashion Retailing Diploma. Besides the perfect location for fashion marketing students, program highlights include membership in student groups such as Fashion Focused and the American Society of Interior Designers, exciting leadership workshops, and an excellent job outlook.
In 2011, 90.4% Fashion Marketing & Management (BS) graduates were employed in a related field within 6 months of graduation. Illinois Institute of Art graduates have accepted positions at BCBG Max Azria, Chicos, Claire’s Neiman Marcus, Rag & Bone, Nordstrom, Ralph Lauren, Saks Fifth Avenue, Tip-Top Branding, White House Black Market, and more.
17. The Art Institute of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The Art Institute of Philadelphia has been in existence since 1971. Located in Downtown Philadelphia, the Institute is home to 2,820 students enrolled in four academic facilities that offer Design, Media Art, Culinary, and Fashion Design programs. Offerings for aspiring fashion marketing professionals include a BS in Fashion Marketing, an AS in Fashion Marketing, and a Fashion Retailing Diploma. A popular second degree option is the BS in Advertising, which may enhance students’ education and career opportunities.
Art Institute of Philadelphia facilities include state-of-the-art computer labs, post production facilities, video studios and edit suites, photographic imaging facilities, a large library, and kitchen facilities. Program highlights include “The Design Groups.” TDG allows students to work on projects for outside clients, under the supervision of AI Philadelphia faculty. The program gives students the opportunity to gain valuable hands-on experience and the possibility of future employment with clients that participate in the program.
18. The Art Institute of Portland, Portland, Oregon
Established in 1963 as Bassist College, The Art Institute of Portland (AI Portland) is home to more than 1,300 students enrolled in more than 20 Design, Fashion, Culinary, and Media Arts programs. The school, which serves the Pacific Northwest and beyond, offers a nice collection of programs for individuals looking to launch a career in just about any area of fashion. These programs lead to an Associate of Arts (AA) or a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA).
Students with an interest in the advertising and promotions side of fashion typically choose the BFA in Fashion Marketing. Students looking to start their own agency, firm or other business might consider also the Design Management BFA, which explores Entrepreneurism, Project Management, and Art and Design.
Located in the bustling metropolis known for innovative start-ups, an original art scene, unusual shops and boutiques, and multiple Fashion Week events, the Art Institute of Portland offers the perfect location for aspiring fashion professionals. 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 software, and more.
19. Lasell College, Newton, Massachusetts
Lasell College is a school of more than 1,900 students enrolled in more than 40 academic programs. Established as the Auburndale Female Seminary in 1851, Lasell sits on a green 53-acre campus just eight miles from historic Downtown Boston. Program options for fashion marketing students include a BA in Fashion Communication and Promotion and a BS in Marketing. Students looking to enhance their education and career opportunities may consider a Minor in Business or a BS in Management or Entrepreneurship.
The most popular program for fashion marketing students is the BA in Fashion Communication and Promotion. This program offers intensive coursework in Fashion Marketing, Advertising, Public Relations, Mass Media, Journalism, Social Media, and more. Other program highlights include internship opportunities at places such as Gucci, Bebe, Liz Claiborne, Macy’s, MAC Cosmetics, and Cosmopolitan Magazine, the opportunity to help produce and promote the Annual Runway Fashion Show, and access to the Lasell Fashion Collection (LFC), which consists of more than 1,000 items of clothing and accessories from the 19th and 20th centuries.
Students in good academic standing are also eligible to enroll in the Lasell’s Two-Week Travel/Study Program in Paris or Study Abroad experiences in one of 38 exciting countries.
20. The Art Institute of Seattle, Seattle, Washington
The Art Institute of Seattle is located on Seattle’s bustling Elliott Bay Waterfront, which offers easy access to art and design centers, unique shopping districts, art museums, 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 fashion marketing students include AAS and BS degrees in Fashion Marketing and a Fashion Retailing Diploma. 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.
The BS in Fashion Marketing takes 36 months to complete, the AAS takes 18 months to complete, and the Fashion Retailing Diploma takes 12 months to complete. Upon completion of AI’s fashion programs, graduates are prepared to seek positions in Sales Promotions, Buying, Merchandising, Special Events, Visual Merchandising, Management, and more.