The state of Georgia is home to nearly 10 million people, but more than half of the state's residents live in the bustling Metro Atlanta area. Home to nearly 5.5 million people, the Metro Atlanta area leads the way for the rest of the state when it comes to art and culture, entertainment, and fashion trends. Many of the state's best art and design schools are in Atlanta, as well as some of the most exciting shopping districts in the region.
Buckhead, an Atlanta “subcity,” is home to roughly a dozen shopping districts such as the Miami Circle Design District, the Bennett Street Design District, and East Village. Buckhead's shopping districts feature everything from fine art and upscale fashions to high-end accessories. Although the Metro Atlanta area dominates Georgia’s fashion scene, other cities such as Savannah are well worth exploring.
Savannah is home to a variety of unique boutiques, brand name retailers, and possibly hundreds of specialty shops. Savannah also happens to be home to one of the world’s best art and design colleges—Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). Other offerings in the world of fashion and design include Atlanta International Fashion Week, Savannah Fashion Week, and Georgia Fashion Week.
If Georgia sounds like it might be a good place to start a fashion career, continue reading to find out which Georgia fashion schools are the best of the best and what they have to offer.
Georgia is home to 132 Title IV degree-granting universities. The state’s collection of Title IVs is a mix of traditional colleges and universities, technical schools, art schools, art and design schools, and specialty schools. While you can find plenty of great colleges across the Peach State, many of the state’s top design schools are located in Atlanta and Savannah. A large number of these schools offer advanced degrees in multiple areas of fashion and some of the country’s most unique fashion programs. Let’s start with the University of Georgia in Athens, which offers a Ph.D. in Textile Sciences.
University of Georgia - Degrees Offered: B.S. Fashion Merchandising optional Global Soft Goods Merchandising and Manufacturing emphasis; M.S. Textiles, Merchandising and Interiors with a focus in Textile Science, Historic/Cultural Aspects of Dress and Textiles, Merchandising/International Trade, and Interior Environments; Ph.D. Textile Sciences with an emphasis in International Merchandising + concentrated study in International Apparel and Textiles Retailing, International Production and Trade, Global Sourcing, International Business Practices, and E-commerce in a Global Setting; Minor Fashion Merchandising
American InterContinental University, Atlanta - Degrees Offered: Business Administration (BBA): Specialization in Fashion Marketing
Bauder College - Degrees Offered: Associate Fashion Design, Fashion Merchandising, Interior Design
Clark Atlanta University - Degrees Offered: B.A. Fashion/Merchandising with a concentration in Design, B.A. in Fashion Merchandising with a concentration in Merchandising
Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) - Degrees Offered: B.F.A., M.A., M.F.A., Minor in Fashion Design; B.F.A., Minor Fashion Marketing and Management; M.A, M.F.A Luxury and Fashion Management; B.F.A., M.A., M.F.A., Minor Interior Design; B.A., B.F.A., M.A., M.F.A., Minor Illustration
The Art Institute of Atlanta - Degrees Offered: B.A. Fashion & Retail Management, Fashion Retailing Diploma, B.F.A. Illustration, B.F.A. Interior Design
Brenau University- Degrees Offered: B.F.A. Fashion Design, B.A. Fashion Merchandising
Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) - Degrees Offered: B.F.A., M.A., M.F.A., Minor Fashion Design; B.F.A., Minor Fashion Marketing and Management; B.F.A., M.A., M.F.A., Minor Fibers; B.F.A., M.A., M.F.A., Minor Accessory Design; B.F.A., M.A., M.F.A., Minor Jewelry and Objects; M.A., M.F.A. Luxury and Fashion Management, B.A. B.F.A., M.A., M.F.A., Minor Illustration; B.F.A., M.A., M.F.A., Minor Interior Design
Georgia Southern University - Degrees Offered: B.S. Fashion Merchandising & Apparel Design with an emphasis in Apparel Design or Fashion Merchandising, B.S. Interior Design
More Programs to Consider:
Employment and Salary Trends for Georgia Fashion Designers
Georgia was home to 70 salaried fashion designers in 2006, earning an average salary of $53,730 per year. According to the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report, the state is now home to 130 salaried fashion designers earning an average salary of $68,460. Many Georgia fashion graduates work in the state’s growing merchandise display industry. The state is home to whopping 5,460 merchandise displayers averaging $27,790 per year. In 2006, the state was home to 1,480 merchandise displayers averaging $24,500 annually. In the state of Georgia and nationwide, some of the best opportunities for merchandise displayers are at department stores, in advertising, public relations and related services, and clothing stores.
The U.S. is home to 73,490 salaried merchandise displayers, up from 62,580 in 2006. They earn an average mean annual salary of $28,860, up from $26,550 in 2006. The highest paid merchandise displayers earn an average salary of $43,940 yearly and the lowest paid displayers average $17,940 per year.
The Bureau projects a 10.4 percent increase in employment for fashion designers nationwide for the 2010-2020 decade. Average salaries are on the rise as well. In 2006, the annual mean wage for fashion designers nationwide was $69,270. A news release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics dated March 29, 2013 states that the average mean wage for fashion designers today is $72,620 per year.
Many fashion designers are self-employed—especially in large areas such as Metro Atlanta. However, the Bureau does not collect data for these individuals. This means, the population of working fashion designers is likely much higher and salaries may be higher as well. Some of nation’s top designers earn anywhere from the high six figures to millions of dollars.
As stated earlier, the Metro Atlanta offers an abundance of opportunities for aspiring fashion designers, but several other principal cities are worth looking into as well. In addition to Savannah, other principal Georgia cities include Augusta, Columbus, Athens, Sandy Springs, Roswell, Macon, Johns Creek, and Albany.