Our 2017 rankings of the top fashion design schools in the South.
We define the South as Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas.
For an explanation of our ranking criteria, click here.
1. Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, Georgia
Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) offers one of the nation’s largest number of degree programs for aspiring fashion designers. Options include BFA, MA, and MFA degrees in Accessory Design, Fashion, Fibers, and Jewelry. The Fashion BFA, MA and MFA are offered at both the Savannah and Atlanta campuses, and the BFA is also offered at SCAD’s Hong Kong campus. Students may also earn their MA in Fashion online.
According to the school, “SCAD is the first art and design university to receive the Instructional Technology Council’s award for Outstanding Distance Education Program and the rank of Excellence in Institution-Wide Online Teaching and Learning from the Sloan Consortium.” Other Fashion Program highlights include participation in the Annual SCAD Fashion Show, and internships and study opportunities at local, national, and international fashion companies.
About SCAD: Savannah College of Art and Design was founded in 1978. The school is home to nearly 13,000 students from nearly 50 states and 115 countries. With campuses in Savannah, Atlanta, Hong Kong, and Lacoste, France, SCAD offers 40 majors and 60-plus minors.
2. North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina
North Carolina State University (NC State) is home to the College of Textiles, which houses the Department of Textile and Apparel Technology and Management (TATM). The Department offers several unique programs for aspiring fashion designers. Undergraduate offerings include a BS in Fashion and Textile Design and a BS in Fashion and Textile Management with a Concentration in Fashion Development and Product Management. Graduate offerings include both a Master of Textiles (MT) and an MS in Textiles. Design Specializations include Textile and Fashion Design, and Textile Technology.
TATM fashion students have access to spacious studios outfitted with the latest technology to design textile products and fabrics as well as prototypes. Students may also participate in TATM’s “study abroad-friendly” semester in their junior year, which prevents students from falling behind in their classes. Study abroad locations may include France, the Czech Republic, Australia and India.
About NC State: North Carolina State University was founded in 1887 as North Carolina College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts. The school is home to nearly 34,000 students enrolled in more than 300 degree programs across 12 colleges and 65 academic departments.
3. Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama
Auburn University is home to the College of Human Sciences, which houses the Department of Consumer & Design Sciences (CADS). CADS offers several programs for aspiring fashion designers. Options include a BS in Apparel Merchandising, Design and Production Management with an Apparel Design and Production Management Option (BS-APDP), an MS in Consumer and Design Sciences – Apparel and Interiors (MS-CAHS), and a PhD in Consumer Design Sciences (PhD – CADS) with a “fashion-related focus.” Focus options include Functional and Creative Apparel Design, Sustainability, Creativity, and Product Development.
All CADS students have the opportunity to intern at local retailers and design houses as well as opportunities to study in New York (IQLA New York Study Tour) or abroad. Study abroad locations may include London, Italy, Fiji, Jordan, Peru, South Africa, and more.
About Auburn: Auburn University was established in 1856 as the East Alabama Male College. Today, the school is home to a co-ed population of 28,290 students. Auburn offers more than 140 degree options across 13 colleges and schools.
4. University of North Carolina, Greensboro, North Carolina
The University of North Carolina, Greensboro (UNCG) is home to the Bryan School of Business and Economics. The Department of Consumer, Apparel, and Retail Studies (CARS) at Bryan offers several programs for aspiring fashion designers. Options include BS, MS, and PhD degrees with a Concentration in Apparel Design or Global Apparel and Related Industry Studies. A Post-Baccalaureate Certificate (PBC) in both areas is also on the menu.
All CARS students have access to an Historic Costume Collection with garments and artifacts dating from 1776-2003, internship opportunities at major companies such as Anna Sui, Anne Klein, Barney’s, Bloomingdale’s, Calvin Klein, Polo/Ralph Lauren, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Tommy Hilfiger, and a Global Experience program which offers the opportunity to study in fashion capitals such as Paris and London. Fashion students also have the opportunity to participate in the Annual THREADS Fashion Show.
About UNCG: University of North Carolina, Greensboro was established in 1891. The school consists of eight undergraduate colleges and schools, and a graduate school, and it serves more than 19,000 students. UNCG offers 79 undergraduate programs in more than 100 areas of study, 65 masters programs, and 30 doctoral programs.
5. Mississippi State University, Starkville, Mississippi
Mississippi State University is home to the School of Human Sciences, which houses the Fashion Design & Merchandising Program. Students in the BS program concentrate in one of two areas—Apparel Production & Design or Merchandising. The Apparel Production & Design curriculum “emphasizes the total design and production process from inception to finished product and its ultimate sale to the consumer.” Program highlights include study abroad experiences, internship opportunities at local companies or overseas, and the opportunity to participate in a variety of fashion show events and showcases.
About Mississippi State University: Mississippi State University was established in 1878 as the Agricultural and Mechanical College of the State of Mississippi. The school is home to approximately 21,622 students enrolled in more than 175 programs across 12 colleges and schools.
6. Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
The College of Agriculture, Department of Textiles, Apparel Design, and Merchandising (TAM) at Louisiana State University (LSU) offers several programs for aspiring fashion designers.
Options include a BS in Textiles, Apparel & Merchandising (BS TAM) with a Concentration in Apparel Design, Textile Science, or Merchandising, and MS and PhD Degrees in Human Ecology with Concentrations in Apparel Design, Textile Science, and Historical/Cultural Aspects of Textiles and Apparel.
Program highlights include optional membership in the Fashion Association at LSU (FALSU), access to state-of-the art facilities such as an apparel production lab, textiles testing and processing lab, and body scanning lab, and access to the LSU Textile & Costume Museum and Historic & Archaeological Textile and Apparel Research Laboratory. Students also have the opportunity to complete an internship and participate in the Annual Fashion Show.
About LSU: Louisiana State University opened its doors in 1860. The school is home to more than 31,500 students enrolled in over 200 programs across 11 colleges and schools.
7. University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama
University of Alabama (UA) is home to the College of Human Environmental Sciences, which houses the Department of Clothing, Textiles and Interior Design. The Department offers one program for aspiring fashion designers—a BS in Apparel and Textiles (AT) with a Concentration in Apparel Design. Program highlights include internship opportunities, the Annual Fashion Show, and the opportunity to show student designs at the Annual Birmingham Fashion Week.
About University of Alabama: University of Alabama was founded in 1831. It is home to 37,665 students from across the U.S. and 77 other countries. UA offers 200 fields of study across 13 colleges and schools.
8. Meredith College, Raleigh, North Carolina
The School of Education, Health & Human Sciences at Meredith College is home to the Fashion Merchandising and Design Program. Options for aspiring fashion designers include a BS in Fashion Merchandising and Design with a Merchandising or Design Concentration. Minors in Fashion Design and Merchandising are also available. Program highlights include an experiential learning environment, summer study abroad in Paris or at Meredith’s permanent location in Sansepolcro, Italy, and access to a variety of internship opportunities. Students have interned at Michael Kors, Ella Moss, Vogue Magazine, and more.
About Meredith College: Chartered in 1891, Meredith College opened with just over 200 women. Today, the school is home to a co-ed population of nearly 2,000 students from more than 33 states and 39 countries. The school offers more than 100 programs across four schools including Arts & Humanities, Business, Education, Health & Human Sciences, and Natural and Mathematical Sciences.
9. O’More College of Design, Franklin, Tennessee
O’More College of Design offers BFA degrees in Fashion Design and Fashion Merchandising. Program highlights include internship opportunities at area designers and retailers, and participation in the O’More Student Fashion Show.
About O’More: O’More College of Design was founded in 1970 as O'More School of Interior Architecture and Design. The school is home to around 200 students enrolled in several programs across three schools. They include the School of Fashion, the School of Visual Design, and the School of Interior Design.
10. Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, Georgia
Georgia Southern University is home to the College of Health and Human Sciences, which houses the School of Human Ecology (SHE). SHE has several programs for aspiring fashion designers. Options include a BS in Fashion Merchandising & Apparel Design with an Emphasis in Apparel Design or Merchandising. A Minor in Fashion Merchandising & Apparel Design is also available.
Program highlights include specialized training in areas such as Fashion Illustration, Promotion and Selling Fashion Items, Pattern Making, Draping Design, Manual and Computer Aided Design, and Fashion Buying. Field experiences are also highlighted, as well as internship opportunities, and study tours to the New York and Atlanta fashion markets.
About Georgia Southern: Georgia Southern University’s inaugural academic year began in 1908 with just 15 students and four faculty members. Today, the school is home to more than 20,000 students from all 50 states, DC, and Puerto Rico, and 88 countries. The school offers more than 250 programs across eight colleges.