Fashion-Schools.org is excited to bring you our 2019 Fashion Design School rankings. Each year, we compile a list of the top list of the Top Fashion Design Schools and Colleges in the United States. Our definitive ranking of the top fashion design schools in the U.S. is based on factors like the schools’ admission data, graduation success, reputation and an extensive proprietary survey conducted with school & industry stakeholders. In addition to our Top 50 National rankings, we are happy to provide regional rankings as well.
Below you'll find the Top 10 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 ranking criteria, click here.
Savannah College of Art and Design (TOP 1% OF SCHOOLS BEING CONSIDERED)
Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) was founded in 1978. The school, which is home to nearly 11,000 students from close to 50 states and 115 countries, offers 40 majors and 60-plus minors. With campuses in Savannah, Atlanta, and Hong Kong, SCAD offers a variety of programs for aspiring fashion designers. Offerings 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 are regular participants in national design contests like Walt Disney Imagineering’s 27th Imaginations Design Competition. In 2018, at the 27th annual competition, out of 270 qualified submissions SCAD students took home the top two prizes.
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.
North Carolina State University (TOP 5% OF SCHOOLS BEING CONSIDERED)
North Carolina State University (NC State) has been in existence since 1887. The school is home to nearly 34,000 students enrolled in more than 300 degree programs across 12 colleges and 65 academic departments. The College of Textiles houses the Department of Textile and Apparel Technology and Management (TATM). The Department offers several unique programs for aspiring fashion designers. The schools embrace of innovation is apparent in their increasing inclusion of online study options for students.
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, Hong Kong, Australia and India.
Auburn University (TOP 7% OF SCHOOLS BEING CONSIDERED)
Auburn University, based in Auburn Alabama, was established in 1856. In 1872, the school became the first land-grant college in the South. Today, the school is home to a nearly 30,000 students, enrolled in more than 140 degree options across 13 colleges and schools. Within the university, the College of Human Sciences has the Department of Consumer & Design Sciences (CADS).
CADS offers a BS in Apparel Merchandising, Design and Production Management with an Apparel Design and Production Management Option (BS-APDP). For those aspiring students they also offer graduate degrees including both Master of Science as well as Ph.D. in Consumer and Design Sciences. There’s even a Accelerated BS/MS program with specialization areas in design of interiors and apparel.
Apparel Design 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 Italy, London, Fiji, Jordan, Peru, South Africa, and more. CADS curriculum takes an integrated approach to studying apparel throughout the production supply chain and provides students with the education and experiences to become a valued member of firms throughout the apparel and related industries. In addition to academics, the program supports entry level placement in the apparel industry as well as advancement throughout the graduates’ career.
University of North Carolina Greensboro (TOP 13% OF SCHOOLS BEING CONSIDERED)
Located in Greensboro, North Carolina, the Bryan School of Business at the University of North Carolina (UNCG) is home to the Department of Consumer, Apparel, and Retail Studies (CARS). Clothing and textiles have been a part of UNCG’s history since its beginning in 1892 and has a long and interesting history through the years.
Today CARS offers B.S., Masters and PhD degrees in Consumer, Apparel, and Retail Studies. Concentrations are available in Apparel Design or Global Apparel and Related Industry Studies. A Post-Baccalaureate Certificate (PBC) in both areas or in Global Apparel Supply Chain Management is also available.
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.
Louisiana State University (TOP 14% OF SCHOOLS BEING CONSIDERED)
Louisiana State University (LSU) 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. The College of Agriculture, Department of Textiles, Apparel Design, and Merchandising (TAM) offers several programs for aspiring fashion designers.
LSU offers a BS in Textiles, Apparel & Merchandising (BS TAM) with a Concentration in Apparel Design, Textile Science, or Merchandising. The curriculum provides an integrated, multi-functional academic experience. Textile and apparel students focus on the design, development, and marketing of products and are encouraged to develop a broad based problem solving perspective through synthesis of concepts, course work, and work experiences.
On the graduate side, TAM offers both 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.
Miami International University Art & Design (TOP 19% OF SCHOOLS BEING CONSIDERED)
Miami International University of Art & Design (MIU) is one of The Art Institutes, a system of nonprofit schools throughout the United States. It was originally established in 1965 as The International Fine Arts College. Today the school is home to more than 2,000 from over 60 countries and offers programs in the areas of Design, Fashion, and Media Arts. Located in downtown Miami, a modern, cosmopolitan and multicultural city it offers students an unprecedented opportunity to explore, participate, and contribute to their life experience. MIU encompasses a diverse population and provides a live medium in which you can expand your culture and knowledge.
Programs for aspiring fashion designers include AA degrees in Fashion Design, AA in Accessory Design or a BFA in Fashion Design. Alternatively MIU offers those with more interest in the business of fashion either an AA or a BA in Fashion Merchandising. All 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.
Clark Atlanta University (TOP 26% OF SCHOOLS BEING CONSIDERED)
Clark Atlanta University (CAU) was founded in 1865 as Atlanta University—the nation’s first African-American graduate school. In 1988, Atlanta University joined forces with the nation’s first private, liberal arts college for African-Americans—Clark College (1869). The name was changed to Clark Atlanta University and the school became the nations oldest graduate institution serving a predominantly African-American student body.
Clark Atlanta University is now home to nearly 4,000 students, enrolled in 38 academic programs. CAU awards Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral Degrees, and it is the largest and only coeducational undergraduate institution in the Atlanta University Center to grant Doctoral Degrees. Clark Atlanta University’s Department of Art is home to several Bachelor’s Degree programs for aspiring fashion designers and merchandisers. Department offerings include a BA in Fashion Merchandising with Concentrations in Design and Merchandising.
All fashion students will take Retail Management, Fashion Show Production, and CFAS 480—the Internship Program. Although not required, the Department “encourages students to consider studying in a foreign country as part of an overall education experience.” The Study Abroad option is available during the third year of study (Fall semester). Students can take up to 15 credit hours abroad in places such as Milan, London, Paris, Florence, and Provence.
Georgia Southern University (TOP 29% OF SCHOOLS BEING CONSIDERED)
Established in 1906, Georgia Southern University (GSU) is one of the state’s most prized possessions. The school was named one of the nation's top eco-friendly campuses by the Princeton Review and the U.S. Green Building Council (2011), it made The Presidents Honor Roll for Higher Education Community Service for logging 368,000 hours of community service (by students), and for two consecutive years, Georgia Southern University has been ranked one of the top 10 most popular universities in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Georgia Southern tied with Yale for the number seven spot on the 2012 list.
Georgia Southern University sits on a 900-acre campus and it is home to more than 20,000 students. The school offers more than 100 programs, throughout more than a dozen undergraduate and graduate 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 include a BS in Fashion Merchandising & Apparel with an Emphasis in Fashion Merchandising or an Emphasis in Apparel Design.
All fashion students may participate in field experiences, the Fashion Internship Program, and Study Tours in Atlanta and New York City. Students also have the option to enroll in a Study Abroad Program. Past Study Abroad locations include London, Paris, Berlin, Scotland, Madrid, Waterford, and St. Petersburg Russia.
Tennessee Tech University (TOP 30% OF SCHOOLS BEING CONSIDERED)
Tennessee Tech University, is an accredited public university in Cookeville, Tennessee. It was originally founded as a private institution in 1909 as University of Dixie, but then changed its name to Tennessee Polytechnic Institute in 1915. In 1965, the school officially became Tennessee Tech University, which loyalists call “Tech” for short. With over 10,000 enrolled students, Tech offers a broad range of undergraduate and graduate degrees. There are eight academic schools and colleges, including Agriculture and Human Ecology, Arts and Sciences, Business, Education, Engineering, Fine Arts, Interdisciplinary Studies, and Nursing.
Within the School of Human Ecology, students may earn their Bachelor of Science in Human Ecology (B.S.H.E.) in Merchandising and Design. The curriculum focuses on the design, production, distribution, and selection of consumer products. Graduates may pursue careers including management, merchandise buyer, sales representative, shopper/stylist, fashion coordinator, textile researcher, fashion designer, and many others. The School of Art, Craft, and Design offers Bachelor of Fine Arts majors across many media, including clay, fibers, glass, metals, and wood. With over 50,000 square feet of studio space, students receive a hands-on education in the arts.
For the past two years, students in the Merchandising and Design Program have taken study trips to different fashion hubs, including Los Angeles, California in 2019. These trips enable students to meet and learn from established fashion designers in their studios, gain perspective through historical experiences such as meeting museum curators or costume designers, and to enjoy cultural experiences such as watching a Broadway play or visiting an art gallery. Next year, students may enjoy a two-week international tour of Italy, France, and possibly Amsterdam.
University of Arkansas (TOP 30% OF SCHOOLS BEING CONSIDERED)
Founded in 1871, University of Arkansas is the first public university in Arkansas. The school is home to more than 27,000 students enrolled in more than 200 degree programs across 10 colleges and schools.
Bumpers College, School of Human Environmental Sciences offers two degree programs for aspiring fashion merchandisers—a Bachelor of Science in Human Environmental Sciences (BSHESC) in Apparel Merchandising and Produce Development (AMPD) and an MS in AMPD. Program highlights include guest lecturers from the apparel and textile industries, coursework in science, marketing, social science and liberal arts, human environmental sciences and specialized areas of business and art, and summer study tours of domestic and European fashion centers such as New York, Dallas, Las Vegas, and China. Students also have the option to join student organizations such as the Association of Apparel Merchandising and Product Development and Phi Upsilon Omicron.