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Top 50 Fashion Design Schools and Colleges in the US – 2015

Written by FS StaffJune 2, 2015

Our 2015 list of the Top 50 Fashion Design School Programs in the US. 

For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

1. Fashion Institute of Technology, New York, New York (top 5% of schools considered)

Did You Know.... Academy of Art University’s School of Fashion offers BFA's in Fashion, Fashion Merchandising, Textile Design, Fashion Marketing, Fashion Styling, Costume Design, and Fashion Product Development. Learn more.

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The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) was founded in 1944 and it is a member of the State University of New York (SUNY) family. The school is home to 10,052 students enrolled in 37 majors and 12 certificate programs across five schools including the School of Art and Design, Jay and Patty Baker School of Business and Technology, 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 large collection of fashion programs for aspiring designers of all kinds.

Students may choose from a large number of degree levels including AAS, BFA, BS, MA, and MPS programs. In addition, FIT offers one- and two-year options for AAS students and both credit and non-credit Certificates. An international option in Florence is on the menu for fashion design students pursuing an AAS degree, 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. 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. Parsons School of Design at the New School, New York, New York (top 5% of schools considered)

Parsons School for Design at the New School was established in 1896 by American Impressionist William Merritt Chase. The school is home to nearly 5,000 students enrolled in 27 degree programs across five schools. The School of Fashion offers a variety of unique degree programs for aspiring fashion designers. Options include AAS and BFA degrees in Fashion Design, a BFA Integrated Studies, an MA in Fashion Studies and an MFA in Fashion Design and Society.

Fashion Program highlights include the opportunity to study at Parsons Paris, participation in the Annual Fashion Show, and the opportunity to work with 560—the Magazine of Parsons’ School of Design.

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, and 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.

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

3. Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), Savannah, Georgia (top 5% of schools considered)

Founded in 1978, Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) is home to more than 11,000 students enrolled in more than 40 areas of concentration in art and design, 60-plus minors, and three certificate programs. The school, which has campuses in Savannah, Atlanta, and Hong Kong, offers a wide 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 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.

4. Kent State University, Kent, Ohio (top 5% of schools considered)

Founded in 1910, Kent State University (KSU or Kent State) is home to 27,500 students with access to more than 300 degree programs across dozens of colleges, schools, and departments. The College of the Arts, School of Fashion Design and Merchandising (The Fashion School) offers several programs for aspiring fashion designers. Offerings include BA and BFA degrees in Fashion Design, a BFA in Crafts (Jewelry and Metals), a BFA Crafts (Textile Arts), and an MFA in Design/Technology – Costume Design. Minors in Accessories or Textiles are also on the menu.

All fashion students are eligible to participate in the Fashion School's Annual Fashion Show—FS2 Visionnaire, as well as a variety of international programs. According to the school, “study tours to Europe and Asia are offered on a regular basis.” Fashion capitals such as Florence, Paris, London and Hong Kong are often on the menu.

In addition, The Fashion School has a studio located in New York’s Fashion District. According to the School, the NYC Studio “provides full-semester academic programs for Kent State fashion students in the Fall, Spring, or Summer terms. Guest students, studying fashion at their home school, may also attend the program during Summer Session.”

5. Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Providence, Rhode Island (top 5% of schools considered)

Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) was founded in 1877. It is home to 2,449 students from across the U.S. and 57 other countries. The Department of Apparel Design offers a BFA in Apparel Design and The Fine Arts Division offers BFA and MFA degrees in Textiles and Jewelry + Metalsmithing.

Apparel Design students will have the opportunity to participate in RISD's Annual Runway Show. COLLECTION 2015 featured “selections from seniors’ year-long thesis collections, pieces from juniors’ men’s and women’s tailored jacket looks and cut/sew knitwear project, and sophomores’ projects that used prints from Nicole Miller (RISD Apparel ’73).”

6. Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York (top 5% of schools considered)

Founded in 1887, Pratt Institute is home to 4,556 students enrolled in 22 undergraduate degree programs, 26 graduate degree programs, and a variety of Certificate and Minor programs across five schools including 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 and The Center for Continuing and Professional Studies. Programs for aspiring fashion designers are offered through the School of Design and the School of Art – Department of Fine Art.

School of Design offerings include a BFA in Fashion Design and the School of Art offers a BFA in Jewelry. According to the school, 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.” In addition, students have access to internship opportunities with major designers such as Rag & Bone, Ralph Lauren, and Donna Karan.

7. Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (top 5% of schools considered)

Drexel University was established in 1891 and it is home to 26,359 students enrolled in 200 degree programs across 15 colleges and schools. The Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts and Design is home to the Department of Fashion, Product and Design & Merchandising. The Department offers several programs for aspiring fashion designers. Offerings include a BS and an MS in Fashion Design.

Fashion design students have access to “studios and specialized labs” in the school’ URBN Center, the Robert and Penny Fox Historic Costume Collection (FHCC), and study abroad opportunities in fashion capitals such as London, England and Florence, Italy. In addition, students have the chance to submit their creations to national and international competitions each year and upon completion of the program, they have the opportunity to show their final collections in the Department’s Annual Fashion Show.

8. Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa (top 10% of schools considered)

Iowa State University (ISU or Iowa State) was established in 1858 as Iowa Agricultural College and Model Farm. It is home to 34,734 students enrolled in hundreds of programs across 10 colleges and schools. The College of Human Sciences is home to the Apparel, Events, and Hospitality Management (AESHM) Department. The Department offers several programs for aspiring fashion designers.

Degree offerings include a BA, MS, and PhD in Apparel, Merchandising, and Design. A Minor is also on the menu. In addition to a variety of program offerings, Apparel, Merchandising, and Design students have the opportunity to study in “major market areas” such as New York or Chicago, they may participate in a variety of international study programs in Europe, and all students have the opportunity to participate in ISU’s Annual Fashion Show.

9. University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (Minneapolis-St. Paul), Minnesota (top 10% of schools considered)

The University of Minnesota (U of M) was founded in 1851. It is home to 69,221 students enrolled in more than 400 degree programs across 17 colleges and schools. The College of Design is home to the Department of Design, Housing and Apparel, which offers several programs for aspiring fashion designers. Degree offerings include a BS in Apparel Design and MA, MS, and PhD degrees with an Apparel Studies Track. A Minor in Fashion Studies is also on the menu.

Apparel Design students have access to The Wearable Product Design Center (WPDC), the Wearable Technology Lab, and the Human Dimensioning Lab, as well as the opportunity to show their collections at the College of Design Annual Apparel Design Fashion Show. In addition, all students have the option to study abroad. Study abroad opportunities are available in Sydney, Australia; Florence, Italy; Amsterdam; Istanbul, Turkey; London, England, and Northern Ireland. 

10. Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, California (top 10% of schools considered)

Otis College of Art and Design (OTIS) was founded in 1918. It is home to 1,100 students enrolled in more than a dozen art and design programs. OTIS offers one degree program for aspiring fashion designers—a BFA in Fashion Design. Students may select an Emphasis in Costume Design which focuses on “new directions in character development for film, television, live performance, concept art, and video,” according to OTIS.

The Sustainability Minor is another popular option and the Continuing Education Department offers a number of single courses for aspiring fashion designers as well. Offerings include Fashion Design, Textile/Surface Design, Jewelry Design, and Illustration. 

OTIS Fashion students are mentored by major brands and designers such as Ruben & Isabel Toledo, A|X, Halston, Billabong, Nike, BCBG, Hurley, and Johnny Was. Students also have the opportunity to showcase their designs at the Annual Scholarship and Benefit Fashion Show. Student designs are also displayed in the Nieman Marcus window in Beverly Hills.

11. Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama  (top 10% of schools considered)

Auburn University was established in 1856 as the East Alabama Male College. Today, the school is home to a co-ed student population of  25,912 students enrolled in more than 140 degree options across 13 colleges and schools. The College of Human Sciences is home to the Department of Consumer & Design Sciences (CADS) which offers several programs for aspiring fashion designers.

Programs 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 in areas such as Functional and Creative Apparel Design, Sustainability, Creativity, or Product Development.

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.

12. Cornell University, Ithaca, New York (top 10% of schools considered)

Cornell University was founded in 1865. It is home to 21,593 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, Department of Fiber Science & Apparel Design (FSAD) offers a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate programs for aspiring fashion designers.

Undergraduate offerings include BS degrees in Fashion Design, Fiber Science, Fashion Design Management, and a Dual Degree. The Dual Degree 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 an MA and PhD in Apparel Design, an MS and PhD 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.

13. School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois (top 10% of schools considered)

Founded in 1866, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) is home to 3,519 students enrolled in more than 25 art and design programs across 40 academic departments. The Department of Fashion Design offers several programs for aspiring fashion designers. Options include a BFA in Studio with a Concentration in Fashion Design and a Master of Design (MDes) and Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Fashion, Body and Garment.

Undergraduate SAIC Fashion students have the opportunity to participate in study tours of fashion capitals such as Antwerp, London, New York, and Paris as well as showcase their collections at the SAIC Fashion Show. The show is open to Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors.

The “intensive” two-year graduate program highlights the Fashion Design Studio. Taken each semester, the Studio “provides a place for an expansive investigation of fashion, body, and garment and for deeper individual investigation of fashion within the broader context of community, sustainability, technology, and the industry,” says SAIC. The program also encourages study in other areas such as Fiber and Material Studies, Writing, and Performance.

14. Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado (top 15% of schools considered)

Colorado State University (CSU) was founded in 1870 as the Colorado Agricultural College. It is home to around 30,000 students enrolled in more than 150 degree programs across 14 colleges and schools. The College of Health and Human Sciences is home to the Design and Merchandising Program. Degree offerings for aspiring fashion designers include a BS in Apparel and Merchandising - Apparel Design and Production, and an MS in Design and Merchandising - Apparel and Merchandising. 

Apparel Design students have the opportunity to work with more than 18,000 artifacts and view collections at the Avenir Museum of Design and Merchandising (formerly the Historic Costume & Textiles Collection). Special collections include designer garments from Calvin Klein, James Galanos, Carolina Herrera, Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Valentino, and Versace, as well as ethnographic holdings, and The Ruth Payne Hellmann Lace Collection which features more than 1,500 pieces of historic lace and lacemaking tools. In addition to access to access to Avenir Museum, design students have the opportunity to participate in the internship program and study abroad opportunities. Past design students have studied in Italy, France, Peru, Ghana, and Australia. Some have also participated in Semester at Sea.

15. Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma (top 15% of schools considered)

Oklahoma State University was established in 1890. It is home to more than 35,000 students across five campuses and 10 colleges. The College of Human Sciences, Department of Design, Housing and Merchandising offers several programs for aspiring fashion designers. According to the Department, “the ADP program at OSU is one of only thirteen apparel programs in North America to receive the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA) approval.” This means that the “curriculum and facilities have met the rigorous standards” of the AAFA.

Program offerings include a BS in Design, Housing and Merchandising (BS DHM) with an Option in Apparel Design and Production (ADP) and an MS in Design, Housing and Merchandising (MS DHM) with a Research Thesis Option or Design Thesis Option in Apparel Design & Production (ADP). A PhD in Human Sciences with a Specialization in Design, Housing and Merchandising (PhD - DHM) is also on the menu as well as a Minor in Apparel Design and Production (ADP).

Apparel design students have the opportunity to complete an internship with designers and brands such as  BCBG, Lands’ End, Max Azria, Vera Wang, Liz Claiborne, and Victoria’s Secret. In addition, travel-study programs allow students to explore the fashion scenes in places such as New York, Dallas, Mexico, Paris, Berlin, and many others.

16. University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware (top 15% of schools considered)

The University of Delaware (UD) was chartered by the State of Delaware in 1833. It is home to 22,680 students enrolled in more than 300 degree programs across seven schools. The College of Arts & Sciences is home to the Department of Fashion & Apparel Studies which offers several programs for aspiring fashion designers. Offerings include a BS in Apparel Design, an MS in Fashion and Apparel Studies, and a 4+1 program that allows undergraduate Fashion Merchandising majors to complete the MS in Fashion and Apparel Studies in half the time. A Minor in Fashion History and Culture is also on the menu.

Fashion students have the opportunity to complete an internship at home, overseas, or both. Past students have completed internships in New York, Hong Kong, and many other fashion capitals. In addition, the University of Delaware has a “Visiting Student Program.” This “cooperative arrangement between the University of Delaware (UD) and the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT)” allows students to attend FIT for one year and apply coursework towards the BS program at UD.

17. Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon (top 15% of schools considered)

Oregon State University was founded in 1868. It is home to more than 30,000 students enrolled in more than 200 undergraduate and more than 80 graduate degree programs across 13 colleges and schools. The College of Business houses the School of Design & Human Environment. The School offers several programs for aspiring fashion designers at all degree levels.

Offerings include a BS in Apparel Design, MA and MS degrees in Design and Human Environment (MA DHA, MS DHE) with an Emphasis in Design and the Near Environment (Apparel Design and Interior Design) and Textiles, and a PhD in DHE with an Emphasis in Design and the Near Environment. A Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies (MAIS) is with an Emphasis in Textiles or Human Behavior in the Near Environment (Apparel and Housing) is also on the menu.

Fashion design students will have the opportunity to learn from the DHE Historic and Cultural Textile and Apparel Collection, which includes approximately 2,000 Euro-American and ethnic apparel pieces and other textile products. In addition teaching and assistantships are offered to graduate students, and all undergraduates have the opportunity to participate in the internship program. Students have interned with major designers, brands and retailers such as Anna Sui, Columbia Sportswear, Nordstrom, and Fred Meyer.

18. Philadelphia University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (top 15% of schools considered)

Philadelphia University (PhilaU) was founded in 1884 as Philadelphia Textile School. It is home to 3,200 students enrolled in more than 60 areas of study leading to the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. The school houses the College of Architecture and the Built Environment, the Kanbar College of Design, Engineering and Commerce, and the College of Science, Health and the Liberal Arts.

The Kanbar College of Design, Engineering and Commerce houses two schools—the School of Design and Engineering and the School of Business. The School of Design and Engineering offers several programs for aspiring fashion designers. Offerings include a BS in Fashion Design, an MS in Textile Design, an MS in Textile Engineering, and a PhD in Textile Engineering and Sciences.

Design students have the opportunity to intern with companies such as Vogue, Betsey Johnson, and Tommy Hilfiger and study abroad opportunities are available in fashion centers such as London and Rome. Students also have access to PhilaU’s Historic Textile and Costume Collection as well as “specialized space for individual programs including engineering labs, fashion design studios, textile studios with state-of-the-art machinery, and industrial design studios,” according to PhilaU. The Textile and Costume Collection features “museum-quality garments, accessories, and textiles as sources of design inspiration for the modern-day design and product-development process.”

19. Academy of Art University, San Francisco, California (top 15% of schools considered)

Established in 1929, Academy of Art University is home to more than 18,000 students enrolled in dozens of art and design programs. The School of Fashion offers several programs for aspiring fashion designers. Offerings include AA, BFA, and MFA degrees in Fashion Design, Knitwear Design, and Textile Design. A Certificate in Fashion Design is also on the menu.

According to the Academy, fashion students have access to facilities that feature “the same leading-edge equipment and resources that top fashion houses enjoy.” Internship opportunities are also available as well as the opportunity to participate in Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Lincoln Center in New York City and the Annual Graduation Fashion Show in San Francisco. According to the Academy, “the show has been heralded as the "Fashion Week of San Francisco" by both local and national members of the fashion industry.

Graduates of the Academy of Art University have been hired at major companies such as Gap, Kate Spade, Levi Strauss & Co., Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Adidas, Ralph Lauren, and many others.

20. North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina (top 15% of schools considered)

North Carolina State University (NC State) has been in existence since 1887. The school is home to 33,989 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.

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 a Master of Science (MS) in Textiles. Specializations for designers 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.

21. Baylor University, Waco, Texas (top 20% of schools considered)

Baylor University was chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas. It is home to more than 16,000 students enrolled in more than 250 degree programs across nine colleges and schools. The Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences houses the Department of Family & Consumer Sciences. The Department offers six different majors including one for aspiring fashion designers—the BS in Apparel Design & Product Development.

The BS program features access to the Parker Design & Technology Center which “provides students with the latest state-of-the-art software, equipment, and technology,” as well as access to internship opportunities both within the states and internationally. Students have interned at Betsey Johnson - NY,  Anna Sui - NY, Quick Silver – Los Angeles, XOXO and Rampage – Los Angeles, and Haggar - Dallas. Internships abroad have included Ann-Louise Roswald - London, UK, Amanda Wakeley - London, UK, Christopher & La Lou - Paris, France, and others.

The program also offers the opportunity for fashion students to show their collections at the Annual Baylor Fashion Show, which takes place at the end of spring semester each year. Field experiences are on the menu and may include trips to Dallas Market, Studios of Apparel Designers, Apparel Manufacturing Firms, and Fashion Group International (FGI) Dallas Career Day, which is held at the Apparel Mart.

22. Marist College, Poughkeepsie, New York (top 20% of schools considered)

Marist College was founded in 1929. It is home to 6,365 students enrolled in 77 programs through seven schools. The School of Communication and the Arts offers several programs for aspiring fashion designers. Offerings include a BFA in Fashion Design and a BS in Fashion Merchandising with a Product Development Concentration. Fashion Design majors may also 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.

23. University of North Carolina, Greensboro, North Carolina (top 20% of schools considered)

The University of North Carolina, Greensboro was established in 1891. It is home to nearly 18,000 students enrolled in 79 undergraduate programs in over 100 areas of study, 72 masters programs, and 27 doctoral programs across eight undergraduate colleges and schools, and The Graduate School. The Bryan School of Business and Economics houses The Department of Consumer, Apparel, and Retail Studies (CARS). The Department offers programs for aspiring fashion designers at all degree levels.

Fashion design students have their choice of a Bachelor of Science (BS), Post-Baccalaureate Certificate(PBC), Master of Science (MS), and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree with a Concentration in Apparel Design or Global Apparel and Related Industry Studies.

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.

24. California College of the Arts, San Francisco and Oakland, California (top 20% of schools considered)

California College of the Arts (CCA) was founded in 1907. It is home to 1,968 students enrolled in 21 undergraduate and 13 graduate degree programs. Several programs are available for aspiring fashion designers. Offerings include a BFA in Fashion Design, a BFA in Jewelry/Metals Arts, and a BFA in Textiles.

All fashion students have the opportunity to participate in CCA’s internship program. Students may intern at San Francisco Bay Area companies such as Levi Strauss & Co, Athleta, and TEA Collection. Students also have the opportunity to showcase their designs at the Annual Fashion Show and many find success in the world of design after the show. Many CCA fashion graduates have started their own businesses or found employment at major companies such as Abercrombie & Fitch, J. Crew, Athleta, Forever 21, John Varvatos, Michael Kors, GUESS, Kate Spade and more.

25. Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, Los Angeles, California (top 20% of schools considered)

Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM) was founded in 1969. It is home to 7,000 students, 500 faculty members, and an advisory board that includes “industry giants” such as Fred Segal, Diane von Furstenberg, Tim Gunn (of Project Runway, Filmed at FIDM), and Emanuel Ungaro. The school consists of four campuses with locations in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, and Irvine and it offers 26 creative majors leading to an AA, BA or BS degree.

Degree programs for aspiring fashion designers include a BA in Design, a BS in Apparel Technical Design, and AA degrees in Fashion Design, Fashion Knitwear Design, Jewelry Design, Merchandise Product Development, and Textile Design. Associate of Arts Advanced Study Programs (ADV) programs include Advanced Fashion Design, Film and TV Costume Design, Footwear Design, International Manufacturing & Product Development, Menswear, and Textile Production and Development. 

In addition to a wide variety of program offerings, FIDM fashion students have the opportunity to participate in the internship program as well as annual study tours that will take them to fashion capitals such as  New York, Paris, London, Rome, Milan, and more. Students may also participate in the annual DEBUT Runway Show, which is streamed online and televised.

26. University of North Texas, Denton, Texas (top 20% of schools considered)

University of North Texas was founded in 1890 as Texas Normal College and Teachers’ Training Institute. It is home to more than 36,000 students enrolled in 99 bachelor’s, 83 master’s and 36 doctoral degree programs across 11 colleges and schools. The College of Visual Arts & Design offers several programs for aspiring fashion designers. Offerings include a BFA in Fashion Design and an MFA in Design with a Concentration in Fashion Design.

All fashion students may participate in the internship program which allows students to work at fashion houses in Dallas and Fort Worth as well as apparel companies in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and London. Students also have the opportunity to participate in the annual ArtWear Fashion Show as well as national and international events such as Fashion Group International of Dallas’ Career Day, and The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities and Gap Inc.’s Design Your Future competition.

Graduates of the Fashion Programs at UNT have been hired by major companies such as Calvin Klein, Dillard’s, Fossil, the Haggar Clothing Co., Nicole Miller, Ralph Lauren, Zac Posen, and more.

27. Stephens College, Columbia, Missouri (top 25% of schools considered)

Stephens College was founded in 1833. It is the second oldest women’s college in the country and it has a student population of around 800 students enrolled in more than 25 programs across four schools including the School of Design, the School of Health Sciences, the School of Interdisciplinary Studies, and the School of Performing Arts. The School of Design offers several programs for aspiring fashion designers. Offerings include a BA in Apparel Studies and a BFA in Fashion Design & Product Development.

Fashion design students have the opportunity to take study trips to international fashion capitals, they may participate in the annual fashion show—The Collections, and they have the opportunity to intern at companies such as Escada, Cosmopolitan, Baby Phat, and WWD. Student also have access to the School of Design’s Historic Costume Museum and Research Library which consists of more than 13,000 pieces and designer garments. Bill Blass, Chanel, Oscar de la Renta and Valentino are just a few.

28. Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas (top 25% of schools considered)

Kansas State University (Kansas State or K-State) was founded in 1863. It is home to more than 24,300 enrolled in more than 250 undergraduate majors and options, and more than 150 graduate study programs (including graduate certificates). Kansas State houses nine colleges and a graduate school. The College of Human Ecology is home to the Department of Apparel, Textiles, and Interior Design, which offers several programs for aspiring fashion designers. Offerings include a BS in Apparel and Textiles, an MS in Apparel and Textiles, and a PhD with a Specialization in Apparel, Textiles, and Interior Design.

Apparel and Textile students that would like to focus on fashion design may specialize in Apparel Design and Production. In addition, the Department features mandatory internships, faculty-led study tours in the U.S. and abroad, and an annual public exhibition of student work.

29. Texas Woman's University, Denton, Texas (top 25% of schools considered)

Texas Woman's University was founded in 1901 as The Girls Industrial College. It is home to more than 15,000 students enrolled in more than 150 programs across four colleges and a graduate school. The College of Arts & Sciences is home to the School of Management which offers several programs for aspiring fashion designers. Offerings include s BA in Fashion Design, a BA/BS Dual Degree in Fashion Design and Fashion Merchandising, a BA/BBA Dual Degree in Fashion Design and General Business-Entrepreneurship, and a BA/BS in Fashion Design and Marketing. All programs have design components and a Minor in Fashion Design is also on the menu.

In addition to a variety of programs that teach students how to design, produce and sell their own products, the School of Management offers internship opportunities at companies such as Aldo, BCBG Max Azria, Coach, Express, Michael Kors, and Nordstrom. Students also have the opportunity to participate in the Annual Montage Senior Fashion Show.

30. Washington State University, Pullman, Washington (top 25% of schools considered)

Washington State University (WSU) was founded in 1890. The school’s main campus is located in Pullman, Washington, and it has regional campuses in Spokane, Tri-Cities (Kennewick, Pasco, Richland and West Richland), Vancouver, and Everett. Washington State is home to nearly 29,000 students enrolled in 200+ undergraduate fields of study, 66 master’s and 47 doctoral programs, and a variety of professional programs across 11 colleges.

The College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Science (CAHNRS) is home to the Department of Apparel, Merchandising, Design, and Textiles (AMDT). The Department offers several a BA in Apparel, Merchandising, and Textiles with a Specialization Track in Apparel Design. The Department and WSU’s Graduate School offer an MA in Apparel, Merchandising, Design, and Textiles.

In addition to study abroad opportunities in more than 70 countries around the world, students have access to the third largest apparel and textile industry in the country, student chapters of two major industry associations—the International Textiles and Apparel Association (ITAA) and the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC), and the opportunity to participate in several campus events including exhibitions, design and merchandising competitions, exhibitions, and the popular Mom’s Weekend Fashion Show.

31. University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas (top 25% of schools considered)

The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) opened in 1883. It is home to more than 51,000 students enrolled in more 300 academic programs across 13 colleges and schools. The Division of Textiles and Apparel of the School of Human Ecology offers several programs for aspiring fashion designers. Offerings include a BS in Textiles and Apparel (TXA) with an Option in Apparel, Functional, and Technical Design, and an MS in Textile and Apparel Technology (MSTAT).

Apparel design students have access to study abroad opportunities in places such as India and China as well as internship opportunities major companies such as Anne Klein, Betsey Johnson, Coach, Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, Vera Wang, Zac Posen, and more. In addition, all UT students with upper-division standing are eligible for the UT in NYC Program which “brings apparel design, conservation and merchandising students together for a broad look at the apparel industry with an entrepreneurial focus,” says the school. Students will also have the opportunity to participate in the annual fashion show.

32. University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio (top 25% of schools considered)

The University of Cincinnati was founded in 1819. It is home to 43,691 students enrolled in 370 degree programs across 13 colleges and a graduate school. The College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP) houses the School of Design which offers several programs for aspiring fashion designers. Offerings include a BS in Fashion Design, a Master of Design, and a Fashion Design Studies Minor.

Program features include two focus areas—Realization (Design) or Development, a mandatory cooperative education component where students work full-time in the fashion industry on alternating semesters, and participation in the popular DAAP Fashion Show.

33. University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska  (top 25% of schools considered)

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) was chartered in 1869. It is home to nearly 25,000 students enrolled in dozens of programs across 10 colleges. The College of Education and Human Sciences (CHES) houses the Department of Textiles, Merchandising and Fashion Design (TMFD), which offers a wide variety of programs for aspiring fashion designers.

Undergraduate offerings include BS degrees in Textiles & Fashion Design and Textile Science. Graduate offerings include an MA, MS, and PhD in Textiles, Merchandising & Fashion Design. Aspiring fashion designers may concentrate their coursework in design-related areas such as Textile Science, Textile Design, or Apparel Design. Quilt Studies is another option as well as a Graduate Certificate in Textiles, Merchandising & Fashion Design. 

Fashion Program highlights include biennial juried student exhibitions, study tours and international experiences in New York, Paris/Milan, London/Paris, Paris/Prague, Shanghai, Beijing, and more, and  internship opportunities with major companies such as Vera Wang, Tahari, Nicole Miller, and InStyle Magazine. Students also have the opportunity to showcase their creations at the Biennial Student Runway Show.

34. Moore College of Art & Design, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (top 30% of schools considered)

Moore College of Art & Design was founded in 1848. It is the first and only visual arts college for women in the U.S. The school is home to more than 450 students (Fall 2014) enrolled in 10 majors leading to a BFA, 11 minors, and five graduate programs. Moore also offers Certificate and Post-Baccalaureate programs. Offerings for aspiring fashion designers include a BFA and a Minor in Fashion Design, and a Certificate in Fashion Studies with two tracks including Apparel Construction and Technical Design.

Program highlights include both paid and unpaid internships at major companies such as Ana Sui, Diane Von Furstenberg, Halston, Marc Jacobs, Nordstrom, Rag & Bone, and more. An annual fashion show is also part of the program as well the “Fashion Critic Program.” The Program gives students the opportunity to work with a designer from the fashion industry to ensure that the students’ creations are “professional and marketable.”

Graduates of the Fashion Program at Moore College of Art have worked for major designers and companies such as Adrienne Vittadini, Anne Klein Studio, Badgley Mischka, Fila, Jones New York, Liz Claiborne, Sean John, Tommy Hilfiger, Urban Outfitters, and many others.

35. Columbia College Chicago, Chicago, Illinois (top 30% of schools considered)

Founded in 1890, Columbia College is home to more than 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in more than 100 academic majors or programs. The School of Fine and Performing Arts, Department of Fashion Studies offers several programs for aspiring fashion designers. Offerings include BA and BFA degrees in Fashion Design.

Program highlights include a Semester in LA, internship opportunities and access to the school’s Fashion Lab, the Fashion Study Collection (FSC), and the Fashion Study Collection Research Center (workspace and archive). Students also have the opportunity to display their creations in the Fashion Studies Exhibition Windows on campus.

36. University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii (top 30% of schools considered)

The University of Hawaii at Manoa (UH Manoa) was founded in 1907. The school is home to more than 19,500 students enrolled in more than 230 programs across 14 colleges and schools.

The College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR), Department of Family and Consumer Sciences is home the Fashion Design and Merchandising (FDM) Program. The FDM Program prepares students for careers such as Textile and Fashion Designer, Technical Designer, Visual Merchandiser, Costume Designer, Curator, Fashion Forecasting, and more.

Program highlights include optional membership in the Fashion Club and participation in the Annual Fashion Show. The FDM Program leads to a BS in Fashion Design and Merchandising with a Fashion Design or Merchandising Emphasis.  

37. Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia (top 30% of schools considered)

Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) was established in 1838. It is home to 31,163 students enrolled in around 226 certificate and degree programs across 13 schools and one college. The School of the Arts is home to the Department of Fashion which offers one program for aspiring fashion designers—a BFA in Fashion Design.

Program highlights include optional membership in The VCU Stiletto Club,  internship opportunities in the U.S. and overseas, and study abroad opportunities including Fashion in Florence, VCU Qatar, and options in Paris, London, Scotland, and more. Fashion students also have the opportunity to participate in the VCU Annual Fashion Show.

38. Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas  (top 30% of schools considered)

Texas Tech University was founded in 1923. It is home to more than 35,158 students enrolled in 300 degree programs across 10 colleges. The College of Human Sciences is home the Department of Design (DOD). The Department offers one program for aspiring fashion designers—a BS in Apparel Design and Manufacturing (ADM).

Program highlights include the Senior Internship, two annual apparel design contests—the Design Competition and the Senior Fashion Show, undergraduate research experiences in ADM, and an annual fashion tour of New York or Los Angeles. In addition, all fashion students may choose a minor to enhance their degree. Possible areas include Art, Business, Retailing, Mass Communications and Theater.

39. Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana (top 30% of schools considered)

Louisiana State University (LSU) was founded in 1860. The school is home to more than 29,000 students enrolled in more than 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. Offerings include a BS in Textiles, Apparel Design, and Merchandising (BS TAM) with a Concentration in Apparel Design or Textile Science, 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.

40. Missouri State University, Springfield, Missouri (top 35% of schools considered)

Missouri State University (main campus) was founded in 1905. It is home to more than 20,000 students enrolled in more than 150 undergraduate majors and 48 graduate programs across six academic colleges, one School of Agriculture and the Graduate College. The Department of Fashion and Interior Design is a member of the College of Business. The Department offers one program for aspiring fashion designers—a BS in Fashion Merchandising and Design with an Option in Fashion Design and Product Development.

Students may choose the three-year or four-year option. Both options require completion of four credit hours’ worth of internship experience. In addition, all fashion students have the opportunity to study abroad in places such as London and Paris, and participate in the Annual Spring Fashion Show. 

41. California State University-Long Beach, Long Beach, California (top 35% of schools considered)

California State University Long Beach (CSULB) was established in 1949. The school is home to 35,592 students enrolled in more than 300 programs across eight colleges. The College of Health and Human Services (CHHS), Department of Family & Consumer Sciences offers several programs for aspiring fashion designers. Offerings include a BA in Family and Consumer Sciences with an Option in Fashion Design and a Minor in Textiles.

Program highlights include the Annual Spring Fashion Show and Fashion Study Tours of New York City offered every January and July, and tours of Paris luxury fashion industries offered every June.

42. University of Rhode Island, Providence, Rhode Island (top 35% of schools considered)

The University of Rhode Island (URI) was chartered as the state's agricultural school in 1888. It is home to 16,571 undergraduate and graduate students (Fall 2014) enrolled in more than 80 majors across nine colleges and The Graduate School of Oceanography. The College of Human Science and Services, Department of Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design offers several programs for aspiring fashion designers. Offerings include an MS, BS and a Minor in Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design (TMD) and a Master Seamstress Certificate (Providence Campus).

Fashion students will have the opportunity to complete Textile Science, Apparel Design/Development, and Historic Textiles and Costume internships with major companies and brands such as Gucci (New York), Nordstrom (Providence, RI), Donna Karan (New York), Marc Jacobs (New York), Rhode Island Design Center (Warwick, RI) and Green Envy (Newport, RI). Students will also have the opportunity to study abroad in London, Paris (at Mod’Spe), Firenze, Italy (at Accademia Italiana), Barcelona, and other fashion capitals. Students also have the option to participate in Summer Study at the Universite de la Mode in Lyon, France, the New York Experience, or a Winter Fashion Study Tour of London and Paris. 

Other program highlights include access to the Historic Textile and Costume Collection, the opportunity to earn a degree in a “fashion language” such as French or Italian, and participation in the Annual Fashion Show.

43. University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama (top 35% of schools considered)

The University of Alabama was founded in 1831 as Alabama's first public college. It houses 13 colleges and schools and is home to more than 36,000 students enrolled in more than 200 fields of study leading to a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree. The College of Human Environmental Sciences 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 showcase student designs at the Annual Birmingham Fashion Week.

44. Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York (top 35% of schools considered)

Founded in 1870, Syracuse University (SU) home to approximately 21,492 students enrolled in more than 400 programs across 12 colleges and schools and a graduate school. The College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA), Department of Design offers one program for aspiring fashion designers—a BFA in Fashion Design.

Program highlights include study abroad opportunities in London, Florence, and Strasbourg, France, visiting artists and designers (past guests have included Tommy Hilfiger, Michael Kors, Kate and Andy Spade and more), access to the Sue Ann Genet Costume Collection, and the Annual Fashion Show, to name a few.

45. Mount Mary University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin (top 35% of schools considered)

Founded in 1913, Mount Mary University is a women’s college with a student population of 1,475.  The school offers more than 30 undergraduate majors, 9 graduate programs (coed), and a variety of certificate programs through four schools. The School of Arts & Design offers a BA and a Post-baccalaureate Certificate in Fashion Design. Some fashion students choose the Minor in Entrepreneurship to enhance their degree and prepare them to start their own fashion design business. The Minor is offered through the School of Business.

Students in the Fashion Program have access to the latest industry technology in the classroom and labs, they have the opportunity to participate in the Annual Student Designer Fashion Show, and internship opportunities are available. Past fashion students have had the opportunity to exhibit work at the Villa Terrace Museum, Gallery Night & Day and Harley-Davidson Museum, and they have also competed in regional, national and international competitions.

Workshops by global designers and retailers are also on the menu as well as volunteer opportunities with Fashion BOOT Camp for high school students.

46. Central Michigan University (CMU), Mt. Pleasant, Michigan (top 35% of schools considered)

Central Michigan University was founded in 1892 as the Central Michigan Normal School and Business Institute. It is home to 26,902 students enrolled in more than 200+ programs across eight academic colleges. The College of Education & Human Services (CHES) houses the Department of Human Environmental Studies which offers several programs for aspiring fashion designers. Offerings include BA, BAA, and BS degrees in Apparel Merchandising and Design with a Concentration in Fashion Design. An MS in Apparel Product Development and Merchandising Technology is also on the menu.

Fashion Program highlights include study abroad opportunities in Paris, London, Italy, and Hong Kong, the New York City Professional Study Tour (summer), and access to The Center for Merchandising and Design Technology (CMDT). In addition, students have the opportunity to participate in the Threads Fashion Show and intern at companies such as Bloomingdale’s, Louis Vuitton, Jason Wu, Sears, and more.

Graduates of the Fashion Program at Central Michigan University have been hired by companies such as Forever 21, Quicksilver, Urban Outfitters, Club Monaco, and many others.

47. Columbus College of Art & Design, Columbus, Ohio (top 40% of schools considered)

Columbus College of Art and Design (CCAD) was established in 1879. It is home to more than 1,300 students enrolled in more than 35 majors, minors and concentrations. Programs for aspiring fashion designers include a BFA and a Minor in Fashion Design.

Just a few program highlights include internship opportunities at companies such as Abercrombie & Fitch, Justice, and Victoria’s Secret (all headquartered in Ohio), participation in the Annual CCAD Senior Fashion Show, and study abroad opportunities in Chile, China, England, and Italy. CCAD fashion students also have the opportunity to study in a New York studio for one term through CCAD’s New York Studio Residency Program.

48. San Francisco State University, San Francisco, California (top 40% of schools considered)

San Francisco State University (SFSU) was founded in 1899 as San Francisco State Normal School. It is home to 30,500 students enrolled in more than 140 undergraduate and graduate programs, 17 credential programs and 38 certificate programs across seven colleges. The College of Health and Social Sciences is home to the Department of Consumer and Family Studies/Dietetics. The Department offers several programs for aspiring fashion designers.

Offerings include a BS in Apparel Design and Merchandising with an Emphasis in Apparel Design and an MA in Family & Consumer Sciences that can be developed around Apparel studies. Program highlights include internship opportunities, participation in the Annual Fashion Show, and study abroad opportunities in Italy, London, and Sydney.

49. Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, Georgia (top 40% of schools considered)

Georgia Southern University began as District Agricultural & Mechanical School. The School’s  inaugural academic year began in 1908 with 15 students and four faculty members. Today, the school is home to 20,517 students enrolled in more than 250 programs across eight colleges. The College of Health and Human Sciences is home to the School of Human Ecology (SHE). The School offers several programs for aspiring fashion designers.

Offerings include a BS  in Fashion Merchandising & Apparel Design with an Emphasis in Apparel Design and a Minor in Fashion Merchandising & Apparel Design. Program highlights include specialized training in areas such as Pattern Making, Draping Design, Manual and Computer Aided Design, and Fashion Illustration, field experiences, internships, and study tours to the New York and Atlanta fashion markets.

50. O’More College of Design, Franklin, Tennessee (top 40% of schools considered)

O’More College of Design was founded in 1970. It is home to more than 150 students enrolled in several programs in the School of Fashion, the School of Visual Design, and the School of Interior Design. Program offerings for aspiring fashion designers include a BFA in Fashion Design offered through the School of Fashion. Program highlights include internship opportunities at area designers and retailers, and participation in the O’More Student Fashion Show.