California

From the time of the gold rush to today's would-be stars seeking fame and success in Hollywood, California has often been considered the land of opportunity and a great place to live. The Golden State is famous for its amazing scenery, fabulous weather, laid-back lifestyle, and movie star glamour. ...

California State University, Long Beach

“Welcome to the Beach,” says the president of California State University, Long Beach.  The ocean, just 3 miles away, provides a serene backdrop for students pursuing a degree in Fashion Merchandising and Design.  The school is also located on the Los Angeles/Orange County line, where students can get a first hand look at some of Hollywood’s “Do’s and Don’ts” on the red carpet, and look behind the scenes at those creating all the glamour.

West Coast

Each day we receive emails from aspiring fashion designers asking us for advice as to which fashion design schools are the “best” in the US, a given state, or in a particular area of the country.  As such advice is difficult to provide on an individual basis, we have instead created this list of the Top 10 Fashion School Programs on the West Coast. For the record, we define the West Coast as California, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii, and Idaho. 

In preparing this list, we reviewed the program offerings of over 200 schools in the US that offer fashion related programs. Our goal with this list is to give students who are interested in fashion merchandising a starting point by which they can identify the schools that offer fashion merchandising specific programs. The criteria we used in making this list consists of the following, in no particular order: academic reputation, admission selectivity, depth and breadth of the program and faculty, and geographic location. More info on our criteria.

Fashion Management Schools

Fashion Management is a specialized management degree that typically focuses on the business side of the fashion industry, which includes retailing, marketing, manufacturing, visual merchandising, consumer behavior, fashion cycles, store planning, and event production. Fashion Management programs often, though not always, include training in fashion design. 

Fashion marketing is a niche specialty degree as many fashion schools do not offer degrees specific to the marketing side of fashion. In preparing this list, we reviewed the program offerings of over 200 schools in the US that offer fashion related programs. Our goal with this list is to give students who are interested in fashion marketing a starting point by which they can identify the schools that offer fashion marketing specific programs. 

Each day we receive emails from aspiring fashion designers asking us for advice as to which fashion design schools are the “best” in the US, a given state, or in a particular area of the country.  As such advice is difficult to provide on an individual basis, we have instead created this list of the Top 75 Fashion Design School Programs in the US.

California Schools with Fashion Design and Fashion Merchandising

At Fashion-Schools.org we have profiled colleges across the US that offer fashion design and fashion merchandising related programs. Below is a list of profiles of California colleges:

Woodbury University

Woodbury University: Fashion Marketing.
Burbank, California
Department of Marketing

Woodbury University is located in an exciting metropolitan media/ entertainment hub in Los Angeles, where students are given the opportunity to network with fashion industry professionals. The department of marketing curriculum holds students to rigorous standards while emphasizing the business side of the fashion industry. The marketing program’s business focus is underscored by its placement within Woodbury’s school of business. To improve their marketability in the business side of the fashion industry, students are trained by industry professionals in management, accounting, and finance. Ultimately, Woodbury’s goal is to give graduates an edge in the fashion job market by giving them a strong foundation in business.

Woodbury University

Woodbury University: Fashion Design.
Burbank, California
Department of Fashion Design

The fashion design curriculum at Woodbury University is structured to meet the needs of students who wish to become professionals in the dynamic and demanding fashion industry. To prepare students for work in fashion design, or related fields, Woodbury’s fashion program emphasizes both critical and creative thinking, research, and solid technical skills. Entering freshmen aren’t required to have previous fashion experience, however transfer students are encouraged to submit work samples for proper placement assessment. 

West Valley College

West Valley College: Apparel Design/ Apparel Production
Saratoga, California
Department of Fashion Design & Apparel Technologies

West Valley College’s apparel design and apparel technologies curriculum takes a comprehensive approach to design and production that reflects current fashion industry standard methods. The fashion program strives to meet the needs of students of all levels, from beginning to advanced, as well as provide assistance to industry professionals who wish to enhance their skills.

San Joaquin Delta College

San Joaquin Delta College: Fashion Merchandising/ Apparel Design.
Stockton, California
Department of Fashion

The fashion program at San Joaquin Delta College is structured to prepare students for careers in the fashion industry. Students who successfully complete the fashion design or apparel design program may enter into a four-year university.

Saddleback College

Saddleback College: Fashion Design/ Advanced Fashion Design & Apparel Manufacturing/ Fashion Merchandising/ Visual Fashion Merchandising.
Mission, California
Fashion Department

Saddleback College, situated in a thriving surf and film industry, aims to prepare students to be successful in several aspects of fashion design, including sports design, manufacturing, merchandising, costume design, and construction for film and theater. The fashion program at Saddleback College, one of the first to offer a certificate in green fashion courses, equips students with knowledge and skills they need to start their own fashion businesses.

Otis

Otis College of Art & Design: Fashion Design.
Los Angeles, California
Department of Fashion

The fashion design program at Otis College of Art & Design takes a comprehensive approach to the design process while giving students the opportunity to work with faculty professionals and guest mentors. Design majors work in teams, in a realistic fashion design studio, to produce apparel for their mentors that reflect the fashion industry’s seasonal schedule. The department of fashion strives to prepare students for professional work in American design houses and markets by emphasizing practical experience in fashion design rather than focusing on a theoretical and conceptual perspective.

Monterey Peninsula College

Monterey Peninsula College: Fashion Design/Fashion Merchandising/ Fashion Production/ Fashion Costuming.
Monterey, California
Department of Fashion

The fashion design curriculum at Monterey Peninsula College is designed to prepare students for entry-level work in fashion design, apparel design, and freelance design. Fashion design majors will learn fundamental concepts in design while developing their presentation skills, gaining familiarity with design software, and acquiring knowledge about the business side of the fashion industry. Merchandising students will gain a firm understanding of fashion products, business operations, and career pathways as they prepare for fashion industry work in the areas of retail or wholesale, where they can advance toward careers in buying, sales, or merchandising. The fashion production major strives to equip students with the knowledge and skills they need to qualify for fashion jobs in retail or wholesale. Students in the Costuming program will receive interdisciplinary instruction in fashion, drama, and art design to enhance their design and sewing skills for costuming projects in stage, film, television, and period or theme parks.

Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising

Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising

 The fashion program at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising is designed as an intensive course of study that aims to provide students with a curriculum that is both concentrated and fulfilling. Primarily, the goal of the fashion program is to train students for careers in the fashion and entertainment industry, visual arts, and interior design.

California State University, Long Beach

California State University, Long Beach: Family & Consumer Sciences Fashion Merchandising & Design/ Textiles & Clothing
Long Beach, California
Department of Family & Consumer Sciences

The fashion merchandising and design program at California State University, Long Beach holds a fashion show each spring showcasing over two hundred student designs. To provide students with an opportunity to learn about the fashion industry outside of the classroom, the fashion merchandising and design program offers fashion tours of New York in January and a tour of Europe during the summer.

California State University, Sacramento

California State University, Sacramento: Family and Consumer Sciences Apparel Marketing and Design.
Sacramento, California
Department of Family & Consumer Sciences

The apparel marketing and design program at California State University, Sacramento equips students with the knowledge and skills they need for careers in the multifaceted field of apparel and design. Students will be trained to qualify for work in design, manufacturing, distribution, marketing, and consumer behavior. The fashion design and marketing curriculum is structured to give students both a historical and up-to-date understanding of how existing apparel and textile resources can be used to meet consumer needs, including varying body shapes, spending power, desires, and sociological contexts.

City College of San Francisco

City College of San Francisco: Fashion Merchandising/ Fashion Design
San Francisco, California
Fashion Department

The fashion department at City College of San Francisco offers a variety of credit and non-credit courses in fashion merchandising and design to prepare students for entry into a university fashion program, to assist individuals seeking professional development, and to provide fulfilling classes for individuals with a personal interest in fashion and design. Students have the opportunity to gain real world experience by participating in professional projects in the fashion industry, which allows them to use state of the art technology and become valuable assets in the workforce. A primary goal of the fashion program is to develop students’ skills in communication, problem solving, and teamwork, and to provide them with the theoretical and technical background they need to be successful in today’s fashion industry.

College of Alameda

College of Alameda: Apparel Design & Merchandising
Alameda, California
Apparel Design & Merchandising Program

 The apparel design and merchandising curriculum offers both foundational and advanced courses that assist students in developing technical skills that are current with today’s ever-changing fashion industry. The fashion program maintains a stable curriculum, yet it offers flexible scheduling and is economical so that students with jobs, careers, or family obligations can still pursue a career in apparel design or merchandising. The design and merchandising program provides computer and software training in technical and pattern design modification, size grading, and marker making to improve the marketability of graduates in the workforce, giving them an advantage over other apparel design programs that don’t offer technical instruction.

Cuesta College

Cuesta College: Fashion Design/ Merchandising
San Luis Obispo, California
Department of Fashion Design & Merchandising

The fashion design and merchandising program offers small class sizes where students can receive individualized attention. Cuesta College continually updates its fashion design and merchandising curriculum to meet the changing demands of the fashion industry.

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Quick Fact
In 2017, workers with a bachelor's degree or higher had almost twice as much
median earnings per week than workers with only a high school diploma*.
*Bureau of Labor Statistics