For those seeking their inspiration in the heartland of America, the state of Illinois provides an ideal backdrop of old-time Americana. Illinois, known as the Prairie state, is also home to the famed Route 66, and has five National Scenic Byways that not only put you on the path to fun, but also offer plenty of natural beauty. Road trippers can revel in the peace and beauty of the rolling countryside and prairie fields where grazing cattle and weathered barns dot the landscape. Illinois is also famous and quite proud of being the home of former U.S. president Abraham Lincoln. Numerous heritage tours, historical sites and museums are devoted to his honor and memory.

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.

Illinois Schools with Fashion Design and Fashion Merchandising

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

College of DuPage, Glen Ellyn

Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Southern Illinois University Carbondale: Fashion Design/Fashion Merchandising.
Carbondale, Illinois
Fashion Design & Merchandising, School of Architecture

The fashion program at Southern Illinois University Carbondale is design to give prospective fashion professionals an introductory education in design and merchandising. The fashion curriculum offers specializations in the areas of design and merchandising, both of which give students an opportunity to gain marketable skills and knowledge in an interactive environment. These focus areas enrich a core curriculum designed to provide students with a comprehensive academic background for future success in the fashion industry. Since the fashion design and merchandising program is fast paced with frequent assignments and deadlines, students should cultivate effective management skills, as they will work on multiple projects simultaneously.

William Rainey Harper College

William Rainey Harper College: Fashion Design/ Fashion Merchandising.
Palatine, Illinois
Fashion Department

Fashion design and merchandising students are trained in both the creative and technical aspect of the fashion industry. The design curriculum emphasizes industrial sewing methods, weaving, patternmaking, illustration, CAD, Textiles, and Fashion Arts. Merchandising majors gain a solid understanding of several subjects in their field including promotions, forecasting, visual merchandising, marketing, and retail merchandising.

Western Illinois University

Western Illinois University: Fashion Merchandising.
Macomb, Illinois
Department of Dietetics, Fashion Merchandising & Hospitality

The fashion merchandising program at Western Illinois University prepares students for professional work in the fashion merchandising industry, where the school holds there more job opportunities than in fashion design. To prepare for careers in merchandising, students take a variety of courses including introduction to fashion design, along with other subjects such as social/psych aspects of apparel, history of costume, visual merchandising, fashion global issues, and buying.

Northern Illinois University

Northern Illinois University: Textiles, Apparel & Merchandising.
DeKalb, IL
School of Family, Consumer, & Nutrition Sciences

The textiles, apparel and merchandising curriculum at Northern Illinois University strives to equip students with the knowledge and skills they need for careers in fashion merchandising in the apparel textile field. Students are given a firm understanding of textiles and apparel as well as socioeconomic factors and business skills involved in product merchandising.

International Academy of Design and Technology—Schaumburg

International Academy of Design and Technology—Schaumburg: Fashion Design.
Schaumburg, Illinois
Fashion Design Department

In addition to training students in the basics of design and construction, the fashion department at International Academy of Design and Technology—Shaumburg provides individuals with the opportunity to gain a broader education by taking courses in business, complex design and construction with specialty fabrics, manufacturing, quality assurance, entrepreneurship, and original design collections. Fashion majors gain marketable experience in computer-generated design, computer generated pattern drafting, and product data management using up to date software programs. Students may combine several courses of study to create a customized curriculum that best suits their interests.

International Academy of Design and Technology—Chicago

International Academy of Design and Technology—Chicago: Fashion Design/ Merchandising Management.
Chicago, Illinois
Fashion Design Department

The fashion design and merchandising management program at International Academy of Design and Technology—Chicago takes a comprehensive approach to design and management, giving students the opportunity to work on original projects incorporating all stages of design or management, from conceptualization, sketching, pattern making, draping construction, to consumer analysis. Merchandising management majors receive a general business education with a focus on fashion merchandising that prepares them for work in merchandising,management, or as entrepreneurs.

Illinois State University

Illinois State University: Apparel Design/ Apparel Merchandising.
Normal, Illinois
Family and Consumer Sciences

The apparel design and merchandising curriculum at Illinois State University prepares students for professional work in several sectors of the global textile, apparel, and merchandising fields, including fashion trend analysis, production development, promotion, distribution, wholesale, and retail. Fashion majors may broaden their understanding of apparel, design, and merchandising by attending fashion tours internationally in Florence, London, and Paris or off-campus in the US in New York and Los Angeles.

Dominican University

Dominican University: Apparel Design/ Fashion Development/ Surface Design/ Dress and Textile Studies/ Apparel Merchandising.
River Forest, Illinois
Family and Consumer Sciences Department

A main goal of the apparel and merchandising department is to assist students in cultivating creative thinking skills while giving them the opportunity to learn about aesthetics and theoretical aspects of fashion and apparel. The fashion program strives to instill a sense of ethics and humanism in students to prepare them to be conscientious professionals in the fashion work force. Dominican University offers a wide selection of courses to promote a multidisciplinary approach to the fashion field.

Columbia College Chicago

Columbia College Chicago: Fashion Design/ Fashion Retail Management.
Chicago, Illinois
Fashion Studies & Fashion Retail Management

The fashion design and fashion retail management programs at Columbia College Chicago incorporate several aspects of the fashion field, including fashion photography, fashion journalism, fashion entrepreneurship, fashion design, and fashion retail management. Fashion majors gain a liberal arts education in a flexible environment that supports student collaboration and learning being experience.

College of DuPage

College of DuPage: Fashion Design/ Fashion Merchandising/ Fashion
Glen Ellyn, Illinois
Department of Fashion Merchandising & Design

The College of DuPage fashion program is teaches students essential skills in fashion design, merchandising, and entrepreneurship. The department of fashion merchandising and design offers individuals a space where they can develop creativity, learn about aesthetics, and understand theoretical aspects of fashion design. Students cultivate these skills by taking classes across a variety of subjects, including clothing construction, pattern making, draping, tailoring, and CAD. Fashion majors gain an understanding of the impact and breadth of fashion through classes dealing with design principles, fashion illustration, motivation, marketing and merchandising, history of costume, and principles of textiles.

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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