The 9 Best Schools for Fashion and Design in the US
With the high competition in the fashion industry, you need more than your design skills to succeed in it. The top fashion designers in the US are not just skilled in their craft; they also have good knowledge of the business aspects of the fashion industry.
That’s one of the crucial benefits you’d get from attending one of the best schools for fashion and design in the US. You’ll be trained to strategically position yourself for the recognition you deserve in the industry.
The purpose of this article is to introduce you to the best fashion and design schools in the US and help you make a choice for the one that suits you the most.
But first, let’s find out what a fashion and design school consists of and what earning a degree in it means.
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What do you learn in a fashion and design school?
Fashion and design school teaches you the basics of fashion and design, which comprises cutting, sewing, pattern making, etc. However, beyond the basics, you’ll learn to start a new clothing line or label, market your products to the world, and position your business to enter into partnership with top global brands.
A fashion school simply sets you apart from others and gets you ready to embrace every opportunity that comes your way. So, when next you ask yourself, “Do I actually need to study fashion?” Think about the connections, business knowledge, and numerous other opportunities that fashion schools present.
Is a degree in fashion design worth it?
A degree in fashion design is definitely worth it, and here’s why. Not everyone likes to set up a fashion company. Some people would prefer to work for top fashion brands like Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Nike, Adidas, and many others.
A degree in fashion design from one of the best schools in the US will give you an edge when applying for jobs in such companies.
9 schools for fashion and design in the US
Here are the best fashion and design schools that have the system to give you the best education in the US:
1. Fashion Institute of Technology
The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York City offers comprehensive training in different aspects of fashion and design.
There are programs in fashion marketing, business, illustration, fabric styling, textile/surface design, jewelry design, footwear and accessories design. These programs are available in associate and bachelor’s formats, and you’d earn either an AAS or a BFA degree at the end.
World-famous fashion designers like Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, and Nina Garcia are graduates of FIT. Beyond teaching you the skills, FIT spots your talent and passion and refines them to produce a genius designer.
If you’re curious to know more about FIT, visit the school website for more information.
2. Parsons School of Design
Parsons School of Design offers associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degree programs in fashion design, fashion management, fashion marketing and communication, and fashion design and society. It also offers an online program in fashion management.
For a school that integrates many of its world-class graduates into its faculty, it’s obvious you won’t just get the best education from Parsons, but also stay trendy in the fashion industry. Famous designers like Tom Ford, Donna Karan, and the Proenza Schouler brothers are proud graduates of Parsons.
Parsons has a partnership with the luxury goods company LVMH to provide industry guidance to its students. LVMH comprises top brands like Louis Vuitton, Dior, Fendi, Sephora and more.
You can visit Parson’s official website to get more information.
3. Savannah College of Art and Design
Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) is a fashion design powerhouse in Georgia, Atlanta. The school offers BA, BFA, MA, and MFA degrees in programs like fashion, fashion marketing and management, fibers, and jewelry. There’s also the super trendy program on the business of beauty and fragrance.
SCAD is making an impact in the fashion industry with its unique and valuable program, SCADStyle. At SCADStyle, industry leaders and influencers are invited to share ideas and inspire the next creative stars. The most recent show featured the award-winning photographer, Tyler Mitchel.
You have a lot to achieve with a fashion degree from SCAD. Go through the school’s website to get more information.
4. Pratt Institute
Pratt has gradually earned its place as one of the best schools for fashion and design in the US. The school provides students with the best resources they need to excel as fashion designers.
Students have access to high-end technological machines like the Shima Seiki 3D knitting machine and the Framis NOSO technology. There’s also a textile research library and a textile dye garden on campus for in-depth research and practice on fabrics.
Pratt’s students are top performers in fashion design competitions and exhibitions organized by top organizations like the Council of Fashion Designers of America. Pratt has campuses in Brooklyn and Manhattan.
You can visit the school website for more information.
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5. Kent State University
Kent State University (KSU) School of Fashion is making waves in the US fashion industry as one of the best schools for fashion and design. They offer two undergraduate majors in fashion design and fashion merchandising, plus a minor in fashion media. They also offer a master’s and an MBA program to graduate students.
With KSU School of Fashion’s annual fashion show and fashion/tech hackathon, students are kept abreast of the innovations and trends in fashion. Students are required to take part in immersive industry internships and earn study abroad experience before graduation.
The students enjoy study away opportunities in one of the following cities: Florence, Paris, London, Germany, South Korea, Hong Kong, or Los Angeles.
Visit KSU School of Fashion to learn more.
6. Drexel University
The Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts and Design at Drexel University offers studio-based fashion and design programs that compete with other top schools in the US. Students receive hands-on training in relatively small classes.
The school offers two fashion and design programs: a fashion design major and a design and merchandising major.
With their co-op and study abroad programs, students gain valuable industry and global experience in the fashion industry.
Visit the school website for more information.
7. Academy of Art University
With the quality of its fashion and design programs, it’d be a very big shock if the Academy of Art University doesn’t make it to this list. The Academy of Art University is a private art school in San Francisco, California. It is the largest private art and design school in the US.
The school offers BFA, MA, and MFA degrees in several fashion programs. Here are the fashion programs it offers:
- Costume Design
- Fashion Art Direction
- Fashion Design
- Fashion Journalism
- Fashion Marketing
- Fashion Marketing and Brand Management
- Fashion Merchandising
- Fashion Merchandising and Management
- Fashion Product Development
- Fashion Styling
- Textile Design
Everything about the Academy of Art University fashion school is exceptional. The exposure and confidence it gives students is second to none. For a school that runs its own fashion show and gets regular exclusive invitations to New York Fashion Week, the Academy of Art University is simply the best fashion school for you.
Visit the school’s website to learn more about its programs.
8. Otis College of Art & Design
The department of Fashion Design at Otis College of Art & Design considers itself a think-tank for industry innovation, and believe me, there’s nothing truer than that. This Los Angeles based school is always at the forefront of fashion innovation.
Otis College of Art & Design has a fashion mentorship program where students are given access to industry leading fashion designers. Their faculty members are industry professionals who work for major brands, couture labels, and entertainment firms.
The school runs a scholarship fashion show where top performers receive mouth-watering scholarship awards.
If Otis College of Art & Design fascinates you, visit the school website for more information.
9. Rhode Island School of Design
The Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), a private art and design school in Providence, Rhode Island, offers two fashion programs. They have undergraduate degree programs in apparel design and textiles.
The apparel design program prepares students to be experts in designing statement apparel. On the other hand, textile students are tasked with producing innovative fabrics that meet contemporary demands.
RISD’s alumni are making waves in the US fashion industry. While some are working with top brands like Calvin Klein, the Gap, and Urban Outfitters, others are out there establishing their own clothing lines and working hard to earn global recognition.
If you want to be a part of this beautiful alumni structure, visit the Rhode Island School of Design website.
What can I do with a fashion and design degree?
With a degree in fashion and design, you can work for the world’s leaders in the fashion industry. Companies like Calvin Klein, Hermes, and Louis Vuitton, etc. are in search of creative minds like you, and your fashion degree could do the magic.
Alternatively, you can work in the education sector and direct young, passionate fashion designers to the path of excellence.
Though you do not need a degree for it, you can also decide to open your own clothing line and entice the world with your creative flair.
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What skills do I need to be a fashion designer?
To be a successful fashion designer, you need to develop the following skills:
- Good business sense
- Awesome communication skills
- Artistic skills
- Excellent sewing skills
- Leadership skills
- Ability to work in a team
- Ability to discover fashion trends
- Computer skills
How much can I make as a fashion designer?
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports an average annual wage of $83,650 for fashion designers in the US.
The lowest 10 percent earn between $37,480 and below and the highest 10 percent earn between $130,870 and above.
You can also own your clothing brand and work hard to be judged by your business net worth, not your salary.
Can I work in the fashion industry even if I can’t sew?
Yes, you can be a fashion designer without knowing how to sew clothes. In fact, there are many designers out there who don’t know how to sew. The most important traits a designer needs are creative flair and the ability to come up with designs that meet expectations.
However, if you don’t know how to sew, it’s important you have good communication skills. This will enable you to communicate your ideas efficiently to your patternmakers or team.
How do I become a fashion designer?
To become a fashion designer, you need to:
1. Complete a fashion design degree program
A degree in fashion and design will open your eyes to crucial parts of the craft you didn’t know existed. You’ll brush up on your business, branding, and even design skills. You’ll also learn how to use technological equipment to enhance your designs.
2. Acquire hands-on experience
While you can acquire the necessary skills in your degree program, it’s important you get hands-on experience through internships and externships.
3. Build a formidable network in the industry
Having a good network in the fashion industry means you won’t miss important opportunities to land new clients or even advance your career.
It’s important you make valuable contacts at every stop of the fashion chain, from fabric makers to retailers.
4. Build your own design portfolio
Whether you’re working for a fashion brand or you’re building your own business, it is important to document your work. Keep good records of the excellent works you did. They’d be valuable in landing better jobs or new clients.
5. Stay up-to-date in the fashion industry
Fashion is a trendy industry, if you don’t stay updated, you’ll be out of a job or business in no time. Try as much as possible to follow every trend in the industry.
Choosing the right fashion school to attend can be a tough decision to make. However, this article has helped you reduce that stress by giving you the best nine schools for fashion and design in the US.
In addition to that, you’ve also discovered certain important pieces of information, like what it takes to be a successful fashion designer and how much you can earn from the industry. You’ve also seen a step-by-step guide on how to become a fashion designer.
I hope the information provided in this article will help you make an informed decision on the right fashion school for you.
Frequently Asked Questions about the best schools for fashion and design in the US
Does fashion design school teach you how to sew?
Fashion and design schools teach you both the theoretical and practical aspects of the craft. Many assume fashion design schools do not teach deep practical skills, but that’s not the case.
What is the best fashion and design school in the US?
The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York ranks as the best fashion and design school in the US.
What should I major in to be a certified fashion designer?
Majoring in fashion design or fashion merchandising will give you the best education you need to be a fashion designer.
Is fashion design hard?
Fashion design is a tough profession that requires both your cognitive and locomotive skills to be at top levels. With the high competition in the industry, you’d need to work really hard to stay relevant to your customers.
How much does it cost to study fashion and design in the US?
The tuition for fashion and design schools in the US ranges from $5,000 to $30,000 per year.
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