Fashion designing is a fun, yet demanding career path. Therefore, If you are thinking of joining the fashion industry, you need to be doubly prepared to enter any area of fashion.
Hence, be it the designing or the making of clothes for sale, education in a reputable school will positively influence and boost your fashion design career.
Before listing the best fashion schools in the world, let’s see why you might want to attend a fashion school and how our rankings were compiled.
Brief History of Fashion Designing
The beginning of fashion designing dates as far back as 1826. Charles Frederick Worth is believed to be the first fashion designer in the world, between 1826 to 1895. Charles, who was earlier a draper, established a fashion house in Paris. He was the one who originated the idea of fashion houses and telling his customers the kind of clothing that would suit them.
At that time, a good number of design houses started to hire the services of artists to generate patterns for garments. Patterns would be presented to the clients, who would then place an order if they liked them. It was during this timeframe that the idea of presenting patterns to the customers and then stitching them started, instead of the earlier system whereby the finished garments would be presented to them.
What is Fashion Designing?
Who Is A Fashion Designer?
Fashion designing can be simply defined as ‘the art of creating fashionable garments’. With the passage of time, however, the idea of ‘fashion designing’ has stretched to other things such as fashion accessories such as jewelry, bags, footwear, etc. Having in mind the evolution of fashion designing, it would not be wrong to define it as ‘the creation of fashion’.
A fashion designer is one who attempts to design clothes that are useful as well as aesthetically pleasing. They consider who is likely to wear a garment and the situations in which it will be worn, and then work within a wide range of materials, colors, patterns, and styles.
A fashion designer is responsible for creating the definite look of an individual’s garments-including a garment’s shape, color, fabric, trimmings, and other aspects of the whole.
The fashion designer begins with an idea of how a garment should look, turns that idea into a design (such as a sketch), and specifies how that design should be made into an actual piece of clothing by other workers (from patternmakers to finishers).
The category of fashion designer includes people at various levels of the fashion business, from well-known couturiers to anonymous designers working for commercial ready-to-wear houses, to stylists who might make only small modifications in existing designs.
Fashion designers hold a special place in the world. Their talent and vision not only play a major role in how people look, but they have also made important contributions to the cultural and social environment.
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Why Study Fashion?
Fashion Designing is a much hunted-after career. There are many people who aim to get to the top, but not everyone can ascend the ladder of success. Therefore, to become successful in fashion designing, it requires so many skills. Hence, if you must survive in this industry, you have to be the “best”.
A career in the world of fashion can provide you with diverse opportunities extending from being a fashion designer to becoming a buyer for a large department store. Working with fashion allows you to deliver your creativity and love for fashion in a variety of outlets. Whether you are designing dresses or editing a fashion spread for the next season’s newest trends, a career in fashion can be an exciting, fascinating job.
However, being talented and creative alone is not sufficient, fundamental sewing and designing abilities are a must-have. Any fashion lover who wants to become a fashion designer should register in a fashion designing school as such institutes not only train you but also get you prepared for the industry. They give flexibility and the right skill set to stay on top of your game!
What Does It Take To Become A Fashion Designer?
Many fashion designers gain their training through a fashion design program at a college or university. Some attend schools devoted to the study of fashion design, while others take programs based in traditional colleges.
Fashion design degrees are accessible at the associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degree levels. Some schools even offer MBA programs that concentrate on the business side of the fashion industry.
Those who want to enter a fashion design program are often expected to acquire fundamental abilities before applying. A fashion program may expect prospective students to present their portfolio and pass design and sewing tests when they apply. Designers may teach themselves these skills or take classes to acquire these skills before college.
Students in fashion design programs learn about textiles, sketching, sewing, draping, and creating patterns with the help of CAD software. They also learn about the history of fashion, trend forecasting, and the business of fashion. Students may create their own collection as a senior project. Collections and other student work can be valuable additions to a designer’s portfolio. Designers pursuing bachelor’s and master’s degrees may focus on a precise type of design, such as children’s wear, intimate apparel, knitwear, or sportswear.
Design students in some programs take on internships to put their knowledge to work under the guidance of experienced professionals at large design houses or in fashion merchandising.
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List of the best fashion design schools in the world
If you have an interest in fashion career and you are looking for the right schools, the choices can be devastating. here is a list of best schools that offer fashion designing in the world. To help you on your way, the World Scholarship Forum has ranked the 13 best fashion schools in the world.
Although we are transparent about the measures used to compile this list, you should use it essentially as a take-off for your own research. It is not a yardstick to the quality of a school’s program.
We encourage you to focus less on the strict order of rankings and more on the individual qualities of each school.
List of the best fashion schools
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#1. Fashion Institute of Technology, New York
Ranked as one of the best fashion schools in the world, the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) is located in New York. This school is a hub for fashion, business, design, marketing, and technology.
It is a part of the State University of New York (SUNY) and offers programs related to the fashion industry. The institute boasts of having excellent networking access with industries and platforms around the world. It is part of one of the largest comprehensive university systems of the United States. FIT’s strategic location, New York, one of the top four fashion capitals of the world is an added advantage to its students.
FIT alumni include some of the world-famous designers like Calvin Klein and Michael Kors. FIT’s 3 academic schools, a graduate school, and the Centre for Continuing and Professional Studies offer various competitive programs befitting your interests be it business in fashion or pure fashion studies. For instance, you can pursue a degree in International Trade and Marketing for the Fashion Industries or opt for a degree in Fashion and Textile Studies.
Some of the most famous programs of FIT include BS and MS in Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing and Management, Associate in Applied Science (AAS), BFA and MFA in Fashion Design, AAS and BS in Fashion Business Management, Master of Professional Studies in Global Fashion Management to name a few. The total cost of tuition for AAS and BS programs may range from $35,000 to $45,000 annually and full-time graduate programs are estimated to be around $ 13,000 per semester.
They have an acceptance rate of 40.4% and a graduation rate of 77,4%
#2. Parsons School of Design, New York
Ranked among the top fashion schools in the world. Parsons School of Design in New York is a private art and design school. The school’s location and innovative curriculum allow its students to cooperate with peers, industry partners and communities around the world to develop their skills and knowledge.
Parsons offers undergraduate, graduate, associate degrees (AAS), online programs and summer programs in a wide range of disciplines. Their disciplines include fashion, design management, design studies, media, studio design and more. When it comes to fashion studies you can choose from a range of courses based on your qualifications and career plans. – AAS Fashion Design, AAS Fashion Marketing, and Communication, Certificate in Fashion Business (Online). Certificate in Fashion Design, BFA Fashion Design, MFA Fashion Design and Society, MPS Fashion Management and MA Fashion Studies.
Tuition fees for both international and domestic students are the same ranging from $20,000 to $30,000 per term. All applicants to Parsons are automatically recognized for merit scholarship awards at the time of application. Parson graduates are located in more than 120 countries creating their own fashion lines with many receiving honors such as Emmy and Coty Awards. You can visit their website and drop an email to the friendly admissions team for any inquiries before applying.
The school has an acceptance rate of 35% and a graduation rate of 72.0%
#3. Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, London.
Central Saint Martins or CSM is a profound public tertiary art school in one of the world’s most stylish cities fashion capital, London. A constituent college of the University of the Arts London. CSM gives diverse full-time courses from base to postgraduate levels in disciplines. These include Drama, Fashion, Art, Higher Education, Spatial Practices for Architecture and Interior Design to name a few.
The school’s undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Fashion have been consistently rated among the top ten by many academic league tables including Business of Fashion, QS Ranking, and Times Higher Education. CSM has programs designed for fashion aspirants at every level. Popular fashion programs include BA (Hons) Fashion: Fashion Design with Knitwear, BA (Hons) Fashion: Fashion Design with Marketing, BA (Hons) Fashion Communication: Fashion Journalism, MA Fashion, MA Fashion Communication.
If you are interested in a shorter program at the postgraduate level you can consider the 1-year Graduate Diploma in Fashion. The CSM’s several short courses and online programs are also in high demand catering to distinct interests. So, if you are keen to start your own fashion label you can opt for a short course in Fashion Business.
CSM is one of the earliest art colleges in England since its inception the school has been producing world-famous fashion designers, film producers, politicians and more. Famous fashion alumni include designers Stella McCartney and Marc Jacobs. Applications to CSM are made online, go through the website for program-specific requirements to start applying.
The school has an acceptance rate of about 25.9%, academic reputation: 96.9%, and employer reputation: 91.2%.
#4. London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London
High rated fashion college of the University of the Arts London, the London College Fashion (LCF) is the only college in Britain to specialize in Fashion education, consultancy, and research. The college grants diverse undergraduate, postgraduate and short courses in fields ranging from fashion business to fashion curation. This college has produced famous designers including footwear designer Jimmy Choo and fashion designer William Tempest.
LCF also includes a unique study abroad semester program to Paris to learn more about fashion and culture. If you are just out of college and looking for a world-class undergraduate degree, then apply for one of the many BA, BSc, and integrated MSc programs. Disciplines like Psychology of Fashion, Hair, and Make-Up for Fashion, Cosmetic Science, Fashion Sportswear, Fashion Journalism to name a few are all available for undergraduate level.
However, if you hold a degree and intend to further your skills or a shift in career, there are other postgraduate courses of LCF. These postgraduate courses include MA Fashion Design Technology Menswear and Womenswear, MA Fashion Retail Management, Executive MBA in Fashion, LCF MBA, Graduate Diploma in Fashion Design and Technology, etc. Interested scholars must check program admission requirements before applying. International students can also contact LCF’s international representatives for more information.
The school has an acceptance rate of 22% and a graduation rate of 98%
#5. Aalto University School of Arts, Design, and Architecture, Finland
Aalto University School of Arts, Design, and Architecture located in Finland is a renowned school for Fashion and a great choice. Basically, this school of art and design is for you if you want to explore Nordic and Scandinavian fashion, commonly known as Scandi fashion, and create your own unique collection. Known for its great industry collaborations, research activities and challenging programs, the school’s academic programs are delivered by 5 departments.
Fashion aspirants can study design, fashion, co-design, design leadership or sustainable development. At the bachelor’s level, one can opt for Design, Fashion or the Aalto Bachelor Program in Design. At the Master’s level, one can opt for either Collaborative and Industrial Design or Fashion, Clothing and Textile Design; or Contemporary Design program.
Programs are designed in such a way that students can not only develop their artistic skills but strategic thinking and research talents too. Furthermore, Aalto’s unique Fashion/Textile Futures research group works towards exploring human-centered design research.
The estimated tuition fee for a bachelor’s degree program is €12,000 per year and a Master’s program is €15,000 per year for international and non-EEA citizens. European Union (EU) citizens are not required to pay tuition fees for degree studies. Also, deserving candidates may also receive scholarship awards. However, applicants must check the website to learn about the admission requirements and deadlines before applying.
It has an acceptance rate of 8% and a graduation rate of 85%
#6. ESMOD International, Paris
The École supérieure des arts et techniques de la mode or ESMOD situated in Paris is one of the ‘Big Four’, highly regarded private French fashion school for over 173 years. ESMOD has five networks of schools within France and 20 schools in over 13 countries. The school offers different programs in Fashion Design (ESMOD) and Fashion Business (ISEM).
Some of their many programs include Foundation Course in Fashion Design & Business, Fashion Designer – Undergraduate, Graduate Program Diploma. In addition, Creative Director and MBA short courses exist in pattern making, a fashion business and many more. If you are a Fashion Business or a third-year Fashion Designer student, you may land yourself an internship or employment with one of the fashion giants Chanel or Hermes, the headquarters of which are located close to the campus.
ESMOD and ISEM’s large alumni and industry network gives students career support and placement. Interested applicants must check program admission requirements.
The tuition for the undergraduate program is about 10,250€ for the academic year For the postgraduate programs, the tuition is 12,900€. For the other programs, consult the different fees on the application form.
#7. Polimoda, Florence, Italy
Ranked as one of the top 20 in the world by leading fashion league tables. Polimoda is a private fashion school in the beautiful city of Florence, Italy. The school offers diverse programs at undergraduate and masters levels. In addition, a wide range of seasonal programs is also offered during Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer. The programs are mainly under four branches – Fashion Design, Fashion Business, Art Direction, and Design Management.
At the undergraduate level, you can find interesting programs such as Fashion Technology, Leather Technology, Fashion Art Direction, Fashion Design Management and more. At the master’s level, you have more options to choose from; – Knitwear Design, Bag Design, Fashion Merchandising and Buying, Fashion Trend Forecasting, Creative Director and others.
Seasonal programs include Bespoke Fashion, Fashion Photography, Fashion Jewellery, Sustainable Fashion, Luxury-Design Management, etc. Polimoda offers 3years of undergraduate programs and 9months of master’s studies. The seasonal short program is 1month. They offer the most up to date Programs run by industry experts and international guest lecturers. Students are allowed to join in fashion shows, museum trips, and internship opportunities. The application process is online, includes an interview, check Polimoda’s website for the admission requirements before filling up the application form. Deserving candidates may also be eligible for a scholarship.
The school has a graduation rate of 91%, class Size: 20 students. Enrollment: 2,341, job Placement Rate of 91%, student/Teacher Ratio is 10:1,
Annual Tuition: Undergraduate: €18,000 (or $20,011 at the current exchange rate) Graduate: €28,000 (or $31,129 at the current exchange rate)
# 8. Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Antwerp
Located in Antwerp, Belgium, the prestigious Royal Academy of Fine Arts is one of the oldest of its kind in Europe. The school grants a variety of programs from Sculpture and Spatial Art to Sound Design. The bachelor and master’s degree programs in Fashion Design offer specializations such as graphics, tailoring and pattern design’, theoretical courses on world literature, art history, cultural studies and more.
Final year master’s degree students are given absolute liberty to produce their all-round final collection based on inspiration from a preferred artist, celebrity or even a social question.
The school concentrates on a well-rounded development crucial for a successful fashion designer. Common programs include Bachelor and Master of Visual Arts – Costume Design, Bachelor and Master of Fine Arts – Fashion. The institute conducts an entrance exam for most of its programs. Interested candidates must check the application requirements in order to apply.
Graduation Rate: 23%
Student/Teacher Ratio: 12:1
#9. Istituto Europeo di Design, Milan
Located in Milan, one of the four biggest fashion capitals of the world. IED or Istituto Europeo di Design also present in Spain and Brazil offers top-notch programs in Design, Fashion, Visual Communication and Management in several languages. – English, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese. IED offers undergraduate, masters, short summer and winter courses and continuing programs.
Approved courses include Fashion Design, Visual Communication, and Fashion Printing. Additionally, Fashion Trends Investigation, Fashion Marketing, short programs such as Fashion Design Summer Kids, Beachwear Design and many more courses exist for you to select from depending on which area you want to specialize in. Programs are taught by industry experts and international faculties.
The location of IED’s main campus in Milan is an added advantage, allowing students to visualize, ideate and create superior work being present at the center of fashion, art, and culture. Notable alumni include fashion designer Maria Grazia Chiuri, the first female creative director at Dior.
In order to commence the admission process, candidates must visit the IED website and contact the IED admission office through the webpage of the relevant course. Subsequently, an admission advisor usually sends out the forms, necessary brochures, login credentials, and fee information prior to commencing the online application process.
The average fee is between 850 euros and 1,000 euros per year.
#10. Bunka Gakuen, Tokyo
Bunka Gakuen University’s fashion school located in Tokyo is one of Asia’s highest-ranked fashion schools. Studying in Tokyo, one of the top 10 fashion capitals of the world, means you can access the best of East-West Fusion, Tokyo’s new generation avant-garde designers, the region’s contemporary art style and many more.
Fashion courses at Bunka Gakuen are granted by Bunka Fashion College and Bunka Fashion Graduate University. Programs offered span from Fashion Design to Research and Creation Fashion Technology.
Undergraduate programs at Bunka Fashion College are divided into four departments – Fashion Creation, Fashion Technology, Fashion Marketing, and Distribution, then, Fashion Accessories and Textiles Department. The Bunka Fashion Graduate University offers graduate programs in Fashion Creation, Design and Fashion Management.
Those who have an interest in Fashion Business can go on to pursue Fashion Business Administration or Research Project Fashion Management Course. Interested candidates may download the application form and check the requirements before applying or write to the college for inquiries.
International applicants interested to study at Bunka Fashion must take the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) and pass the Japanese University Admission for International Students. Additionally, foreign candidates interested to pursue a master’s must hold a 16 years bachelor’s degree.
Total enrollment is 4,500 with a Tuition fee of $18,750
#11. Kent State University, Kent, OH
Kent State has a few more options for students who are interested in the business side of the fashion industry. You can select from a BA or BFA in Fashion Design or a BS in Fashion Merchandising. One unique choice is a combined BS/MBA program in Fashion Merchandising.
The school has its own satellite campus in NYC, which is clearly important regarding that Kent, OH isn’t exactly a fashion capital. About 45 students a year head off to Florence, Italy to study at the school’s Palazzo campus. Kent State also has a partnership with The Paris Academy in Paris, France. Overall, students seem to have lots of choices when it comes to off-campus experiences.
Finally, the school claims that their placement rate in the fashion industry for graduates of the Fashion School is over 90%.
Fashion degrees offered: BA, BFA, BS/MBA
#12. Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), Savannah, GA
SCAD, which offers a BFA in fashion design (in addition to an MA and MFA), is a reputable, high-ranked design school with many other strong design programs.
The school takes pride in its ability to stay on top of the latest design technology which may be why it’s so successful at attracting top names in fashion for guest lectures, panel discussions, and student critiques. Some of these past fashion experts include Karl Lagerfeld, Tom Ford, Diane von Furstenberg, and Vera Wang. It’s no surprise that SCAD hosts one of the top student fashion shows in the country to showcase student work.
Fashion degrees offered: BFA
#13. Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA
Drexel, which offers a bachelor’s in fashion design, equips students for careers in design, styling, advertising, and computer-aided and technical design. The school supports hands-on experiences in the industry by demanding students to submit designs to national and international competitions.
Drexel has a couple of exceptional programs for fashion-minded students. Firstly, there’s a unique six-month “co-op” program – an extended internship of sorts – where students work at different companies around the country to improve their abilities. Secondly, there’s a study abroad program at the College of London.
There are many complementary undergraduate programs, including Design & Merchandising and Entertainment & Art.
Fashion degrees offered: BFA
FAQs on Best Fashion Design Schools in the World
Fashion designers study trends and sketch the initial clothing or accessory design. They attend trade shows or visit manufacturers to select fabrics and trims. Designers conduct fittings and adjustments on prototypes of their designs, and the end product is then marketed to clothing retailers.
Keeping in mind the basics of fashion, there are three different types of fashion designers – shoes, apparel, and accessories. There may be subcategories within, with expansive opportunities to explore. However, at a broader level, these three are the categories that the industry focuses on.
Typically, fashion designers have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in art, design, fashion merchandising, or even fashion design. Many universities offer them as a major or concentration.The BLS recommends that fashion designers study at a post-secondary institution accredited by the National Association of Schools.
Fashion designing has become highly competitive today. If you want to pursue a career in this industry, you will have to work harder and develop several other skills. It is not only about getting a Bachelor’s degree in Fashion Design but also about Visual Arts, General Design and even Graphic Design knowledge.
Fashion designers earn an average of $31.33 per hour or $65,170 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. By average pay, this means half of the people employed as fashion designers make less than this amount and half make more
In conclusion, fashion designing is a fun yet challenging career path. Therefore, If you are thinking of joining the fashion industry, you need to be well- equipped to enter any area of fashion. Hence, be it the design or the business side, education in a reputable school will positively be of great help.
We have carefully compiled a list of best schools that offer fashion designing in the world to help you on your way.