Best Fashion Schools & Colleges in California | Best Ranking 2022

Before the creativity, glamour, art, design, and then beauty comes a deep knowledge of fashion. If you are in for a fun and challenging career path in fashion, see our list of best fashion schools in California and make your choice.

As a Fashion Design student in California, you will work hands-on alongside seasoned industry professionals. Additionally, you’ll build a foundation in the history of fashion, global fashion trends, color theory, and preliminary sketching.

Before getting into the list of best fashion schools in California, let’s go through reasons why you might want to attend a fashion school in California.

See the table of contents below for a quick overview of this article.

Why Study Fashion In California?

 A career in the world of fashion can provide you with numerous opportunities ranging from a fashion designer to a buyer for a large department store. Furthermore, it allows you to release your creativity and passion for fashion in a variety of outlets.

Whether you are designing dresses or editing a fashion spread for the next season’s latest trends, a career in fashion can be an exciting, glamorous job.

The fashion schools in California provide students with the opportunity to learn and express fashion at its peak. Here, students will be directly involved in the conceptualization and production of apparel.

As a Fashion Design student in California, you will work hands-on alongside seasoned industry professionals. Additionally, you’ll build a foundation in the history of fashion, global fashion trends, color theory, and preliminary sketching.

Fashion schools in California advance your knowledge and skills with courses in design, technical flat sketching and illustration, pattern drafting, sewing, draping, garment production, and more. You will also learn how to use Adobe Creative Suite and CAD software.

To be successful in the fashion industry, obtaining a degree in fashion from a school in California is a step in the right track. As we go further in this article, you’ll see the list of the best fashion schools in California.

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How Much Does It Cost To Study In A Fashion College in California?

The cost of a fashion school in California varies, but, average the four years will cost you over $180,000 in total. That’s huge right? On the other hand, the average cost of attending a public, out-of-state school is $21,629.

To reduce the financial cost, most of these fashion schools also offer financial aid to their students.

You might be thinking it is expensive, but, trust me, the knowledge you’ll get is worth it. These fashion schools in California don’t just teach and certify students, they shape students into top-notch fashion designers. A return in investment is guaranteed after graduation. As we go further, we’ll look through the average salary of a fashion designer.

How Long Does It Take To Study Fashion In California?

Associate’s degree programs in fashion design in California are two-year programs that equip students with basic, technical design skills, such as tailoring, sewing, and basic fashion theories.

Bachelor’s degree programs usually last four years and tend to offer more extensive career training, combining technical coursework with artistic and conceptual instruction. Courses comprise; fashion drawing, 3-D design, color theory, textiles, computer-aided design, a fashion business, and portfolio presentation.

Fashion designers use their creative and technical skills to create a variety of clothing and accessories. In addition to designing and constructing original products, designers are constantly studying the industry to keep up-to-date with current trends and to be able to predict future styles.

What Are The Necessary Skills Needed To Be A Fashion Designer in California?

To become a fashion designer in California, there are vital skills you need to have in order to be on top of your game. Some of these skills are technical skills while others are interpersonal skills that include communication and leadership abilities. Here’s a list of the necessary skills needed to be a fashion designer in California:

  • Sketching: To become a great fashion designer, you need to possess some artistic skills such as sketching. This will help you create a pictorial representation of the mental design on your head or any other intended design you want to create.
  • Computer-aided design (CAD): Once you have an idea of what you want to make on paper, you’ll need to convey your imagination into the digital world with a CAD program.
  • Fashion research: Before you design apparel, it is important you carry out research to see the latest trends and the applicability of that style you have in mind. The everyday life of fashion designers hovers around the research.
  • Business skills: As a fashion designer who wants to make it in the business, you have to have a good knowledge of the business world and how to go around numbers. This skill goes a long way to determine your earnings.
  • Effective communication: Ideally, every business person needs to know and understand what it means to effectively communicate. From sharing fashion ideas to getting it done efficiently, a fashion designer should know how to communicate effectively to colleagues and clients.
  • Time management: Every fashion designer should know how to allot and manage his or her time effectively. This will help you keep up with the flow and meet up with clients’ demands.
  • Self-confidence: What self-confidence does to a fashion designer is that it gives you that assurance and insight that the effort you are putting in is worth it. In the fashion world where designs are distinctively creative, carving a personal niche and style will help you excel.
  • Accepting criticism: Despite the efforts and ingenuity you put into the profession, as a fashion designer, you should be able to accept criticism with a good heart. This is the only way your error and flaws will be highlighted and corrected. The whole idea of accepting criticism is that it will help you be a better person.
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How Much Does Fashion Designers In California Earn?

Fashion designers in California make a whole lot out of the craft. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for a fashion designer in California is around $78,680, annually. The lowest 10 percent of designers earned less than $35,000 per year, and the top 10 percent earned more than $135,000 per year. 

To make it to the top as a fashion designer, you need to get the necessary education. You might have any other ideas in mind. Nevertheless, the fashion schools in California offer the best of fashion ideals and skillset to students. See our list of best fashion schools in California below.

What Are The Best Fashion Schools In California?

Ideally, there are many ways to become a fashion designer. You can choose to start on by self-learning and individual practicals or lurking around fashion houses.

Nevertheless, there may be a huge difference between earning a bachelor’s degree from a fashion school and a self-taught fashion designer. I know it all depends on individual efforts, and earning a degree in fashion does not guarantee an alluring fashion career.

However, the fashion schools in California offer the best of fashion education to her students. Here students are exposed to the best of theoretical and practical learning.

Our selections were made based on the following ranking criteria.

Reputation – These ranking criteria represents the performance of the fashion schools in rankings both nationally and internationally.

Accreditation – The accreditation status of a school show that the school has the capacity to take on a certain program. That is to say, it is authorized by the accrediting body to operate and house a particular program.

1. Academy of Art University

Academy of Art’s School of Fashion equips students with everything they need to pursue the fashion career of your dreams. Here students are encouraged from day one to bring their creative visions to life both in the classroom and on the runway.

The university offer degree options that span the entire fashion career spectrum. The hands-on curriculum covers every aspect of the creative process and teaches students to turn fashion concepts into relevant, responsible, and beautiful work.

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With a focus on broad areas like fashion designing, fashion styling, fashion merchandising, fashion marketing, and a whole lot more, —you will gain a thorough knowledge of the fashion industry as you prepare to become a part of it.

The fashion school in California is accredited by the following accrediting bodies;

  • CIDA – Council for Interior Design Accreditation
  • CTC – California Commission Teacher Credentialing Accreditation
  • NAAB – National Architectural Accrediting Board
  • NASAD – National Association of Schools of Art and Design
  • WSCUC – WASC Senior College and University Commission

2. Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising Los Angeles

At FIDM, we prepare you to launch your career by providing a supportive, creative, and professional environment from which to learn practical skills, build a network of industry contacts, and gain real-world experience.

You’ll have the opportunity to generate innovative design and business solutions for top brands, collaborate with companies, build your portfolio, and put what you’re learning in the classroom to work.

The educational experience at FIDM is transformative. Our students and graduates are discovering their potential and developing innovative ways to make their mark on the world.

FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising is an accredited, co-educational, specialized, private college in California with campuses in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Orange County, and San Diego. The college is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)

3. Otis College of Art and Design

Otis College of Art and Design (OTIS) established in 1918 is home to nearly 1,100 students from 43 states and 24 countries, enrolled in more than a dozen art and design programs.

Programs for aspiring fashion designers include BFA in Fashion Design with options in Sustainability or Costume Design. The Sustainability option (Minor) assist students “develop strategies and systems, as applicable to art and design, which can meet the needs of current generations without compromising those of future generations.” 

Otis College of Art and Design offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in visual and applied arts, media, and design, in addition to year-round Extension courses for all ages.

OTIS is accredited by WSCUC Senior College and University Commission.

4. Los Angeles Trade Technical College

The Los Angeles Trade Technical College Fashion Design and Fashion Technology programs equip students for careers in all areas of apparel manufacturing from assistant designers to production management.  

The Fashion Design and Fashion Technology programs provide functional training in current methods of garment construction, illustration, draping, pattern making, and grading. Instruction includes the most widely used apparel software programs. In addition to foundational principles, students get involved in practicals with creative design problems throughout the two-year program.  

The Fashion Design program is made up of professional instructors who have spent many years in the fashion industry as designers, pattern makers, production managers, and manufacturers in all categories of apparel.

Los Angeles Trade-Technical College (LATTC) is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior College, Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

5. Santa Monica College

Santa Monica College’s Fashion Design and Merchandising Department offer an exciting, competitive, and highly respected fashion program. The 4-year degree program helps students develop the skills necessary to create a high-quality professional portfolio.

Santa Monica College has articulation agreements with top fashion schools including the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM)–which means you can easily transfer to a four-year institution as you work toward a higher degree to help establish your fashion career.

The Fashion Design program weaves together courses in design, technical flat sketching and illustration, pattern drafting, sewing, draping, garment production, and more. Furthermore, students also learn about historical and global fashion trends as well as color theory–then put those skills to work during internships and our annual LA Mode Fashion Show.

6. California College of the Arts

The BFA in Fashion Design is one of the top 10 programs on the West Coast. With small class sizes and individual attention from faculty, including Lynda Grose, Cris Applegate, Neysa Young, and Ghazaleh Khalifeh, you’ll learn to develop a versatile fashion practice that emphasizes craft, sustainability, and cross-disciplinary methods.

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California College of Arts develops fashion designers with strong conceptual capabilities and distinct points of view. Students start by mastering traditional techniques in pattern drafting, sewing, and tailoring while taking critical studies, fashion history, and sustainability courses.

You’ll have the unique opportunity to work alongside experts in carbon-negative fibers, circular systems, sustainability, and other emergent fields.

7. Mt San Antonio College

The Fashion Design & Merchandising Program at Mt. San Antonio College offers courses that feature the latest technology related to their respective fields prepared by experienced industry professionals.

The hands-on curriculum for Fashion Merchandising and Fashion Design and Technologies is continuously updated to reflect current trends in the apparel industry.   

Furthermore, Mt. SAC offers degrees and certificates in fashion design and fashion merchandising.

Currently, almost all of our courses transfer to the California State University (CSU) system, offering our students the opportunity to go on to complete undergraduate and graduate degrees in apparel-related fields from some of the best colleges in the country.

Mt. San Antonio College (Mt. SAC) is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

8. Saddleback College

The Fashion Design and Merchandising program prepares students with the vital skills necessary to obtain positions in design, apparel manufacturing, product development, buying, event planning, fashion styling, visual merchandising, and many other fashion-related fields.

Many of the courses can be utilized as transfer courses for those seeking a Bachelor’s Degree in Fashion Design and/or Fashion Merchandising. Students may focus on one of the 4 certificate programs:

  • Fashion Design Certificate
  • Advanced Fashion Design & Apparel Manufacturing
  • Fashion Merchandising Program
  • Visual Display And Presentation Certificate 

The program is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Community and Junior Colleges, of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

9. Santa Rosa Junior College

The Fashion Studies Program offers Certificate Programs and AA degrees in Fashion Design and Fashion Fundamentals. Upon completion of the program, students gain entry-level employment and apprenticeships in fashion design and apparel production. 

Many graduates are working for local manufactures and designers throughout California and across the country.

Santa Rosa Junior College is officially accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

10. West Valley College

West Valley College offers an effective training program that prepares students for an exciting career in the fashion industry.

The program is designed to meet your needs. Take classes to re-train, update your skills, or complete the program with a Certificate in Fashion Design, Associate Degree in Fashion Design, Certificate Apparel Production, and Associate Degree Apparel Production. You can also transfer to universities.

With fully equipped computer labs, students get immersed in the use of technology in fashion designing.

West Valley College is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

FAQs On The Best Fashion Schools in California

Why study fashion in California?

The fashion schools in California provide students with the opportunity to learn and express fashion at its peak. Here, students will be directly involved in the conceptualization and production of apparel.

How much does fashion designers in California earn?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for a fashion designer in California is around $78,680, annually. The lowest 10 percent of designers earned less than $35,000 per year, and the top 10 percent earned more than $135,000 per year. 

How long does it take to study fashion in California?

Associate’s degree programs in fashion design in California are two-year programs while bachelor’s degree program lasts for four years.

Conclusion

The fashion schools in California in our list were carefully selected on the basis of academic excellence. Therefore, do well to make the best out of this piece. I hope this article satisfies your intentions and puzzles.

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