Fashion Schools and Colleges

Fashion College: Attending Fashion Design School

If you have a passion for fashion and design, consider the different programs available at fashion design schools around the country. Some of the leading fashion colleges offer a wide range of fashion design courses and programs for students interested in becoming fashion designers, fashion marketers, wardrobe consultants and fashion merchandising specialists. Fashion institutes prepare students for a rewarding career in their field with both hands-on and classroom training. Most schools also require students to complete an internship and create a portfolio of work that they can present to future employers.

Attending Fashion School

There are a number of benefits of attending a fashion school, especially one that is located in a major metropolitan area such as New York City, Los Angeles or Miami. Many cities have a direct connection to the fashion community and culture, and can send students to work on projects onsite with local designers, fashion boutiques and fashion experts. Most schools also offer seminars and workshops with industry leaders, and have world-class faculty members that can share extensive knowledge about the fashion and design industry.

Find a school near you

Many fashion design colleges offer both undergraduate and graduate programs, and some offer the flexibility of evening courses and weekend degree programs. Prospective students may also be able to take courses online.

Programs at Fashion Design Schools

In addition to courses and programs directly related to fashion and fashion marketing, a college may offer specialized programs in the following areas:

  • Accessories Design
  • Communication Design
  • Fabric Styling
  • Graphic Design
  • Interior Design
  • Jewelry Design
  • Fashion Photography
  • Textile or Surface Design
  • Visual Presentation and Exhibition

Many institutes in larger cities offer two-year associate's degree programs, as well as accelerated associate degree programs, bachelor's degrees and evening programs. Students may be able to enroll in programs in very specialized areas such as children's wear, intimate apparel, knitwear, special occasion outfits or sportswear.

Types of Fashion Courses

From learning how to coordinate a fashion show to working with different types of fabrics, fashion schools offer a wealth of specialized 'courses for students interested in completing a professional degree.

Courses vary slightly from school to school, but most schools offer the following types of fashion courses:

  • Design House Operations
  • Computerized Pattern Design
  • Basic Pattern Design
  • Overview of Fabric Types
  • Clothing Construction
  • Introduction to Apparel Manufacturing
  • Survey of the Fashion Industry
  • Product Analysis
  • Textiles
  • Fashion Drawing
  • Fashion Tours
  • Concepts of Retail Control
  • Foundations of Fashion Marketing
  • Visual Merchandising and Display
  • Fashion Retailing
  • Fashion Show Production and Coordination

Types of Fashion Design Courses

Fashion design courses are more specialized and include computer-aided design courses where students learn how to construct and work with patterns, use different design techniques and produce professional designs that are then turned into actual pieces of clothing or accessories.

  • Outerwear and Performance Apparel Sewing Techniques
  • Computer-Aided Flat Pattern Design
  • Leather Apparel Design
  • Haute Couture Sewing Techniques
  • Hand-Knit Design
  • Outerwear Apparel Design
  • Draping Fundamentals

Attending a Fashion School

Students interested in completing a degree or training program must exhibit certain qualities and characteristics. They must be passionate about fashion and keep up with the latest trends, have strong artistic and aesthetic design skills, and be able to work with basic drafting and drawing tools. Many advanced courses require students to complete work using computer-aided design tools and the latest technology.

Students may also have the opportunity to do the following:

  • Complete an internship at an area fashion house or with a local fashion designer
  • Attend workshops and seminars from industry leaders
  • Work side-by-side with industry professionals and experienced instructors
  • Contribute work towards a real fashion show
  • Stage a fashion show with fellow classmates
  • Build a professional fashion design or fashion portfolio

Careers after Fashion College

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the majority of fashion designers are employed in New York and California. Most fashion designers work for a company or firm, while others may work in specialized design services or are self-employed.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual wages for salaried fashion designers were $61,160 in May 2008.