Fashion Design has become a popular career choice. However, it can be difficult for aspiring fashion designers to find the right help and guidance, especially when it comes to the all-important decision - Which fashion design school to choose? Akin to any other field of education, an aspiring fashion design student faces a period of dilemma before going to college. Picking the right fashion design school or college can get a little mind-boggling. Many parameters like location, tuition fees, infrastructure, and job opportunities come into play. Along with these, factors like alumni, method of teaching and counseling also matter.
Considering all the factors above, we have created a well-researched list of the best fashion design schools in the world. Consider this list as the starting point in your quest to find the right fashion design school that fits your requirement, location, budget, and other criteria. Do make sure to do detailed research on the ones that you shortlist, before making any final decision.
Here are the top fashion design schools from around the world:
Top Fashion Schools in the US
The US in general and New York, in general, are huge international fashion hubs. Along with New York, cities like Los Angeles, Miami, Las Vegas, and Chicago are also bustling centers of fashion studies. New York has some of the best fashion design schools in the world. Two of the top 5 fashion design schools in the world reside in the city of New York. Here are the best fashion schools in the US:
Fashion Institute of Technology, New York
FIT, New York houses five different schools of fashion. It offers 37 majors and 12 varied certification programs. The five schools are the School of Art and Design, the School of Liberal Arts, the School of Graduate Studies, the School of Continuing and Professional Studies, and the Jay and Patty Baker School of Business and Technology. The School of Art and Design offers a vast variety of courses that are ideal for aspiring students. FIT offers AAS, BFA, BS, MA, and MPS degrees. Also, AAS students have an option to pursue fashion design in Florence, Italy. The graduate degrees offered by FIT include an MA in fashion and textile design. Draping, gemology, haute couture, and ladies tailoring are some of the other disciplines. Leather Apparel, Millinery, and Performance Athletic Footwear are also some of the options. It is amongst the top fashion design schools in the US.
Location: New York, USA
The New School or The Parsons School of Design, New York
American Impressionist William Chase founded The New School in the late 1800s. It is one of the fashion schools in NYC in which the total number of students enrolled, is a whopping 10,000 studying 137 different courses. Some of the options for students are AAS and BFA degrees in Fashion Design, an AAS in Fashion Marketing, a BFA Integrated Studies, and an MA in Fashion Studies. All these courses allow the students to study at Parsons fashion school, Paris. Also, they get to attend the annual fashion exhibitions in Europe. The alumni list includes Donna Karan, Marc Jacobs, James Mischka, Narciso Rodriguez, etc. The Parsons School of Design consists of six schools, the most relevant to the context here being The School of Art and Design History.
Location: New York, USA
Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York
Pratt Institute is one of the top fashion schools in New York which offers 22 undergraduate degree programs, 26 graduate degree programs, and various Certificate and Minor programs across five schools. These courses provide foreign exchange programs in Europe at reputed fashion hubs like Milan, Florence, Paris, and London. Along with this, it also offers internships at top-notch brands like Ralph Lauren. The Department of Fine Arts at the School of Design, Pratt Institute offers a myriad of verticals for aspiring fashion design students. In 2007, the Juliana Curran Terian Design Center was inaugurated, which now houses the School of Design.
Location: Brooklyn, New York, USA
Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, Georgia
One of the best fashion schools in Georgia, Savannah College of Art and Design, is a world-class institution. It is an internationally recognized college with campuses in Hong Kong, Atlanta, and of course, Savanna. Along with that, students from 50 different states attend this school. It has more than 60 minor courses and around 40 majors. It offers BFA, MA, and MFA degrees in Accessory Design, Fashion, Fibers, and Jewelry. Aspiring fashion designers can also complete their MA in fashion online. To add to this, the fashion and design school also gives the students opportunities for internships and jobs both locally as well as abroad. They also get to attend international fashion events in Europe and participate in contests like the Walt Disney Imagineering’s 27th Imaginations Design Competition.
Location: Savanna, Georgia, USA
Kent State University, Kent, Ohio
Kent State University schools more than 23,000 students. It is an internationally reputed university with students from 100 different countries studying in it. It offers a whopping 300 degrees every academic year. The Kent State University or KSU offers these courses across 11 schools. The College of Arts had the School of Fashion Design and Merchandising. This top-notch fashion school has BA and BFA degrees in Fashion Design, an MA in Fine Arts, and an MFA in Costume Design. It has a huge pool of minors in accessories, fashion media, textiles, etc. All fashion students are allowed to participate in the School of Fashion Design’s annual festival—FS2: Alchemy. The university organizes educational tours in European fashion hubs like Florence and Milan.
Location: Kent, Ohio, USA
Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island
Helen Metcalf, along with some of the members of her women’s club, decided to start an art school. Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) offers graduate and postgraduate degrees in 19 majors. It has nearly 2,500 students from across the United States and 57 other countries. It is one of the excellent fashion design schools in Rhode Island and has several departments and divisions. The Department of Apparel Design offers a BFA in Apparel Design, and the students enrolled in this course get the chance to participate in the school’s Annual Runway Show. Students have the opportunity of studying in Rome as well. To add to all this, the fashion school has a brilliant athletics department too. The hockey team, ‘Nads,’ is quite famous in the state. Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane is an alumnus of this school.
Location: Rhode Island, USA
Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
Apart from fashion design, the Cornell University excels in almost all disciplines. It schools approximately 22,000 students and offers 80 bachelor’s and 108 master’s degrees. It houses 14 colleges on its campus. When it comes to fashion studies, the Department of Fiber Science & Apparel Design or FSAD offers amazing fashion programs. These programs are innovative and combine technology with fashion in ingenious ways. The Department of FSAD handles the Cornell Costume and Textile Collection; a collection of 10,000 plus apparel from the 18th century to the modern age. The Cornell Institute of Fashion and Fiber Innovation or CIFFI is also a part of this college. Undoubtedly one of the top fashion design schools in the country, Cornell University is also known around the world for the Cornell Fashion Collective Runway Show held annually.
Location: Ithaca, New York, USA
Top Fashion Schools In Canada
Canada enjoys its proximity to the US and also has a few fashion design schools that appear in the top 100 lists. Here are two of the best fashion designing colleges in Canada:
George Brown College
George Brown College is a frequent appearance in the list of best fashion schools in the world. It offers a wide variety of courses in art and design. Toronto is a major economic center of Canada, and this fashion institute greatly benefits from this. It has three campuses located in Toronto itself. The official website claims that 98% of the programs offered have a high practical aspect to them. The faculty is highly trained and well experienced. It has an 82% graduate placement rate. In numbers, the fashion school provides 35 diplomas, 31 advanced diplomas, and eight graduate degrees. The college is dedicated to research, be it any field or discipline.
Location: Toronto, Canada
Ryerson University or RyeU is located in the bustling locality of downtown Toronto. The Faculty of Arts is linked to fashion studies and is claimed to be one of the top fashion design schools in all of Canada. It houses around 40,000 undergraduates and 2,600 graduates. It is one of the most sought after institutes in Ontario. In the 2015-16, there were approximately 70,000 undergraduate applications to Ryerson for around 8,400 available spots. It is also home to a huge literary collection, and its library is a reputed center in Toronto. Besides this, athletics is also a strong point of Ryerson University.
Location: Toronto, Canada
Top Fashion Schools In Europe
Fashion is one of the biggest industries in Europe. Given its long history of love for culture and art, it is not a surprising fact that this industry is a major contributor to the European economy. With the rise in the growth of the fashion industry, the demand for professionals with adequate skills and knowledge about the craftsmanship is also increasing. This has led to an all-round development in inclination towards fashion studies. The rise of fashion design schools in Europe is a direct consequence of this.
Central Saint Martins, London
Central Saint Martins is affiliated to the University of the Arts London (UAL). It offers programs in fashion, textiles, and jewelry design. They offer a wide range of Short, Pre-degree, Undergraduate, Postgraduate courses. There is also a provision for international students to seek admission through a friendly program. There is also an option to pursue Research Degrees while working in the fashion design industry. The college has a world-class faculty to ensure a quality education for its students. It is also famous for providing an enriching experience for its students in a wholesome manner. As the institute is partially government-funded, it is accessible to students from all social and financial backgrounds. Notable alumni include Alexander McQueen, Paul Smith, Stella McCartney, and Christopher Kane.
Location: London, United Kingdom
London College of Fashion, London
London College of Fashion is another fashion design school under the University of the Arts London (UAL). It is most widely known for the eclectic collection of courses it offers. Along with fashion design courses, interested students can also study fashion marketing and journalism, fashion curation and criticism, beauty therapy, and lifestyle industries. By providing a more extensive selection of fashion programs to choose from, the institute enables the students to have a broader set of career opportunities to take up. Prominent personalities from the fashion industry like Jimmy Choo and Rupert Sanderson graduated from here. The institute promises a deeper understanding of the fashion studies to its students through facilities like fashion archives and printing workshops. The fashion school also has an active system involved in ensuring a 100% industry placement opportunity.
Location: London, United Kingdom
Royal College of Art, London
Royal College of Art (RCA) is a public university in England. The design and art courses offered by RCA at the graduate-level are world-renowned for their quality of education combined with an on-the-field experience. It is considered to be on top of the list of elite fashion design schools as the acceptance rate is much lower, with a smaller enrollment number into its six schools. The tuition fees are also relatively higher when compared to the previous two schools. The college is however much sought after as it provides its students' opportunities to gain placement and work experience at the biggest fashion houses in the world like Prada, Givenchy, Louis Vuitton, Burberry.
Location: London, United Kingdom
Instituto Marangoni, Milan
Instituto Marangoni was established by Giulio Marangoni in 1935 as a school to train professionals and technicians specializing in the field of fashion. The institute claims to offer its students relevant training by continually updating their programs to make sure they are in line with the demands of the Italian and international fashion industry needs. The courses offered in design and fashion focus mainly on color and materials and techniques to incorporate them into fashion projects. The three year BA course has risen to popularity with subjects like Fashion Designing, Fashion Marketing, Visual Merchandising, Fashion Styling and Creativity, Fashion Business, and Marketing. The main campus is in Milan, Instituto Marangoni and has now branched worldwide with two additional campuses in Paris and London. In total, the school is home to 2000 students across its three campuses.
Location: Milan, Italy
Politecnico Di Milano, Milan
Politecnico Di Milano is the oldest university in Milan and the largest technical university in Italy with around 42000 students. The school offers a bachelor’s degree in fashion design and a master’s program in Design for the Fashion System. The Institute's Department of Design boasts of state of the art facilities in terms of laboratories and types of equipment to assist the students in exploring the design world with a highly technical approach. The most popular ones among the students are the Colour Lab, Light Lab, Interaction, and Experience Design Lab. It is much more conveniently accessible to students since it has a lower fee structure when compared to other top fashion design schools. It is also known for its friendly international student policies.
Location: Milan, Italy
Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne, Paris
This school of fashion design is claimed to be one of the best fashion designing colleges, and its prime location in Paris, the acclaimed fashion capital of the world, adds to its heritage. The institute boasts of the merit of being associated with the commissioning body that is responsible for determining what can be categorized as couture. This prestigious school offers the best couture classes. There are also baccalaureate-level courses, which require the applicant to have a degree in design from elsewhere. The school has ties with the Academy of Art University in San Francisco for a student exchange program. Few of the notable alumni include Karl Lagerfeld, Anne Valerie Hash, Stephane Rolland.
Location: Paris, France
ESMOD (l'Ecole Supérieure des Arts et techniques de la Mode), Paris
ESMOD has the fame of being the first and the oldest fashion school to its name. It is one of the rare fashion schools in Paris which boasts of being the alma mater of some of the renowned fashion professionals. Nina Garcia and Thierry Mugler are ESMODians. The main campus resides in Paris, but there are more campuses in 4 other French cities. It also has 21 different schools across the globe. Some of the courses offered at the graduate-level are Fashion Design and Business, Commercial and Communication Strategy in Fashion Design, International Development of Fashion and Luxury Industry. The fashion school also offers evening/short courses in Pattern Making and Fashion Business. Students of ESMOD can avail infrastructures to supplement their creativity. The campus has a boutique as well. It offers design and pattern-making supplies, professional sewing machines, and a fabric library. This facility allows the students to push their limits of creativity. Achieve skill in fashion designing thus becomes easier.
Location: Paris, France
Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Antwerp, Belgium
Antwerp is taking determined steps in becoming an identified fashion hub in the world. It is one of the most notable fashion designing colleges; here is the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. It is amongst the elite fashion design schools admitting only 100 students annually. The tuition fees are highly subsidized to promote and encourage fashion studies among aspiring students. The cost of living along with the fees are comparatively low for international students because of government aid and scholarships. But, the students are required to have a decent knowledge of the Dutch language. The bachelor’s program has a 3-year duration, with each year focusing on developing specific talents. By the end of the third year, the students will have designed eight silhouettes for evaluation. Criticism by the competent faculty prepares them for the industrial world.
Location: Antwerp. Belgium
Top Fashion Design Schools In Asia
In recent years, Asia has opened its arms to globalization, and consequently, to the development of fields that were previously looked over, if not neglected. With the advent of the growth of technology in Asian countries, there has been a wide space created, making provision for the systematic development of art on a large scale. The governments of several Asian countries like India, Japan, and China have taken initiatives to conserve and develop the domestic textile industries and promoting domestic trade by providing technical education to those looking to pursue careers in fashion and textile industries. Here are some of the leading fashion design schools in Asia.
National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), New Delhi
National Institute of Fashion Technology is located in New Delhi, the national capital of India. NIFT is the top institute of fashion education, not only in India but in Southeast Asia as well. It is affiliated to the Ministry of Textiles and was started as a part of the government’s initiative to develop the textile industry in the country and support the craftsmanship. Around 11,000 students are currently enrolled over 16 campuses spread across the prime cities in the country. NIFT offers a four-year undergraduate and two-year postgraduate programs in design, management, and technology. Admission to the institute is secured after qualification in the two written tests, Creative Ability Test (CAT) and General Ability Test (GAT), conducted by the administration. Courses offered under the bachelor’s program include Accessory Design, Fashion Communication, Fashion Design, Knitwear Design, Leather Design, and Textile Design. Notable alumni of the fashion design school include Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Sakhi Thomas, Manish Arora, and Gulshan Devaiah.
NIFT was ranked 17th in the 2018 rankings of the best fashion schools in the world.
Location: New Delhi, India
Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology (BIFT), Beijing
Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology provides fashion courses, which are taught at its Clothing Art and Engineering College. It is one of the best fashion design schools in Asia. The undergraduate courses offered are Fashion Performance, Fashion Media Design, Art Design, Knitwear Clothing Design. As the school has connections with the domestic textile industry, the students can benefit from a wide array of programs aimed at serving the ongoing demands the textile industry has for the professionals. The institute was given the responsibility for the uniforms at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The design school has international ties with other esteemed institutions and is the beneficiary of multiple student exchange programs. The acceptance rate to the school is at a demanding of low of 7 percent, which is considered to be on par with its European counterpart, Central Saint Martins. BIFT has been praised for conducting successful summer trips aimed at giving its students an essential exposure to the professional world.
Location: Beijing, China
National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad
The institute is autonomously set up under the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade by the Government of India. The government also recognizes it as a scientific and industrial design research organization. It has around 100 undergraduate and 240 postgraduate seats and is one of the coveted fashion designing colleges. The design school has three campuses, the main one being in Ahmedabad; the other two are in Bangalore and Gandhinagar. The curriculum is designed to generate the scope for opportunities to integrate explorative and experiential learning to achieve a higher degree of innovative quality. The teaching is student-centered, where the assignments and courses are aimed at harnessing the potential of the students in expressing their ideas through their work. The undergraduate program has a duration of 4 years and is offered at the Ahmedabad campus. The courses are integrated with several industrial visits and projects to ensure relevant practical skill development in students. The fashion school has 100 undergraduate students enrolled every year.
Location: Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India
Musashino Art University, Japan
Musashino Art University is a non-profit private university in Kodaira, Western Tokyo. The institute has a selective admission policy based on entrance exams. The admission rate is 10%, making this school a highly elite one and among the top fashion designing colleges. There is provision for international applicants to apply for enrolment. Courses in Fashion Studies are taught under the Department of Scenography, Display and Fashion Design. The department aims to inculcate environment and culture into fashion, thus inspiring a space that is more enriching and spiritual. It is currently one of the best design schools in Japan, with around 4,500 students enrolled. The university is very active globally. It is known to engage in a wide variety of international activities that are aimed at honing students' skills.
Location: Kodaira, Western Tokyo, Japan
Bunka Fashion College, Japan
Japan has been growing as the industrial capital of the world, with different areas of its economy flourishing exponentially. Therefore, it has many good fashion design schools. In the last few decades, the Japanese fashion industry has developed with fastidious growth, not unlike its technical counterparts. Bunka Fashion College was established in 1923 as the first dressmaking school in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo in Japan. It is known for its ever so practical curriculum which is continuously modified to adapt to the diversifying industry of fashion. The campus comprises of a 21 story building with the latest facilities available to the students like a library, costume museum and a resource center to avail information about fashion from. It owns the prestige of having produced great designers like Hiroko Koshino, Chisato Tsumori and Yoji Yamamoto. Students will require a good understanding of Japanese to be able to pursue education here.
Location: Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan
Fashion design schools can be tricky to choose from given the lack of good advice. Fashion is still not taken seriously by the generation which precedes us. More than that, it is not even recognized as a proper career choice. The number of fashion designing colleges and aspiring students are many. However, there is a general lack of awareness.
Fashion is an up and coming industry with lots of opportunities. Moreover, there are excellent fashion schools all around the world. We believe that freedom in career options is the way to go forward! After all, independence and liberty are the marks of the 21st century.
Liked this post? Share it now.