Top Fashion Design Schools in the US

Many people interact with a piece of clothing before it hits retail stores. Whether you want to design eye-catching outfits or become a store buyer, there are numerous fashion schools that will teach everything you need to know to be successful in a fashion career. Below is a list of the 20 best fashion schools in America based on a number of factors including industry reputation, programs, and the number of graduates that got jobs after leaving school.

This selection of undergraduate schools spans the country and range of possible fashion-related fields. Not all of them offer fashion design programs, so it is best to double check if that is your intended field of study. Tuition rates are only for the cost of classes.

 

 

Parsons – The New School for Design (New York)

Based in one of the fashion capitals of the world, Parsons is a top-notch design school who has turned out many a famous label. In addition to having numerous celebrity designers as faculty members, some of the school’s famous alumni even return to teach workshops and other events. The school also has partnerships with a number of retailers so that students can get feedback on their work.

Well known alumni include Donna Karen, Marc Jacobs, Alexander Wang, Jason Wu, Doo Ri Chung, and Carmen Marc Valvo. Tuition is $38,510 per year. Students can enter Fashion Design, Fashion Marketing and Fashion Studies degree programs. There are currently 4,291 undergraduates and 555 graduates attending Parsons.

Fashion Institute of Technology (New York)

This is another New York fashion school with famous graduates such as Nina Garcia, Calvin Klein, Michael Kors and Ralph Rucci. The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) offers undergraduate programs in design, marketing, business, styling, and illustration among other fashion-related careers. In addition to an excellent lecture series, the school is staffed by Valerie Steele who is the Chief Curator of the FIT museum.

Tuition is $5,168 for in-state residents and $13,550 for out-of-state students. Approximately 10,386 students attend FIT.

Pratt (New York)

Pratt has moved beyond being the new fashion design program on the block to becoming a reputable school that turns out talented designers. Graduates of this college have been garnering attention from notable publications such as Vogue. In addition to an undergraduate fashion design program, Pratt is one of the few schools that offer courses in fashion editorial and fashion magazine publishing.

About 2,100 students attend Pratt. Yearly tuition is $37,500. A few famous graduates include Jeremy Scott and Andy and Debb.

Kent State University (Ohio)

This is one of the top fashion schools in the mid-west. Kent State University (KSU) offers fashion-based undergraduate degree program and Masters of Business Administration program. Students can study fashion design and fashion merchandising at the school in addition to participating in study abroad programs in other fashion centers in the world like Paris and Milan.

The school has 18,000 students with about 200 per year graduating with a degree in fashion. Tuition is $9,030 for in-state residents and $16,900 for non-residents. Students can also study at KSU’s garment center in New York City.

Academy of Art University (California)

The programs at this school are so good that their students show at NY Fashion Week. Students can earn degrees in fashion design, fashion journalism, fashion merchandising and marketing, and other business programs. About 17,000 students attend Academy of which 2,700 are pursuing a fashion degree. Tuition is $17,760 per year.

Savannah College of Art and Design (Georgia)

This college has a new dean who is focused on building an outstanding fashion program at the school. In addition to hiring new faculty members, the school has a unique Luxury and Fashion Management program. One of the board of directors is Andre Leon Talley.

Programs offered at the school include fashion design, fashion marketing and management, and accessories design. Tuition is $30,510 per year. Out of 9,800 undergraduate students, about 940 are pursuing degrees in fashion.

Rhode Island School of Design (Rhode Island)

The New England states are well known for their high-quality schools, and the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence is no exception. People attending this school can earn a fashion degree in apparel design, textiles, or jewelry and metalsmithing. The school’s fashion profile is getting better and they partnered with Elle magazine to send one of their students to New York Fashion Week.

Annual tuition is $39,000. Famous graduates include Marcia Patmos, Sari Sueron, and Nicole Miller. Out of 1,940 students, 200 are studying for a fashion-related career.

Drexel University (Pennsylvania)

Located in the City of Brotherly Love, Drexel University students consistently win national and international awards for their work. The school offers a study abroad program where students can learn at the London College of Fashion. Graduates of this university have also been accepted into the Chambre Syndicale or obtained plum jobs in France.

Programs offered include design and merchandising and standard fashion design. The programs at Drexel have a business element that prepares students to be effective in their professions. Tuition is $39,700 per year.

Otis College of Art and Design (California)

In addition to great wine and divine movie stars, California is home to the Otis College of Art and Design. This school boasts faculty who are experts in their respective fields, so students get a top-quality education in the finer points of fashion design. Students will also have access to a mentorship program and spend one-on-one time with some of the best designers in the field. Tuition at Otis is $34,450 per year. Out of 1,200 students, about 180 are studying fashion.

Columbus College of Art and Design (Ohio)

Another fashion design school in Ohio, the Columbus College of Art and Design focuses only on design. This Midwestern school partners frequently with Limited Brands to produce activities that help students explore their creativity. The corporation also hires many graduates of the college. Tuition is $26,112 per year. About 1,291 people attend this college but only 122 are in the fashion design undergraduate program.

California College of Arts (California)

This school has two locations: one in San Francisco and the other in Oakland. This is a CFDA-affiliated school that was given an “Emerging Talent” award by Surface magazine. Students of the school have won numerous awards and secured choice jobs with premium fashion companies. Tuition is $36,960 per year and the degree programs available include jewelry design, fashion design, and textiles.

University of Cincinnati (Ohio)

This is another Ohio school that consistently ranks as one of the top fashion design colleges in America. Students that study fashion design here will receive a strong education in business and marketing. They can also take courses in product development. About 24,000 students attend the University of Cincinnati. Tuition is $10,065 residents and $24,588 for out-of-state residents. Former CFDA president Stan Herman graduated from this college.

Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (California)

Located in Los Angeles, a city that provides students with numerous opportunities to put their education into practice, the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising offers undergraduate degrees in fashion design, footwear design, jewelry design, textile design, merchandising and many other fashion-related careers. In addition to a well-rounded curriculum, the school has a great placement program that helps students find jobs after graduation. Alumnus includes Randolph Duke, Pamela Skaist-Levy, and Monique Lhuillier. The cost of tuition is up to $36,000 depending on the degree. Approximately 8,000 students attend this college.

School of the Art Institute of Chicago (Illinois)

This college offers a non-traditional fashion design degree in which students can also pursue fashion media studies or fiber and material studies. People who go to this school will enjoy the various unique experiences it offers. Graduates of the college include Mathew Ames, Cynthia Rowley, and Maria Pinto. The cost of attending is $35,940 per year. About 2,500 students pursue degrees at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Massachusetts College of Art (Massachusetts)

A historic art college located in Boston, the Massachusetts College of Art has a partnership with a company in Brazil. This company encourages the creation of sustainable products and the hiring of local female artists. Students can purse degrees in fashion design, jewelry making, and fibers. For Massachusetts residents’ tuition is $9,700. Non-residents pay $25,400. It’s a small school with about 1,752 undergraduate students.

Oregon State University (Oregon)

People looking to design or work for big manufacturers like Nike, Adidas, Eddie Bauer or Columbia Sportswear would be wise to attend this college. Oregon State University is a feeder school for many of these companies and many other sportswear apparel designers. Located in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, OSU offers undergraduate degree programs in merchandising management and apparel design. Tuition for Oregon residents is $7,700 per year. For non-residents, it is $21,450.

University of Missouri (Missouri)

Students interested in learning more about the production side of fashion can get the education they are looking for at the University of Missouri. The unique fashion degree they offer, textile and apparel management, gives students a comprehensive look into the business side of fashion. The school has approximately 250 people enrolled in the undergraduate degree. The cost is $8,500 for Missouri residents and $19,690 for everyone else.

 

 

 

Columbia College (Illinois)

Located in Chicago, students can earn degrees in fashion design or fashion studies at this art school. Those with an interest in a writing career can also pursue an undergraduate degree in journalism. Tuition is $20,094 per year. The school has about 850 fashion students in attendance.

Baylor University (Texas)

Baylor University has the distinct honor of having the largest product development, fashion design, and merchandising software and technology collection in the country. This includes fabric printers that allow students to create their own fabric designs. Students attending this Texas university can earn degrees in fashion design or fashion merchandising. However, the school also has a Christian educational requirement. Tuition is $28,720 per year. Jodi Arnold is an alumni of this school.

Lim College (New York)

The focus of the programs at this New York school is to prepare students for the business end of fashion. Students can pursue fashion or visual merchandising, management, and marketing degrees at Lim. Approximately 1,500 students go to Lim College. Tuition is just $21,560 per year.