California College of Arts (San Francisco, California)
Overview: CCA may not be the best-known fashion school in the world, but it’s home to the longest-running sustainable fashion design program in the country. “We’ve been doing this for over 10 years,” Amy Williams, chair of the Fashion Program, said. “Lynda Grose, one of our lead professors, has been in this practice since 1990, really deeply a part of this [movement], and she brought it into the program 14 years ago.” It’s also one of the only fashion schools where studying sustainable design is mandatory.
Their Approach: According to their site, the program “unites the perspectives of design and integrative thinking, sustainability and systems thinking, finance, entrepreneurship, and generative leadership into a holistic strategic framework.” Williams adds, “One more thing is that we don’t feel that the first thing you notice about sustainable clothing is that it is sustainable. We want to make beautiful clothing. But it should be a given the clothing is mindfully crafted, and has sustainability embedded inside of it, rather than screaming it on the outside.”
Notable Professors and Guest Lecturers: Lynda Grose, co-founder of ESPRIT’s ecollection, the first ecologically responsible clothing line developed by a major corporation which set pioneering standards for the textile industry; Bob Adams, designer/farmer and IDEO Fellow; Karen Brown, creative director of the Center for Ecoliteracy; Amanda Cattermole, Levi Strauss & Co.; Timo Rissanen, pioneer in no-waste pattern cutting and coeditor (with Alison Gwilt) of Shaping Sustainable Fashion; John Warner, founder of the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry; Eric Wilmanns, cofounder, Brown and Wilmanns Sustainability
Notable Courses and Workshops: Eco: Sustainability Seminar, Sustainability Studio, Innovation Studio, Leadership by Design.
MBA in Design Management: $39,984
BA in Fashion Design: $39,984
*A spokesperson for the school added that 85% of the school’s students are on scholarship.