If you’re currently hunting for the right college and are set on a career in fashion, the options can be overwhelming. To help you on your way, Fashionista has ranked the 50 best fashion schools in the world. (Click here for the full list.)
While fashion design might be the most popular freshman-year major documented here, we’ve included more than design schools. In particular, colleges and universities that offer stellar fashion business, marketing, styling, and technology programs. Because, after all, there a ton of great fashion careers that have very little to do with actual design.
Our ranking hasn’t changed drastically since 2010, the last time we published this list. But our methodology has. In 2013, we surveyed over 3,000 Fashionista readers about their college experiences, and your input has helped to shape this list and, we think, make it more truthful. Here are more details on how we put it together:
Methodology: Along with detailed feedback from the aforementioned thousands of past-and-present students, we also considered quality of the faculty, practical training, social life, quality of the career counseling on offer, tuition costs, and financial aid options. We also considered the fact that most of our readers live in the US. It’s not scientific, but we tried to be as objective as possible. Keep this in mind if you don’t see your favorite school here or disagree with the ranking your alma mater received. And please, if you disagree, let us know in the comments—we want to hear from you.
Tuition: Art and design schools are generally expensive. But you can see here that the prices range from almost $40,000 per year to free. (Yes, you read that correctly–thank you, Finland). Unless otherwise stated, the tuition you see is yearly for international students. It does not include room and board and incidentals. Also, tuition obviously changes yearly, so take it as an approximation.
How To Apply: Most of the schools have very similar application requirements, so we decided not to include them for each individual school. In general, you need a high school equivalency, letters of recommendation, essay, portfolio (for design students), interview. Some countries, for obvious reasons, have language requirements. We’ve noted where English is not the main language spoken.
Famous and prominent grads: In 2010, we looked closely at famous graduates these schools have produced. This time around, we also deeply considered schools that over-and-over again send their students off to prominent placements at big fashion houses. Just because a school hasn’t produced a marquee name (yet) doesn’t mean it isn’t good. Every single one of these schools has placed students in major fashion houses, commercial labels, and other fashion businesses. Behind every Alber Elbaz (a Shenkar alum) are 50 Jane and John Does helping everything run smoothly. And getting paid damn good money to do it.
One final note: While many of these schools have fantastic graduate programs, we’ve chosen to highlight just undergraduate programs, except where noted.
If you’re a prospective student, we hope this ranking helps to inform your choice. If you’re a current student, we hope it gives you insight into what your peers are experiencing. And if you’re a graduate, we hope you get a kick out of seeing your school on this list. Click through to see where you landed. (And again, if you don’t want the thrill of clicking through a slideshow, the full list is here.)