The Top 50 Fashion Schools in the World: 2014 Edition

Want to make it in the fashion industry? One of these schools could be your first step.
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Want to make it in the fashion industry? One of these schools could be your first step.
Photo: iStock

Photo: iStock

Find our most up-to-date ranking here.

Choosing a college is one of the biggest life decisions you'll ever make. And arguably, it's even harder for those pursing something slightly out of the box, like fashion design, styling or fashion marketing. While there is plenty of info available about the world's top medical schools and law schools and plain old liberal arts schools, you have to dig deeper to get a real sense of what the world's top fashion schools have to offer. 

That's why, in 2010, we began ranking the 50 best fashion schools across the globe. We wanted to provide you with a comprehensive snapshot, and to help you figure out which school is right for you by explaining why each of them is worth a look. The tenets of our methodology remain the same, but each year we aim to refine. In 2014, we considered:

Annual tuition: Art and design schools are generally expensive, although tuition can vary drastically and, at many colleges, it increases each year. The number you see on each college's page does not include room and board and incidentals. While tuition is not the most heavily weighted category on our list of criteria, we did factor the cost into our rankings as it relates to the cost of living in the area where the corresponding school is located. Otherwise indicated, we've listed the current cost of an undergraduate degree. 

Famous and successfully placed grads: Famous graduates are something that we consider, yes, but we also reward schools with great placement rates. 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 important fashion businesses. Behind every Alber Elbaz, Nicolas Ghesquiere, and Alexander Wang is a talented support staff helping to ensure everything runs smoothly. And getting paid damn good money to do it.

Student and alumni feedback: We surveyed thousands of past and present students about their experiences at school. 

Other measurements: We also considered the quality of the faculty, the practical and business training on offer, social life and financial aid options. 

Also of note: Although there are many international schools on our list, most of our readers live in the U.S., and we take that into consideration. Most importantly, we want you to know that we spend hours upon hours researching and reporting on these schools -- each school name below links to a page detailing our findings. This list is not entirely scientific, but it is objective. Keep this in mind if you don’t see your favorite school here or disagree with the ranking your alma mater received. Questions or comments? Please don't hesitate to email schools@fashionista.com. We'd love to hear from you. 

1. Central Saint Martins (London)
2. London College of Fashion (London)
3. Parsons, the New School For Design (New York)
4. Kingston University (London)
5. Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Arts (Antwerp)
6. Fashion Institute of Technology (New York) 
7. Royal College of Art (London)
8. Bunka Fashion College (Tokyo)
9. Instituto Maragoni (Milan)
10. ESMOD (Paris)
11. Savannah College of Art and Design (Savannah and Atlanta)
12. Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale (Paris)
13. La Cambre (Brussels)
14. University of Westminster (London)
15. Studio Bercot (Paris)
16. Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (Los Angeles)
17. Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication (London)
18. Pratt Institute (Brooklyn)
19. Rhode Island School of Design (Providence)
20. Iowa State University (Ames, Iowa)
21. Academy of Art University (San Francisco)
22. Kent State University (Kent, Ohio)
23. Drexel University (Philadelphia) 
24. Tafe Institute of Technology (Sydney)
25. Polimoda (Florence)
26. University of Art and Design (Helsinki)
27. Ryerson University School of Fashion (Toronto)
28. Hogeschool at the Amsterdam University of Applied Science (Amsterdam)
29. University of Cincinnati (Cincinnati)
30. California College of Arts (San Francisco and Oakland)
31. University of Applied Arts (Vienna)
32. LIM College (New York City)
33. School of the Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago)
34. University of Brighton (Brighton, United Kingdom)
35. LaSalle College International (Montreal)
36. KOEFIA (Rome)
37. Paris College of Art (Paris)
38. Philadelphia University (Philadelphia)
39. Instituto Europeo Di Design (Barcelona)
40. Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (Melbourne)
41. Melbourne School of Fashion (Melbourne)
42. Nift National Institute of Fashion and Technology (New Delhi)
43. University of North Texas (Denton, Texas)
44. Otis College of Art and Design (Los Angeles)
45. Shenkar College of Engineering and Design (Ramat Gan, Israel)
46. George Brown College (Toronto)
47. University of Delaware (Newark, Delaware)
48. Stephens College (Columbia, Missouri)
49. University of Missouri (Columbia, Missouri) 
50. Raffles Design Institute (Singapore, Shanghai, Sydney, Mumbai)

Edited by Lauren Sherman
Additional reporting by Leah Roth