School is ending, graduation season is upon us, and perhaps you’re wondering what to do with your life. Well, if fashion design--or a related career--is calling you, we’ve compiled a list of the top fashion schools in the world.
To generate our list, we spoke to students, employees at the schools, companies who hire graduates, and industry professionals. We also considered tuition costs and demographics. Then we mashed it all together to come up with five schools that are worth a look. And they are...
5. Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT): --10,000 students (all programs) --Tuition (not including room and board): $5,200/year if you’re a NY state resident; $12,000/year for out-of-state residents --Famous grads: Reem Acra,
4. London College of Fashion: --1,500 first year students --Tuition (not including room and board): $18,375/year for international students --A college of the University of the Arts London. --Famous grads:
3. Royal Academy of Fine Arts (Antwerp): --140 fashion students --Tuition (not including room and board): $825/year for international students --Famous grads:
2. Parsons The New School for Design: --650 undergrad fashion design students --Tuition (not including room and board): $41,000/year -Famous grads: Donna Karan, Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford, Narciso Rodriguez, Alexander Wang, Anna Sui, Jason Wu, Jack McCollough & Lazaro Hernandez (Proenza Schouler), Behnaz Serafpour, Doo Ri Chung, Sophie Buhai &Lisa Mayock (Vena Cava), Flora Gill and Alexa Adams (Ohne Titel), Prabal Gurung, Steven Meisel, Thakoon Panichgul, Carmen Marc Valvo.
Much like FIT, Parsons is located in the heart of New York City's Garment District, providing easy access to industry resources.
Parsons is a fashion design powerhouse, and they have turned out tons of marquee name talent, particularly in the last ten years. Many of their famous grads are now part of the faculty. Workshops and critiques by Donna Karan and the Proenza Schouler guys? Events like these are commonplace. Most of the faculty members work in the areas in which they teach. The students we spoke to raved about their instructors. What's more, the school has partnered with many retailers and corporations with the aim of getting student work seen and critiqued.
Ted, a current student, (23, graduating senior, menswear) said, “They break you down and then build you up. They teach you how to be competitive in one of the most competitive industries in the world.” However, he also said, ”We need less students, not more. With 20 kids in a studio class, you’re getting a lot less attention than you need.” Michael, 19, in the Design and Management program noted that there are lots of "rich kids." But despite a few critiques, both students were happy with their choice and wouldn’t change it.
1. Central St.Martins: --1,200 fashion students --A college of the University of the Arts London --Tuition (not including room and board): $18,375 for international students --Famous grads: Stella McCartney, John Galliano, Alexander McQueen, Phoebe Philo, Christopher Kane, Hussein Chalayan, Zac Posen, Hamish Bowles, Paul Smith.
Central St. Martins’ elite fashion design program was the clear winner here amongst our panel of experts. As we’ve seen in all the schools, location is critical. Being in the heart of London provides inspiration and full access to cultural and industry resources. The school is partially government-funded, which means that talented British students from all walks of life have a chance to work their way in.
What's more, the teaching staff is legendary. Professor Louise Wilson has schooled all the greats--from McQueen to Giles Deacon--and she's become an international fashion figure because of it.
Further evidence of its importance, and influence: It’s the only fashion school that has its runway shows archived on Style.com.
There were some student complaints about the facility and the number of students competing for the attention of instructors and studio mentors, but most were extremely complimentary of the dedication, knowledge, and experience of the faculty.