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.)
1. CENTRAL SAINT MARTINS (London, England)
-Programs: Fashion, Textile, and Jewelry Design
-Number of students: 1,200 Fashion Students
-Tuition: £13,300 ($20,500)
-Famous Grads: Stella McCartney, John Galliano, Alexander McQueen, Phoebe Philo, Christopher Kane, Hussein Chalayan, Zac Posen, Hamish Bowles, Paul Smith, Giles Deacon, Luella Bartley, Jenny Packham, Jonathan Saunders, Marios Schwab, Alice Temperley, Riccardo Tisci, Matthew Williamson
-What the Students Say: “CSM is focused on pushing the boundaries of creativity; innovation is their priority over technique and making skills.” “CSM is what you make it. There are many opportunities that no one will force you to make use of.” “It’s true that Central Saint Martins is awesome. But it’s also what you make it. It allows you to get loads of knowledge and experience, but you have to go and get it, not wait for it to magically come to you.”
-The Bottom Line: Central Saint Martins’ elite fashion design program was the clear winner here. (To be sure, most of the most famous students have attended the graduate program, although the undergrad is well-thought-of also.) 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.
2. ROYAL COLLEGE OF ART (London, England)
-Programs: Fashion Design, Textiles
-Number of Students: Less than 100 fashion students
-Tuition: £26,900 ($42,000)
-Misc: This is a graduate program only!
-Famous Grads: Philip Treacy, Erdem Moralioglu, Christopher Bailey, Ossie Clark, Zandra Rhodes
-The Bottom Line: A world-renowned graduate fashion design program that places students at the greatest fashion houses, including Prada, Alberta Ferretti, Burberry, Stella McCartney, Marni, Chloe, Celine, Givenchy, COS, Nina Ricci, Louis Vuitton, Balenciaga, Cerrutti and Alexander McQueen.
3. PARSONS, THE NEW SCHOOL FOR DESIGN (New York, US)
-Programs: Fashion Design, Fashion Studies, Fashion Marketing
-Number of students: Undergrads: 4,260; Graduate: 656; Fashion Design: 1,553
-Famous Grads: Donna Karan, Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford, Narciso Rodriguez, Alexander Wang, Anna Sui, Jason Wu, Jenna Lyons (J.Crew), Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez (Proenza Schouler), Behnaz Serafpour, Doo Ri Chung, Sophie Buhai and Lisa Mayock (Vena Cava), Flora Gill and Alexa Adams (Ohne Titel), Prabal Gurung, Steven Meisel, Thakoon Panichgul, Carmen Marc Valvo
-What the Students Say: “It’s tempting to take the easy way out and avoid the difficult classes, but it is not worth it. You learn more by challenging yourself.” “Be prepared to put in more than you actually can. Also, no sleep.” “You can tell by the mentality of the professors, as well as by the cut-throat environment, that Parsons is a very elite school and only the best will graduate.”
-The Bottom Line: 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 (like LVMH) with the aim of getting student work seen and critiqued.
4. KINGSTON UNIVERSITY (London, England)
-Programs: Fashion Design
-Number of Students: Undergrads in 3D Design: 400; Fashion: 200
-Tuition: £12,350 ($19,200)
-Famous Grads: Glenda Bailey, Felipe Baptista, Sophie Hulme
-The Bottom Line: Kingston doesn’t have as many famous alumni as some of the more high-profile UK fashion schools, but if you aspire to a senior role at a big company, it’s a good place to start. Its graduates have held senior and director-level positions at Benetton, Banana Republic, Abercrombie & Fitch, Calvin Klein, Diesel, Donna Karan, Gap, Givenchy, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Max Mara, Paul Smith, Ralph Lauren and YSL.
5. ECOLE DE LA CHAMBRE SYNDICALE (Paris, France)
-Programs: Fashion Design & Technique
-Number of Students: 240 overall students
-Tuition: €10,450 ($13,230)
-Misc: It’s the school associated with the commission that determines which houses are eligible to be true couture houses.
-Famous Grads: André Courreges, Issey Miyake, Valentino, Yves Saint Laurent, Nicole Miller
-The Bottom Line: Prestigious French school that offers world-renowned couture classes. They offer baccalaureate-level programs, but often don’t accept some students until after they finish a design course elsewhere first.
6. LA CAMBRE (Brussels, Belgium)
-Programs: Fashion Design; Styling
-Number of Students: 704 overall students
-Tuition: €1,487-1,984 ($1,900-$2,600)
-Misc: Must be French-speaking; 5-year fashion design program
-The Bottom Line: La Cambre received incredibly high scores from its past and current students who took our survey. A more traditional art school alternative to the Antwerp school, definitely with a French design point of view.
7. BUNKA FASHION COLLEGE/BUNKA WOMEN’S UNIVERSITY (Tokyo, Japan)
-Programs: Fashion Design, Fashion Creation & Technology, Marketing, Accessories & Textiles.
-Number of Students: Total in both colleges: 8,000; Design: 4,000
-Tuition: ¥1,184,500-1,403,500 ($12,200-$14,400) depending on college and program
-Misc: You must have a good understanding of Japanese and have the financial means to live in Japan; part-time work is not allowed when you’re a student.
-Famous Grads: Kenzo Takada, Junya Watanabe, Yohji Yamamoto, Hiroko Koshino, Tsumori Chisato
-The Bottom Line: Bunka most notably came to prominence in the 1960s when its graduates starting showing in Paris. It’s now synonymous with Japanese avant-garde design. It’s rounded out by marketing and technology programs.
8. ANTWERP ROYAL ACADEMY OF FINE ARTS(Antwerp, Belgium)
-Programs: Fashion Design
-Number of Students: 140
-Tuition: €7,000 ($9,000) Tuition is highly subsidized by the government, even for foreign students.
-Misc: Required Dutch language proficiency.
-Famous Grads: Ann Demeulemeester, Dries Van Noten, Dirk Bikkembergs, Walter Van Beirendonck, Dirk Van Saene, Marina Yee (The Antwerp Six), Martin Margiela, Veronique Branquinho, Haider Ackermann, Peter Pilotto, Bruno Pieters.
-What the Students Say: “I love my school.”
-The Bottom Line: The Royal Academy is an elite design school. It’s known for its serious students–many drop out because they can’t handle the work load. Since the Antwerp Six put the school on fashion’s map in the early 1980s, it’s continued to produce all-star designers. If you’re exceptionally dedicated, with an experimental, innovative, and avant-garde sensibility, this may be the place for you.
9. FASHION INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (FIT)(New York, US)
-Programs: Design, Business, Marketing, Illustration, Styling.
-Number of Students: 10,000 overall students
-Tuition: $3,034/semester for New York residents; $8,185/semester for out-of-state residents
-Misc: Very comprehensive programs, part of the SUNY.
-Famous Grads: Reem Acra, Francisco Costa, Nina Garcia, Carolina Herrera, Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Nanette Lepore, Ralph Rucci
-What the Students Say: “Each professor has been in the industry and will do everything they can to get you there. I have received internship offers from several professors.” “It’s full of real industry professors with a raw perspective on the behind the scenes.” “It is very technical. It is not very conceptually-driven or oriented, particularly the Fashion Art classes.”
-The Bottom Line: In addition to fashion design, FIT offers fashion marketing, business, textiles, visual arts, and countless other fashion-related degrees. The lecture series and FIT museum are exceptional. Valerie Steele, as Chief Curator of the Museum of FIT, gives this school a brainy credibility.
10. ISTITUTO MARANGONI (Milan, Italy–also London, Paris campuses)
-Programs: Fashion Design, Fashion Business, Fashion Buying, Brand Management and Fashion Promotion
-Number of Students: 2,000 (all three campuses)
-Tuition: €13,900 ($17,670) to €19,000 ($24,550) depending on program
-Misc: Italian, French, and English are the official languages of the school
-Famous Grads: Domenico Dolce, Franco Moschino
-What the Students Say: “I am really impressed with their teaching quality and my tutors/lecturers are very experienced in their related field. Overall very happy!” “It’s a great school…just be prepared to work your a$$ off.”
-The Bottom Line: An Italian design school with campuses in three major fashion capitals is a plus–and so is a 90% placement rate after graduation.
11. ESMOD (Paris, France plus 21 schools in 14 countries)
-Programs: Fashion Design/Fashion Business
-Number of Students: 700
-Tuition: €9,900 ($13,200)
-Misc: The mannequin and measuring tape were invented here.
-Famous Grads: Christophe Decarnin, Suzy Menkes, Alexandre Vauthier, Damir Doma, Olivier Rousteing, Nina Garcia, Thierry Mugler
-The Bottom Line: The world’s first and oldest French fashion design school, it has a 75%-85% placement rate post-graduation.
12. LONDON COLLEGE OF FASHION (London, England)
-Programs: Fashion Design, Fashion Journalism, Marketing, Beauty, Buying and Merchandising
-Number of Students: 2,547 first-year students
-Tuition: ₤13,800 ($21,300)
-Famous Grads: Jimmy Choo, Rupert Sanderson
-What the Students Say: “The network of students and graduates is very good and enables you to contact with graduates within the whole university and not just your college. Furthermore, the guest speakers and study-trips are very enriching. Regarding staff and lecturers, they are very close and helpful, always prepared to look for solutions to any problem you may have.”
-The Bottom Line: The fashion journalism school here is the standout. It’s not known as a design school, but there are many unique programs that you won’t find anywhere else: beauty therapy, cosmetic science, fashion broadcast journalism, fashion curation and criticism, fashion business, footwear and accessories, makeup and image styling.
13. SHENKAR COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING AND DESIGN (Ramat Gan, Israel)
-Programs: Fashion, Textile, and Jewelry Design
-Number of Students: Total: 2,300; Fashion: 217
-Tuition: 11,000 ILS ($3,000)
-Misc: International students are accepted as 2nd or 3rd year students. You have to have a year of fashion school completed. Most classes taught in English, so not necessary to know Hebrew.
-Famous Grads: Alber Elbaz, Kobi Halperin (CD Elie Tahari), Nili Lotan
-The Bottom Line: Definitely off the beaten path and with a distinct point of view, this well-kept secret has an amazing fashion design program.
14. SAVANNAH COLLEGE OF ART AND DESIGN (Savannah, GA, US)
-Programs: Fashion Design, Fashion Marketing & Management, Accessories Design
-Number of Students: All Programs: 9,800; fashion students: 540
-Misc: Andre Leon Talley is on the Board of Directors and a Lifetime Achievement Award is given in his name every year.
-What the Students Say: “Good teachers, with industry experience, who really want to see you succeed.” “SCAD is the type of school that will teach you EVERYTHING you will need to know about the industry.”
-The Bottom Line: The new-ish dean, Michael Fink, is turning this school into a fashion powerhouse, with lots of new industry connections and faculty hires.
15. UNIVERSITY OF WESTMINSTER (London, England)
-Programs: Fashion Design
-Number of Students: Undergrads: 3,000; fashion students: 130
-Tuition: £11,370 ($17,600)
-Misc: You can choose a three or four-year course, and spend a year working in the fashion industry.
-Famous Grads: Vivienne Westwood, Christopher Bailey, Michael Herz, Stuart Vevers, Katie Hillier
-The Bottom Line: Don’t overlook this London university that produces creative designers. In addition to the fashion program, they have a well-known journalism program.
16. STUDIO BERCOT (Paris, France)
-Programs: Fashion Design
-Number of Students: 200 overall students
-Tuition: €10,000 ($13,090)–the third year is FREE (apprenticeship)
-Misc: You must be fluent in French.
-Famous Grads: Martine Sitbon, Lolita Lempicka, Isabel Marant, Sophie Theallet, Nicole Farhi
-The Bottom Line: A very tightly run and prestigious design school with tons of connections in the industry.
17. RAVENSBOURNE COLLEGE OF DESIGN AND COMMUNICATION (London, UK)
-Programs: Fashion, Fashion Lifestyle Projects, Promotion
-Number of Students: 1,800 overall students
-Tuition: £10,300 ($16,000)
-Famous Grads: Stella McCartney did her undergraduate degree there, and students have held positions at Alexander McQueen, Hussein Chalayan, Future Classics, Todd Lynn, TopMan, Jonathan Saunders, Eley Kishimoto, Louise Gray and Reiss.
-The Bottom Line: Another great school for students eager to get real work experience under the greats.
18. DREXEL UNIVERSITY (Philadelphia, PA, US)
-Programs: Fashion Design, Design & Merchandising
-Number of Students: Undergrads: 11,500 Fashion: 120 Design and Merchandising: 240
-What the Students Say: “The program and the professors are amazing. They are all extremely talented and you learn a lot. It is an amazing career oriented school and the fashion program could not be better.” “Drexel had the academic and practical qualities of any fashion school plus the more well-rounded, traditional, and most importantly diverse university experience, being surrounded by students of all kinds to learn and grow from.”
-The Bottom Line: Many students have won national and international awards, and gone on to study at the Chambre Syndicale and nab huge jobs in France.
19. PRATT (Brooklyn, NY, US)
-Programs: Fashion Design
-Number of Students: Total freshmen: 3,000; Fashion: 140
-Misc: Part of a larger design school, so you can combine arts studies.
-Famous Alumni: Jeremy Scott, Betsey Johnson
-The Bottom Line: One of the few design programs which offers electives in fashion editorial/magazine publishing.
20. RHODE ISLAND SCHOOL OF DESIGN(Providence, RI, US)
-Programs: Apparel Design, Jewelry and Metalsmithing, Textiles
-Number of Students: Undergrads: 2,000; Fashion/apparel/textiles/jewelry: 220
-Misc: You can cross-register at Brown University.
-Famous Grads: Nicole Miller, Sari Gueron, Philip Crangi, Marcia Patmos
-The Bottom Line: One of the most respected design schools in the world, their profile as a fashion design school is only getting rosier.
21. KENT STATE UNIVERSITY (Kent, OH, US)
-Programs: Fashion Design, Fashion Merchandising
-Number of Students: Undergrads: 18,000; fashion students: 200/year graduate from the school.
-Tuition: Ohio resident: $18,848; Non-Ohio resident: $26,808
-Misc: Has a garment center studio in NYC where 120 students a year go to study.
-What the Students Say: “I would never pick another school.” “A well-rounded experience with fashion, business, and general classes.” “Go here if you truly love fashion.”
-The Bottom Line: With study abroad programs in Paris and Milan, a huge endowment for scholarships, and a high-profile program allowing you to complete a fashion-focused undergraduate and MBA in fashion-focused business in just five years, this school is one of the top American fashion schools and keeps getting better.
22. OTIS COLLEGE OF ART AND DESIGN (Los Angeles, CA, US)
-Programs: Fashion Design
-Number of Students: Undergrads: 1,200; fashion students: 180
-Famous Grads: Rick Owens (didn’t graduate), Cynthia Vincent
-The Bottom Line: One of the top US design programs in the country.
23. TAFE SYDNEY INSTITUTE (Sydney, Australia)
-Programs: Fashion, Costume, and Millinery Design
-Number of Students: Total 70,000 students at 7 campuses
-Tuition: AUD $25,440 ($23,600)
-Misc: Two colleges within the system offer fashion programs: Ultimo College & St.George
-Famous Grads: Nicky Zimmermann, Lisa Ho, Akira Isogawa, Dion Lee
-The Bottom Line: A huge university system with lots of resources; it has been churning out high-profile Aussie designers at an impressive pace.
24. GEORGE BROWN COLLEGE (Toronto, ON, Canada)
-Programs: Fashion Design, Fashion Management, Fashion Business Industry, Jewelry
-Number of Students: 800 fashion students
-Tuition: CAD $11,400- $22,000 ($10,800-$20,100)
-What the Students Say: “Actual classes are hands-on and technical. They have less to do with theory.”
-The Bottom Line: All the design courses also have a practical focus on the business side of fashion (for example, students run a retail store).
25. COPENHAGEN ACADEMY OF FASHION DESIGN (Copenhagen, Denmark)
-Programs: Fashion Design
-Tuition: DKK 70,000 (~$12,500)
-The Bottom Line: A classic European design education.
26. RYERSON UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF FASHION (Toronto, ON, Canada)
-Programs: Fashion Design, Fashion Communication
-Number of Students: Undergrads: 26,000; Fashion: 600
-Tuition: CAD $20,270-$23,637 ($19,320-22,500)
-Famous Grads: Erdem Moralioglu (Went to RCA after Ryerson), Todd Lynn
-What the Students Say: “The master’s class is incredibly small and we have access to amazing people in the Canadian industry, as well as influential academics who have come from Parsons.” “You have to work extremely hard, juggling on average 21 hours of a class a week.”
-The Bottom Line: An impressive list of industry associations, a solid design program, and a reasonable price. Fantastic value—and it’s also a great journalism school.
27. HOGESCHOOL VAN AMSTERDAM (AMFI AMSTERDAM FASHION INSTITUTE)(Amsterdam, Netherlands)
-Programs: Fashion and Design, Fashion and Management, Fashion and Branding
-Number of Students: Total students: 30,000; fashion students: 845 in Dutch, 280 in English-taught program (same content as Dutch)
-Tuition: € 7,570 ($10,038)
-Misc: Offers English-taught programs, so Dutch fluency isn’t necessary.
-What the Students Say: “Skilled teachers that work/have worked in the fashion industry. Very demanding, often disorganized, very good fashion program!”
-The Bottom Line: The tuition is heavily subsidized (read: cheap) and the education is classic with a modern spin. The school has lots of cool initiatives, like selling student wares in shops around Amsterdam, for lots of exposure and experience.
28. UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI (Columbia, MO, US)
-Programs: Textile and Apparel Management (no design courses). Offers a concurrent journalism minor.
-Number of Students: 250 undergrads in Textile & Apparel Management
-Tuition: MO residents: $9,272; Non-MO residents: $22,440
-What the Students Say: “There are opportunities to make a lot of connections, even though we’re a small department.”
-The Bottom Line: This is not a design school, but a very unique program offering insights into the production and business of fashion.
29. POLIMODA (Florence, Italy)
-Programs: Fashion Marketing, Design, Media & Communication, Fashion Styling
-Tuition: €8,500-17,000 ($11,200-$22,300) depending on course of study
-Misc: Founded in 1986, it has ties with FIT in New York.
-What the Students Say: “The best facilities. Period.”
-The Bottom Line: It’s got a lot of high-tech equipment and an 87% placement rate after graduation. More well-known for fostering careers outside of design.
30. UNIVERSITY OF CINCINNATI (Cincinnati, OH, US)
-Programs: Fashion Design (combined with Product Development)
-Number of Students: Undergrads: 24,000; Fashion Design: 180
-Tuition: OH residents: $10,784; Out of state: $25,816
-Famous Grads: Stan Herman (former CFDA president)
-What the Students Say: “There are two sections within the Fashion Design program at UC: Fashion Design and Product Development. If you want to learn the important basics of sewing and design skills, choose Fashion Design, NOT Product Development.” “The co-op program is spectacular. Every other semester we go out and intern at any company we want that will hire us. I will have five internships completed at real fashion studios and corporations [by graduation]. Future employers love that we have more practical and industry experience than anyone else.”
-The Bottom Line: The Design program, in general, consistently ranks as one of the best in the nation.
31. UNIVERSITY OF APPLIED ARTS(Vienna, Austria)
-Programs: Fashion Design
-Number of Students: Total: 1,100; Total who graduate/year: 120
-Tuition: €1,488 ($2,000)
-Misc: You must speak German; subsidized tuition.
-The Bottom Line: Karl Lagerfeld, Jil Sander, Victor & Rolf, and Helmut Lang have all cycled through as guest lecturers.
32. UNIVERSITY OF BRIGHTON (Brighton, UK)
-Programs: Fashion Design, Fashion Business, Fashion & Dress History
-Tuition: £12,900 ($19,900)
-Famous Grads: Emma Cook, Rankin
-What the Students Say: “You can learn a lot.”
-The Bottom Line: The fashion and textile programs are world-renowned, and design programs are often combined with business studies.
33. LASALLE COLLEGE INTERNATIONAL(Montreal, Canada; satellite campuses worldwide)
-Programs: Fashion Design, Fashion Marketing
-Number of Students: 900 fashion students (Montreal campus)
-Tuition: $6,800 per session (1-6 sessions total, depending on program)
-What the Students Say: “They have partnerships with several brands/companies that offer opportunities for students to make garments for them. For example, this year we did a project with Rudsak (a Canadian company) and all of the students in my level were given an opportunity to design a garment for 2015 with the chance that the best garments would be produced and sold by the company.”
-The Bottom Line: A huge educational system that offers consistent instruction no matter which country’s school you attend; they have a vocational bent.
34. RAFFLES UNIVERSITY (Singapore, plus SE Asia, China, India)
-Programs: Fashion Design/Fashion Marketing
-Number of Students: 9,000 students across Asia; 1,787 in Singapore
-Tuition: SGD $79,200 ($60,690)
-Misc: 38 colleges in 35 cities across 14 countries in Asia; the schools are taught in English
-What the Students Say: “I happen to be studying at the branch in Mumbai, India. The faculty is brilliant but there isn’t much of a college life per se, so if you can, opt for the Raffles institutes in Singapore or Australia.”
-The Bottom Line: Expensive! But one of the best options in Asia.
35. TSHWANE UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY(Pretoria, South Africa)
-Programs: Fashion Design & Technology
-Number of Students: fashion students: 180
-Tuition: R 28 500 ($2,835)
-The Bottom Line: The biggest design and technology school in Africa, combining European design principles with indigenous flair.
36.CALIFORNIA COLLEGE OF ARTS (San Francisco and Oakland, CA, US)
-Programs: Fashion Design, Textiles, Jewelry Design
-Number of Students: Undergrads: 1,640; fashion students: 65
-Tuition: $19,992 per term
-The Bottom Line: A CFDA-affiliated school, its students have won many industry awards and landed jobs with marquee-name labels and companies
37. PHILADELPHIA UNIVERSITY(Philadelphia, PA)
-Programs: Fashion Design, Fashion Merchandising and Management
-Number of Students: 3,200 overall students
-What the Students Say: “We’re big on collaboration and internships.” “The teachers are amazing and inspiring and you will truly learn to work ahead of time (due to the constantly malfunctioning machinery).” “The faculty really care about the students.”
-The Bottom Line: A write-in submission to our survey, Philadelphia University fashion students are passionate about their program: students have landed jobs at Donna Karan, Urban Outfitters, Tommy Hilfiger and more.
38. ACADEMY OF ART UNIVERSITY (San Francisco, US)
-Programs: Fashion Design, Knitwear Design, Textile Design, Fashion Journalism, and Fashion Merchandising & Marketing
-Number of Students: School: 17,000; fashion students: 2,600
-What the Students Say: “The staff at this school is very experienced in the fashion industry. The classes are diverse, engaging and fun.” “Just know that this school is what YOU make it.”
-The Bottom Line: The only fashion school that shows during New York Fashion Week, and they have good fashion journalism, merchandising, and business programs.
39. ROYAL MELBOURNE INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (Melbourne, Australia)
-Programs: Fashion Design and Technology, Textiles, Footwear, Fashion and Textile Merchandising
-Number of Students: Fashion Undergrads: 600
-Tuition: $24,000-$26,880 AUD depending on program ($22,300-$24,900)
-Misc: There are 2 schools within RMIT to study fashion; lots of diploma courses, too.
-Famous Grads: Toni Maticevski, Karen Webster
-What the Students Say: “It’s hard work.”
-The Bottom Line: A strong design program and innovative, high-tech textiles program are the highlights here.
40. WHITEHOUSE INSTITUTE OF DESIGN(Melbourne/Sydney, Australia)
-Programs: Fashion Design, Styling and Creative Direction
-Number of Students: 470 students total (Melbourne and Sydney); just over half of these are fashion students
-Tuition: AUD $27,140 ($25,200 USD)
-Misc: You can start studying here in Year 11 and 12 (high school equivalent)
-Famous Grads: Camilla Freeman Topper (Camilla & Marc); Yeojin Bae
-The Bottom Line: A relatively young school (founded in 1988) that has nonetheless managed to carve a niche for itself in fashion design.
41. UNIVERSITY OF ART AND DESIGN(Helsinki, Finland)
-Programs: Textile Art, Fashion, and Clothing Design
-Tuition: NO TUITION, even for non-EU international students
-Misc: Finland provides free university education for everyone, even international students. The university is looking into charging non-EU students in the future, but right now they don’t.
-The Bottom Line: Yes, it’s free, but you have to be VERY talented to get in.
42. NIFT NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF FASHION TECHNOLOGY (New Delhi, India)
-Programs: Design (Fashion, Leather, Textile, Accessory, Knitwear), Management, and Technology (Apparel Production)
-Tuition: Non-resident Indian: Rs 40,000 ($880); Other international students: Rs. 360,000 ($7,600)
-Misc: You can’t apply for undergraduate programs if you’re over 23 years old.
-What the Students Say: “The bachelor’s in Fashion Technology course focuses largely on apparel manufacturing processes and production control but also covers areas of management, retailing, merchandising, quality control, etc.”
-The Bottom Line: The biggest design school in India, it has cooperative agreements with international schools including RNIT, University of the Arts London, and Ryerson.
43. FASHION INSTITUTE OF DESIGN & MERCHANDISING (Los Angeles, CA)
-Programs: Fashion Design, Footwear Design, Costume Design, Jewelry Design, Textile Design, Merchandising (Fashion & Beauty Programs)
-Number of Students: 7,500 overall students
-Tuition: $27,000-$36,000 depending on area of study.
-Misc: Most are Associate of Art degrees
-Famous Grads: Monique Lhuillier, Pamela Skaist-Levy (Juicy Couture co-founder), Randolph Duke
-What the Students Say: “It is super hard. But I think that’s what makes you learn thoroughly and invest in your goals. Don’t schedule a lot of hours at work because you will need more time on your homework than you thought.” “Make sure you know exactly what you want to do.” “A lot of people apply and get excited, but most of them can’t take the work load or lose their dedication and drive and leave to another school or drop out. It’s a tough school, but it’s worth it.”
-The Bottom Line: A great vocational and design school for practical experience and they have an incredible career database for placement post-graduation.
44. UNIVERSITY OF NORTH TEXAS(Denton, TX)
-Programs: Fashion Merchandising, Fashion Design
-Number of Students: 28,911 overall students
Tuition: $4,410 (in-state); $10,024.70 (out-of-state)
-What the Students Say: “The merchandising program is top-notch. It is highly organized and the classes are great. Because the school is in Texas, it doesn’t get tons of attention, but it is one of the best programs in the country.”
-The Bottom Line: Another write-in from our survey, this is a great place to be if you want to focus on the merchandising side of fashion. Alumni have scored spots at Fossil, Nicole Miller, Ralph Lauren, Zac Posen, Dillard’s and Calvin Klein.
45. SCHOOL OF THE ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO (Chicago, IL, US)
-Programs: Fashion Design
-Number of Students: Undergrads: 2,500; fashion students: 120
-Misc: Three year curriculum within a four-year fine arts foundation.
-Famous Grads: Cynthia Rowley, Maria Pinto, Halston, Matthew Ames
-The Bottom Line: With a non-traditional fashion design program, Georgia O’Keefe’s alma mater has a serious art and design pedigree.
46. MELBOURNE SCHOOL OF FASHION(Melbourne, Australia)
-Programs: Applied Fashion Design and Technology, Retail Management, Styling
-Number of Students: 400 overall students
-What the Students Say: “Class sizes during first year can be quite big, but have been known to get smaller as the course progresses.”
-The Bottom Line: A vocational training program that offers solid instruction in the adjunct fashion professions.
47. LIM COLLEGE (New York, NY, US)
-Programs: Fashion Merchandising, Marketing, Management, Visual Merchandising
-Number of Students: 1,500 overall students
-What the Students Say: “Work experience is great, LIM definitely prepares you for after graduation.” “Very career oriented.”
-The Bottom Line: Will give you thorough preparation for the behind-the-scenes aspects of the fashion business.
48. KOEFIA (INTERNATIONAL ACADEMY OF HAUTE COUTURE AND ART OF COSTUME)(Milan, Italy)
-Programs: Fashion Design; Costume Design; Fashion Product Management
-Number of Students: 150 fashion students
-Tuition: €4,700 ($6,300)
-Misc: They offer a modeling course.
-The Bottom Line: Very Italian with some cross-cultural programs offered through the Department of Humanities.
49. UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY SYDNEY (Sydney, Australia)
-Programs: Fashion and Textiles
-Number of Students: 24,000 overall students
-Tuition: A$19,840 to A$34,080 (US $18,800 to $32,300)
-The Bottom Line: The school teaches a mix of theory and real-world technical skills.
50. UNIVERSITY OF DELAWARE (Newark, DE)
-Programs: Fashion Merchandising, Apparel Design, Minor in Fashion History and Culture
-Number of Students: 16,000 overall students
-Tuition: $27,240 (out-of-state)
-What the Students Say: “The Fashion Merchandising program is very useful for creating strong buyers and planners. Another strong suit of the fashion program at the University of Delaware is its focus teaching on sustainability and informing students about fair labor practices, globalization and ethics in the industry.”
-The Bottom Line: Great for students who want the big university experience and are also very serious about their studies.