Whether you want to brush up on illustration skills, master sewing, learn the basics of running a fashion business or take a full eight-week course on fashion buying, there are a number of ways to do so without ever setting foot in a physical classroom.
Online learning saw significant growth during the pandemic, which helped validate a practice that already existed and forced fashion design schools to innovate their teaching methods. And while there are (increasingly) entire degree programs available to take online, there are also shorter certificate programs and individual courses that anyone can take for a few hundred bucks.
Some are live and scheduled — many online summer sessions are beginning this and next month — while others can be viewed on demand. Some are offered by highly selective, world-renowned design schools, while others are hosted by big online learning platforms; some take a few weeks, others take a few hours. And subjects run the gamut, from apparel design to fashion journalism to sustainability. But they all offer a level of flexibility that in-person classes don't, and, as long as it isn't a degree program, there's no application required.
Below, we've put together a guide on where to find the best online fashion courses that anyone can take, beginning with those offered by fashion schools, followed by those on online learning platforms.
California College of the Arts (CCA): CCA offers an online pre-college Fashion Design course. Start here.
Institut Français de la Mode (IFM): Through a partnership with Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne, IFM offers several online certificate and summer school programs, including Fashion Business, Fashion Sustainability, Pattern Making/Draping, The World of Denim and more. Start here.
Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM): Los Angeles's FIDM offers several degree programs and courses online, with more info available upon request. Start here.
Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT): FIT offers over 600 online courses available to degree and non-degree students, and two online degree programs. Start here.
IED Barcelona: IED Forward's online training project includes a course on fashion design. Start here.
Istituto Marangoni: This prestigious Italian school offers online courses in Fashion Design and Fashion Business and Image. Start here.
Parsons: This revered New York design school offers faculty-led online degree programs and courses including a Fashion Management MPS; certificate programs in Fashion Business, Fashion Design and Fashion Sustainability; and classes in Fashion Design, Design Sketching, Fashion Entrepreneurship, Fashion Merchandising and more. Start here.
LIM College: This New York fashion business school offers several online degree and certificate programs including Fashion Merchandising, Supply Chain Management, Fashion Marketing and more. Start here.
London College of Fashion and Central Saint Martins: Both of these legendary UK institutions — which fall under the University of the Arts London umbrella — offer dozens of fashion courses that anyone can take within the fields of fashion design, fashion business and fashion marketing. Examples include Fashion Buying and Merchandising, Luxury Brand Management, Running Your Own Fashion Label, Womenswear Design, Draping Womenswear, Digital Marketing for Fashion and Fashion Journalism. Start here.
Polimoda: Last summer, Polimoda began offering interactive digital fashion courses that anyone can take, many of which include access to prominent industry mentors. Currently, these include Fashion Design and Fashion Brand Management. Start here.
Rhode Island School of Design (RISD): This famed design school offers a few online continuing education classes in fashion design. Currently, these include Fashion + Feminism, Fashion Illustration, Introduction to Apparel: Material + Form and more. Start here.
School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC): SAIC offers a few online continuing education fashion courses over the summer, including Sewing Techniques: Fundamentals. Start here.
Online Learning Platforms
Skillshare: This community-driven online learning platform hosts several popular fashion-related classes that are great for those looking to learn something specific, whether it's how to use Adobe Illustrator for fashion design, the basics of sewing, pattern drafting, sketching, creating a lookbook or developing packaging for your brand. Start here.
Edex: Edex partners with universities to power expert-led courses and even full programs on a wide range of subjects. In the fashion realm, there's a certificate program in Fashion Design and Creation in partnership with The Hong Kong Polytechnic University and a Circular Fashion course from Wageningen University & Research, among others. Start here.
Coursera: Similarly to Edex, Coursera partners with universities and companies to offer job-relevant online courses and certificate and degree programs. For instance, you could take a course in Sustainable Fashion by Copenhagen Business School, or one in the Management of Fashion and Luxury Companies offered by Bocconi. Start here.
Masterclass: On membership-based Masterclass, legendary industry professionals teach courses within their specialty. Learn fashion design from Marc Jacobs, fashion brand building from Diane von Furstenberg, or creativity and leadership from Anna Wintour. Start here.
Business of Fashion: The publication's online learning platform features a range of courses led by industry professionals on specific subjects, like Fashion Styling and Image Making and the Art and Science of Buying and Merchandising. There are also case studies, articles on the basics of fashion business and historical deep dives on iconic designers. Start here.
University of Fashion: This is an entire online learning platform focused on video tutorials on fashion design and business. Subjects include Draping, Pattern Making, Sewing, CAD Fashion Art and more, with beginner, intermediate and advanced lessons within them. Start here.
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