After finishing high school it is not easy to determine the proper school to attend to further your education. If you intend to enter the fashion industry, it is strongly suggested that you attend a fashion college. If not a college, you can attend a university that has course options in regard to clothing, textiles, international trade, merchandising, etc.
What is the difference between a college and university?
A college is an educational institution or establishment, in particular one providing higher education or specialized professional or vocational training.
A university is an educational institution designed for instruction, examination, or both, of students in many branches of advanced learning, conferring degrees in various faculties, and often embodying colleges and similar institutions.
The difference between a college and a university is that generally a college offers set of degrees in one specific area whereas a university has a collection of colleges.
Finding the "best" fashion college or university has much to do with your location or ability to travel. The unfortunate reality is that top fashion schools are rather spread out geographically. In regard to the United States, most states have fabulous colleges. However, not each state has schools specialized in fashion or textiles.
We will create this list by region. Hopefully, you can afford to travel if you don't live near one of these options:
Best Fashion Colleges & Universities in the United States
California: The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM): They offer accredited Master’s, Bachelor’s and Associate Degree programs in design and creative business. Their students collaborate on special Industry Partner Projects with brands like Nike, Murad, Athleta, Signal Snowboards, Lacoste, GUESS, and TOMS. Part-time work and internships with companies like J Brand Jeans, Stila, Topshop, Forever 21, Victoria’s Secret, and Adidas are an integral part of the curriculum. Theirr faculty are talented industry professionals who bring their experience and connections into the classroom, creating a dynamic, career-focused learning environment. FIDM's engaging learning environment and rigorous programs of study develop graduates who become leaders in the industries of global design and business.
Georgia: Savannah College of Art and Design is an arts and design university offering a broad range of degrees within fashion education. As a SCAD fashion student, you'll master new markets, technologies, and trends as you become a leader in the international business of style. SCAD students are poised to shape the fashion landscape thanks to mentorship from influential fashion insiders and expert faculty who've worked with top houses and brands. You'll also gain an all-access pass to prime design resources and star-studded signature events like internationally renowned SCAD FASHION runway shows. SCAD offers undergraduate courses in fashion design or marketing and management, and was amongst the first to teach a masters degree in luxury and fashion management.
Iowa: Iowa State University: Apparel, merchandising, and design Iowa State University (ISU) is the place to be for textiles and clothing. Their students, faculty, and staff are on the cutting edge of education in this industry. As an apparel, merchandising, and design student, you will build a comprehensive base of knowledge about the textiles and apparel industry, including merchandising and marketing strategies, product development, and production processes. You’ll further define your career path by choosing from either the merchandising, design or product development options for this bachelor of science degree.
New York: The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) is where creativity gets down to business. FIT is a renowned college of art and design, business and technology, with more than 40 degree programs. Majors span a wide range of fields, from photography and toy design to international trade and cosmetics and fragrance marketing.
New York: Parsons School of Design: Parsons School of Design enables students to develop the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in a rapidly changing society. Students collaborate with peers throughout The New School, industry partners, and communities around the world and in New York City, a global center of art, design, and business.
Ohio: Kent State University: At the Fashion School at Kent State University, fashion design and merchandising majors get a chance to showcase their talent and innovation in real-world settings. This energized atmosphere has earned the school a consistent ranking among the best fashion programs nationally and globally. The school’s unique resources include the TechStyleLAB, equipped with an array of digital design and production technologies, and a dedicated fashion library with nearly 4,000 print and multimedia titles. The Fashion School shares its Rockwell Hall home with the closely linked Kent State University Museum, which houses one of the largest fashion- and design-focused collections in the country, and is a short walk from the Fashion School Store in downtown Kent, a “live retail laboratory” and boutique selling faculty, student and alumni designs to Northeast Ohio.
Best Fashion College & Universities in Europe
Austria: University of Applied Arts (Vienna, Austria) : The University of Applied Arts Vienna takes on the challenge of positively influencing art, research and society. It continuously shapes and directs the present toward the future. In the heart of Vienna, the capital of the Danube monarchy, the predecessor institution of the current University of Applied Arts, the Imperial Royal Arts and Crafts School, was founded in 1867. It was closely affiliated with the Imperial Royal Austrian Museum of Art and Industry (today the MAK), the first Arts and Crafts museum on the European continent. It was established in 1863 following the example of the South Kensington Museum in London, now the Victoria & Albert Museum, and was to serve as a collection of models for artists, industrialists, and the general public.
Belgium: Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Arts (Antwerp, Belgium): The Fashion Department of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts was founded in 1963. In the early years, the academy mainly focused on fine arts but under the guidance of Mary Prijot and Marthe Van Leemput, it quickly grew into a full-fledged fashion education. The Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp provides the challenging environment for the soon-to-be designer or artist who wants a very individual and personal artistic education. The Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp is an art academy located in Antwerp, Belgium. It is one of the oldest of its kind in Europe. It was founded in 1663 by David Teniers the Younger, painter to the Archduke Leopold Wilhelm and Don Juan of Austria.
Bulgaria: National Academy of Arts (Sofia, Bulgaria) : The National Academy of Arts is an institution of higher education in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. It is the oldest and most renowned school of arts in the country. The academy consists of two faculties, a Faculty of Fine Arts and a Faculty of Applied Arts, each offering a number of subjects.
England: Central Saint Martins (London) : Central Saint Martins is a public tertiary art school in London, England. It is a constituent college of the University of the Arts London. It offers full-time courses at foundation, undergraduate and postgraduate levels, and a variety of short and summer courses. Creative practice combines the ability to imagine new futures with the means to deliver them. As such, artists and designers are equipped to address global challenges. Their students work with hope and uncertainty, using their compassion and vision to shape the world through creative action. They offer many programs such as BA Fashion: Fashion Design with Knitwear, Fashion Design Marketing, Fashion Design Menswear, Fashion Print, Fashion Design Womenswear, Fashion History and Theory, Fashion Journalism and more.
England: London College of Fashion: Their college is a total fashion ecology where we examine the past in order to build a sustainable future and improve the way we live. Fashion can change lives. Through teaching, specialist research, and collaborative work, we empower our students to think differently, using fashion to examine the past, build a sustainable future, and improve the way we live. Through inspirational teaching they nurture the next generation of creative leaders and thinkers who work in responsible, analytical and ingenious ways. Their strategic commercial partnerships support local and global enterprise. Students benefit from their connections with industry and so does industry.
France: Institut Français de la Mode (IFM) brings together Ecole de la chambre syndicale de la couture parisienne and IFM, offers educational programs from vocational to doctoral level in fashion design, fashion management and craftsmanship. The union of Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne and IFM provides Paris with an academic institution whose ambition is to establish itself as the best fashion school in the world, based on a unique combination of management, technique and design, ranging from vocational to doctoral level, including Bachelor’s and Master’s, installed on a new innovative and open site, actively promoting social diversity, and at the forefront of technology and sustainable development.
France: ESMOD : The École supérieure des arts et techniques de la mode, or ESMOD, is a French private school of fashion. It was founded in Paris in 1841 by the master tailor Alexis Lavigne. ESMOD International offers topflight programs in design and business to cover the full range of the fashion industry’s demands, as it has been doing for over 170 years. oday, more than ever, fashion is everywhere- in the street, on the Internet, in books, film, and television. Young people (like you?) are drawn toward the fashion industry and its related professions for many reasons, including the way of life it represents a trendsetting, artistic, environment filled with remarkable people. But that same industry’s requirements are becoming more stringent as it demands genuine personal investment, creativity, a well-developed ability to analyze information, and a thorough knowledge of the market. Today, it is vital for students to choose the most suitable training in order to ensure their position at the forefront of future industry talents.
France: International Fashion Academy (IFA) : IFA Paris is a fashion school of design and luxury business in Paris, Shanghai and Istanbul offering undergraduate Bachelor and postgraduate Master and MBA degrees. Schools in Shanghai, Paris, & Istanbul. IFA Paris originated from France and they pride themselves in their strong French heritage. Whether you choose to study in Paris, Shanghai or Istanbul, their lecturers are mostly recruited from France. This approach provides students the French fashion heritage that can be felt as you begin your studies in either school. Having multiple locations also adds a different edge that mixes the classical side of fashion in Paris with the fast changing fashion and luxury world of Shanghai and the well-connected and the most strategic location for all kinds of trades of Istanbul to truly create a one of a kind learning experience. Their traditional core course, the Bachelor Fashion Design and Technology, was created with the same curriculum in both cities to give students a chance to delve into both fashion capitals and obtain valuable global insights in the industry.
Italy: Istituto Marangoni: The Istituto Marangoni is a private Italian school of fashion and design. It is based in Milan, in Lombardy in northern Italy, and has branches in Florence, London and Paris, Shanghai and Shenzhen in China, Mumbai in India, and Miami in the United States. The essence of fashion and design: this is what is taught at Istituto Marangoni. Professionals who are passionate about their work and willing to share their expertise teach the young talent who, once graduated, will reach the highest professional levels. Through a complete course, where theory is taught alongside practice, students learn that creativity is a gift to be nurtured, nourished and stimulated continuously, with passion and dedication. It is the same passion for the world of fashion and design with which our teachers teach.
Italy: Polimoda: Polimoda is ranked as one of the best fashion institute in Italy, and amongst the top ten in the world. It offers Undergraduate, Masters & Seasonal courses in many fields of fashion. Polimoda is a private fashion school in Florence, capital of Tuscany, Italy.
Italy: Istituto Europeo di Design (IED): The Istituto Europeo di Design is a private design school in Italy founded in 1966 by Francesco Morelli. The school is organized into four disciplines: Design, Fashion, Visual Communication and Management. IED, Istituto Europeo di Design, organizes master courses, one and three-year courses in Design, Management, Marketing and Fashion Design.
Italy: Nuova Accedemia di Belle Arti (NABA): The Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti, "New Academy of Fine Arts", also known as NABA, is a privately run university in Milan, Lombardy, Italy. As a student in one of NABA’s three-year Bachelor of Arts (BA) programs, you will deeply engage with Italy’s design culture and ethos of artistic experimentation. You will expand your knowledge of history, your technical skills, your expertise in materials, your critical and creative thinking abilities, and your presentation skills. Go to Milan or Rome to discover the Italian fashion scene —and debut your own ideas! In the BA in Fashion Design program, you’ll study the market so you can better anticipate its demands and trends. You’ll learn about fashion design theory, innovative fabrics, and new technologies and manufacturing processes. You’ll also explore fashion styling and communication for advertising and editorials. They also have postgraduate programs available.
Best Fashion College & Universities in Asia
China: Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology is a university in Beijing, China. It was founded in 1959 as the Beijing Institute of Textile Technology and was later renamed as the Beijing Institute of Chemical Fiber Technology in 1961. In 1971,it was combined together with Beijing University of Chemical Technology and then in 1978 was separated from it,returning to the name of "Beijing Institute of Chemical Fiber Technology". In the year 1987,it was renamed again as the Beijing Institute of Clothing Technology. In 2008, its official name of English version was changed to "Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology"
China: Changshu Institute of Technology: chool of Arts and Garments Engineering (SAGE) has five specialties—Visual Communication Design, Environment Design, Fashion Design, Clothing Design and Engineering, and Fine Arts. The number of full-time undergraduate students has reached nearly 1000. Of its over 50 faculty members, 15 have senior professional title. It also engages several experts and scholars from home and abroad as regular teachers. SAGE is well-equipped with independent building for art teaching, and facilities like Room for Audio-visual Files, Classroom for Digital Graphs and Images, CAD Classroom for Garments, Clothing Design Training Lab, Photography Training Lab, Exhibition Hall for Artistic Works, Daylight Studio, etc.
India: National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) is a group of fashion colleges in India. It was established in 1986 under the aegis of the Ministry of Textiles, Government of India and is an institution of design, management and technology for the international fashion business. NIFT is the pioneering institute of fashion education in the country and has been in the vanguard of providing professional human resource to the textile and apparel industry. It was made a statutory institute in 2006 by an Act of the Indian Parliament with the President of India as ‘Visitor’ and has full fledged campuses all across the country. Over the years NIFT has also been working as a knowledge service provider to the Union and State governments in the area of design development and positioning of handlooms and handicrafts.
Japan: Bunka Fashion College: Bunka Fashion College was founded as a small dressmaking school in 1919. Most Japanese wore a kimono at that time. Approved as the first dressmaking school in Japan in 1923, the College has produced about 300,000 alumni, and has played a significant role in educating students to be prepared for work in the international fashion industry. Bunka Fashion College has produced many great designers working on the world stage. They have helped raise Japanese fashion to the world’s top level, and continue to send out talent to the forefront of the fashion world. Bunka Fashion College is situated in Shinjuku, one of Tokyo’s busiest metropolitan centers, intersected by many railway lines and full of skyscrapers. With easy access to Shibuya, the epicenter of Japan’s fashion culture,
Hong Kong: Hong Kong Design Institute: Through its Knowledge Centres, HKDI offers students access to interdisciplinary platforms and enables them to engage in projects with industry partners. The Hong Kong Design Institute (HKDI) is a leading design institution under the VTC Group. It provides high-quality education to cultivate knowledge and professionalism, and produces emerging talents who underpin the creative industries in Hong Kong. With years of experience in design education, HKDI brings together the strengths of four design departments – Architecture, Interior and Product Design, Communication Design and Digital Media, Design Foundation Studies and Fashion and Image Design – to offer 20 design programmes.
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