Fashion is a billion-dollar industry with four levels: raw material production, fashion goods production, retail sales, and promotion and advertising. It’s constantly evolving to meet the changing needs of consumers and standards, hence the development of sustainable fashion.
Those are why the job market is never free of positions available for new graduates and experienced professionals. If this is the industry you want to be a part of, below are 10 of the best fashion schools in the US. Each of these institutions has been ranked from lowest to highest costs and meets the following criteria:
- An average annual cost of no more than $30,000
- An expected median starting salary of no less than $45,000
The information provided was obtained from the US Department of Education, the specific school’s websites, and other reliable resources, such as awarding bodies or agencies.
10 Best Fashion Schools in America
1. California State University-Sacramento
4 Year; Sacramento, CA
Average Annual Cost: $9,979
CSUS has a long list of bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees. However, the only offering for those who want to work in the fashion industry is the BS in Fashion Merchandising & Management.
This program’s design ensures graduates become globally competitive. Students will gain beneficial knowledge and skills in the following:
- Marketing, Advertisement, and Promotion
- Sourcing, Procurement, and Distribution
The curriculum also emphasizes historical and contemporary ways of meeting the consumers’ specific textile and fashion product needs. The university ensures they provide collaborative opportunities for the Sacramento community’s benefit. Thus, it has a Costume Collection made of hundreds of donated items from the mid-nineteenth century until today.
2. Fashion Institute of Technology
2 Year; New York, NY
Average Annual Cost: $10,523
This SUNY (State University of New York) college is one of the best fashion schools in the world and the most eco-friendly university in NY. Its School of Art and Design currently offers 17 AAS and BFA majors, from Fabric Styling and Fashion Design to Jewelry Design and Toy Design.
There are 36 minor programs designed to strengthen the students’ major and enable them to explore other fields of study for additional knowledge that most employers prefer. Those who prefer the business side of the fashion industry can enroll in any of the 10 majors offered at the university’s School of Business and Technology.
Professionals can further their studies by enrolling in post-graduate majors and credit or non-credit continuing studies and professional certifications. Lastly, middle and high school students can enroll in the university’s pre-college programs to start building their portfolio, nurture their creativity, and more.
3. University of Georgia
4 Year; Athens, GA
Average Annual Cost: $13,649
Start your career in the fashion industry by completing this large, public research university’s Fashion Merchandising degree. You’ll be able to obtain global competencies and skills in fashion merchandising, retailing, promotion, and management. You can also choose from two different specializations: Fashion and Brand Management and Product Development and Design.
Graduates can land a job as managers, fashion coordinators, public relations directors, market researchers, product developers, and more. They can also use it as an initial path to becoming a fashion designer.
4. Purdue University – Main Campus
4 Year; West Lafayette, IN
Average Annual Cost: $13,986
Future fashion stylists or retail and eCommerce business managers, directors, marketers, and merchandisers can earn their major in Retail Management at Purdue. The school offers the Apparel Design and Technology concentration, where future designers can learn essential apparel design aspects, from pattern making to creative designing.
All students will enjoy supervised real-world internships and field experiences. They can choose to enroll in a semestral or summer program abroad for enhanced cultural global competency. The school and student chapters also host competitions, wherein winners enjoy mentorships, scholarships, internships, and professional development opportunities.
Lastly, qualified retail management students can apply before their junior year to earn their associate’s degree at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), New York City.
5. Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College
4 Year; Baton Rouge, LA
Average Annual Cost: $15,465
LSU’s Department of Textiles, Apparel & Merchandising boasts of its technologically advanced approach to teaching and learning. It has three different laboratories, a museum, a photo studio, a digital classroom, and cutting-edge equipment.
Students can choose from three four-year bachelor’s degrees: Merchandising, Apparel Design, and Technology Textile Science. These programs ensure learners gain comprehensive knowledge and globally competitive skills in their chosen field. As proof, most of its alumni work in or with:
- Cabin & Hyde
- Hermes of Paris
- Kendra Scott
- Ralph Lauren
- Vera Wang
Those enrolled in a different major but interested in the fashion industry may enroll in the university’s Textiles, Merchandising & Apparel Minor program.
6. Iowa State University
4 Year; Ames, IA
Average Annual Cost: $15,496
ISU is one of 2019’s top Public Fashion Design Schools in the US and 2018’s top Fashion Merchandising Schools in the Midwest. It has a state-of-the-art apparel production center, textiles conservation laboratory, clothing museum, and more.
Students will be able to use high-tech tools, including new design software, industrial-sized digital printers, and 3D body scanners. They also have the opportunity to design for, model in, and produce apparel for the school’s student-produced fashion show.
If you plan to enroll in the university, you can choose from five different programs, namely:
- Creative and Technical Design
- Product Development and Innovation
- Product Management and Sourcing
- Merchandising and Retail Analytics
- Fashion Communication
7. University of Delaware
4 Year; Newark, DE
Average Annual Cost: $17,220
Among the institutions in this list , UD has the highest number of programs for fashion-focused careers. Students can choose from two bachelor’s degrees: Fashion Design and Product Innovation and Fashion Merchandising and Management. In terms of minors, there are five:
- Italian Studies and Fashion Culture
- Fashion History and Culture
- Fashion Management
- Functional Wearable Design
- Sustainable Apparel and Textile Innovation
Professionals and new graduates can also enroll in a master’s degree or graduate certificate that UD offers:
- GC in Socially Responsible and Sustainable Apparel Business
- MS in Fashion and Apparel Studies With Thesis
- MS in Fashion and Apparel Studies With Professional Project
8. Texas Tech University
4 Year; Lubbock, TX
Average Annual Cost: $17,571
TTU is a large public research institution offering about a hundred undergraduate majors, including BS in Apparel Design and Manufacturing (ADM). The program’s design emphasizes technical skills, creativity, textile knowledge, custom and mass production designing, and apparel product management.
Not only that, but the school also allows its students to join extracurricular activities. These activities include tours to major fashion centers, fashion design competitions, Hi-Tech Fashion Group, and Senior Fashion Exhibit runway shows.
9. Michigan State University
4 Year; East Lansing, MI
Average Annual Cost: $19,173
The Apparel and Textile Design major offered by the university combines arts and design while also keeping in mind uniqueness, couture, culture, technicality, and sustainability. Most of its alumni successfully landed a job at popular brands and names, such as Fashion Institute of Technology, JLM Couture, Puma, and Teen Vogue.
There are two majors available. The Bachelor of Fine Arts focuses on preparing the students in apparel and design. Meanwhile, the Bachelor of Arts provides learners with a good foundation in arts. The school also offers a master’s degree in Fine Arts that is open to alumni and non-alumni.
10. Framingham State University
4 Year; Framingham, MA
Average Annual Cost: $20,001
FSU is an accredited member of the NASAD (National Association of Schools of Art and Design), offering a BS in Fashion Design and Retailing. It also has many industry and business partnerships, high-end computer technology, and a diverse student body.
Students are provided with the faculty’s undivided attention and individual counseling and advisement because classes are small. They’ll also enjoy dynamic design and merchandising opportunities. Even better, they can choose from four minors, namely:
- Apparel Design
- Fashion Merchandising
- Fashion Studies
- Museum Studies