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laureneliott | Posted in General Discussion on

Hi.  I’m a junior in highschool, and I am highly considering a career in fashion design.  What are the major colleges that I should apply to??



  1. kai230 | | #1

    Hi Lauren,

    Just butting in even though I can’t answer your question except in a general way. I hope you find many specific answers from others, but I’d like to pass along some tips you might be able to use when conducting any sort of research. It’s an important skill in any job.

    How online savvy are you? Have you googled on fashion design colleges? http://www.google.com

    If your high school counselor is as ineffective as mine was, you might start by asking your local librarian.

    In my town, it seems like every school has design classes, their quality I don’t know. I would ask the opinions of those who teach the classes.

    The Occupational Outlook Handbook http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos090.htm is a great resource, esp. now that it’s online (I’m presuming it’s updated more frequently). Here are  some tidbits from that site that should lead you to your next steps.

    “The National Association of Schools of Art and Design [linked below] currently accredits about 200 postsecondary institutions with programs in art and design; most of these schools award a degree in art. Some award degrees in industrial, interior, textile, graphic, or fashion design. Many schools do not allow formal entry into a bachelor's degree program until a student has successfully finished a year of basic art and design courses. Applicants may be required to submit sketches and other examples of their artistic ability.”

    Once you’ve determined how many of those 200 offer fashion design programs http://www.arts-accredit.org/nasad/default.htm, you then need to determine what you can afford, and all those pesky details.

    “Fashion designers design clothing and accessories. Some high-fashion designers are self-employed and design for individual clients. Other high-fashion designers cater to specialty stores or high-fashion department stores. These designers create original garments, as well as those that follow established fashion trends. Most fashion designers, however, work for apparel manufacturers, creating designs of men's, women's, and children's fashions for the mass market. . . . Fashion designers generally work for textile, apparel, and pattern manufacturers; wholesale distributors of clothing, furnishings, and accessories; or for fashion salons, high-fashion department stores, and specialty shops.”

    So, visit the places mentioned and find out what they look for in an employee/designer and their opinions of schools. The point of choosing a school is to get a particular education that leads to a particular job.

    Have you investigated bios of designers you admire to see where they went to school?

    Have fun in your career—you are lucky to know what you want to do so early in life!

  2. rjf | | #2

    Kai gave you some good advice and I'd like to add to that.  Something you can do right now is improve your sewing skills as much as possible.  Take all the classes you can find...at school or elsewhere.  You might not get a job as designer right out of college but with good sewing skills, you can get a job in the right place to move up the ladder.  Good luck.       rjf

  3. lindamaries | | #3

    Hi Lauren,

    I am self taught so what I can tell you is only from observation.

    It seems to me that the biggest centers for clothing/apparel are New York Metro area, Maryland area, Portland Oregon area, Los Angles area. (There are others of course like Arizona.) I've seen PBS shows about FIT in New York (I think it stands for Fashion Institute of Technology) which make the place out to be a fantastic place to learn design etc. I also know of a lady who was a student there. If you'd like to email me [email protected] I could give you her email for you to ask her about it.

    I hear tell and have seen evidence that a clothing designer does NOT need to know how to sew or construct a garment.

    I was just at a lecture given by the Apparel Industry Board, Inc. in Chicago and the teacher was a Gerber teacher. Gerber is a company that manufactures tons of apparel equipment like computer software, these laser cutting machines that cut 200 layers of fabric, and plot grafers. I could give you the AIBI address for you to write to.


  4. NansiM | | #4

    In my neck of the woods we have RISD-Rhode Island School of Design.  It's well known for graduating many designers.  don't know where you're from, but we have a great little state if you don't want all the hustle and bustle of the BIG cities.  Good luck in your search!!

  5. Barbaran8 | | #5

    If you want to hit the highest levels of the industry, mon cher, you had better be doing *very* well in you high school French classes! There are many wonderful schools of fashion in Europe, and they always add cachet to your resume.

  6. enidshapiro | | #6

    New York's Fashion Institute of Technology has trained many successful people in the design industry.

    New York's Parson's is something else to look into, but I think F.I.T. is probably better.

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