For those dreaming of being the next big designer or creating the hottest new label, the question is: what college majors would help create a clothing brand? In general, you’d want to pursue a fashion, fashion design, or costume design major, and there is a long list of colleges with these types of majors to choose from in the U.S.
The fashion industry offers a wide range of career opportunities. Graduates with a fashion background can pursue careers as fashion designers, pattern makers, garment technologists, fashion illustrators, stylists, and more. Some aspiring fashion designers dream of launching their own fashion lines or brands, while others want to work for one of the world’s major fashion houses. Studying fashion design can equip them with the necessary skills and knowledge for either option.
If fashion is your passion, and you want to know what college majors would help create a clothing brand, here’s our list of the top 8 U.S. colleges with fashion majors.
Parsons School of Design – The New School
Number one on our list (and on many other similar listings) is Parsons School of Design – The New School. Parsons welcomes students from around the world to live in the heart of NYC’s creative life: Greenwich Village. It’s no surprise that New York City is filled with fashion design inspiration, as well as fashion industry career opportunities after graduation.
This colleges’ fashion design major is highly sought out, the Parsons also houses more than thirty undergraduate and postgraduate degree programs, as well as offerings for professional and continuing education learners. Students are exposed to a professional design education led by some of the worlds’ top creatives.
While nothing can compare to living in NYC, Parsons offers for on-campus and virtual learning. Tuition varies by program and financial aid is extended to 80% of the students based on both need and merit.
Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT)
Another top New York fashion school is The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). In fact, FIT and Parsons often compete for the title of the top U.S. colleges with fashion majors. It’s no surprise so many top fashion schools are located in the state known globally as a trendsetter.
Set in the energetic neighborhood of Chelsea on Manhattan, the FIT campus is vibrant and buzzing with creativity. FIT meets the educational needs of students with an array of programs including cosmetics and fragrance marketing management, fabric styling, footwear design, and entrepreneurship. An number of these college majors would help create a clothing brand.
Worried about cost? FIT is part of the State University of New York system and receives state funding and support from the Board of Education of the City of New York. Tuition is generally lower than private institutions, and financial aid is available.
Yet another New York school offering fashion majors is Pratt Institute. The fashion design major is housed under Pratt’s School of Design. Founded in 1887, Pratt started in Brooklyn and now also has a campus in Manhattan. Rooted in history, Pratt also keeps its eye on the trends of the future.
This colleges’ fashion design program includes options for related areas of study, including a minor in textile and a major in fine arts with an emphasis in jewelry. Pratt is a truly creative-led community, bringing together artists, architects, designers, and thinkers.
Pratt Institute is a private university and comes with a private university price tag. Tuition starts around $55,000 per year. Not surprisingly, financial aid is extended to over 75% of students. Scholarships are also readily available to students in need of financial assistance.
Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)
Leaving New York, but staying on the east coast, is the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). Founded in 1877, and located in Providence, this institution for art and design education offers a range of 44 degrees for undergraduate and graduate students – fashion majors like “apparel design” included.
RISD bills itself as a college and a museum, with a primary focus on studies in art and design. Students learn hands-on in studio classrooms and apparel design students participate in a live runway fashion show to display their work. The RISD Museum houses a treasure trove of fashion, paintings, ceramics, decorative arts, and more.
RISD is a private college and tuition starts around $60,000 per year, not including costs such as room and board, studio supplies, and daily necessities. On campus residences are available.
Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD)
Heading south, you’ll find the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), whose main campus is located in Savannah, Georgia. SCAD also maintains campuses in Atlanta, Georgia and Lacoste, France, giving students a range of study and cultural opportunities.
As one of the top U.S. colleges with fashion majors, SCAD offers more degree programs and specializations than any other art and design university. Some options include fashion design, accessory design, and creative business leadership. Other areas of study include fine arts, illustration, animation, graphic design, architecture, film and television, photography, and interior design.
Undergraduate tuition at the private Savannah College of Art and Design starts around $40,000 per year. Room and board, supplies, and study abroad excursions are all additional costs. Financial aid, including loans, grants, and scholarships are available to some students.
Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM)
Students seeking west coast fashion sensibilities will find it at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. FIDM is a prestigious private college at the top of the list of U.S. colleges with fashion majors and located in sunny, eclectic, downtown Los Angeles.
Studying at FIDM gives students direct access to the world’s most creative city within a city: Hollywood. The opportunity to collaborate with studios, production companies, and artists means FIDM students get to put what they’re learning in the classroom to work right away. FIDM has industry connections and strong ties with the fashion and entertainment industries, providing students with access to networking opportunities, internships, and guest speakers from renowned professionals and brands – as well as full portfolios upon graduation. Tuition and costs vary depending on the course of study, but students seeking an Associate of Arts degree can expect to pay around $70,000 for their entire educational program. This cost includes estimated studio, student, and supply fees, but not room and board.
Kent State University – Ohio
Fashionistas who overlook the Midwest when researching what college majors would help create a clothing brand are missing out on affordable and well-connected options. Rated the #1 fashion design school in the midwest is Kent State University. At Kent State fashion design and merchandising majors have the chance to apply their skills and innovation in real-world settings. Kent State’s Fashion School has strong ties with the fashion industry, which translate into guest lectures, workshops, and potential job opportunities for students.
The fashion design program offers a comprehensive curriculum, with a program that exposes students to various aspects of the industry, including design techniques, fashion illustration, pattern making, sewing, textile analysis, and fashion history. Kent State University students also have access to a large public campus, with all of the housing, dining, sports, and socializing opportunities that provides.
Undergrad tuition for non-resident students starts around $21,000 per year – a welcome price after seeing the private institutions’ costs! Housing and meal plans can be added to tuition rates, and financial aid is available.
University of Wisconsin, Stout
Looking for another fashion design program in the midwest? The small state school of the University of Wisconsin at Stout packs an outsized fashion punch. Students attending UW-Stout can earn a Bachelor’s of Science degree in fashion and retail, preparing them for the creative and business sides of fasion. Students explore real-world aspects of the fashion and retail industries including market researching, planning, designing, developing, buying, and marketing.
Campus resources include an art gallery where students gain experience working actual exhibitions and a student-run retail shop. Fashion design students have the opportunity to display their work at the program-end fashion show – a campus highlight.
Set in a small town, students enjoy access to outdoor activities and the inspiration of nature. This public university offers the full college experience, with student housing, varsity sports, intramural clubs, and other on-campus activities.
UW-Stout is committed to keeping college affordable. As a state school, they’re able to keep their tuition comparatively low, starting at $18,000 a year for out-of-state students. In-state tuition is even lower. They offer streamlined programs, student employment, textbook rental, and a variety of scholarships, all of which help make this college with fashion majors an accessible and practical option.
What College Majors Would Help Create a Clothing Brand?
If you’re looking to create a clothing brand, or work for a major fashion house or retail outlet, there are a variety of fashion majors that can help you get there. From the traditional major of fashion design, to more niche disciplines like textiles and accessory design, all can help you build a future career in fashion. And don’t forget the business side of things – retail majors, entrepreneurship majors, and more can help aspiring clothing brand designers excel.