20 Best Fashion Schools in USA:Fees & Requirements

Fashion is like beauty, it is in the eye of the beholder. The money in fashion is concentrated in most major cities in the country, with New York being the fashion capital.

Through my years of research, I can say that the US is a bigger market for global fashion because of the eminent resources.

There is a lot to talk about in terms of fashion in USA as well as fashion schools in USA.

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Why should you study fashion in USA?

The United States is a huge financial force on its own. Inarguably, there is an abundance of wealth there.

According to statistics, the Luxury market is estimated at approximately $65 billion.

With a population of over 325 million, the United States promises a huge customer base for your fashion school or business.

Their level in terms of the population gives an opportunity for many levels because of the diverse demographics of the country.

Therefore fashion companies thrive so well in USA. Upon graduation from any of the fashion schools in USA, you are sure of many great opportunities that will help you launch your career.

Also, the United States has a huge diverse demand and the power of their currency provides US companies and designers with great buying power and above all, it is a home for many great fashion designers.

In a nutshell, there are:

  • Great fashion schools in USA
  • Huge population
  • Huge demand
  • Amazing buying power
  • Diversity with demographics of consumer
  • Abundance of fashion media coverage

Interestingly, every buyer wants to sell to the United States. In addition, the United States over the years has launched many French, Asian, English and European designer brands.

Skills a modern fashion designer should have

As a modern fashion designer, you should be able to express your ideas visually, more especially in a modern way.

You are supposed to have a good knowledge of fashion illustration which can be done using Photoshop or by hand.

You equally should have fashion skills such as cutting, grading, production, draping and pattern making.

Digital skills for modern fashion designers

Apart from the basic skills of cutting and draping, there are some digital skills that fashion designers should look out for. They include:

  • 3D Designing skills
  • Digital Drawing and Sketching
  • Data Analysis

3D Designing Skills

Due to the constant change in trends and due to the growth of social media, designing skills help fashion designers to be fast and as such reduce the time which your design will take before going into the market.

The use of 3D design in the development process drastically reduces production time and equally helps for faster decision making.

3D design skills improve the design workflow with the aim of eliminating unnecessary physical sampling and waste generated by pattern cutting and fittings.

Some of the 3D software to look out for

There are varieties of specialized software and programs such as:

  • Optitex
  • Marvelous Designer
  • Gerber Technology or Lectra

With these 3D designing skills, It is also possible to design garments using virtual fabrics, which allows you to adjust lengths and finishes and do fittings for virtual avatars, which has led us to question the whole design process.

With Computer-generated imagery or models; that is, they do not exist in real life there’s a lot to be achieved.

Fashion designers of the future will likely be dealing with a high level of hybridizations between the physical world and the digital world.

Consequently, new ways of transforming the design process can be uncovered and developed.

Digital Drawing and Sketching

Before now, paper and pencils were rampant and were used in fashion schools in USA during teaching, but with this digital age, digital drawings and sketching are on the rise. This makes things easier for fashion designers. Under digital drawing and sketching, there are programs like:

  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Photoshop

There are other online digital drawing courses on Skillshare that helps to increase the sketching skills of learners.

There are equally other Photoshop training courses on adobe which is important for you to thoroughly master these skills and tools as we move from 2D CAD design to 3D product creation and additional software tools you will have to pick up in the transition.

Data Analysis

As someone who plans to become big or have a big industry, data analysis is very vital. Fashion professionals know the importance of data in improving fashion brands.

In recent times, advancements in data analytics, machine learning, computing power, the value of utilizing artificial intelligence (AL)-based software or applications has been well acknowledged by fashion brands and retailers who plan to apply the data-driven decision-making approach in developing more efficient fashion design, merchandising and market strategies.

Basic Skills

Aside from the digital skills, There are basic skills fashions designers should possess. Therefore fashion designers who plan to succeed in the industry must be:

  • Creative and Artistic
  • Excellent in Visualisation skills
  • Original and Inventive
  • Sensitive to colours, shades and tones
  • Good communication
  • Goal-oriented
  • Able to Multitask
  • Resilient
  • Fashion-conscious
  • Persuasive
  • Able to master the social network and influencers
  • Able to understand the market and customer lifestyle

Now, let us go to why you are here; Fashion schools in USA:

List of Fashion Schools in USA

Here are the best fashion schools in USA:

  • Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), New York, NY
  • Parsons The New School, New York, NY
  • Pratt Institute, New York, NY
  • Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), Savannah, GA
  • Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, CA
  • Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Providence, RI
  • Columbus College of Art and Design, Columbus, OH
  • Academy of Art University, San Francisco, CA
  • California College of Arts( San Francisco and Oakland, CA)
  • Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, Los Angeles, CA
  • School Of The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
  • Massachusetts College of Arts, Boston, MA

Before we continue, it is very important to note that the fees and costs stated for each school were gotten from the website of the various institutions. However, they are subject to change.

Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), New York, NY

This is one of the fashion schools in USA . It is one of the fashion schools in New York that nurture artistic visionaries and creative rebels of tomorrow.

FIT is located in New York city’s 7th Avenue, which is popularly known as fashion avenue.

This is one of the fashion schools in USA that allows students to explore themselves. They are internationally recognized as leaders in design, fashion, and fashion technology for over 75 years.

They have a wide range of programs that foster innovation and collaboration.

Within the fashion design major, students can choose from five different concentrations, from sportswear to knitwear to special occasions.

Outside the classroom, students designers have the option to get involved in a fashion club.

Programs: Design, Business, Marketing, Illustration, Styling, etc.


Number of Students: 10,386


Misc: Very comprehensive programs. Part of the SUNY network


Famous Grads: Reem Acra, Francisco Costa, Nina Garcia, Carolina Herrera, Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Nanette Lepore, Ralph Rucci 

Direct costs for associate degree students

Direct costsNY State Associate
Level on Campus Resident
NY State Associate Level
On-Campus Resident
Out of state
Associate Level
On-Campus Resident
Tuition$5,290$5,290$15,870
Fees$623$623$623
Residence Hall$15,200$15,200
Total$5,913$21,113$31,693
Cost of studying in fashion schools in USA

Other costs:

  • Books and Supplies: $1,850
  • Meals and Maintenance: $2,250
  • Personal : $1,500
  • Transportation: $650 to $1,140

See Types of Costs and Estimated Amounts, Bachelor’s Degree Students.

Pratt Institute, New York, NY

This is one of the top fashion schools in USA that define fashion practice such that students can contextualize fashion within a social framework and through rigorous attention to production, craft, and contemporary aesthetics.

Some of the learning outcomes include:

1 Students exhibit fluency in 2D and 3D construction processes that are innovative in cut, shape and silhouette using diverse embodied approaches.

2. Students analyze and use properties and principles of materiality to make design decisions informed by sustainable practices.

3. Students communicate design philosophy with evidence of fashion history, theoretical underpinnings, and contemporary culture that addresses issues of justice, equity and social responsibility.

4. Students design, produce and present cohesive, contemporary and authentic collections that demonstrate their active engagement as collaborative leaders of the creative community.

In addition, they are ranked among the top art and design schools by the QS World University Rankings by Subject and among the top design schools in the US by BusinessWeek.

Cost of attendance at Pratt for undergraduates

The following fees are subject to change and the Institute reserves the right to change regulations at any time without prior notice.

1–11 Undergraduate Credits: $1,728 per credit

12–18 Undergraduate Credits: $53,566 annually

19+ Undergraduate Credits: $53,566  plus $1,728 per credit in excess of 18 credits

See the full cost.

Programs: Fashion Design


Number of Students: Total undergrads in art & design program: 2,100; Fashion: 169


Misc: Part of a larger design school, so you can combine arts studies.


Famous Grads: Jeremy Scott, Betsey Johnson (didn’t graduate from Pratt), Andy and Debb 

you can Apply Here

Parsons The New School, New York, NY

This is one of the top fashion schools in USA that has a unique approach to interdisciplinary and real-world learning.


Ranked as the nation’s top art and design school for alumni salary earnings.

Parsons’ faculty comprises world-renowned artists, scholars, and practitioners who lead their industries and academic fields.

You work closely with them, benefiting from their scholarship and professional experience and networks.

Their small class sizes enable you to benefit from their real-world experience and industry access.

Full-Time Tuition (Per Semester) : $24,990 to $25,861.

See complete details about their fees.

Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, CA

This is one of the fashion schools in USA where students receive an abundance of guidance from faculty.

They equally encourage collaboration and equally accelerate their development. They have several scholarships, study grants and loans, as well as work-study opportunities for international students.

Otis participates in the Federal Work-study program. Students can work part-time on-campus and off-campus.

However, to be eligible for this program, students must demonstrate financial need as determined by the FAFSA application (filed annually).

Tuition*$23,850$23,850
Health Center Fee$200$200
Technology Fee$125$125
Student Activities Fee$125$125
source: https://www.otis.edu/financial-aid/cost-attendance

Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Providence, RI

This is one of the fashion schools in USA that prepares students to be conscious leaders in the field who approach fashion as a platform for cultural dialogue.

Through immersive, studio-based practice, they establish unique design languages and clearly articulated creative processes.

Makers of thoughtful and thought-provoking garments, majors generate both fashion and knowledge, continually reimagining what apparel and the systems for producing it can be.

Tuition and Estimated cost of studying in at Rhode

Expense Undergraduate Graduate
Tuition$55,220$55,220
Activity fee$270$270
Academic and technology fee$800$800
Estimated housing and dining$14,790$18,110
Estimated books and supplies$2,700$3,965
Estimated transportation$1,000$1,550
Other expenses$2,500$2,575
Estimated total cost of education$77,280$82,490
Fashion schools in usa

See additional costs

Programs: Apparel Design, Jewelry and Metalsmithing, Textiles


Number of Students: Undergrads: 1,940; Fashion/apparel/textiles/jewelry: 200


Misc: You can cross-register at Brown University.


Famous Grads: Nicole Miller, Sari Gueron, Philip Crangi, Marcia Patmos, Sarah Welsh & Madeline Davy (formerly of Octopi)

Columbus College of Art and Design, Columbus, OH

Columbus college of arts is one of the fashion schools in USA that helps fashion graduates to contribute to some of the largest and most creative fashion brands in the world.

As the home of the third-highest concentration of fashion designers in the U.S. (behind New York and Los Angeles), Columbus offers a fashion-forward backdrop for your ever-evolving designs.

Their innovative program provides you with a rich understanding of the business of fashion so you can successfully create wearable art with purpose. 

Their graduates end up working as either of the following:

Fashion designers
Print and Pattern designers
Accessory designers
Technical designers
Costume designers
Fashion forecasters
Pattern makers
Boutique owners and stylists

Cost of attendance at Columbus College of Art and Design

Application fee: $50 (non-refundable)

Non-refundable tuition deposit: $300

CCAD tuition: $36,500 per year; $18,250 per semester (12–18 credit hours)

Additional credit hours: $1,521 per credit hour for each additional hour over 18

Registration fee: $120 per year; $60 per semester (non-refundable)

General fee: $250 per year; $125 per semester (non-refundable)

Technology and Resource fee: $500 per year; $250 per semester

Health and accident insurance for international students only: Fall 2021: $1,013.00; Spring 2022: $1012.00

California College of Arts

This is one of the fashion schools in USA that has one of the highest regarded programs in the United States. They are located in San Francisco.

Their fashion design program exposes students to professionals who are working at the forefront of fashion, clothing, and material innovation.

Through small class sizes and individual mentorship, faculty are committed to helping you develop your own point of view formed by craft, sustainability, new technologies, and cross-­disciplinary collaboration.

You’ll have access to analogue, mechanical, and digital tools, both within the program and across the college, so you can build a range of skillsets for a fast-changing world.

Programs: Fashion Design, Textiles, Jewelry Design
Number of Students: Undergrads: 1,640; Fashion students: 65 (#’s from 2010)

Cost of attendance at California College of Arts

Category On Campus, First-YearOn Campus, TransferWith GuardiansOff Campus
Tuition$51,792$51,792$51,792$51,792
Fees$520$520$520$520
Housing/Room$13,467$14,134$0$10,012
Food$5,650$5,650$3,550$5,650
Personal/Misc.$2,200$2,200$2,950$2,570
Transportation$1,250$1,250$1,450$1,590
Books & Supplies$1,500$1,500$1,500$1,500
Total Estimated Cost$76,379$77,243$61,762$73,634
source: https://www.cca.edu/admissions/tuition/

See other costs and graduate tuition.

Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, Los Angeles, CA

This is one of the fashion schools that will prepare you to launch your career by providing a supportive , creative and professional environment where you can learn practical skills and build a network in industry contacts and gain real world experiences.

They give you the opportunity to generate innovative design and business solutions for top brands.

Also, you can collaborate with companies, build your portfolio, and put what you’re learning in the classroom to work.

Cost of attendance

Tuition: $33,750

Books & applicable sales taxes: $345

Supplies & applicable sales taxes: $795

See other costs of attendance

Programs: Fashion Design, Footwear Design, Costume Design, Jewelry Design, Textile Design, Merchandising (Fashion & Beauty Programs)


Number of Students: 8,000 (all programs are undergrad/all are fashion-related)
Misc: Most are Associate of Art degrees


Famous Grads: Monique Lhuillier, Pamela Skaist-Levy (Juicy Couture co-founder), Randolph Duke 

School Of The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL

This is equally one of the fashion schools in USA that provides a unique and interdisciplinary experience that challenges students to bring an artistic as well as a theoretical approach to the work and in turn, benefit from rigorous artistic and professionally oriented training.

See how to apply.

Programs: Fashion Design


Number of Students: Undergrads: 2,500; Fashion students: 76 undergrads.


Tuition: $35,940

Tuition and fees are charged to the student’s account based on the number of actual enrolled credit hours and are charged by the semester. 


Misc: Three-year curriculum within a four-year fine arts foundation.
Famous Grads: Cynthia Rowley, Maria Pinto, Halston, Matthew Ames 

Massachusetts College of Arts, Boston, MA

This is one of the fashion schools in USA that enable students to learn the processes, techniques and tools needed to develop design concepts across formats-2D and 3D designs, flat patterns, digital and hand drawings, and fully constructed garments.

Beyond the basics of fashion design, students learn the business fundamentals of apparel marketing, manufacturing, and production procedures.

Programs: Fashion Design, Fibers, Jewelry


Number of Students: Undergrads: 1752; Fashion Design: 110;  Fibers: 39 Metals/Jewelry: 30


Tuition for MA residents, New England residents and Out-of-state students

 Massachusetts
Resident
New England
Resident

(CT, ME, NH, RI, VT)
Out of State
Resident
Tuition$1,030$18,630$26,630
Fees$13,170$13,170$13,170
Totals$14,200$31,800$39,800
Fashion schools in USA

Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), Savannah, GA

SCAD is one of the fashion schools in USA that teaches their students how to master the new markets, technologies, as well as trends such that their students end up becoming leaders 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.

At each level, SCAD tuition covers the cost of the extraordinary opportunity a SCAD education provides in the classroom, at networking events and in collaboration with leaders in your chosen career field.

Total, full-time student for one academic year: US$38,340.

Online application fee: US$100.

New student housing reservation fee: US$500.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does fashion schools cost in USA?

Fashion schools provide associate degrees as well as bachelors degrees. Some fashion schools in USA offer masters degrees in fashion as well.

The cost can vary from $4,000 to $28,000 annually for tuition.

For example, The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City is a public college that secures associate’s degrees for about $4,000 annually for residents and $12,000 annually for non-residents. It is advisable to check the school you are interested in to get the exact costs.

The costs of accommodation and food range between $7,000-$20,000 annually.

What are some fashion careers to look out for?

  • Fashion designer
  • Textile designer
  • Patternmaker
  • Fashion merchandiser
  • Product developer
  • Fashion journalist
  • Style forcaster

How do I choose the right fashion School?

  • Decide Between an Arts-Focused School and a More Traditional College.
  • Choose a School That Offers a Degree You Want.
  • Consider Whether You Want a Flexible or Focused Program.
  • Find a Program With Portfolio Requirements That You’ll Be Able to Meet.
  • Think About the School More Generally, do you like the school?

How Can I Apply to a Fashion School in US as an international student?

International students find that combining a Fashion Certificate and a Business AA degree gives them many career opportunities. This therefore always makes them move to the US to attend the fashion schools in USA.

When they return home, they have more chances to be qualified for positions as buyers, apparel store or department managers, sales representatives, or display specialists.

While schools around the US can be very different, there are certain requirements that international students can expect when applying to study in fashion schools in USA.

For example, Parsons, The New School for Design requires the following:

ENGLISH LANGUAGE REQUIREMENTS

Non-native speakers are required to submit TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)or IELTS (International English Language Testing System) results.

The minimum TOEFL and IELTS score requirements for degree programs at Parsons are as follows:

Applicant’s Desired DegreeTOEFL ScoreIELTS Score
Bachelor’s degree (BBA, BFA, BS)927.0
Dual-degree (BA/BFA)1007.0
Associate’s degree (AAS)796.5
Master’s degree (MA, MArch, MFA, MS)927.0
fashion schools in USA

International Transcripts

Applicants who are interested in transferring academic credits from non-US institutions must have their transcripts evaluated by credential evaluators such as World Education Services, or by another member of the National Association of Credit Evaluation Services.

Visa

International students are, of course, required to apply for an I-20 or DS-2019 to obtain a visa that will allow them to study fashion in the US.

Instructions for applying for this visa can be found in the link below: — http://www.internationalstudent.com/immigration/

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