All 10+Best Fashion Schools in California(Tuition&Scholarships)

At the forefront of technology, the USA is the leader in educating fashion designers and business leaders in this exciting industry. The country has some of the top fashion schools in California.

Here you can learn it all, from adapting a 16th-century gown for a 21st-century film to computerized stitching techniques, to promote a new line of apparel. Fashion is something you learn. It is not something you are born with.

Therefore I have decided to give you the list of fashion schools in California, as well as the scholarships available for you in fashion schools in California.

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4 Frequently Asked Questions

List of 5 best Fashion schools in California

Here is the list of the best fashion schools in California:

  • Academy of Art University
  • Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising Los Angeles
  • Otis College of Art and Design
  • Los Angeles Trade Technical College
  • California College of the Arts

Before we go further, It is important you note that not all fashion schools in California are accredited.

# Academy of Art University

This is one of the fashion schools in California that offers degree options to span the entire fashion career spectrum.

They give their students a thorough knowledge in terms of fashion designing, fashion styling, fashion merchandising, and fashion marketing. They have accreditations from:

  • CIDA – Council for Interior Design Accreditation
  • CTC – California Commission Teacher Credentialing Accreditation
  • NAAB – National Architectural Accrediting Board
  • NASAD – National Association of Schools of Art and Design
  • WSCUC – WASC Senior College and University Commission

# Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising Los Angeles

This is one of the fashion schools in California that has a transformative educational system. They are accredited, they are specialized and Co-educational.

The college is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

# Otis College of Art and Design

This is one of the fashion schools in California that has over a thousand students from over 43 states and 24 countries, enrolled in more than a dozen art and design programs.

Otis College of Art and Design offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in visual and applied artsmedia, and design, in addition to year-round Extension courses for all ages.

OTIS is accredited by WSCUC Senior College and University Commission

# Los Angeles Trade Technical College

Los Angeles Trade Technical College can be said to be one of the best fashion schools in California that provides functional Fashion Design and Fashion Technology programs designed to equip students for careers in all areas of apparel manufacturing from assistant designers to production management.

Los Angeles Trade-Technical College (LATTC) is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior College, Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

# California College of the Arts

This is one of the fashion schools in California that develops fashion designers in their conceptual capabilities.

The BFA in Fashion Design is one of the top 10 programs on the West Coast. With small class sizes and individual attention from faculty.

You’ll have the unique opportunity to work alongside experts in carbon-negative fibres, circular systems, sustainability, and other emergent fields

Other Fashion schools in California, their details and scholarships available

The following fashion schools in California have programs in fashion designing; they equally have scholarships and financial aid for their students:

Fashion schools in
Academy of Art University
(San Francisco,CA)
• Fashion Design
• Large Campus
• Urban Setting
• $18,360 Tuition Cost
• $8,074 Scholarship and Financial Aid Awards
Academy of Couture Art
(Los Angeles,CA)

• Fashion Design
• Small Campus
• Urban Setting
• $19,312 Tuition Cost
• Small Class Sizes
Allan Hancock College
(Santa Maria,CA)
• Fashion Design
• Large Campus
• Urban Setting
• $1,288 Tuition Cost
• $1,188 Scholarship and Financial Aid Awards
American River College

• Fashion Design, • Fashion Marketing
• Large Campus
• Suburban Setting
• $350 Scholarship and Financial Aid Awards
Antelope Valley College
• Fashion Design
• Large Campus
• Suburban Setting
• $1,104 Tuition Cost
Butte College
• Fashion Marketing
• Large Campus
• Rural Setting
• $1,104 Tuition Cost
• $157 Scholarship and Financial Aid Awards
California College of the Arts
• Fashion Design
• Small Campus
• Urban Setting
• $38,448 Tuition Cost
• $15,624 Scholarship and Financial Aid Awards
• Small Class Sizes
California State Polytechnic University-Pomona
• Fashion Design
• Large Campus
• Suburban Setting
• $5,472 Tuition Cost
• $4,458 Scholarship and Financial Aid Awards
FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising-Los Angeles
(Los Angeles,CA)
• Fashion Design, • Fashion Marketing, • Fashion Merchandising
• Small Campus
• Urban Setting
• $26,660 Tuition Cost
• $2,660 Scholarship and Financial Aid Awards
FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising-San Diego
(San Diego,CA)
• Fashion Merchandising
• Small Campus
• Urban Setting
• $26,660 Tuition Cost
• $2,778 Scholarship and Financial Aid Awards
International Academy of Design and Technology-Sacramento
• Fashion Design
• Small Campus
• Urban Setting
• $15,840 Tuition Cost
• $1,200 Scholarship and Financial Aid Awards
Los Angeles Trade Technical College
(Los Angeles,CA)
• Fashion Design,
• Fashion Marketing
• Large Campus
• Urban Setting
• $1,218 Tuition Cost
Otis College of Art and Design
(Los Angeles,CA)
• Fashion Design
• Small Campus
• Urban Setting
• $36,350 Tuition Cost
• $11,784 Scholarship and Financial Aid Awards
• Small Class Sizes
The Art Institute of California-Argosy University Hollywood
(North Hollywood,CA)
• Fashion Design,
• Fashion Marketing
• Small Campus
• Urban Setting
• $18,648 Tuition Cost
• $2,218 Scholarship and Financial Aid Awards

Virginia Sewing Machines and School Center
(Los Angeles,CA)
• Fashion Design
• Small Campus
• Urban Setting
Fashion schools in California

How much do fashion designers earn in California?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for a fashion designer in California is around $78,680, annually.

The lowest 10 per cent of designers earned less than $35,000 per year, and the top 10 per cent earned more than $135,000 per year. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What questions do I have to ask while choosing my fashion design program?

  • Is the program designed with significant input from industry insiders?
  • Most importantly, does the program offer an internship? 

How do I Make A Career In Fashion Designing?

1. Pursue a Degree in Fashion Designing in any of the fashion schools in California

If you plan to not just work in the fashion industry but become the pioneer in it then you need to indulge and gain knowledge about the basics of this glamorous industry. Usually, you can obtain these basics from any of the fashion schools in California.

Any fashion enthusiast who aspires to become a successful fashion designer should get admitted to a fashion design college as these colleges help you to become industry-ready.

Pursuing a fashion designing course in the fashion schools in California will extensively enable you to understand the working of the fashion industry collaboratively – fashion design history, clothing textiles, sketching and drawing of outfits, fashion events, managing a fashion house etc.

2. Gain Knowledge About the Past, Present & Future of Fashion

Fashion is unfathomably an adorable art.

That is why it is utterly important to study and understand the history of fashion.

Be it Vera Wang, Oscar De La Renta or Vivenne Westwood, all of these famous fashion designers were once the students of Philosophy of Art, which is a great course to indulge in as it enables you to express your ideas and put them in an appropriate context.

3. Play the ‘Making Contacts’ Game Well

If you make the right contacts early on, it’ll prove to be very beneficial in developing your career as a fashion designer.

You should start meeting and communicating with people from the fashion industry as early as possible, preferably while you are still a Fashion Design student in any of the fashion schools in California.

You should also be flexible with paid or unpaid internships as it will help you to develop experience in the field.

It is much easier to get a job on a recommendation than trying to convince others that you have what it takes to prove your worth as a designer.

4. Determine Your Area of Expertise

Don’t opt for being a jack of all trades and the master of one.

Choose your area of expertise judiciously and pursue it professionally while determining a career in fashion designing.

Figure out what your area of interest is, whether it is men’s wear, women’s wear, children’s wear, sportswear or accessory designing, in order to move progressively towards the business aspect of fashion.

5. Set Up A Business-Oriented Mindset

Fashion is an impressive form of art, but it is also a billion dollars industry.

It has been evidently spoken by world-renowned fashion designers that in order for them to succeed, they had to understand and learn the business aspect of the fashion industry as well.

It helps you to further understand how to run a successful business as you’ll discover new and engrossing ways to promote your brand and make it stand out from the crowd.

6. Keep An Eye for Detail and Think Out of the Box

If you are a keen observer of detailing, understand the world of colour palettes, textures and impressively well at sketching figures, then don’t let your talent go in vain.

An ideal way to brush up your skills is to be a part of a Fashion Design Institute.

Design institutes are well equipped with more than enough facilities and experienced faculty to help you become a better designer.

On an everyday basis, you get to learn and experience innumerable new things which can further help you in building your fashion career. 

A lot of the top fashion design colleges in Mumbai are not only beneficial in imparting theoretical knowledge, but also helps the students to gain practical knowledge.

Hands-on practical knowledge and exposure to the industry are the primary focuses. Ideations, innovation in fashion and styling cues can be gained from such colleges.

7. Design A Portfolio

In order for you to establish yourself as a fashion designer and to be taken seriously by your fellow industry mates, you need to demonstrate your work in your under-graduation through an impressive portfolio.

It is important that you treat every assignment given to you during under-graduation with utmost sincerity as it will help to shape up your future as a fashion designer.

A good portfolio allows you to show off a range of skill sets, including sketching, sewing and pattern making abilities.

8. Keeping Up With The Trends

The fashion industry is a rapidly changing industry.

The industry has something new to offer with every passing season.

That is why it is very important for aspiring fashion designers to keep up with the trends all around the globe.

You can be up to date with the trends around by religiously reading industry journals and magazines.

What are the different types of designers?

Clothing Designers

 – They create and help produce men’s, women’s, and children’s apparel, including casual wear, suits, sportswear, evening wear, outerwear, maternity, and intimate apparel.

Footwear Designers

 – They create and help produce different styles of shoes and boots. As new materials become available, such as lightweight synthetic materials used in shoe soles, footwear designers produce new designs that combine comfort, form, and function.

Accessory Designers 

– They design and produce items such as handbags, suitcases, belts, scarves, hats, hosiery, and eyewear.

Costume Designers 

– They design costumes for the performing arts and for motion picture and television productions.

They research the styles worn during the period in which the performance takes place, or they work with directors to select and create appropriate attire.

They also must stay within the costume budget for the particular production.

What are the benefits of attending Fashion schools in California?

You will gain the following by attending the fashion schools in California:

  • Have access to a tutor.
  • You will be able to fast track your career as a fashion stylist consultant.
  • Learn the inside secrets of how to become a fashion stylist pro in months not years.
  • Lastly, one of the best benefits of a fashion designing course is that it not only advances your artistic skills but also lets you know about the varying trends.

    These are noteworthy skills that help you to get an optimistic outlook in this fashion designing business

What are the career options for me in fashion designing?

Jobs Directly Related to Fashion Designing Degree Include:

Fashion Designer
Retail Buyer
Retail Manager
Retail Merchandiser
Fashion Stylist
Textile Designer
Visual Merchandiser

Jobs Where Fashion Designing Degree(either from fashion schools in California or elsewhere) Would Be Useful Include:

Clothing/Textile Technologist
Event Manager
Jewellery Designer
Magazine Journalist
Make-up Artist
Public Relations Officer

How do I start my fashion design business?

work like an entrepreneur

When you are about to start a business, you need to think and work like an entrepreneur. You must meet with people who have experience in running the business and have formed a name for them.

You get to know about the skills they possess and the techniques they adapt to stay in the market.

Often, the fashion schools in California organize meetings and sessions with reputed fashion designers to help students understand the complications involved and how to tackle them.

Being in the fashion designing industry, you need to form good and strong relationships with investors, manufacturers, and buyers.

You must learn from the experiences of people who have already established themselves in the industry.

Know your target audience

One of the key features of running any business is knowing about your target audience. You cannot move forward effectively if you are not aware of your target audience.

To know about them, you must stay updated with the latest trends they like, the designs and styles, and much more.

You must know what is the purchasing capacity of your audience.

To grab the attention of your customers, you can address their concerns and queries in the advertisement materials and graphic design products.

Get started with single products

One of the best ways to start your business is to get started with a single product. Often, small business owners tend to get started by selling various products.

This is not an effective strategy to start with as involves dedicating more time and managing multiple things at a time.

Therefore, instead of getting started with multiple products, try to focus on establishing a single product in the market.

This will help the people to form trust and have faith in its design and functioning. This will pave the way for the introduction of other products as well.

Correct prices

While studying in fashion schools in California one thing that you are always taught is to set the prices accurately to attract your customers.

You must know how much you are spending on raw materials and manufacturing procedures and what is the amount that your clients are willing to pay.

You need to set a correct balance between the amount that customers will pay and how much it will take to cover your cost of production.

Fashion design website

One of the most effective ways of reaching out to an audience today is through websites.

Your online presence creates a great effect on your business.

By creating a user-friendly website, you can grab the attention of customers and can add additional features to make the process of online shopping easier for them.

You can create an effective and responsive website for your customers to let them interact with you freely. 

Ensure that you get admission to one of the best fashion schools in California and work on the required skills to establish yourself in the industry.

What are the important skills needed to be a fashion designer in California?

You need the following skills; either acquired from the fashion schools in California or self-built, to succeed in the industry.


To become a great fashion designer, you need to possess some artistic skills such as sketching.

This will help you create a pictorial representation of the mental design on your head or any other intended design you want to create.

Computer-aided design (CAD): 

Once you have an idea of what you want to make on paper, you’ll need to convey your imagination into the digital world with a CAD program.

Fashion research: Before you design apparel, it is important you carry out research to see the latest trends and the applicability of that style you have in mind.

The everyday life of fashion designers hovers around the research.

Business skills: As a fashion designer who wants to make it in the business, you have to have a good knowledge of the business world and how to go around numbers. This skill goes a long way to determine your earnings.

Effective communication: Ideally, every business person needs to know and understand what it means to effectively communicate.

From sharing fashion ideas to getting them done efficiently, a fashion designer should know how to communicate effectively with colleagues and clients.

Time management: Every fashion designer should know how to allot and manage his or her time effectively. This will help you keep up with the flow and meet up with clients’ demands.

Self-confidence: What self-confidence does to a fashion designer is that it gives you that assurance and insight that the effort you are putting in is worth it.

In the fashion world where designs are distinctively creative, carving a personal niche and style will help you excel.

Accepting criticism: Despite the efforts and ingenuity you put into the profession, as a fashion designer, you should be able to accept criticism with a good heart.

This is the only way your error and flaws will be highlighted and corrected. The whole idea of accepting criticism is that it will help you be a better person.

How can I apply to a US fashion school as an international student?

International students find that combining a Fashion Certificate and a Business AA degree gives them many career opportunities.

When they return home, they are qualified for positions as buyers, apparel store or department managers, sales representatives, or display specialists.

Earning a bachelor’s degree is another option for international students who want careers in fashion

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

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

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.


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 here:

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