Looking to advance your career in fashion or build your career in the industry you already know and love? Fashion programs are notoriously expensive and competitive, but don’t get stuck on costly and overrated programs. Instead, apply to some of these lesser known but highly specialized fashion schools around the world.
1. Philadelphia University
Philadelphia University’s fashion design program is one of the best under-the-radar options in the world. It’s modeled after the fashion industry, with a focus on computerized design and production. It also features international study abroad programs, located in some of the most fashion-forward cities around the world; think London and Rome. The hands-on experience students obtain at Philadelphia University’s fashion design program prepares them to enter the workforce with knowledge and experience under their belt. Graduates of the program have gone on to pursue careers in many major companies, both in fashion production and media, including some at Vogue magazine, Tommy Hilfiger and Urban Outfitters.
2. Istituto Marangoni
Located in Milan, Istituto Marangoni takes the idea of international study to a new level. The program is split between four separate campuses in four different countries: Milan, Paris, Shanghai and London. The courses at Istituto Marangoni stretch far beyond design. They include focuses like management, brand promotion and fashion buying. The program is perhaps most proud of its teaching approach. They encourage learning and creativity as a way to grow talent, but not to overtake the personality of their students.
3. Bunka Fashion College
Bunka Fashion College in Tokyo, Japan mixes fashion design and technology to give its students a leg-up in today’s modern fashion market. It teaches the buying of textiles, as well as how to create garments. While it has more academic courses in marketing and business, it also is well known for its rather unique and creative designs. Bunka Fashion College has turned out high-fashion designers who changed popular style, including Hiroko Koshino, Yohji Yamamoto and Chisato Tsumori. Note, however, that classes are only taught in Japanese.
4. The University of Delaware
The University of Delaware’s fashion school offers majors in fashion merchandising, apparel design and minors in fashion history and fashion culture. Because it’s part of a larger university, it offers a true American college experience without sacrificing quality of education. Not only does the program focus on design, but it also works to produce graduates with a passion for sustainability and social responsibility. The program also has strong ties to local community fashion markets and stores, which gives students real-world experiences and invaluable networking minutes from campus. Each year, students participate in several fashion shows and marketing showcases.
5. Raffles Design Institute
Those looking for a fast track to a master’s in fashion may want to consider attending Raffles Design Institute. While it is possible to attend the program as an undergrad, graduates who wish to remain enrolled for one additional year may be eligible for a master’s in fashion. Raffles Design Institute includes campuses in Singapore, Shanghai, Mumbai and Sydney, so students have a wide variety of international resources at their fingertips. The Design Institute also stretches beyond fashion, giving students the opportunity to learn about interior design. They’re also future-focused, offering courses in 3D jewelry design. Graduates of Raffles Design Institute leave with a modern perspective on the fashion industry and knowledge of international and cutting-edge design.
6. Shenkar College of Engineering, Design and Art
Located in Israel, Shenkar College of Engineering, Design and Art offers students a one-of-a-kind experience in the fashion world. The school specializes in three areas: fashion, textile and jewelry design. Students from all over the world are welcome, and most classes are taught in English. The Shenkar College of Engineering, Design and Art is one of the most affordable schools on this list, perfect for students who want an international experience without the price tag. While students at Shenkar College are encouraged to embrace their artistic sides, courses also offer a focus on new technology and contemporary design. There are also combinations of design and engineering curriculum for more technologically-minded students. Master’s degrees and Ph.D. programs are also available for those who wish to continue their education in the world of fashion and design.
7. Polimoda Fashion School
Located in one of the quaintest towns in Italy, known for its lace and leather, sits Polimoda Fashion School. Polimoda offers a wide range of majors for its undergraduates but offers exceptional schooling for students pursuing their masters’ degrees. Graduate school focuses include everything from fashion technology to shoe and bag collection design. This is also an excellent choice for those interested in the new industry of trend forecasting, as this small, Italian school is one of the few fashion universities that offers such a program. Students from around the world flock to Polimoda for its unique approach to fashion.
Choosing a fashion program is challenging, and often competitive, but don’t feel like you have to attend Parsons or FIDM to obtain a worthwhile degree. With so many amazing programs offered around the world and country, traveling to study fashion may be your best bet. Remember, every school offers a unique perspective on the ever-changing industry of fashion; a fresh perspective may be just what you need to get a step ahead after graduation.