School of Fashion

Academy of Art University’s School of Fashion is often cited as one of the top fashion design schools in the world.* While we appreciate the accolades, it’s important to note that we are much more than a fantastic fashion design school.

We offer degree options that span the fashion career spectrum. Our programs take students beyond fashion design and textiles into every aspect of the industry—marketing, visual merchandising, journalism, communications, styling, and product development. Our graduates are skilled, experienced, and connected—fully prepared to create their own place in the fashion industry.

Don’t leave your future up to fate. Set yourself up for success by investing in an all-encompassing education that dives deep into the most relevant subjects and skills required for a career in the fashion industry. With a certificate or degree from the Academy of Art University, you’ll stand out amongst other applicants, giving you the absolute best chance of living your dream and accomplishing your goals.

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Fashion Degrees

No matter what your passion is, chances are we have a degree program for you. Interested in the business of fashion? Future fashion entrepreneurs thrive in our programs, experiencing first-hand the dedication, expertise, and immersive approach to learning that sets us apart from other fashion design colleges. Trust us, if the catwalk calls your name, fashion design school is for you. Learn to turn your fashion concepts into relevant, responsible, and beautiful work. Wherever your interests lie, you can go after the fashion career of your dreams at Academy of Art University's School of Fashion.

Road to Fashion Show

The ability to take your designs and dreams to the runway that’s what the Academy’s School of Fashion graduates get to experience each spring and fall season as part of their final thesis projects. To shine a light on this thrilling story, we created a three-part video series to illustrate the path of a few of our fashion design school graduates. Over two full semesters, 23 students opened up to show us the design process from beginning to end, demonstrating the determination and intricate processes needed to transform their initial inspirations into the fashions of the future.

2023 Road to Sustainable Fashion - Lydia Buesgens, BFA Fashion Design
2023 Road to Fashion Show - Butterflies
2023 Road to Fashion Show Semester Wrap Up

Fashion School Advisory Board

The Fashion School Advisory Board is a visionary initiative designed to strengthen the Fashion School’s connection with leading professionals in design, communication, and business. The board will share key insights into current and emerging industry practices, help shape the Fashion curriculum, and provide students with valuable access to workshops, seminars, and connectivity to career opportunities. Discover the accomplished professionals who make up our Fashion Advisory Board and gain valuable insights into their expertise.

Paris Fashion Scholarship Exchange

Through the Sister City Scholarship Exchange Program, the School of Fashion awards 2 scholarships to study in Paris with Studio Berçot each year. These scholarships are a tremendous honor and awarded only to the very best students. Many past recipients stayed in Paris to work at Saint Laurent, Dior and Maison Margiela to name a few.

Program Highlights:

  • The scholarship awards full tuition for one year
  • Living and travel expenses are the responsibility of the student
  • All instruction is in French


  • All fashion design, knitwear and 3D seniors
  • MFA and BFA students
  • Candidates must pass the DELF B1

U.K. Fashion Exchange

Through the Exchange Program, the School of Fashion selects 2 students each year to study at the Kingston University Fashion Department right outside of London.

Program Highlights:

  • Students selected can study one semester or a full year at Kingston
  • Living and travel expenses are the responsibility of the student


  • All fashion design, knitwear and 3D juniors and seniors
  • BFA students

What are the Benefits of Studying Fashion Design Online?

Life gets busy, but that shouldn’t stop you from pursuing the career of your dreams. We’re committed to making receiving an education more convenient for our students, which is why we offer both online and blended learning options. Our virtual classes are still interactive and engaging, with our instructors facilitating deep discussions with participants. But the best part is you can join in from the comfort of your home — or anywhere else for that matter!

Tuition fees can deter many potential students, and we want to address this issue as much as possible. Online learning allows us to deliver quality lessons to our enrollees while eliminating a portion of the cost. Virtual learning is the most budget-friendly option, from saving on gas for your car to eating lunches at home and accessing learning materials online. Unfortunately, it’s a solution many fashion design schools have yet to offer, so we’re proud to be ahead of the curve.

Who says you can’t study and make a living? Our online courses are designed to accommodate any schedule, so you don’t have to choose between putting a roof over your head or advancing your education. Plus, you can complete classes at your own pace, so there’s no pressure to do everything at once. Simply find a rhythm that works for you and enjoy the flexibility of virtual learning.

Online education fosters personalized learning for students and opens the space for more individual attention with teachers. In an online environment, you can take an active role in your education, enabling you to contribute to your learning in new and meaningful ways.

The game changes in an online learning environment because online-guided questions, interactive study, and one-on-one time with instructors are pillars of these courses. Your chances of performing well increase when a teacher engages with you more. This extra attention is invaluable as it enhances communication and critical thinking skills, all necessary to thrive in a fashion career. It’s the kind of experience that opens up exciting learning avenues that are hard to achieve in a traditional classroom.

When you choose to study fashion design online, you are opening up your network in ways you could never imagine. Not only are you tapping into your classroom network, but you are also reaching a global community. Your interactions don’t have to be limited to one classroom. In an online environment, those boundaries no longer exist, allowing you to reach students from all over the globe who are also enrolled in your classes. Online courses offer discussion boards where you can post work, share thoughts, receive critique, and collaborate with fashion students on the other side of the world who are just as eager and driven as you. Who knows where those connections might lead?

What We Teach

It’s always important to consider the quality of education you'll receive when deciding between fashion design schools. Here at the Academy of Art University, we take a thorough approach when delivering our curriculum. Our ultimate goal is to ensure every student leaves with an in-depth understanding of the entire fashion process— from conceptualizing to illustration, technical sketching, fabric selection, draping, cutting, sewing, production, costing, promotion, and more.

Construction & Draping

In the fashion industry, construction refers to taking your vision for a garment and turning it into a tangible, 3D form. This is primarily achieved via draping (the practice of pinning fabric to a torso mannequin). Many fashion schools include this skill in their curriculum, but not all dedicate an entire class to refining this particularly significant skill. We work with our students for several months to ensure they understand how to drape various types of fabrics, how to use a wide selection of draping tools, and trim and pin fabrics for optimal structure.

Fashion Illustration

Being able to create a garment drawing that is accurate, true to the human figure, and reflective of your overall artistic vision is a critical skill, which is why it’s so important to seek out colleges for fashion design that extensively cover this topic. Our course delves deep into the various drawing skills designers will need to produce exquisite illustrations, including how to draw clothing folds, how to add details and ornamentation, and how to ensure the proper body proportions.

Costume Designing

Costume design differs significantly from ready-to-wear fashion design or even haute couture fashion design. It’s all about creating garments that bring a character or storyline to life in an authentic and consistent way with a greater creative vision. In this course, students learn how to conduct fashion research, choose textiles that are both relevant and functional, and design according to costume parameters provided by a film or theater production team. If you’re seeking fashion designing colleges that will catapult you into a career on Hollywood movie sets or the stages of London’s West End, our costume designing course is for you.

Fashion Technology

3D printing, virtual reality fittings, AI-assisted fashion design, and product lifecycle management platforms are just a few technological advancements that are revolutionizing the fashion industry. If new and emerging fashion designers want to thrive in a continuously evolving landscape, they must be familiar with the latest industry tools, software programs, and innovations. This course introduces several high-tech fashion solutions and allows students to experiment with them firsthand.

Trend Forecasting

Schools for fashion design should prepare students for all aspects of the fashion industry, including the need to analyze and predict style trends in the marketplace. The fashion industry is a highly competitive battleground, and to emerge victorious, designers must have a keen eye for cultural shifts or changes in taste. This course gives students the skills they’ll need to gather data from various sources and make educated predictions based on verifiable information.

Computerized Pattern-Making

There are several computer software programs that allow users to conveniently design, adapt, and perfect sewing patterns for their fashion creations. The best fashion design schools introduce students to these programs and ensure they are comfortable utilizing them before graduation. Our computerized pattern-making course guides students through drafting new styles, making pattern modifications, and converting digital pattern files so they can be easily transferred to other programs.

Introduction to Knitwear

Many of our alums say our specialized course offerings are why they chose to enroll with us over other fashion design schools — and our introduction to knitwear class is a perfect example of this. Our students spend hours learning how to design, create, and manufacture knitted apparel over the course of a semester. Upon completing the class, they can competently and confidently select wool and other materials, knit common stitches and structures, and design knitted clothing for various shapes and

Visual Merchandising

We highly encourage keeping merchandising top of mind when researching fashion designing colleges. The ability to create aesthetically pleasing and forward-thinking retail displays is essential to any successful career in fashion. Our visual merchandising course teaches students how to create eye-catching focus points in their displays, edit down displays and strategically utilize white space, and appeal to all five senses when conceptualizing an arrangement. You’ll walk away from this class with the knowledge required to increase sales and attract new customers via dazzling fashion displays that leave onlookers thinking, “I need that in my wardrobe!”

Retail Management and Operations

Many fashion designers ultimately aspire to have their own brick-and-mortar boutique, but running a physical retail store requires an entirely separate skillset. This course prepares students for the day-to-day responsibilities of operating a retail fashion business, from implementing quality control measures to overseeing supply chain operations and keeping accurate and up-to-date records for inventory, sales invoicing, tax returns, etc. This is an invaluable class for any student, but particularly for those who see themselves taking their career beyond the decision phase of fashion into entrepreneurship.

Menswear Styling

Menswear is often overlooked in fashion education, but understanding how to style clothing for the male form is a necessary skill for any fashion designer seeking well-rounded training. Students in this class will learn how to layer men’s clothing, choose fabrics and materials when creating a look, and style outfits for a broad range of purposes, including editorial photoshoots, runway shows, and everyday wear. If you want the expertise, experience, and confidence to coordinate outfits for men, provide image consulting, and put together flattering, trendsetting ensembles, you can’t miss this course.

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Featured Stories

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Student Success - Fashion: Eden Slezin - A Fashion Story
Alumni Success - A Fashion Journalism Story: Styling for People With Disabilities
Alumni Success - Yenifer Ubiera: Fashion Styling in NYC
Student Success - Fashion, Maria Aalto MET Gala The Art of The In-Between

Our Alumni

Alumni Success

Many students of our fashion design programs go on to achieve notable success in their chosen roles, taking the skills they gained during their studies and using them as a catalyst to launch their fashion careers. From opening their own Manhattan fashion boutiques to having designs appear in the pages of Vogue, or partnering with mega-brands like Nike — our alums continue to reach new career heights and leave their mark on the world. Below are a few of our high-profile alumni:

Industry Partnership

Supima Cotton

Supima has worked with Academy of Art University students to showcase their designs at their annual fashion show. In addition, Supima has donated fabric for the past two years for students to use in their senior collections.

Learn More

Fashion Shows

We believe that to provide our students with a well-rounded fashion education, there must be a balance between classroom academics and real-world experiences. This is why we actively participate in a number of fashion shows and exhibitions, allowing our enrollees to showcase their designs and network with other professionals in the greater fashion community.

Nothing strengthens the confidence of a designer more than putting themselves to the ultimate test and sharing their collection with the audience at a bonafide fashion show. The fast-paced environment, hectic behind-the-scenes coordination efforts, and exhilarating moments of reveal are all lessons you can’t learn in a classroom. They must be experienced!

Since 2005, the School of Fashion has presented collections created by select students and recent graduates during New York Fashion Week and shows hosted by the Academy of Art University itself. One of the most impressive parts of these shows are the collections created through collaborations in textile, knitwear, and fashion design.


History of Fashion

While it’s true that fashion is constantly changing, it’s also constantly repurposing and pulling inspiration from the past, which is why studying fashion history is so crucial. From the loose, gender-non-confirming fits of the 1920s Flapper era to the ultra-ornamental and tightly-bodiced gowns of the 1880s Bustle era and the voluminous, pleated swing skirts of the 1950s — knowing where styles originated from is necessary to reinvent them for the future. This course includes lessons on all the major fashion periods, equipping students with a thorough understanding of style progression over time.

Careers in Fashion

As one of the top art and design schools in the country, Academy of Art University’s fashion design school offers graduates a wide range of opportunities to choose from. Our facilities, faculty, and hands-on learning approach are designed to provide you with the tools you need to succeed as a professional in the world of fashion.


Your career starts here.
Take the first step.
Or call 415-274-2222 to request more information about this program.
Fashion Designer
Based on your conceptual vision, your grasp of fashion direction, and your ability to anticipate designs that will appeal to consumers, you will transform your fashion inspirations into original collections of clothing. Sketch, select colors and fabrics, and give direction to make the products you design.
As a fashion stylist, you will provide on-set art direction for editorial and catalog fashion shoots and support merchandising strategy with brand and theme-based shoots
Knitwear Designer
You will create ideas for a range of products including sweaters, cardigans, knit jackets and coats, knit dresses, and knit accessories. A wide variety of environments will be open to you - from retail brands, to boutiques, to freelancing and will work with apparel manufacturers to create men's, women's, and children's fashions for the mass market.
Visual Merchandising Director
As a visual merchandising director, you will help promote the image, products, and services of retail and wholesale businesses. You’ll create eye-catching displays using visual and graphic elements, and organize brand-related special events.
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Still deciding between fashion designer colleges?

We get it. Where you complete your post-secondary education is a major decision. We’re here to help you make the best possible choice for your future. We invite you to learn more about our approach to education, state-of-the-art facilities, and our vibrant, bustling student life, so you can determine whether or not we’re the right fit for you. (We’re confident we are!)

Learn Online

Our revolutionary online courses provide the same rigorous education that we offer on campus with greater flexibility. Our online programs are purpose-built to deliver art and design courses. Study on your own time, at your own pace. Combine online and on-site classes. If you’re looking for fashion design schools that will accommodate your demanding lifestyle, our online courses are the perfect solution.

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