Best Fashion Schools In The World: Top 5 Designer Programs, According To Experts

Do you have a passion for fashion? If so, you’re not alone. There are over 3,854 fashion designers currently employed in the United States according to Zippia. With so many designers, it makes for a competitive industry (even if you don’t necessarily want to work in design). If you’re looking for a career in fashion, one of the ways to stand out from the crowd is by going to a well-known, reputable school. There are many prestigious fashion schools, but the best fashion schools in the world will give you a proper foundation of knowledge to start a career.

Getting a degree is definitely not a requirement in today’s age, but  having a degree (no matter what field) gives you an advantage in society. A study from Princeton and the University of Southern California even found that the life expectancy for someone without a four-year degree is significantly shorter than those finishing college. In 2020, 3,470 fashion and apparel degrees were awarded, growing by 3.15%, according to Data USA.

According to Indeed, the average salary for a fashion designer ranges from $32,320 per year to $130,900 per year. If you don’t plan on being a designer, there are a variety of other areas within fashion you can work in such as a merchandiser, stylist, product developer, retail buyer, and many more. Going to fashion school will give you a better idea of the area you want to work in.

Ready to start your journey? Here at Study Finds, we did the work for you and rounded up the best fashion schools in the world. Our list is based on the top schools recommended across 10 expert websites. Have a top pick of your own? Let us know in the comments below!

Fashion design sketches
(Photo by Charlota Blunarova on Unsplash)

The List: Best Fashion Schools in the World, According to Expert Reviews

1. London College of Fashion

New York and London are home to some of the top fashion schools, with London College of Fashion being known as number one. “London is rightfully recognized as one of the most fashionable cities on the planet. Historically, the British have watched and inspired the French across the English Channel, although in the 20th century London went from follower to leader,” says Fashion Week Online.

One of the reasons the school is so popular is because of the variety of courses offered.  “The school offers not only fashion design courses, but also fashion marketing, journalism, buying and merchandising as well as programs in beauty, cosmetic science, fashion curation and criticism, and even courses specializing in footwear and accessories,” according to Top Universities.

2. Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT)

Let’s start off in New York. FIT is “one of the best fashion colleges globally,” says Global Brands. With New York being known as the “fashion capital of the world,” students benefit from networking and career opportunities by being affiliated with the school, which allows for hands-on learning and gaining real world experience. 

“The school apparently takes full advantage of its NYC location, taking students on frequent field trips to corporate headquarters, design studios, galleries, and museums,” says PrepScholar “Finally, many alumni are particularly successful in the business side of fashion and act as VPs, presidents, and CEOs.”

3. Central Saint Martins

Heading back to the UK, we have another London-based school for fashion. This elite school is partially government funded, “which means that talented British students from all walks of life have a chance to work their way in,” says Fashionista.

The school offers a variety of programs under one roof. “Its fashion courses, however, are among the most popular, with tailored degrees in various areas of the industry, including design, journalism, textiles, critical studies and photography,” says Career Addict.

4. Parsons School of Design

Another top NY contender is Parsons. “The school focuses on rigorous training, integrative inquiry and practice-based collaborative learning,” says Careers 360.

“Most of the faculty members work in the areas in which they teach. The students we spoke to raved about their instructors,” says a reviewer at Fashionista. “What’s more, the school has partnered with many retailers and corporations (like LVMH) with the aim of getting student work seen and critiqued.”

5. Istituto Marangoni International

Milan is also known for fashion — dubbed as the “fashion capital of the world” — and Istituto Marangoni International is known as the top school in Italy. The school has three campuses in London and Paris, but the main campus is in the heart of Milan. Though the school accepts international students (with a tuition difference), students from other countries are accepted. “The school, boasting the likes of Franco Moschino and Domenico Dolce as alumni, has a large community of international students,” according to Top Universities.

“Since then, the school has developed and expanded its range of courses to cater to those seeking to learn more about fashion, focusing on areas including design, communication and management,” writes Career Addict. “With programs at both bachelor’s and master’s level, the Istituto Marangoni prides itself on its extensive education portfolio that’s constantly updated to match industry demands and evolution.”

Honorable mentions go to Savannah College of Art and Design, Bunka Fashion College, National Institute of Fashion Technology, Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, and Westphal College of Media Arts & Design at Drexel University which are among the list on CEOWORLD’s list.

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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.