Top 5 Fashion Design Schools in North America


Fashion design is interactive and wearable art. The job of a fashion designer is to design and produce clothing, accessories, fabrics, colours, prints and trims...etc. However, fashion designers often create aesthetically pleasing garments, where most people want to own it, which create a trend. 

Indeed, fashion designer is a job that has plenty of opportunities. This program is usually for people who love working hands-on in detail, and always on trend. Here is a list of the top 5 fashion designer schools in north America.  

Relatable jobs that you can work as a fashion designer:

  • Designer (women’s, men’s, children’s)
  • Associate Designer
  • Assistant Designer
  • Activewear Designer
  • Product Development
  • Accessory Designer
  • Computer-aided Designer
  • Pattern Maker
  • Technical Designer
  • Costume Design
  • Creative Director
  • Knitwear Designer
  • Textile Print Designer
  • Textile Research & Development Specialist

Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) State University of New York

Fashion Design Program at the Fashion Institute of Technology:

FIT has been a part of the fashion industry since 1944. Hence, the program fashion designer, has been preparing students for success at every level for a long period.  You will also have the opportunity to connect to the network of valuable contacts in the fashion industry. Moreover, you will learn the skills to make you a successful fashion designer, such computer-aided design (CAD), and design from concept to finished garment

by Taylor Ormond

Note: high school students may not apply for the bachelor of fine art (BFA) degree in fashion design program. Instead they have to take 2 years of Fashion Design Associate in Applied Science (AAS) program, in order to take the BFA degree.

To check if you are eligibility check:

Preparing Portfolio for Fashion Design at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT):

Note: the submission of the application is on SlideRoom, which will cost 10 USD. The portfolio is categorized into three sections,

  • Fashion Design AAS Essay (250 words or less, provide an example of when your point of view differed from a teacher or employer during an evaluation of your performance. How did you handle the situation?)
    Project One: Mix-and-Match Designs (3-6 images):

      Note: Do not trace or use a template for your figures. Include back views of the garments on an additional figure or as a flat sketch. 

      • A mood page, images that has inspired you to create the designs in your portfolio, include a short explanation, list the destination and season of the year when your designs will be worn
      • 5 pieces of design (scan or photograph, identify the fabrics )

      -Design a jacket

      -Design a top (use the top twice, once on each figure)

      -Design a pant

      -Design a skirt

      Project Two Fashion Design Artwork (4-8 images):

      -everything should be original

      -Could be in any medium

      -All sketches should be full-length fashion figures with back views

      -Identify the 2” x 2” fabric swatches on the front of each sketch

      -2 sentences of explanation and thought for each design

      Project Three: Sewing Project (4-9 Photographs):

      • 2 to 3 photograph of garments you have sewn

      -front and back views, may include an additional photo of special details on a garment

      -Must be original

      For the admission requirements of Fashion Design at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) please visit:

      Benefits at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT):

      • Located in New York
      • Annual runway show
      • Professors are seasoned professionals with current experience in the fashion industry
      • Competitions, opportunity and experience are sponsored by The CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America), Cotton Incorporated, and Lululemon Athletica...etc
      • Internship opportunity at Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, and Tommy Hilfiger, among many others

      Reviews of the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT):

      The Fashion Institute of Technology (State University of New York) is an internationally renowned clothing and art design school founded in 1944 in Manhattan, New York City. Majors such as fashion design, advertising design, computer animation and interactive media, fabric design, interior design, fashion photography, fashion product management, etc.

      Founder Mortimer (rtimer c ritter) hopes that the college will become "a design school like mit MIT." Therefore, through unremitting efforts, fit has become a famous university with a rich history of success and a long-standing success under the impact of the urban economy of New York.___Mark Tuosto

      Comments are right about it being hard to get info/assistance from office staff, especially the bursars office. However, the professors are great and are still active in the fashion industry. On top of that, the health services are AMAZING and offer free acupuncture and counseling (even if you aren’t on student insurance). School clubs usually host fun events, like the Drag Show and movie nights, or offer freebies, like massages and henna tattoos during wellness week. The library also has some great services like a magazine archive, fun events, and a VR lab.

      If you’re not too into greek life and your looking for a quirky, creative school you’re gonna love it here!____GABRIELLA STEVENS

      More than just stuff for students here.  Great seminars, presentations and short term summer courses.  Get on the mailing list to get the schedules. They even offer 1 day city tour classes at reasonable prices.____Jen Yerkes


       Parsons The New School for Design

      Fashion Design Program at Parsons:

      Parsons is the only American art and design school within a comprehensive university. In the fashion design program you will be able to think, create problem-solving strategies, and explore different materials and ways to produce an aesthetic garment or accessory. Parsons also provide 3 types of degree in fashion design, Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA), Associate’s Degree (AAS) and Master of Fine Arts (MFA). Many alumni from fashion design, have the capacity to work in a wide range from design to management to communications, for leading fashion firms such as Alexander Wang, Byronesque, Calvin Klein, Coach...etc. 

      by Danchen Sun

      Preparing Portfolio for Fashion Design at Parsons:

      Note: the submission of the application is on SlideRoom, which will cost 10 USD. There is also an addition fee for the application fees are 50 USD for U.S. domestic applicants, and 75 USD for international applicants. 

      • 8 to 12 images of art works 

      -In any media such as drawing, painting, sculpture, fashion design, animation, performance, graphic design, or sketchbook pages

      -portfolio does not need to specifically address the major to which you are applying

      • Essay, why did you apply for Parsons?

      For the admission requirements of Fashion Design at Parsons The New School for Fashion Design please visit:

      Benefits at Parsons The New School:

      • Located in New York, Manhattan, centre of fashion
      • 3 types of degree options
      • Connection with big company
      • Only American art and design school within a comprehensive university
      • Same system as Parsons Paris

      Reviews of Parsons The New School:

      I loved Parsons. I learned more than just fine art. It’s really the top art school for a reason. The staff, management and teachers are all top in their fields. I learned from professionals who understand art from the inside. I’d recommend it to anyone looking to truly explore any artistic discipline.____Susan Marlett

      Parsons School of Design has offered students innovative approaches to education since its founding in 1896. Today they’re the only American art and design school within a comprehensive university, The New School, which also houses a rigorous liberal arts college and a progressive performing arts school. Their undergraduate and graduate programs, offered through Parsons’ five schools, immerse students in focused training, interdisciplinary inquiry, and practice-based collaborative learning. Here creators and scholars master established art and design fields and advance emerging ones while studying a range of university disciplines.____Masih Ullah Safi

      Always wanted to get back to school but could not manage time or the right course.... after a lot of research I found the right one to enhance my career growth.Cannot explain in words how incredible excited I feel to be back in school.____Gargi Das

      Drexel University

      Fashion Design Program at Drexel University:

      In this program, you will learn the skills that you will need to become a professional fashion designer, such as all facets of fashion design, from men's, women's, and children's wear, swimwear and couture. For students to experience and see other fashion industry in other countries, there aboard program in England, Europe and Korea. Graduating in Drexel you will be able to have a wide range of careers in fashion design, styling, advertising, computer-aided and technical design, and more.

      by Xiaohe Peng

      Preparing Portfolio for Fashion Design at Drexel University:

      Note:  the submission of the application is on SlideRoom, which will cost 10 USD. and an application fee of $65 USD is required.

      • Essay: 500 to 800 words describing in detail

      - what you want to study

      - what you hope to accomplish during your time in the program

      • 12 pieces of your strongest 

      -must be original

      -recent work

      -related to the major that you are applying

      For the admission requirements of Fashion Design at Drexel University please visit:

      Benefits at Drexel University:

      • Six months of co-op program
      •  Participate Drexel Fashion Show in the last year
      • top 10 programs in the United States and one of the top 20 in the world
      • working full-time at major designers and with national and international brands in New York City, Los Angeles, and in other fashion-centric cities all over the world
      • Professional instructors

      Reviews of Drexel University:

      Always heard about this campus. Always wanted to come and visit it. The campus is Very beautiful with a great resources. The campus is so huge within a large area that it will take you hours to visit all the buildings And buildings are very beautiful and historic. Love the campus.____Sagrey Turjo

      Drexel is a wonderful school for someone who wants small class sizes, a personal relationship with their professors, and the freedom to guide your own educational path.  Drexel allowed me to study abroad multiple times and was very accommodating to transfer credits. I tested out of the highest language class they had, so they created a one-on-one class just for me!  GREAT university.____Lauren Reisinger

      They provided a fantastic opportunity for a great education...what students decide to do with this is on them.  It's fast paced and challenging -- you'll likely hate it while you're there -- but in the end, the coops and staff make the experience worth it if you're willing to put the time and effort in.____Jonathan Kreamer, EIT


      Pratt Institute University

      Fashion Design at Pratt Institute University:

      In this program, you will be able to design and construct well in using the pattern making and innovative cut, shape and silhouette, through the process in 2 dimensional and 3 dimensional. Basically learning the skills that you will use in the career of a fashion designer.

      by 2016 Pratt Institute University Fashion LookBook 

      Preparing Portfolio for Fashion Design at Pratt Institute University:

      Note: The application is only acceptable through SlideRoom.

      • 12-20 of of your recent and original works (could be in any medium)

      -Must include 3 to 5 still life sketching 

      -If it’s a video: 1 scene of the video and 3 min (no more) of the video, or 3 to 5 min video, or many photos of the video (all must include a description)

      -If it’s a writing: must be in PDF form, no more than 10 pages

      For admission requirements of  Fashion Design and Product Development at Stephens College please visit:

      Benefits at Pratt Institute University:

      • Professional professor
      • Free museum memberships
      • Fashion Show
      • Safe environment
      • Park and garden space

      Reviews of Pratt Institute University:

      The history of Astral Oil lighting the world starts out at the scene in the Gilmore Girls at the Whaling Museum at Cape Cod, and moves her. Of course there are the wonderfully creative students that take what they learn here and go on to do amazing things. Then those amazing felines called the Pratt cats. Take a tour of the power/heating station and get a feel for the history flowing and enlightening people. My urban brooklyn turtle who has grown to be huge, was just a little guy when he lived at Pratt._____Peter Bachman

      I received my MFA from Pratt. Upon starting got a scholarship my first of the two years then found out it was only for that one year. I almost transferred to Hunters MFA program because of this. It is a very pricey private institution so if you want to pay a huge price it's for you. Looking back I wish I was paid to get my MFA as some schools offer this. You may want to consider your public colleges I went to Mass Art for my BFA and was very happy with the outcome. Upon my Pratt graduation thinking I may go down the academia avenue when you start adjunct and don't make nearly enough for all the paperwork required. I then began my first business now I have two businesses. I'm proud to say my 105k Pratt debt was paid off 5 years after graduating! I'm thankful for my Pratt experience because it helped build me to where I am today and I'm thankful for that. I will not let my own two children go through the same debt experience ever!____Dan Simonds

      Pratt Institute School of Architecture gave me the professional skill set that propelled my career in architecture and design. My semester abroad in Rome Italy 1976 broadened my perspectives , and was the foundation of a 41 year career of international luxury branding with leadership positions at Walker Group, Calvin Klein , Estée Lauder,Aveda ,Victoria's Secret and Luxury Brand Partners. That simple decision of choosing Pratt made a positive influence in my life's work.____Anthony LoGrande


      Ryerson University

      Fashion Design Program at Ryerson University:

      Ryerson University’s fashion design program is the best one in Canada. In the program you will be able to use fabric, colours, patterns, finishes and silhouettes to create a unique and aesthetic clothing and accessories. Although the school does not provide any co-op or internship program, but they host fashion shows, where many companies in this field will attend.

      Accepted portfolio in 2019

      Preparing Portfolio for Fashion Design at Ryerson University:

      Note: Portfolio application is through courier/mail. 

      • Statement of Intent (answer all the following question)

               -Why do you want to study fashion

              -What will you bring in the program?

              -How do you want to impact the world through fashion?

              -1 to 2 pages, 12 point style, spacing 1.5, 1 inch margins

      • Choose 3 categories, must choose at least one from A, B or C
      A. Sewn Garment:

      - 1 photograph of your garment with a sewing machine

      - Display on model, or dress form

      - 3 photograph (front, view, detail) 

      - description of used fabric, and 2x2 inch swatch

      B. Style Outfit for a Fashion Magazine:

      - present as fashion magazine layout

      - description

      -2 to 3 photograph

      C. Illustration of Original Garment Design: 

        - side by side

        - front and back

        - coloured

        D. Illustration of fashion Accessory:

          - coloured hand drawing

          E. Poster Design of a Fashion Event:

          - digital/hand draw

          - 2 photocopies of concept development

          F. Logo Design:

          - 2 photocopies of concept development

          - Display business card front and back view on an 8.5x11 inch paper

          G. Fashion Event

          - description of your role in the show or exhibition

          - photograph or any related material

          For admission requirements of  Fashion Design at Ryerson University please visit:

          Benefits at Ryerson University:

          • Convenient transportation 
          • Fashion Shows
          • Located in downtown
          • School Clubs
          • Friendly and cozy environment

          Reviews of Ryerson University:


          I’m in LOVE with this school! Hands down the best university in the country! Education quality is excellent, the professors are excellent, the student experience is excellent, and the location is excellent. Ryerson is the heartbeat of Toronto. The level of knowledge you come out with is outstanding compared to counterparts from other institutions. Since graduating I was able to accomplish far more in my career than I ever expected in a short period of time. My program coordinator was seriously a God send and my professors were the most amazing people. They’re definitely very critical with their grading, but as long as you’re a diligent and passionate student you’ll do very well. This school really cares about their students and I can’t say enough about them. I’m always so proud to say that I’m Ryerson alumni!!!____Nakasha Ogbonna

          is always common in all universities, but the environment is entertaining, relaxing, and chilling. It can keep you happy 24/7, have all the luxury you need next to Dundas-Square, and never miss an exciting event near downtown, such as, pride parade, new years event, concerts, etc.____Faizyungsavv

          I studied film and photography at Ryerson over 30 years ago and psychology later. While it's a big institution and I sometimes felt insignificant when dealing with administration, I have met many great people, both professors and fellow students. Many of these people I remain friends with to this day. I'm taking a course on the Psychology of Personality in the spring as part of my commitment to lifelong learning and am looking forward to it. Great School!____Peter MacNeil