What You Will Study in College
If you want to become a fashion designer, you will have to choose between attending an art and design school or a traditional liberal arts college, and earning a BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts) degree or a BA (Bachelor of Arts) degree. Art and design schools always offer BFAs and some also have BA programs. Liberal arts colleges always offer BAs and some confer BFAs as well.
When you are enrolled in a BFA-granting program the emphasis will be on your studio classes, for example, the ones in which you will learn about fashion design. You will earn about two-thirds of your credits in studio courses and about one-third in liberal arts courses. The reverse is true if you plan to graduate with a BA: two-thirds of your credits will come from liberal arts coursework and one-third from studio coursework. If you want to leave your options open or if you plan to minor in a non-art related field of study, you should attend a liberal arts college.
There are hundreds of liberal arts colleges and, by comparison, very few art and design schools. Learn as much as you can about any school to which you want to apply. Look for programs that are well respected in the fashion industry. To get you started, check out The Council of Fashion Designers of America website. You will find a list of schools that participate in that organization’s scholarship program.
Here are some fashion design classes you are likely to encounter (course titles will differ by program):
- Apparel Design
- Flat Pattern Design
- Fashion Illustration
- Survey of the Fashion Industry
- Figure Drawing
- History of Fashion
- The Business of Fashion
- Fashion Design: Concept Development
- Fashion Portfolio Presentation
- Introduction to Basic Shoemaking
- Cut and Sew Studio
- Knitwear Studio
Your college education will not be complete without an internship. Many colleges require that you do one but if yours doesn’t, you should anyway. It will give you the opportunity to see what it’s really like to work in the fashion industry as well as build up a network of contacts.