Top Fashion Schools Across the Country
If you’re interested in becoming a designer, you’ll need to enroll in one of the top fashion schools in order to obtain the required degree, as well as experience the internship opportunities they provide. These colleges will offer a four to five year bachelor’s in fashion design program that will teach you about all the aspects of the industry, from its history to how a design is drawn, made into a prototype and then sent to a manufacturer.
Do I Really need a Degree from a College for Design?
The short answer is yes. Most design programs require applicants to submit a portfolio containing a certain amount of designs with a specific theme. The theme will vary depending on the school, so it is important for the student to be aware of the specific requirements of each design school they apply for.
Some of the best institutions, such as the Art Institute of New York, The Academy of Art Institute and the Fashion Institute of Technology all offer their students internship opportunities. An internship can be worked during a student’s junior and senior year in the bachelor’s degree program. Many of these schools will have internship fairs where independent designers and large clothing retail companies will meet with students, look over their portfolio and determine if a student is a good fit for their design team. These internships are hard to come by, so you definitely want to find a school that offers this type of program.
During an internship the student will work as a designer’s assistant, setting and canceling appointments and at times even running errands for the designer. The intern will also get to work closely with the designer during the creative process, or when a design needs alterations or adjustments. An intern will also be on hand backstage during a show or even present at meetings with clothing manufacturing companies.
The internship programs that are offered provide an excellent way for students to network with professionals in this industry and it’s also a good way to find employment once a student has obtained their bachelor’s degree in fashion design.
In order to qualify for entry level positions in this field, you will need to obtain at least a two year degree. These shorter degree programs will cover some of the same course material as the longer degree programs, however, you’ll need to start off working as an intern after graduation in order to climb your way up the ladder and land a position as a designer for a firm. Many designers try to make it on their talent alone and don’t even bother going to design school, but it’s important that you at least learn the bare minimum about the fashion industry, including the business side and production aspect.
Two Popular Design Programs
The Academy of Art University features one of the most reputable fashion design programs, with graduates showing off their design lines in New York during Fashion week, giving their students the best possible exposure for this type of field. This school offers either a two to three year master’s degree program or the four to five year bachelor’s degree. The Academy of Art Institute also offers their degree programs online for those students needing more flexibility in their schedule. This school will require the applicant to provide a portfolio of their designs in order to be considered into a program.
The Rhode Island School of Design offers the four year bachelor’s degree in fashion design and features an extensive list of major designers that will visit the school and hold lectures throughout the year. This program will also feature a fashion show that will feature the works of the top selected graduates.
Why Talent Alone Doesn’t Spell Success and Why Design School is Everything
An education from a design institution will teach students more about the process involved in creating trend lines by not only demonstrations and instruction in a classroom setting but also by offering their students the opportunity to enroll in an internship program that will be held either with an individual designer, large or small design firm, or through a major retail clothing company. Not only will a student be enabled to get a realistic look at this field but they will also be able to make connections in this industry while also learning new techniques and design methods from field professionals.
Once a student has graduated from one of the top design colleges, they will have a choice of applying for design positions with major retail companies or try making a name for themselves by creating their own trend line. With today’s technology it is easier for the designer to become their own boss by creating and operating websites that feature their work. Fresh out of school it’s also common for the graduate to be employed with a retail clothing company while also creating their personal line as a way to supplement their income until they have broken through in the industry.
Because this type of career is so competitive, there are no statistics available to determine the future growth of this field.
As a fashion designer, the annual salary potential will vary depending on many factors including whether the designer works independently or for a major clothing manufacturer, the designer’s level of education and how many years of experience in the fashion industry they have. The salary for this career field can range from 45,000$ to 65,000$ and can be significantly more if a designer is hired by a major clothing label. That’s why it is important if you go to top fashion schools.