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Top 7 Picks for Fashion Schools in New York in 2021

May 6, 2021 | Staff Writers

Fashion Schools in New York
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Top 7 Picks for Fashion Schools in New York

1. CUNY Kingsborough Community College

  • Credits Required: 64 
  • Tuition: $150 per credit
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Degree: AAS in Fashion Design

The fastest and least expensive route into the fashion industry is an associate’s degree from an accredited two-year program. Cuny Kingsborough Community College prepares students to build a career on the basics of draping, flat pattern making, sketching, and CAD. Throughout the program and in the required internship, students will create a collection and prepare to present their work portfolio in their final semester. Graduates leave the program with a professional portfolio of work with which to attain employment in the industry. Cuny Kingsborough also has an alternative route into the industry with an AAS in Business of Fashion Design. 

2. Nassau Community College

  • Credits Required: 63 
  • Tuition: $242 per credit
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Degree: AAS in Fashion Design

Another two-year program, Nassau Community College, prepares students to enter the industry with an understanding of draping, fashion art, pattern making, and garment construction. Using the latest industry equipment, they will learn the technique and skills required to turn original sketches into rack-ready products or one-of-a-kind art pieces. 

Students gain valuable hands-on industry experience during a required internship semester. After their final semester fashion show, they will have a professional portfolio of work to begin their careers. Upon completing the program, graduates have gone on to work as designers, assistant designers, patternmakers, and product developers. Many students also choose to take this foundational education and enter the third year of a four-year program to attain a BA of BS in fashion design or business of fashion. 

3. SUNY Buffalo State College

For in-state students looking to pursue a career in the fashion industry, Suny Buffalo State College offers an affordable four-year program with several possible approaches. The benefit of a BS in Fashion and Textile Technology, as opposed to a straight fashion design degree, is it opens several more doors as entry points into the industry. The program’s depth is evident in the expertise of the faculty, the ever-evolving curriculum, and the department’s partnerships with well-known names in the industry. 

The program received an endorsement from the American Apparel and Footwear Association and works closely with the Costume Society of America, the American Collegiate Retailing Association, and the International Textile and Apparel Association. The breadth of the coursework, internship variety, and strong industry relationships open many doors for this program graduates.

4. Cazenovia College

Cazenovia College is one of the fashion schools in New York that has a fine arts degree devoted entirely to design. By giving equal weight to the design process’s technical and creative aspects, this program develops students into well-rounded designers prepared to enter several market sectors. 

Highly sought after knowledge of technical design using state of the art software is a critical component of the program. At the same time, students are encouraged to explore the reaches of their own creativity. Independent and group projects, lecture series, and hands-on experience through internships teach the students to harness their personal style and viewpoint while developing the teamwork skills that are integral to success in the fashion industry. 

4. Marist College, Poughkeepsie, New York

  • Credits Required: 120 BFA
  • Tuition: $1440 per credit
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Degree: BA in Fashion Design

Marist College is a premier institution of higher learning in many fields. In fact, 98% of Marist graduates are either employed full-time or in graduate school within six months of program completion. Students in the fashion design program receive an education that includes more than just creative and technical skills. 

Part of the curriculum requires investigation into the theories and history of fashion design, and student designers are encouraged to seek interdisciplinary input. As the sustainability of products has become a central theme in the industry, the department prompted students to explore the possibilities with students in other academic areas. 

While the bulk of the curriculum does focus on the traditional basics of design, courses in culture, commerce, and new CAD processes has allowed the program to keep up with the constantly changing industry trends. 

6. Parsons New School of Fashion Design

Out of all of the fashion schools in New York, Parsons New School of Fashion Design probably has the most significant name recognition due to its appearance on the tv show Project Runway. For several seasons, Bravo’s hit series contestants worked and were filmed in the studios at Parsons. 

However, before television made Parsons a household name, the fashion design school was widely regarded within the fashion industry. Graduates of this program have gone on to become forces in the industry, shaping the trends and future of fashion. 

In addition to the fundamentals of design, students are encouraged to look into the future, embrace continuous change, and expand their creative expression to focus on social and environmental value.

7. Fashion Institute of Technology

  • Credits Required: 124 
  • Tuition: $299
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education and National Association of Schools of Art and Design
  • Degree: Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design (Various concentrations)

If a student wants to embark on a career in the fashion industry, 7th avenue in New York City is the place to go. Located on the famed “Fashion Avenue,” the Fashion Institute of Technology has been educating industry change-makers for more than 65 years. Whether the goal is to hit Fashion Week’s stage to show one-of-a-kind couture or become an internationally recognized producer of mass-market designs, FIT is the springboard. 

While the fundamentals of design are the curriculum’s cornerstones, FIT offers an unparalleled insider’s look into the industry. Faculty members are accomplished, currently working industry pros, sponsors of student programs and competitions include the Council of Fashion Designers of America, and top designers like Carolina Herrara and Calvin Klein offer critiques for student exhibitions. Current and former students have done internships at Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren, and Tommy Hilfiger’s fashion houses. 

Concentrations for the BFA in Fashion Design program include Children’s Wear, Intimate Apparel, Knitwear, Special Occasion, and Sportswear. 

Our Ranking Methodology

Like the fashion industry itself, fashion schools in New York offer many concentrations and a wide variety of opportunities. Students entering the field may already have industry experience, be looking to switch from one area of the industry to another, or be starting fresh and want a well-rounded education that dabbles in several facets of the industry. 
For this list, we attributed a point system and ranked each program, one through 7, based on tuition and credits required. 
We welcome input from representatives of the schools on our list and encourage them to reach out with questions or information updates. Also, if you represent an academic program and would like us to include your school in a future review please let us know. 

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