How Long Does Fashion Design School Take?

Fashion design, like many other art-based careers, is highly competitive. In order to gain an edge over competing job seekers, a quality education from an accredited fashion design school must be obtained. A degree from such an institution offers proof to employers that one has learned the skills needed for a career in fashion. A portfolio of fashion sketches is also important to potential employers as the portfolio reflects the creativity and originality of the designer who created it. A portfolio is typically created from school projects, and grows as one progresses through the required courses in the design school.

One can choose from three degree options for fashion design. Each option requires a different length of study. The most common choice is a bachelor's degree. This course of study usually takes four years to complete. One can also choose a shorter option which is an associate degree in fashion design. This only takes two years and prepares one to enter the workforce as a fashion design assistant. The third option is the master's degree in fashion design which is on average an additional two years beyond the bachelor's degree. Fashion design school takes a minimum of two years. More commonly it takes four years, and occasionally it takes six years if graduate school is undertaken.

Students must learn complex skills before becoming a fashion designer. They must become proficient at pattern making and constructing garments. They must learn about fabrics—which are the best to use and which ones are trendy. While in fashion design school, students will learn fashion sketching and will create portfolios which display their understanding of proportion and attention to garment details. Students will also design and create garments or accessories from conception to completion.

The two year AA level programs teach students the basics of fashion design including illustration, pattern making, draping, garment construction, and garment production techniques. The bachelor's program uses the AA courses as a foundation for a more intense education in fashion.

The four year BA level programs allow students the opportunity to develop their individual styles and learn about various aspects of fashion design such as costume construction, fashion event planning, entrepreneurship, and fashion journalism. These students may also participate in semester long or year long internships with fashion houses where they take part in the day to day job duties of a designer or assistant designer.

All of the skills that are learned are progressive and build upon each other. Higher level courses require lower level courses as prerequisites. Therefore the fashion design school curriculum must be followed exactly in order to fit all the class in and graduate on time.

Fashion design school is an investment of two to four years, but it is also an investment in the future. It is next to impossible to land a great job in fashion design without a degree from an established and accredited fashion design school. A good school will arm its students with the skills and confidence they need to succeed in the competitive world of fashion design.

Schools Offering Training Programs in Fashion Design

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            Fashion Design (AS)
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
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            BA/Service Management - Mass-market Retail Enterprise Management
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