University of Fashion Design?

I need to pick your brains, Dopers. My daughter is a junior in high school and is starting to look at colleges. She is interested in fashion design. She actually has a real talent for it, and has been designing and sewing her own clothes for a year or more. She wants to study fashion design in college. A preliminary search turns up lots of vocational-type schools, but we want her to come out of this with a bachelor’s degree and a decent liberal-arts education as well. Any thoughts on where we should look? Hubby and I were both Communcations majors and this whole design school thing is beyond us. Are there bachelor’s degrees in fashion design? If so, what are the “good” schools?

My alma mater, Western Michigan University, has (or at least from 2001-2005 they had) a fashion design program. However, it is immensely popular, and is very, very, very selective. IIRC, only six people per year get into the program.

Honestly, I don’t know a teenage female who doesn’t want to go into fashion design. When I asked my students (10th-12th graders) what they want to do for careers, fashion design was essentially tied with rapper, NBA superstar, NFL superstar, nurse, socialite, and cosmotologist.

FIT has a highly respected Fashion and Textile Studies bachelor’s program. Plus, it’s got “fashion” right there in the name!

Very fashionable.

FWIW, since you’re in WA, I would actually avoid the Art Institute of Seattle (if you were even considering it). I’m a graphic design student there, and right now the fashion department is getting all shook up with the director quitting along with some instructors… not really in a good state.

I started out being interested in Fashion Illustration myself. Being on the other side of the continent from you, besides FIT, which has already been mentioned, I looked at Parsons and Pratt* in New York, and Rhode Island School of Design.

Since you’re on the West Coast, don’t overlook the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. The program is called “Apparel Product Design & Merchandising”. It grants a BS as opposed to a BFA, I suspect because it is administered, for some reason, by the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources rather than Arts & Sciences.

*my alma mater

I would research whether it’s actually necessary to study fashion design in college. It might be better for your daughter’s eventual career to go to an ordinary college in New York City and work part-time and summers in the fashion industry.

Philadelphia University, which used to be named Textile (Something something college of textiles and something something) has a fashion program.

Rhode Island School of Design has an awesome Apparel Design program. They are really no-nonsense in that department in terms of what they expect from their students. Anyone who goes away from their without some good job leads and an excellent skill set really has nobody to blame but themselves. In addition, there is a textile design program at RISD for those interested in the materials more than fashion.

Despite being in Rhode Island, the department has many connections in New York in terms of internships and job leads.

RISD has VERY high standards in general, getting approximately 2500 freshman applications for about 400 spots, but the apparel department seems to hold itself to an even higher standard than many other departments.

Kent State University has a highly-regarded school of fashion design.

Academy of Art University in San Francisco.

Moving to IMHO.

General Questions Moderator

Take a look at IADT.

I imagine Parsons is getting a flood of applications lately due to their exposure via the fame of Project Runway and Tim Gunn.

Another vote for FIT. One of my very good friends got her degree there.

Philadelphia College of Textiles & Science.

My daughter is currently at the Art Institute of Philadelphia, studying Fashion Design. She just started on her second year. The program seems very good, and she loves it.

Friend of mine got her associates from FIT (she already had a BA from NYU in English and so an associates degree was fine for her) She seemed to think highly of the program and is now a designer at Ralph Lauren. There are a lot of downsides to being an undergrad in New York City, but for a field like fashion I think the professional opportunities would make it very worthwhile.