Bachelor’s in Fashion Program Guide
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A bachelor's degree in fashion can open up opportunities for a career as a clothing or costume designer, art director for a fashion magazine, or an in-house stylist. Some colleges offer unique specializations in fashion, such as the footwear and accessory design program at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Other programs concentrate on the business side of the industry.
Whether you decide on an online bachelor's degree in fashion, hybrid classes, or in-person instruction, you will likely also complete an internship or on-the-job training. Since the job market is highly competitive, career training and other networking opportunities are essential to your success.
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Successful fashion professionals do not only possess creative talent, but also teamwork, perseverance, and business skills. Flexibility and a willingness to work your way up can also help you in your career.
Should I Get a Bachelor's in Fashion?
Maybe you love to sew or redesign the clothes you buy. You might be an artist that has a talent for sketching fresh clothing designs. A bachelor's degree in fashion design can prepare you to become an industry professional through courses in fashion concepts, technology, and production.
Online bachelor's degrees in fashion merchandising—like Southern New Hampshire University's program—focus on business skills, consumer behavior, and the sources of trends. Graduates from this program can find many fashion career options, including merchandising, sales, and marketing. A bachelor's degree in fashion merchandising teaches you how to run a boutique using marketing strategies, handle vendor relations, respond to customer complaints, and recruit and train staff.
Bachelor's in fashion programs also provide students with opportunities to make industry connections. Fashion degrees often require internships or other professional experience. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, job-seekers with a bachelor's degree, a quality portfolio, and experience with technologies, such as computer-aided design, have the best job prospects.
Find the best online bachelor's in fashion programs.
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What Will I Learn in a Fashion Bachelor's Program?
A bachelor of arts in fashion design is a creative degree that teaches practical skills for fashion product designers and developers. Like a traditional degree, an online bachelor's degree in fashion combines theoretical and practical industry-relevant fashion research. Students also study fashion illustration and pattern making.
The core classes for a bachelor of arts in fashion typically include the history of fashion, computer-aided design, and clothing construction. On the other hand, a bachelor of science degree usually focuses on the business of fashion, such as merchandising, business management, and marketing. Other courses may include retail product management and information analysis, training and development, and consumer behavior. However, both options feature similar coursework.
Graduates with a bachelor of science in fashion learn to recognize consumer trends and utilize the information to make informed decisions. Additionally, learners study sourcing and develop and produce visual presentation boards to communicate product and marketing information. Other courses include cost analysis, planning, pricing, and promotion.
- Fashion Design
- Students enrolled in a fashion design concentration learn how to develop concepts, two-dimensional fashion sketches, and sewing techniques to create custom clothing. Courses may include visual design concepts, fashion research and inspiration, and software classes, including Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. Depending on the college, students may be able to choose specialized classes, such as knitwear design, footwear and accessory design, or textiles.
- Fashion Styling
- A focus on fashion styling prepares learners to work as fashion consultants and producers. Students study fashion trends, gain presentation skills, and build a professional portfolio. Graduates in fashion styling know how to style clothing; produce editorial photoshoots; and work with models, photographers, makeup artists, and hairstylists.
- Costume Design
- Costume design concentrations explore industry-specific sewing topics, through which students learn both the technical and conceptual sides of the craft. These programs generally feature courses in construction and draping, costume design for stage and film, and costume sewing techniques. Some costume design programs also teach students how to create characters and special effects.
- Product Development
- A concentration in product development teaches students the fashion development process from conception to sales. Students learn to use trend forecasts to plan and construct a product. Studies also include how to source, manufacture, and market a fashion line, with coursework in technologies that streamline creation and sales processes.
- Fashion Business Management
- Fashion business management programs may offer several course options, including sustainability in fashion merchandising, microeconomics, and merchandising strategies. This option helps students understand retailing and wholesaling, as well as develop communications and technology skills. Students learn to assess markets, manage production, and identify global supply chains.
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What Can I Do With a Bachelor's in Fashion?
Whether you complete traditional in-person classes or pursue an online bachelor's degree in fashion, there are many career paths within the industry available to you. Graduates can work in creative roles like fashion designers, costume designers, and stylists. They may work designing and manufacturing clothing, shoes, or textiles.
Another popular career path is fashion editor for a print or online magazine. On the business end, there are roles as a fashion analyst, buyer, or purchasing manager. Completing an online bachelor's degree in fashion provides an excellent foundation for busy entrepreneurs who want to own a boutique or start a fashion line.
Popular Career Paths
Fashion designer Fashion stylist Purchasing manager Fashion editor Buyer
Popular Continuing Education Paths
Art Market Studies
- A master of art market studies, such as the one offered by the Fashion Institute of Technology, is an interdisciplinary program that combines hands-on experience with a required internship. The business-oriented coursework features intensive training in art law, valuation, and contemporary art history. Students can pursue internships with institutions, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum, Christie's, and Sotheby's.
Global Fashion Management
- These programs focus on leadership, problem-solving, analytical thinking, and applied creativity. Students also develop effective writing and presentation skills through individual and team projects. Courses may explore multicultural leadership, international trends, and global supply chains.
Marketing and Brand Management
- Students in these programs develop expertise in creating, marketing, and managing global fashion brands. Learners conduct in-depth research on fashion trends, international consumers, and emerging and developed markets. Additionally, students complete hands-on projects to learn how to develop, manage, and promote fashion brands. Courses include digital and social media marketing, marketing communications strategy, and strategic brand management.
How Much Money Can I Make With a Bachelor's in Fashion?
The amount of money you can make in the fashion industry varies greatly by education, career path, and experience. According to PayScale, the average pay for someone with a BA in fashion design is $59,090. The average BS in fashion merchandising salary sits slightly higher, at $59,720.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bachelor's in Fashion Programs
What is fashion?
Fashion is a global industry that anticipates trends and showcases individual styles. It is both beautiful and exciting, often questioning societal beauty standards. Fashion includes how designers choose to make clothing, shoes, textiles, accessories, as well as how the product looks. Ultimately, fashion is a statement of the times.
Is a bachelor's in fashion worth it?
Considering how competitive the industry is, a BA or BS in fashion can give graduates an edge over those without a degree. Pursuing a bachelor's degree in fashion can give you valuable education and experience. You may also make industry contacts during your studies.
How much does it cost to get a bachelor's in fashion?
The cost of a bachelor's degree in fashion ranges from $10,000-$35,000, depending on whether students take courses in state, out of state, or online. Students who attend college classes on campus may pay for student housing and meal plans, technology fees, and parking passes. On the other hand, students enrolled in online programs don't have these in-person expenses, but they may incur distance learning fees.
How long does it take to get a bachelor's degree in fashion?
Whether you opt for an in-person or online bachelor's degree in fashion, a degree typically takes four years. Your program may also require capstone courses or internships. Other factors that influence how long it takes include previous education, work experience, and full- or part-time enrollment.
Do you need a master's to work in fashion?
Not necessarily. However, continuing education, experience, and a strong portfolio can potentially lead to better career opportunities. Continuing education can also help you keep up with technology and the ever-evolving industry.