Online Fashion Schools 2021

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Fashion designers use their creativity, education, and experience to create clothing and accessories. Every decision they make, such as selecting materials and inventing new styles, reflects their artistic sensibility. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that fashion designers in the United States earned a median annual salary of $73,790 in 2019.

Although the BLS projects jobs for fashion designers to decrease 4% between 2019 and 2029, professionals can increase their employability by enrolling in an online fashion school. These institutions allow students to hone their skills and build a portfolio. Some fashion school online programs also run asynchronously, enabling learners to continue working while earning a degree.

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Considering Fashion School? Ask these Questions First

  • Q. Can you get a fashion degree online?

    Many reputable colleges and universities offer online degrees in fashion. These programs feature the same coursework and learning outcomes as on-campus programs.

  • Q. What can you do with a degree in fashion?

    Career opportunities for fashion degree-holders include buyer, design director, and creative director. These and other positions may require industry experience.

  • Q. How much does online school cost?

    Although tuition varies by institution, prospective learners should expect to pay a per-credit or per-semester tuition rate. Degree-seekers can lower their tuition burden by exploring institutional, federal, state, and private financial aid opportunities.

  • Q. What do you need to get into fashion school?

    Online fashion schools’ admission requirements resemble other four-year schools. Applicants need a high school diploma or satisfactory GED scores. Some fashion school online programs may also require a work portfolio.

Why Get a Degree in Fashion?

Students often enroll in an online fashion school to hone their skills and advance their career. Learners attain these and other benefits by earning good grades and using their school’s career resources. Some additional benefits of earning a degree in fashion include:

Increase Employability
The BLS projects the number of open fashion design positions to decrease between 2019 and 2029. Earning a degree in fashion can help job applicants stand apart from the competition.
Build a Portfolio
Online fashion schools help aspiring fashion designers develop and curate a professional portfolio. Job applicants submit their portfolio to prospective employers.
Continue Working
Degrees in fashion with an asynchronous curriculum allow students to continue earning an income while pursuing a degree. Working students may need less financial aid.
Specializations such as fashion merchandising train students for a specific career path while emphasizing the knowledge and skills all fashion learners need to apply to entry-level positions.
Learn from Experts
Students at most online fashion schools learn from professors with significant real-world experience. Professors’ feedback helps learners develop a strong portfolio.

Online Guide to Accredited Colleges and Universities

Calculating the Cost of a College Degree

Students can use the calculation tool below to determine how much they can pay for online fashion school without going into debt. Learners input tuition, salary, cost of living, and financial aid. A result at or near zero suggests degree-seekers need additional financial assistance, such as private scholarships or government grants.

College Affordability Calculator

Break down your current financial situation, and receive a college tuition estimate you can afford to pay.

Courses in Fashion School

Top degrees in fashion emphasize the professional and business fundamentals students need to succeed in the field. Many programs feature a final-semester capstone course in which learners develop a comprehensive portfolio or propose a business plan. Other graduation requirements may include general education courses, such as public speaking, ethics, and statistics.

The sample curriculum below introduces three typical fashion courses. Not all colleges offer or require these courses, so prospective students should speak with enrollment counselors to learn more.

The textile industry influences the fashion design process at every level. Students analyze different fabrics’ qualities and production processes, sourcing, popular finishes, and how fashion designers select the best materials. Other course topics may include fast fashion’s adverse environmental effects and the industry’s sustainability efforts.

Fashion designers use multiple tools when advertising their products, including videos, photographs, websites, and 3D models. Other options include brand partnerships and persuasive writing. This course introduces students to these and other techniques, and learners analyze multiple real-life examples. Graduates use the skills this course emphasizes to create an engaging personal brand.

Many top programs require enrollees to complete a local internship. No matter the internship site, degree-seekers learn under experienced professionals, gain on-the-job experience, and network with potential employers. Many internships also require students to contribute to an online discussion board, sharing their experiences with their professor and peers.

Enrollees use their new knowledge and skills to create a product. Coursework involves considering different materials, turning an idea into a concept draft, and applying critical thinking skills to the design process. Online fashion schools may require more than one design studio course.

This philosophy course asks students to consider what qualities define a physical object. Learners explore human-made objects’ impact throughout recorded history, such as how the first arrowheads influenced hunter-gatherer tribes. This analysis helps degree-seekers attain a greater understanding of how design influences function and vice versa.

Scholarships for Fashion Students

Although many fashion school online programs offer institutional and departmental aid, prospective and current students should still research and apply for private scholarships. Opportunities like those below cater to online learners and degree-seekers majoring in fashion or a related topic.

  • Congressional Black Caucus Spouses Visual Arts Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: CBC awards this competitive scholarship to African American students majoring in any visual arts field, including fashion. Other eligibility requirements include a minimum 2.5 undergraduate GPA and two recommendation letters.

    Amount: Varies

    Explore Here

  • Fashion Scholarship Fund Case Study Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: College sophomores, juniors, and seniors with a minimum 3.2 undergraduate GPA may apply. Applicants must also attend one of FSF’s 66 member schools.

    Amount: $5,000

    Explore Here

  • Stella Blum Student Research Grant

    Who Can Apply: The Costume Society of America offers this scholarship to student members researching North American costume. Application materials include a research proposal, official transcripts, and two recommendation letters.

    Amount: $3,000

    Explore Here

Online Fashion Schools 2021

See Our Rankings Methodology
  1. Central Michigan University

    Mount Pleasant, MI



    Mount Pleasant-based CMU offers an online bachelor's in fashion merchandising and design. The fashion program combines fashion theory and business skills. Learners can complete the degree online or in a hybrid format.

    The program requires 42 major credits divided between 27 required credits and 15 concentration credits. The required core covers topics such as textiles and apparel design analysis. The concentration covers apparel product development and 3D printing.

    Like many online fashion schools, CMU highlights the growing role of technology in fashion design. Students gain skills in computer-aided design and pattern digitization. Learners can also gain professional experience working with CMU's industry partners. These include Target, Carhartt, and Adidas.

  2. Johnson & Wales University-Online

    Providence, RI



    Johnson & Wales in Providence, Rhode Island, hosts one of the state's top online fashion schools. The online bachelor's in fashion merchandising and retailing provides a professional approach to the fashion industry. Students explore business and leadership perspectives. The online program prepares enrollees for positions in marketing, management, and merchandising.

    Degree-seekers complete 121 credits. Courses cover business foundations and applied learning. Like most online fashion schools, Johnson & Wales focuses on experiential education. Online students complete a nine-credit experiential component. Enrollees can participate in internships or study abroad programs. They may also work in the fashion industry during the summer.

    The program offers two specializations. They include merchandise buying and fashion marketing/visual merchandising. The merchandise buying track focuses on strategic and analytical approaches to the fashion industry. The visual merchandising track highlights creative approaches to communications and fashion marketing.

Portrait of Thomas Broderick

Thomas Broderick

Thomas Broderick is a freelance writer and the owner of Broderick Writer LLC. He creates study guides, informational websites, and blog posts for clients in the education field. Thomas is also a published author of over 20 short stories and a member of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America.

Portrait of Reese Lopez

Reese Lopez

Reese Lopez is a freelance writer with over a decade of experience in the education field. After earning his BA in English from Evergreen State College, he worked as an English language instructor and tutor before joining Affordable Colleges Online. Reese lives in Portland, Oregon, where he also writes fiction and performs in the local music scene.

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