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10

Our Top 10 Fashion Colleges 

Ever heard the saying “You know when you know?” Usually it pertains to love or finding ‘the one.’ Well, the same is with college, you have to find the one after so many choices but you will know when you know! 

1. Parsons, The New School of Design 

Programs: Fashion Design, Fashion studies, Fashion Marketing

Students: undergrads, 4,191; graduate, 555

Tuition: $38,510

Alumni: Donna Karan, Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford, Narisco Rodriguez, Alexander Wang, Jason Wu, Jenna Lyons of J.Crew, Anna Sui, Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez of Proenza Schouler, Prabal Gurung (only to name a few.)

Fun Fact: Parsons is an aspiring fashion designer’s dream! I’m sure you know of Marc Jacobs and Donna Karan and their amazing collections. Well, how would you like it if they were your teacher for a couple days? These events are common in the New York City’s best design school. They have collaborations with the fashion house LVMH. 

2. Fashion Institute of Technology

Programs: anything from fashion merchandising to media arts

Students: 10,386

Tuition: $5,168 for NYC residents, $13,550 out-of-state

Alumni: Reem Acra, Nina Garcia, Carolina Herrera, Michael Kors, Calvin Klein, Nanette Lepore

Fun Fact: I visited FIT in the Fall and it was an extremely impressive school. Your career after FIT is pretty much set up for you after you graduate. You will definitely leave will a job. 

3. Pratt

Programs: Fashion design

Students: 2,100

Tuition: $37,500

Alumni: Jeremy Scott, Betsey Johnson

Fun Fact: It is an up-and-coming design school located in Brooklyn, New York. It is part of a larger art school and is one of the few design programs that offer fashion editorializing and magazine publishing. 

4. Kent State University

Programs: Design and Merchandising 

Students: 18,000; 800 are fashion students

Tuition: Ohio resident: $9,030, for out-of-state, $16,900

Fun Fact: They have a garment center in NYC and is starting to become quite famous. They have a huge endowment, study abroad programs in Paris and Milan. You will be able to study fashion and get a full college experience. 

5. Academy of Art 

Programs: Fashion Design, Knitwear Design, Textile Design, Fashion Journalism and Fashion Merchandising and Marketing

Students: 17,000; 2,700 are fashion

Tuition: $17,760

Fun Fact: Located in sunny San Francisco and have a show in New York Fashion Week. 

6. The Savannah College of Art and Design 

Programs: Fashion design, Fashion Marketing and Management, Accessories Design

Students: 9,800; 940 fashion students

Tuition: $30,510

Fun Fact: Only school to have Luxury and Fashion Management program. And it’s not only a fashion school but, an excellent art college. Located in Savannah, Georgia.

7. Drexel Univeristy

Programs: Fashion Design, Design and Merchandising 

Students: 2,800 art and design students, 120 fashion students, 260 Design and Merchandising

Tuition: $39,700

Fun Fact: Philadelphia’s university also offers a sophomore year opportunity when you can study abroad in London School of Fashion, and many alumni have gotten successful jobs in France in their field. 

8. Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising 

Programs: Fashion Design, Footwear Design, Costume Design, Jewelry Design, Textile Design, Merchandising (Fashion & Beauty Programs)

Students: 8,000

Tuition: $27,000-$36,000 depending on area of study

Alumni: Monique Lhuillier, Pamela Skaist-Levy

Fun Fact: Los Angeles’s has beauty programs and is in the heart of the city of angels. 

9. California College of the Arts 

Programs: Fashion Design, Textiles, Jewelry Design 

Students: 1,640; 65 fashion students 

Tuition: $36,960

Fun Fact: This college has two locations; one in San Francisco and one in Oakland, California. This is a CFDA affiliated school and is known for their prestigious awards and the fashion world’s favoritism. 

10. Labratory Institute of Merchandising

Programs: International Business, Fashion Merchandising, Visual Merchandising, Marketing and Management 

Students: 1,508

Tuition: $23,070

Almuni: Rea Laccone, CEO of Vince 

Fun Fact: New York City’s college requires internships three out of the four years. Freshman and sophomore years required 300 hours of retail. They have several concentrations of many jobs that will be helpful in many fields. 

What to know about being a Fashion Student

What people will say when you tell them you’re studying fashion

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They’ll then assume that you want to be a designer

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Not everyone who studies fashion is a designer. There are stylists, buyers, CEO’s, publicists, journalists, marketing analysts, social media managers, the list goes on..

They will probably assume you have the intelligence level of a goat.

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And when they do you tell them this

We’re not rocket scientists, but we take calculus classes, statistics, economics, etc. The fashion industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. You think it’s run by idiots?

However there are times where you’ll walk into a class like

Not so bright people are everywhere, in fashion and elsewhere. If you find yourself surrounded by an astounding number of them, sit back and enjoy the probably rare moment that you’re the smartest person in the room. 

According to our Instagrams this is what we do on the weekend.

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But this is probably what we’re actually doing on the weekend.

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Working, going to school, interning, it’s all tiring and by the end of the week your bed is just about the only place you want to be. 

How people think we all talk all the time

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How we actually talk

How people think we look going to class

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And yeah some girls do look like this, but then theres the other 50% who look like this

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Sweatpants are never something to be ashamed of.

How people think we spend our Friday nights

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How we actually spend our Friday nights

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Going out is expensive. Especially if you’re going to school in a big city like New York. Most of the time its easier and wayy cheaper to just bring the party inside. Which brings me to my next point:

People will assume you shop all the time. 

No. We’re just like other college students

People will think these are the guys you get to date

But really if we can find just one single, straight, remotely aesthetically pleasing guy we be like

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Oh and everyone will assume you’re on some kind of diet

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But its a lie

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The Middle: Three Major Lessons (Almost) Two Years at FIT Have Taught Me

It has been 467 days since my parents dropped me off in front of FIT’s doors. That is roughly 11,000 hours of my life spent as a business student at one of the top fashion schools in the country, if not the world.

In that time I have faced more here than any amount of time spent outside of New York before my college years. It’s true what they say: New York will eat you up and spit your pretty little self back out on the concrete. But, looking back from the half way point I finally understand what they mean when they say you will come out the other side a better, tougher, and even more stylish person. Being at FIT is the same deal. You are constantly surrounded by people with the drive of a Duracell bunny and the talent to match. There really is no better place to grow and get a serious reality check. Here are three very important lessons that as a sophomore going into her fourth semester can lay on you.

Lesson #1: Heels to a Monday 8 AM are NEVER a good idea.

Everyone thinks it before they come to fashion school: we all run around all hours of the morning and night in our best 6-inch stilettos. Wrong. Expectation: we drown ourselves in the biggest labels, the greatest designers, and are always dressed to the nines at all possible moments. We don’t believe in even going to the deli down the street without a full face of makeup and our Louboutins. Reality: alongside rent, tuition, and paying to live in a city that robs you of at least twenty dollars every time you step out your apartment doors, we go for affordable (but chic, of course) looks. Look around your morning classes and what will you see? Undoubtedly a group of twenty something’s that look like… wait for it. Normal college students. Ok, maybe not your typical sweatpants and hoodie duds, but we certainly don’t (all) look like we just stepped off the set of The Real Housewives. Fashion students are people too.

Lesson #2: Everything you think you already know is wrong.

We’re all guilty of it— we’ve watched The Devil Wears Prada a million and one times and can quote every line from every episode of Sex and the City so of course we think we know it all. It’s okay, it happened. It’s over. Time to move forward. Living and working in New York is not always like the movies. I can guarantee that working in the fashion industry is not what you think. One of the greatest things I have learned in my three internships thus far is to always listen and absorb everything happening around you, and throw everything you think you know out the window. Everyone starts at the same place: the bottom. You are not entitled to anything when you are just starting out, so be prepared to learn, learn, learn and work, work, work.

Lesson #3: Nothing is handed to you, ever.

I don’t care who you are, where you’re from, or however many connections you have coming into fashion school, we all have to prove that we have the drive, the passion, and the commitment to go after what we want. It’s a hard-knock and often times stressful life as a fashion student. You’ve got to remember that nothing happens by just waiting around and hoping. You have to make the effort. Pick up the phone, send an email, and scour the Internet to find out what you need in order to move forward. For every internship you apply to, there are seas of other candidates that want that spot. For every paper or article you write, there are twenty others for your professor to read. You aren’t ever going to be handed the opportunity of a lifetime, you’ve got to create the opportunities for yourself because once you get there it will feel a hundred more times as satisfying. Trust me.

Note: This article was written as part of my final project for my fashion journalism class in December 2013.