When you think of The American Fashion Industry names like Tom Ford, Marc Jacobs, Donna Karan, Prabal Gurung come to mind. They all have one thing in common, Parsons School of Design, one of the prestigious fashion schools in the world. Passion, creativity, discipline, and courage are basic, but you need to back it up with knowledge, hands-on experience, and design skills to become a successful fashion designer in America. A bachelor’s degree is needed to start your professional fashion career path.

Fashion Design Programs 

Although there are many accredited fashion schools all over the USA, the most recognized for their Fashion Design programs are located in New York and California. Miami has strengthened its relevance in the industry ever since the city started hosting the annual Mercedes Benz Miami Fashion Week, followed by Istituto Marangoni opening a location in the heart of Downtown Miami. (This means you will have to relocate to one of these cities).

Parsons School of Design, New York City

This school has educated the most important designers in America. They count on partnerships with important retailers and fashion houses to hire their students. It is strategic to look at a program that can guarantee an opportunity to work with the best in the industry.

Fashion Institute of Art and Design, New York City

This program has also trained top American designers who are Reem Acra, Calvin Klein, and Michael Kors. One of the main highlights is The Museum at FIT, it exhibits a world-class collection of couture, designer, and historical garments.

Academy of Art University, San Francisco, CA

This is the only university that has a Costume design program and the graduating class showcase their work at New York Fashion Week.

Istituto Marangoni, Miami, FL.

Even though it is not an American school, it is important to note that with campuses in 6 countries this program offers world-class education. The school has a 4-year program in which year 3 is spent working in the industry.

if you are ready to leap into the magical world of sequins, buttons, lux textiles, cutting, and measuring, start working on your portfolio. Figure out why you want to become a designer and choose the program  that best matches your vision before applying.


An organization that you should aspire to be a part of if you want to make it big as a designer is The Council of Fashion Designers of America, Inc. Its membership consists of 477 of America’s foremost womenswear, menswear, jewelry, and accessory designers.

Their membership is by invitation only and offers the mentorship of its elite and world-renowned board of directors. They sponsor scholarship programs by fashion brands like Gucci, Kenneth Cole, Liz Claiborne among others. The CFDA is responsible for the Fashion Calendar.

Finally, A great designer keeps up with trends and current events. Fashion design is a business, and everything that happens in society has a direct impact on the business. This attitude will give you a competitive edge. Be curious and open, look for opportunities to do Summer Internships, to volunteer, meet mentors that could help you along the way, and learn how the industry works. Internships have a high chance to get you hired after graduation. Building relationships is an important skill to have in this industry.

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