Undergraduate - Fashion Design | BoF

BoF’s Global assessment of fashion schools empowers prospective students to make the most informed decision about their education. The selection is fuelled by rigorous methodology and input from leading experts on the BoF Education Council.

In this article you can find the selection of best schools for UndergraduateFashion Art Direction & Communication.

Explore BoF’s full report on The Best Fashion Schools in the World 2019 and the new methodology here.

Read the introduction of this assessment here.

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Best in: Best in global influence.

  • Average cohort size: 50
  • International students: 53%
  • Acceptance rate: 20%
  • Tuition domestic/intl: $2k/$9k
  • Degrees offered: BSc Fashion & Textile Technologies, Fashion & Branding

The largest fashion institute in the Netherlands collaborates with companies abroad to highlight fashion’s role as an international force for good.

The biggest fashion institute in the Netherlands places an emphasis on the global and vocational elements of the industry. AMFI’s exchange contracts with 35 universities worldwide provide students with the opportunity for an international education, while six-month internships are a compulsory component of all of its courses. Thanks to its structure of specialisations and minors, which range from Textiles to 3D Hypercraft (a 3D design prototyping software), students and alumni of AMFI’s four-year BSc Fashion & Design programme report high levels of satisfaction with the Institute’s breadth of curriculum. Furthermore, AMFI’s own clothing brand Individuals, established 11 years ago, allows senior students from across the school’s departments to design, brand and produce a collection. Graduates of the programme have secured employment at fashion companies including H&M, Zara, McQueen, Givenchy and Alexander Wang.

Belas Artes

Sao Paulo, Brazil

Best in: Best in long term value.

  • Average cohort size: 40
  • International students: 0%
  • Acceptance rate: 72%
  • Tuition domestic/intl: $6k/$6k
  • Degrees offered: Digital Social Media

With its storied dedication to a transformative creative economy, the faculty educates pipelines of emerging fashion entrepreneurs.

As a private university with a relatively small student body for the region, this Brazilian school was the first in the country to provide educational programmes focused on the creative economy. Its flipped-classroom structure and student involvement in international events — such as SP-Arte and Salone Satellite Milano — demonstrate Belas Artes’ hands-on approach to the learning experience. With its focus on social media as an essential component of fashion communication, branding and sales, the Digital Social Media undergraduate programme at Belas Artes is the first of its kind in the country. The course offers subjects such as Netnography, Digital Coolhunting, Digital Analytics, E-Commerce/M-Commerce and Influencers & Networking. Industry ties are emphasised through classes held at the Brazilian headquarters of Twitter and LinkedIn.

Central Saint Martins

London, United Kingdom

Best in: Best overall, Best in global influence, Best in learning experience, Best in long term value.

  • Average cohort size: 120
  • International students: 64%
  • Acceptance rate: 6%
  • Tuition domestic/intl: $12k/$25k
  • Degrees offered: BA (Hons) Fashion History & Theory, BA (Hons) Fashion Communication & Promotion, BA (Hons) Fashion Journalism

CSM carries a long legacy of developing international fashion talent at the heart of the fashion hub London.

With an acceptance rate of just 6 percent, Central St Martins’ BA Fashion Design programme is one of the most exclusive in the world. A constituent college of the University of the Arts London, CSM is a key player in London’s fashion scene and has trained some of the biggest names in the industry, including, on average, over half of all designers on show at London Fashion Week. Prominent graduates include Alexander McQueen, Phoebe Philo, John Galliano and Christopher Kane, to name a few. CSM offers undergraduate students an elective Diploma in Professional studies, which comprises one year of industrial placement with hosts in fashion capitals across the globe. The school’s annual White Show — entirely conceived, created and managed by first-year students — sets the tone for hands-on experience and close collaboration between fashion design and communications students.

Milano, Italy

Best in: Best overall, Best in global influence.

  • Average cohort size: 343
  • International students: 69%
  • Acceptance rate: 47%
  • Tuition domestic/intl: $21k/$26k
  • Degrees offered: Fashion Styling & Creative Direction, Fashion Styling & Visual Merchandising

For over 80 years, the faculty has built its legacy in comprehensive fashion education across the globe.

Istituto Marangoni operates across nine global fashion schools, with two locations in Milan and others in Florence, London, Paris, Miami, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Mumbai. Despite its international scope, Marangoni’s Fashion Design BA emphasises its founding Made in Italy heritage, with a focus on luxury fashion and Italian craftsmanship. Istituto Marangoni encourages its students to utilise an cross-school programme, which allows them to complete a course of studies at different locations. Istituto Marangoni has a community of over 4,000 students, originating from more than 100 countries. As a result, the average full-time student cohort size is 343, is the largest of BoF’s Top Fashion Schools in the World.

New York, United States

Best in: Best overall, Best in long term value.

  • Average cohort size: 43
  • International students: 6%
  • Acceptance rate: 81%
  • Tuition domestic/intl: $26k/$26k
  • Degrees offered: BS Fashion Media, BBA Visual Studies

The midtown Manhattan faculty’s approach sits at the interface between business and fashion.

Nestled in the global fashion centre of midtown Manhattan, LIM College partners with 800 companies in fashion and fashion-related industries to provide students with a wide range of opportunities each year. Boasting its small average cohort size at 43 students, students can also benefit from one-to-one career counselling. The programme spotlights globalisation, culture and diversity in business practices with learning through workshops, studios and guest speaker events. While all students partake in internships, the communications division offers opportunities at the likes of Elle, Harper’s Bazaar and Esquire, while Visual students have interned at Chanel, Anthropologie, Refinery 29 and more. Students also create inserts for The Daily Front Row that are distributed during New York Fashion Week, contribute to the school magazine, and participate in competitions sponsored by companies such as Vera Bradley.

London, United Kingdom

Best in: Best overall, Best in global influence, Best in long term value.

  • Average cohort size: 275
  • International students: 55%
  • Acceptance rate: 35%
  • Tuition domestic/intl: $12k/$25k
  • Degrees offered: BA (Hons) Fashion Journalism, BA (Hons) Fashion Public Relations & Communication, BA (Hons) Fashion Visual Merchandising & Branding, BA (Hons) Fashion Styling & Production, BA (Hons) Fashion Illustration, BA (Hons) Fashion Media Practise & Criticism (Integrated), BA (Hons) 3D Effects for Performance & Fashion, BA (Hons) Fashion Photography

A key player in the London fashion ecosystem, the faculty offers fashion programmes in the realm of fashion technology, business and media.

Originally established in 1877 as a leatherwork trade school, the London College of Fashion is one of the oldest institutions featured on BoF’s fashion school index. The college groups its programmes into three schools: fashion design and technology, media communications, and fashion business, with cross-subject collaboration built into the curricula. LCF’s Art Direction and Communications programmes specialise in cultural, historical and theoretical studies, and incorporating virtual reality and artificial intelligence tools in computer-aided design practices. Students participate in fashion-tech hackathons and digital labs. LCF has produced alumna such as Emma Shepley, who launched a virtual reality changing room at Westfield, Stratford City. The faculty supports alumni businesses with projects including its fashion fund, its Fashion Cluster skill-training programme and the Fashion Innovation Agency which connects start-up fashion with technology brands to help them find new business opportunities.


Florence, Italy

Best in: Best overall, Best in global influence, Best in learning experience, Best in long term value.

  • Average cohort size: 78
  • International students: 74%
  • Acceptance rate: 55%
  • Tuition domestic/intl: $20k/$20k
  • Degrees offered: Fashion Art Direction, Fashion Styling, Fashion Marketing & Communications

The Italian faculty is a seedbed for European fashion industry key players with a global resonance.

Florence’s Polimoda hosts its students in a hotspot of the global fashion industry. Over 2,300 students from 70 countries are based in three Florence locations, and students are granted free access to local museums, art centres and Polimoda’s own library, which houses 24,000 titles on Italian fashion. Students receive CFDA mentorship in their fourth year, as the council partakes in reviewing the graduate collections and offers programmes that offer support, funding and industry exposure for upcoming talent. Polimoda’s alumni network spans hundreds of companies, and recruiters include brands such as Gucci, Vivienne Westwood and Salvatore Ferragamo. Polimoda holds a 91 percent industry placement rate, with notable alumni including Edgardo Osorio and Luke & Lucie Meier.

Ryerson University School of Fashion

Toronto, Canada

Best in: Best overall, Best in learning experience, Best in long term value.

  • Average cohort size: 82
  • International students: 15%
  • Acceptance rate: 17%
  • Tuition domestic/intl: $6k/$19k
  • Degrees offered: BDes Fashion Communication

The downtown Toronto faculty, known for its multiculturalism, integrates this quality into its experiential fashion education approach.

Ryerson University School of Fashion was originally founded in 1948, making it Canada’s longest running university fashion programme. Ryerson’s programme focuses on inclusive, decolonised, and sustainable perspectives, and its cohort includes international students from over 146 countries — an approach aligned with Toronto’s reputation as one of the most multicultural cities in the world. Students work with computer aided design, 3D digital fabric printers and laser cutting in labs alongside traditional in-studio sessions and lectures. They attend lectures, studio workshops and receive individual mentorship by in-house indigenous luxury designer Angela Demontigny; have access to resources like the Suzanne Rogers Fashion Institute, the Fashion Zone incubator and the Fashion Research Collection; and intern at companies including Fendi, Harry Rosen and Hudson’s Bay. Students and alumni report a 91 percent satisfaction rate with the breadth of the curriculum and their educators. Ryerson’s acceptance rate is at the more exclusive end of BoF’s list, at 14 percent.

Stephens College

Columbia, Missouri, United States

Best in: Best in learning experience.

  • Average cohort size: 5
  • International students: 0%
  • Acceptance rate: 75%
  • Tuition domestic/intl: $23k/$23k
  • Degrees offered: BFA Fashion Communication

Advocacy for gender equality defines the institution’s vision for fashion education.

Founded in 1833 in Columbia, Missouri, Stephens College is the second-oldest women’s college in the United States. Stephens offers a “women-centric focus” on fashion education, while noting that it also admits students that identify as non-binary or transgender. Stephens also prides itself on accepting students that don’t have traditional backgrounds in design: unlike other fashion schools, it doesn’t require a portfolio and admits students with low-level skills in drawing or sewing. The design program at Stephens emphasizes bespoke and couture quality sewing, along with hand and computer based drawing and illustration, 2 and 3D design development and computer-aided textile design. While based in Missouri, the programme makes an effort to connect students with global fashion markets, exploring partnerships with designers and hiring faculty that work outside of the US. Students and alumni report high levels of satisfaction that their overall educational objectives were met.

Epsom, United Kingdom

Best in: Best overall, Best in learning experience.

  • Average cohort size: 62
  • International students: 48%
  • Acceptance rate: 79%
  • Tuition domestic/intl: $12k/$20k
  • Degrees offered: BA (Hons) Fashion Promotion & Imaging

Creative art, business and technology are uniquely intermingled at Rochester and Epsom faculties that cover all aspects of fashion.

The University for Creative Arts (UCA) operates four art and design schools in England, and its School of Fashion and Textiles is one of the largest in the UK. The university’s three-year BA Fashion Design programme offers two different paths for seniors — a fashion design route or a fashion design with branding route. Fashion Design programme graduates have gone on to work at brands such as Ralph Lauren, Burberry and Temperley London. 98 percent of surveyed students and alumni noted high levels of satisfaction with the overall quality of teaching, placing UCA in the top 5 percent of this category among BoF’s Best Fashion Schools in the World. However, only 37 percent report that they are satisfied with the programme’s networking events, and just 21 percent are satisfied with the quality of recruiting companies.

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