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 Undergraduate – Fashion Business & Management.

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: 70
  • International students: 29%
  • Acceptance rate: 38%
  • Tuition domestic/intl: $2k/$9k
  • Degrees offered: BSc Fashion & Textile Technologies, Fashion & Management

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.

Cornell University, College of Human Ecology

Ithaca, New York, United States

Best in: Best in global influence.

  • Average cohort size: 12
  • International students: 20%
  • Acceptance rate: 25%
  • Tuition domestic/intl: $37k/$55k
  • Degrees offered: BS Fashion Design Management

True to its Ivy League research status, the faculty explores research beyond traditional fashion boundaries, venturing into science.

As part of an Ivy League university, Cornell’s undergraduate Fashion Design programme offers significant opportunities for students to undertake interdisciplinary research. Cornell’s Fiber Science & Apparel Design Department is housed within the university’s College of Human Ecology, and places an emphasis on quantitative reasoning and writing skills. Fashion Design students graduate from Cornell with a Bachelor of Science degree, rather than the Bachelor of Arts that are generally awarded by other programs. Students and alumni surveyed by BoF report high satisfaction with the quality of academic resources and campus facilities, but the school performs relatively poorly in regards to satisfaction with available internship support.

De Montfort University

Leicester, United Kingdom

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

  • Average cohort size: 111
  • International students: 12%
  • Acceptance rate: 82%
  • Tuition domestic/intl: $12k/$17k
  • Degrees offered: BA (Hons) Fashion Buying with Design, BA (Hons) Fashion Buying with Product Devleopment, BA (Hons) Fashion Buying with Marketing, BA (Hons) Fashion Buying with Merchandising, BA (Hons) Fashion Management (Level 6 Top Up)

The Leicester faculty provides a platform for emerging talent outside of the UK capital, honing in craft through responsible design practices.

De Montfort’s BA (Hons) Fashion Buying programme aims to produce creative buyers with a responsible ethos. It can be combined with Design, Product Development, Marketing or Merchandising. The programme emphasises a global outlook through field trips to companies and factories in New York, Hong Kong, Porto and Amsterdam. In order to improve employability of its students, De Montfort offers an optional placement year and provides networking opportunities at national seminars organised by the Association of Suppliers to the British Clothing Industry. Visiting lecturers at the University have included the director of sourcing at ASOS and buyers from Next, Hugo Boss and Joules. The University’s Fashion and Textiles department is housed in a new, award-winning building that offers an extensive range of facilities and resources.

Philadelphia, United States

Best in: Best overall, Best in global influence, Best in learning experience.

  • Average cohort size: 57
  • International students: 9%
  • Acceptance rate: 80%
  • Tuition domestic/intl: $51k/$51k
  • Degrees offered: BS Design & Merchandising

A part of the Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, the university analyses design from technology, business and merchandising touchpoints.

Drexel is a 128-year-old private research university based in Philadelphia, and its Fashion Design program is just one of 80 undergraduate majors, allowing students to pursue a broad, interdisciplinary education. Fashion students earn a Bachelor of Science degree instead of the BA awarded at most competing programmes. Students can also minor in a wide range of related specialisations including art history, business and entrepreneurship. The university’s 64 percent acceptance rate marks it as one of the least exclusive programs among BoF’s ranking. Drexel’s small class sizes allow focus on design research, originality and craft as well as relevance and responsibility. The university is home to the Shima Seiki Haute Tech Lab, founded in 2012, which contains 16 workstations and three state-of-the-art knitting machines, donated by machine manufacturer Shima Seiki. Drexel also hosts the Richard & Penny Fox Historic Costume Collection, which includes over 12,000 items and accessories dating from the Renaissance to today, including extensive holdings from the greatest designers of the last hundred years.

New York, United States

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

  • Average cohort size: 867
  • International students: 9%
  • Acceptance rate: 50%
  • Tuition domestic/intl: $8k/$22k
  • Degrees offered: BS Fashion Business Management, BS Advertising Marketing Management

The fashion college housed in Manhattan ties together design, communication and technology to develop emerging international talent.

New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) is a public college, part of the State University of New York, which is widely recognised for its instruction of design, fashion, art, communications and business. The school’s academic programming is rigorous and adaptable with an emphasis on experiential learning opportunities, academic and industry partnerships and commitment to entrepreneurship. The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and Lululemon Athletica are sponsors of two of the many student competitions at FIT. Study abroad opportunities for students include the International Fashion Design degree, which allows first-years to begin their studies in Italy. Students in Manhattan have access to The Museum at FIT which houses a permanent collection of over 50,000 garments and accessories from the 18th century to the present. BFA Fashion Design students can specialise in areas such as sportswear, knitwear, intimate apparel and occasion wear. FIT’s average full-time student cohort size is 273, making it one of the largest programmes on BoF’s list.

Milano, Italy

Best in: Best in long term value.

  • Average cohort size: 100
  • International students: 24%
  • Acceptance rate: 27%
  • Tuition domestic/intl: $16k/$17k
  • Degrees offered: BA (Hons) Fashion Marketing & Communication (Milan/Barcelona)

From Italy to Spain and Brazil, the faculty brings together design, fashion and visual communication disciplines by developing technical and research skills.

Founded as a private school in Milan, Italy, in 1966, today Istituto Europeo di Design (or IED) operates campuses in 11 cities in Europe and South America. The school’s BA Fashion Design course is taught in nine of these locations. To date, IED has trained students from approximately 100 countries and welcomes around 2,000 international students every year. Throughout the three-year design course, students are encouraged to utilise local production and operation systems. IED holds open seminars with leading designers through collaborations with fashion companies, and the school maintains industry partnership programmes with more than 200 businesses including LVMH, Kering and Valentino. Despite having an average full-time student cohort size of 288 — one of the largest among BoF’s Best Fashion Schools in the World — students and alumni rank IED highly satisfactory for meeting their overall educational objectives.

Milano, Italy

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

  • Average cohort size: 279
  • International students: 63%
  • Acceptance rate: 53%
  • Tuition domestic/intl: $21k/$26k
  • Degrees offered: Fashion Business, Fashion Business & Buying

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

Istituto Marangoni emphasises a multicultural and multidisciplinary approach to education, promoting cultural exchange with schools located in fashion capitals around the world including Milan, Paris, London, Shanghai, Mumbai and Shenzhen. The cross-school programme allows students complete their course of studies at different locations, gaining experience from different cultures. Istituto Marangoni’s programmes in fashion business teach skills relevant to real-world situations such as how to manage a budget, how to design a business plan for a start-up, how to implement a marketing plan for a fashion brand, or how to define a range plan for a fashion retailer. With fashion business as the core subject, students specialise in a chosen area of interest (buying or communication and new media), responding to individual talent, creative flair and passion. Students and alumni show high levels of satisfaction with available resources, in particular the library, workrooms and campus.

Kent State University

Kent, Ohio, United States

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

  • Average cohort size: 195
  • International students: 3%
  • Acceptance rate: 42%
  • Tuition domestic/intl: $11k/$19k
  • Degrees offered: BA Fashion Merchandising

Creative development is replete with traditional liberal arts, sciences and international exchange at the Ohio faculty.

With campuses in Ohio, New York City’s garment district, and Florence, Kent State University’s Fashion Business & Management programme focuses on industry experience and study exchanges to destinations like Paris, Hong Kong and London as a key point of its programme. Students in the Fashion Merchandising programme are able to take advantage of June F. Mohler Fashion Library, which houses 4,000 fashion-related print and media titles, a museum with eight exhibition spaces, and nearly 40,000 pieces in the design-focused collections. Students work in small cohorts, benefit from one-to-one interview practice sessions with industry professionals and must complete at least one internship at the likes of Chanel, Macy’s and Kohl’s, as well as a mandatory study-away programmes at partner universities across the globe. The programme’s Fashion School Store sells pieces by students and alumni, and is managed by merchandising students.

New York, United States

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

  • Average cohort size: 217
  • International students: 6%
  • Acceptance rate: 65%
  • Tuition domestic/intl: $26k/$26k
  • Degrees offered: BBA or BPS Fashion Merchandising, BS International Studies, BBA Management, BBA Marketing

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

New York City’s LIM College partners with around 800 organisations in fashion-related industries to provide real-world experience for students across all fashion disciplines. Students are required to complete a minimum of three internships during the course of their degree. Students regularly intern at companies including Louis Vuitton, Global Brands Group, Levi’s, among others. The programme splits into four pathways: Fashion Merchandising, International Business, Management and Marketing. All students are required to complete core business courses, such as accounting, finance, management and marketing, and liberal arts courses, taught through case studies, lectures and group projects. The overall focus revolves around culture and globalisation, given New York’s demographic makeup. Students and alumni report high levels of satisfaction with the programme’s quality of teaching, available resources, and internship support.

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: 50%
  • Tuition domestic/intl: $12k/$25k
  • Degrees offered: BSc (Hons) Psychology of Fashion, BSc (Hons) Fashion Management, BSc (Hons) Strategic Fashion Management, BSc (Hons) Fashion Buying & Management, BSc (Hons) Fashion Marketing

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

Fashion business management meets technology, media and communication studies through collaborative cross-discipline work at the London College of Fashion. The 110-year-old institution has longstanding partnerships with the likes of the British Fashion Council and Kering, and produces a host of initiatives such as hackathons, design competitions, digital coffee series, and career events. The college supports the local community of emerging designers through philanthropic efforts including the “Fashion Cluster” project. Students have access to the Fashion Space Gallery, the LCF library with 80,000 books, and a fashion archive with collections dating back to 1887. The college reports that 25 percent of graduates aim to start a business, and guidance from the Centre for Fashion Enterprise, the Fashion Innovation Agency and the Student Enterprise team has helped 493 students to date.


Poughkeepsie, United States

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

  • Average cohort size: 93
  • International students: 8%
  • Acceptance rate: 62%
  • Tuition domestic/intl: $39k/$39k
  • Degrees offered: BS Fashion Merchandising

The New York college equips students with liberal arts knowledge and develops global citizens to become fashion leaders.

Located on the banks of the Hudson River just under 100 kilometres (around 62 miles) from New York City, Marist College offers a classic liberal arts education and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Fashion Design. In Spring 2019, the university opened a new state-of-the-art centre for fashion and art, Steel Plant, which houses digital labs, fashion studios, a makerspace, a fashion exhibition gallery, an art gallery, a retail laboratory and boutique, as well as a garden. Marist’s fashion design programme balances creativity with a technical education, and offers elective courses in practices like couture techniques, knitwear design and 3D printing. Former and current students report high overall satisfaction with the school’s quality of teaching.

Florence, Italy

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

  • Average cohort size: 135
  • International students: 74%
  • Acceptance rate: 45%
  • Tuition domestic/intl: $20k/$20k
  • Degrees offered: Business of Fashion, Fashion Marketing Management, Fashion Design Management, Product Management

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.

Savannah, Georgia, United States

Best in: Best overall, Best in global influence, Best in learning experience

  • Average cohort size: 175
  • International students: 23%
  • Acceptance rate: 44%
  • Tuition domestic/intl: $37k/$37k
  • Degrees offered: BFA Business of Beauty & Fragrance, BFA Fashion Marketing & Management

World class craftsmanship is crossed with cutting-edge technology, with campuses located on three different continents.

Within Savannah College of Art and Design’s Business and Marketing BFA courses, the fashion department offers a Fashion Marketing and Management BFA, taught in its Atlanta, Savannah and Hong Kong locations. Business programmes are also held in Lacoste, France. Each Marketing and Management student works closely with professors to build a career-oriented portfolio that includes work such as business plans and branding campaigns. The school also offers an unconventional Business of Beauty and Fragrance BFA course. SCAD’s School of Fashion is only 10 years old, but the school’s Spring 2018 graduate survey found 99 percent of its former students were employed, enrolled in higher education, or both. Students and alumni noted high satisfaction with available resources and 96 percent of current and former students reported high levels of satisfaction with the school’s international diversity.

Philadelphia, United States

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

  • Average cohort size: 90
  • International students: 7%
  • Acceptance rate: 64%
  • Tuition domestic/intl: $39k/$40k
  • Degrees offered: BS Fashion Merchandising & Management

Thomas Jefferson University develops market-driven fashion entrepreneurs equipped with skills to solve problems in the competitive fashion environment.

Thomas Jefferson University’s fashion business & management programme provides a practical approach to understanding the supply chain of fashion from concept to consumer, with an emphasis on global business development through industry partnerships and projects. Classes are taught by industry level experts, with lectures from leaders at Target, Burlington and Five Below. The programme stresses employment, and includes industry projects and partnerships with companies including Abercrombie & Fitch, Urban Outfitters, Target, Xcel Brands and Li & Fung. The Fashion Business & Management programme offers three core areas of specialisation: buying and merchandising, global brand strategy and global value chain and innovation. Students of the programme have gone on to work at brands like Amazon, QVC, Li & Fung and Macy’s. Students and alumni show high overall satisfaction with the level of teaching and available resources at the school.

Epsom, United Kingdom

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

  • Average cohort size: 60
  • International students: 33%
  • Acceptance rate: 78%
  • Tuition domestic/intl: $12k/$20k
  • Degrees offered: BA (Hons) Fashion

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 campuses throughout England and is the second largest provider of creative arts education in Europe. UCA’s BA (Hons) Fashion Management and Marketing programme is located in the recently launched Business School for Creative Industries, the first venture of its kind in the UK focused on business and entrepreneurship. UCA’s business school offers undergraduate and postgraduate level classes, including event promotion and management, international jewellery management, luxury brand management and international buying and merchandising. The programme stresses creative thinking in a commercial context, and works to equip students with transferrable skills for a variety of careers. Alumni have gone on to work at companies like Burberry, Ralph Lauren and Harrods. Students and alumni showed high overall satisfaction with all available resources and teaching indicators.

Share This Article