Fashion Design Hero

FashionDesign

I'm ready to make a name for myself.

In your case, clothes don’t just cover you. They define you. They tell the world who you are and express your unique sense of style. That’s something you share with the creative professionals who take fashion from concept to consumer. If you also share their talent and tenacity, you may be able to join them. Our Fashion Design degree programs can help you start a career in an industry of global influences, trends, and markets. We’ll help you build skills in traditional and computer-generated design and pattern-making as you begin to shape your future. It’s a hands-on education designed to help you work through design challenges drawn from the real world.

If you’re more into the hats, shoes, jewelry, handbags and belts that complete the outfit, consider our Associate's Degree in Apparel and Accessory Design. You’ll take your ideas from sketch to finished product as you have the opportunity to learn the creative and business sides of this segment of the industry.

In either program, you’ll be surrounded and inspired by other talented, creatively driven students. And you’ll be pushed, challenged, and, above all else, supported by experienced faculty*. It’s not a walk in the park. It’s a journey toward doing what you love.

*Credentials and experience levels vary by faculty and instructors.

Degrees Offered

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design

Quarter Credit Hours:
180
Timeframe:
12 Quarters

Gainful Employment

Outcomes

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design

Outcomes

See ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/4245 for program duration, tuition, fees, and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

View Academic Catalog

Classroom Experience

Taking risks is nothing new for me.

It takes more than a love of fashion to carve out a career in such a highly competitive field. It takes confidence, drive, and hard work. And it takes the skills our program can help you build. You’ll start with fundamentals like color theory, fashion drawing, pattern-making, accessory design, and life drawing, then begin to add to your skills in areas including fabric and fiber selection, color trend analysis, and target market research. You’ll explore concept development, technical drawing and design, specialty design markets, and product development. You’ll study current designers, apparel trends & concepts, and managing the apparel product development process. See our gainful employment pages for possible careers that match the program that interests you.

Meet our Alumni

  • The Art Institute of Austin, a branch of The Art Institute of Houston alumni Hunter Lawson

    Hunter Lawson

    Game Art & Design , 2014

    "There is nothing that I value more than [my instructors'] guidance, wisdom, and friendships. They always raised the bar and then helped me to reach it."

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    Hunter Lawson

    Software Developer at Terrific Studios

    Hunter Lawson is a software developer at Terrific Studios, a company that assists clients to create and successfully implement games. Based in Houston, he’s responsible for programming the foundational systems for the various projects at the studio. Hunter enjoys the challenges of his career and says that the best part of his job is having the ability to bring an experience to life and put it into the hands of someone else. “It’s about as magical as it can get.”

    Hunter believes that creative people can change tomorrow’s world. And he adds that there’s “nothing on this planet that I would want to do more than what I am doing right now.” Looking to the future of his industry, Hunter states that virtual and augmented reality will become more and more integrated into daily life. “That, mixed with our increasingly powerful phones, is definitely going to change the way we live.”

    Hunter, who in 2014 earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Game Art & Design from The Art Institute of Austin, says that his instructors provided real-world experience that helped him to transition into his current job. “There is nothing that I value more than their guidance, wisdom, and friendships. They always raised the bar and then helped me to reach it. I hope to one day be able to carry that on to students of my own.”

    See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/3072 for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

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  • The Art Institute of Austin, a branch of The Art Institute of Houston alumni Jarren Moore

    Jarren Moore

    Web Design & Interactive Media , 2014

    "[My education] taught me everything about a creative space that I need to know in order to strike out and experiment with my craft."

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    Jarren Moore

    Web Developer for Arts & Labor

    Jarren Moore is a web developer for Arts & Labor in Austin, Texas. He’s responsible for designing and developing websites, IT and network support, and cloud resource management. Jarren is excited to be in a profession that blends both right-brained and left-brained thinking. “I enjoy being creative and technical at the same time,” he says.

    Jarren adds that he has a mentor at Arts & Labor who pushes him to learn new coding languages. “[My creative heroes] push me to be better and succeed. [They encourage] me to try new approaches to challenges I face.” Looking to the future in his industry, Jarren believes that responsive development will continue to be an important part of website design. He also believes that websites are moving toward a more story-based experience—not just presenting information.

    Jarren, who in 2014 earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Web Design & Interactive Media from The Art Institute of Austin, says that his education provided a strong foundation for teamwork and problem solving. “It helped me to realized that I can reach out to colleagues and mentors to work as a team. In reality, you always work in a team environment and functioning well [in a team] is key to a project’s success.”

    See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/1679 for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

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  • The Art Institute of Austin, a branch of The Art Institute of Houston alumni Kyla Harrington

    Kyla Michelle Harrington

    Visual Effects & Motion Graphics , 2015

    "With instructors and advisors from the industry, I was able to get hands on learning with practical, useful information."

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    Kyla Michelle Harrington

    Junior Digital Artist at Mighty Coconut

    Kyla Michelle Harrington is a junior digital artist at Mighty Coconut, an animation and visual effects studio specializing in original and branded content, in Austin, Texas. She’s responsible for rotoscoping, painting, and compositing. “I enjoy the ability to hone in on specific skills still while learning and practicing new and hardly used skills. The industry offers so much for me to touch on and explore,” she says.

    Kyla’s creative inspiration comes from working alongside other artists. “We really do thrive off of each other.” She adds that her profession is constantly evolving—there’s always something new and challenging to learn. “Whether it is a new technique or a new program to achieve the unachievable, [I] am constantly in awe.”

    Kyla, who in 2015 earned a Bachelor of Science in Visual Effects & Motion Graphics from The Art Institute of Austin, says that her education touched on many different courses and skillsets that made her a versatile artist. She also credits the professional instructors with bringing real world experience* into the classroom. “With instructors and advisors from the industry, I was able to get hands on learning with practical, useful information.”

    See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/3452 for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

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  • The Art Institute of Austin, a branch of The Art Institute of Houston alumni Leah Gerard

    Leah Gerard

    Media Arts & Animation , 2014

    "[The path to my career] wasn't always fun or easy. It's hard work."

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    Leah Gerard

    Associate Project Manager at Kabam, Inc.

    Leah Gerard is an associate project manager at Kabam, Inc., a San Francisco company that creates free-to-play games. She’s responsible for production management. “I enjoy the culture and freedom that the video game industry give me. My choices make a difference,” she says.

    Leah finds creative inspiration in the world around her and says that her heroes are people who never give up. She recommends that current students understand that the industry is demanding, telling them that “trends come and go. Keep learning.”

    Leah, who in 2014 earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Media Arts & Animation from The Art Institute of Austin, says that her education taught her how to communicate in a professional environment. She also cites the professional experience* and leadership of her instructors. “The teachers pushed me to be better.”

    See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/1677 for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

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What Will I Study?

Fashion Design Study Section

I want to share my sense of style with the world.

The rigorous Fashion Design curriculum is grounded in the realities of the creative side of fashion. The focus in on building the tools to compete in an industry that rewards those who help move fashion forward.

You'll study:

  • Pattern-making
  • Technical Drawing
  • Fashion Drawing
  • Sewing Techniques
  • Event & Fashion Show Production
  • Trends & Concepts in Apparel
  • Current Designers
  • Textile Fundamentals
  • Fundamentals of Business
  • Concept Development
  • Product Development
  • Merchandise Management
  • Apparel and Accessory
Design topics:
  • Sketching and illustration
  • Pattern-making and draping
  • Garment construction
  • Textiles
  • Critical analysis
  • Computer aided design
  • Clothing design

I'm looking for my proving ground.

At The Art Institutes system of schools, creativity is our core, our calling, our culture. Our Fashion Design degree programs are built on that creative foundation. It’s also built on our knowledge that a creative career is not for the faint of heart. And that today’s fashion industry is as full of challenges as it is brimming with opportunities. It’s tough out there, so it’s tough in here. But we’ll support you along every step of your journey. That’s why we provide the mentoring and real-world experience you need to prevail, with faculty* who’ve worked in the field and internship possibilities at successful businesses. You’ll be encouraged and expected to be bold. To take risks. To push yourself and the people around you. It won’t be easy. In fact, it’ll be the hardest thing you’ll ever love.

*Credentials and experience levels vary by faculty and instructors.

 

Meet our Faculty

  • Image #1: Adjunct Instructor of Fashion Design Brittany Allen

    Brittany Allen

    Fashion Design

    "When creative students are really inspired, there's nothing they can't do."

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    Brittany Allen

    Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    Believe it or not, I started college as a pre-nursing major. I hated it. I loved sewing and patternmaking, so I signed up for a few apparel classes. That inspired me to study Fashion Design, and that led me to take my professional life in the direction of creativity—and a career where I’m head designer for four brands.

    How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

    My diverse career as designer of custom leather pieces, footwear and accessories, western lifestyle ready-to-wear women's apparel let me incorporate the industry into the classroom as much as possible!

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    In my Draping class, students work to meet weekly deadlines leading up to their final presentation. I bring in resource and inspiration books and fabric swatches, and do hands-on draping with them so the gears are turning in their minds. They’re excited to see their personal, unique design aesthetic come to life with this project.

    How do you inspire students to push themselves beyond their perceived limits?

    I try to inspire students as much as I can. When creative students are really inspired, there’s nothing they can’t do.

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?

    I believe strongly in the value of collaboration between creative students in different disciplines—for example, a fashion design student working with a photography student on a fashion shoot. There are so many creative and talented people that you can always use what someone else has to offer and learn some new ways of thinking and approaching art.

    What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?

    The most important thing I teach students is to find out what it is that sets them apart from the competition. Find that unique characteristic and make yourself irreplaceable to your employer.

    What’s your one piece of advice for a student embarking on a creative career?

    In fashion, if you miss a deadline, you lose your job. So, I don’t accept late work. That’s the way it is in the industry, and it should be the same way in school.

    Anything else you’d like to share?

    I absolutely love teaching Fashion Design at The Art Institute of Austin!

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  • Use everything around you to create, explore, and continue to grow as a creative professional.

    Forest Bell

    Fashion Design

    "Use everything around you to create, explore, and continue to grow as a creative professional."

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    Forest Bell

    Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    I started sewing at a very young age, and knew I was destined to be creative in some way or another. I studied painting and installation work in college, and while working on my senior show, I decided I could bring change to the world in a much more personal way. And fashion was the tool to do that.

    How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

    My professional background is a key element in my classroom. The real-world experiences I share give my students a touchstone to build the foundation of each lesson; they help take their knowledge beyond theory and into application.

    How do you inspire students to push themselves beyond their perceived limits?

    I believe limits should be pushed in every aspect of learning. Working in a small classroom setting—usually a studio-based environment—I can challenge each student one-on-one to go further than they might think is possible.

    What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?

    I make it my number one priority to ensure every student understands the struggle they’re about to embark on. A creative career isn’t an easy one. You’ll feel the lowest of lows and the highest of highs. Learn from the lows and harness the energy of the highs.

    What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?

    Use everything around you to create, explore, and continue to grow as a creative professional.

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  • "In fields like sound design, electronic music, and audio post, the only constant is change."

    Adam Fansgrud

    Audio Production

    "In fields like sound design, electronic music, and audio post, the only constant is change."

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    Adam Fansgrud

    Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    When I wrote and directed my first short film, the most satisfying parts of the process were working on the sound design and composing the music score. That’s when I turned my focus to sound—and I haven't looked back since.

    How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

    In fields like sound design, electronic music and audio post, the only constant is change. I’m as enthusiastic about learning as I am about teaching. And because I continue to work on real-world projects and keep current on all the technological developments, I’m able to make sure my students are ready to produce quality mixes to the latest specs.

    How do you inspire students to push themselves beyond their perceived limits?

    I always encourage my students to break out of their comfort zones, whether that means mixing a genre of music they're unfamiliar with, or working in an audio discipline they didn't even know existed. Pushing themselves to broaden their interests and perspectives helps beginner students evolve into well-rounded graduates.

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?

    Collaboration is critical to audio post-production and sound design. When Audio Production students work with Digital Video & Film Production students on a film project, for example, the results are usually head and shoulders above the quality of projects that don’t involve that kind of teamwork.

    What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?

    It's not enough to just have passion, and it's not enough to just have drive. Students who excel are both passionate about their art and driven to take the concrete steps to realize their aspirations.

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  • Austin Chef Instructor Brad V. Harmon

    Brad V. Harmon

    Culinary Arts

    "Never give up—no matter what. Obstacles are in your way for a reason: to build character and test your grit."

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    Brad V. Harmon

    Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    My interest was sparked by my rich family heritage. My ancestors came from Germany as indentured servants, obtaining land in northwest Illinois through the Homestead Act. My mother grew up in the original farmhouse, and my brother and I spent every summer on the farm helping my grandfather preserve and pickle food, harvest corn and soy beans, and tend to cattle and pigs.

    How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

    I try to represent all the chefs who’ve helped me develop over the years. I create a real-life scenario in the classroom so the students understand the importance of timing, communication, and teamwork. I have to put aside my own personal approach to running a kitchen and staff, because the industry seems to have a harder edge than I do, and I want to make sure my students can handle it.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    In all my classes I assign research papers. Students pick their own topics based on their own culinary interest. I try not to put them in boxes, but they need to earn the opportunity to be creative by working hard, doing their homework, and being professional—which sometimes means simply showing up.

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?

    Collaboration is key to generating new ideas and helping students see the big picture. I’ve had Audio students come in to record the sounds of frying, sauteeing, and the difference between a good sharp knife and a dull one. I’ve arranged a fashion show with the Fashion department so my students can provide food to match the theme. I’ve even worked with the Animation department on my own adventure—producing a cartoon.

    What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?

    Be present. Leave your problems and issues behind you before entering a kitchen...don’t let them affect your performance. A happy chef creates happy food, which makes a happy customer.

    What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?

    Never give up—no matter what. Obstacles are in your way for a reason: to build character and test your grit.

    Anything else you’d like to share?

    My whole life I’ve been searching for a career "home." The Art Institute of Austin is my home, and everyone I work with is family.

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  • "The way to launch your career is by showing your work to anyone in the business who

    Meg Mulloy

    Digital Photography

    "The way to launch your career is by showing your work to anyone in the business who'll take the time to look."

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    Meg Mulloy

    Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    I studied in Spain for a semester, and I think being abroad at that point in my life inspired my passion for capturing places, people, moments, and light.

    How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

    Every freelance photography assignment I complete adds depth to my knowledge and experience, because each one presents new challenges and interactions. I always share stories about projects—and the tips and techniques I’ve picked up—because students need to see how problem-solving and thinking on your feet are constants in the life of a working photographer. It helps connect what they learn in the classroom to what they can expect after graduation.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring, and how do you inspire students to push themselves beyond their perceived limits?

    In my top-level Image Manipulation class, students work together to create an ad campaign. They come up with a concept together, plan their pre-production—choosing locations, casting models, sourcing wardrobe and props—and then produce the images as a team. What I love about the assignment is that they get a glimpse into a commercial shoot and see all the roles other people, beyond the photographer, play in bringing even a single image together. I let them take the lead, and I make suggestions on how to strengthen the idea or the photo, either on set or during post-production.

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?

    Working together across programs deepens students’ appreciation for the various skills and know-how it takes to create compelling work. When Photography students work with Culinary students, they see what goes into making food that doesn’t just taste delicious, but looks appetizing in a photo. Working with Graphic Design students, they see how much deep design knowledge goes into a seemingly simple logo or brand identity. And teaming up with Fashion students, they can grasp what a difference it makes on a shoot to have someone with a trained eye working as a wardrobe stylist.

    What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?

    I can’t emphasize enough the importance of networking. Finding work depends so much on word-of-mouth.

    What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?

    Doing good work and continuing to build the skills that strengthen that work are important. But the way to launch your career is by showing your work to anyone in the business who’ll take the time to look.

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  • Graphic Design Assistant Instructor Chase Quarterman

    Chase Quarterman

    Graphic & Web Design

    "The bar has been raised. You need to constantly get better."

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    Chase Quarterman

    Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    I knew from an early age that I wanted to do something creative. In elementary school, I was always drawing characters from my favorite cartoons. In high school, I drew comic strips for the school paper and helped teach art classes to younger kids. In college, I discovered my love of design and oil painting, which grew during a semester in London. The act of making something is truly fulfilling.

    How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

    My classroom is basically a client/creative setting. I am the "client," and I give creative briefs to the designers. I pull directly from my personal client experience—both good and bad—so we can discuss it class. I let them know that the profession is more than just creativity, it’s also about developing business, networking, and communication skills.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring, and how do you inspire students to push themselves beyond their perceived limits?

    One of the most difficult assignments for students is the personal branding project in Portfolio 1. It’s their chance to "brand" themselves. They design a logo—symbol and typography—for their website, portfolio, business card, and collateral. It requires some soul-searching about who the student really...they have to encapsulate their entire self into one simple mark. It seems impossible at first. But eventually, they find something to latch on to. It’s a tough challenge for them, but it’s truly gratifying for me when a student finds what they’re looking for.

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?

    No designer is an island. The reality of the industry is that designers work with art directors, copywriters, creative directors, in-house bosses and clients of all kinds...the creative pro has to be a diplomat. I remind students that most rock bands break up because of creative differences—and the same can be true in our industry. The key is to build bridges, encourage one another, share differences of opinion, and respect the other person. It’s all about establishing camaraderie—and creating amazing work.

    What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?

    Have a big, visual appetite. Be inspired by film, animation, books, typography, magazines, apps, billboards, websites, nature, packaging, signage, textures, industrial design, architecture, posters, everything.

    What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?

    I believe that when students know what’s out there, and they get a little intimidated by the amazing work being produced by their "competition," they work hard to get better. The bar has been raised. You need to constantly get better.

    Anything else you’d like to share?

    I find that the sense of community in the classroom isn’t only important for the students’ creative life, but my own. The discussions, the energy, the critiques are all catalysts for exploration...and I use them when I'm dealing with clients. I hope this creative "community" extends beyond each student's time in my classrooms.

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The Art Institute of San Antonio, a branch of The Art Institute of Houston alumni Sommer Bostick Working on game based training for the military has exposed me to things I never would be doing when I started at [The Art Institute of San Antonio]. Sommer Bostick
Media Arts & Animation, The Art Institute of San Antonio, a branch of The Art Institute of Houston, 2014