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 Arts in Fashion Design

Quarter Credit Hours:
180
Timeframe:
12 Quarters

Gainful Employment

Outcomes

Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Design

Outcomes

See ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/3812 for program duration, tuition, fees, and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

  • Demonstrate the ability to analyze and apply appropriate patternmaking techniques and construction methodology utilizing industry standard technology.
  • Translate a design from two dimensions to three dimensions and apply the design elements to ensure the aesthetic of the design is appropriate for the target market.
  • Articulate and evaluate a garment for quality, including fit and functionality as they relate to design aesthetics.
  • Apply textile knowledge to appropriate end use and define current regulations and laws, ethical business practices, and global diversity influences that apply to the textile and apparel industry.
  • Demonstrate competency in industry standard software and the ability to apply these standards to the manufacturing process.
  • Identify resources including library, internet, trade journals, and trend reports to research and develop a clothing line.

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 Phoenix alumni Ciara Rios

    Ciara Rios

    Fashion Marketing , 2015

    "The business, visual, retail sales management, and interior design [courses that I took at school] helped me to prepare for my career at Target."

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    Ciara Rios

    Merchandising Lead for Target

    Ciara Rios is a visual merchandising lead for Target in Denver, Colorado. She works to build sales by creating visual presentations and uses specific tactics to achieve this goal. Ciara not only coaches her team on presentation, she keeps the store looking fresh by changing mannequins frequently so customers are always seeing something new. “[I make] business sales decisions based on sport/life/weather events and ensure that our furniture section is always looking like a presentation—like it's someone's home. If an aisle sells down, I need to fill it using appropriate merchandise that tells a story and encourages the customer to buy a few things [in addition to what they’re] purchasing."

    Ciara says that she stepped into a brand new position at Target—at the same time she was new to the Denver area. “It was super hard for me to adjust my life in Colorado while also learning a new company and a new job. No one quite understood what my role would be. I decided that [since this] role was new, I could create it in a way that makes the best decisions for the company. That’s just what I did.” Ciara partnered with coworkers and reached out to corporate leaders to create a task list and ensure she was adding value to the company. “By creating visual presentations based on business needs, I am coming in and changing the way that other employees see the Target brand. My goal is to use my creative techniques to grow sales.”

    Ciara is used to challenges. While a student, she took six classes a week while working full time in retail management. She was also a stylist at Phoenix Fashion Week. “I know how hard it is to juggle all the responsibilities.” She recommends that current students stay focused on their goals. “If you work hard towards your degree, it will pay off in the long run. Another piece of advice I would extend is to not be afraid of change. Be open to new jobs and new cities because sometimes you can grow in the industry more if you relocate. I [moved] to Colorado in order to take the best opportunity for me and I have no regrets.”

    Ciara, who in 2015 earned a Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Marketing from The Art Institute of Phoenix, says that her education helped to make her a competitive candidate for jobs in the fashion industry. Today, she is excited to be working in fashion and pleased to be associated with a company that has strong customer and employee loyalty. “After joining the Target company, I soon came to realize that many employees have been here 10 plus years. This showed me that Target is not only a great company to work for but they are very supportive of growing their employees within the company.”

    See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/24 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 Phoenix alumni Kyle Davila

    Kyle Davila

    Graphic & Web Design , 2015

    "I am an asset to the agency because I have capabilities and skills [that I learned in school] that allow us to keep jobs in-house instead of using third party vendors. In this industry, that's very important."

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    Kyle Davila

    Art Director at SANTY

    Kyle Davila is an art director at SANTY in Scottsdale, Arizona. He’s responsible for overseeing creative work for clients—everything from big campaigns to emails and web banners. “I also handle most of the in-house photography for the studio, so I have days where I spend 90% of my time away from my desk at photo shoots.”

    Kyle’s coworkers inspire him with their dedication and creativity. “I am pretty fortunate to be surrounded by some really creative, passionate people that make what I do that much easier. The people I work with do some pretty impressive work. Personally, I have to be the hardest working one in the room and the minute I feel like I'm not is when I push myself to grow even more.” Kyle challenges himself by staying up late to research and further concept ideas he’s working on at SANTY.

    He says that the design industry can be very challenging. “If you aren't willing to outwork everyone around you all the time, then you can't complain when you get stuck in the same spot for years and years to come.” He encourages designers to always push themselves to create something better. “I began to experience the benefits of my hard work when I started working less and less on production [and was placed] in charge of larger campaigns. It was an important shift for me because [I was now providing creative] ideas, and that's where you earn respect with the upper level directors.”

    Kyle keeps an open line of communication at work, and is committed to helping the agency put out the best work possible. He cites a time when a new employee didn’t fully grasp a client’s design wishes and presented a concept that didn’t resonate with the client. Kyle made the difficult decision to talk with other art directors at the company—including senior art directors—to share his ideas on how to meet the client’s needs. “I have an immense amount of passion for what I do and the work I give to the clients. I had to take the difficult step to have a conversation with the directors and let them know it wasn't our best work and I could improve it. This was by no means easy. It took days of tough conversations that were heated at times. I was able to redo the creative and back-up everything I was saying with improvements to the campaign.”

    While situations like this can be difficult, Kyle says it’s worth the challenge. He recommends that current students understand that they won’t always have the best ideas—but they need to keep pushing forward. "You might think [your idea isn’t great], but someone else could hear it and take it to the next level. The next thing you know, you're on the cover of magazines for the idea. It's funny because people think this industry is based on skill. That’s a portion of it, but a majority of it is being able to persevere through bad idea after bad idea until you land on that great one. Dedication is the name of the game.”

    Kyle, who in 2015 earned a Bachelor of Arts in Graphic & Web Design from The Art Institute of Phoenix, says that his education provided networking opportunities and industry insights that have helped him in his career. “I am an asset to the agency because I have capabilities and skills that allow us to keep jobs in-house instead of using third party vendors. In this industry, that’s very important.”

    See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/4031 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

  • Graphic Design Instructor Alison King

    Alison King

    Graphic & Web Design

    "Slightly uncomfortable? Good. That means you're growing."

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    Alison King

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

    It all came together for me in high school. I loved design, but had no idea what I was doing. I kept at it, and as a senior I became yearbook editor. I loved the challenge of publication design so much, I decided to apply to a New York City design school. My commitment to working in the arts started the day I stepped on that plane.

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

    I have the battle scars from working in our industry, so I’m able to show my students the value of resilience. Life throws curve balls, and being able to improvise and pivot is important if you’re going to succeed in this fast-paced profession.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    First-year students can be overwhelmed by expectations, so I offer one of my favorite mantras: "How do you eat a whale? One bite at a time." In my observational drawing class, each lesson focuses on a skill such as sighting or perceiving values, and by midterm we start putting those skills together in concert, like a symphony. Students are often surprised how eye-opening a few simple lessons can be.

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

    Slightly uncomfortable? Good. That means you’re growing. Students often don't know how far they can go until they’ve been pushed outside their comfort zone. I remind them that the pain, awkwardness, suffering, and self-doubt are only temporary—once the job's done, they’ll want to sign up to do it all over again.

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

    I tell my students that it takes thousands of hours to truly master something. Practicing your craft every day is so important.

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

    Find mentors you admire, and make yourself indispensable to them. Work for free on something you're passionate about; Volunteer: It's some of the best networking out there.

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  • Fashion Marketing & Design Instructor Dapzury Valenzuela

    Dapzury Valenzuela

    Fashion Marketing

    "Don't simply do enough to get by—that's not for the seriously creative."

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    Dapzury Valenzuela

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

    I got involved in the layout and digital design of my high school yearbook, taking photos, interviewing students, and organizing information. The moment I started using Adobe ® Illustrator ® , I knew I wanted a creative career where I could express my ideas.

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

    I treat my students as clients, and my clients as students. I try to make the classroom experience as real-world as possible. Our creative team meets to share ideas, identify tasks, and determine milestones and deadlines. Creative executions are presented, revised, resubmitted, and eventually completed. Project management is used to keep track of each member’s progress. It’s all about challenging and pushing everyone to do their best.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    In my upper level Portfolio class, students prepare their graduating trade show displays. It’s a pretty stressful time, so I work one-on-one with them to motivate and help them stay focused and positive. Being flexible and persistent is something I strive to instill in each of my grads. I often share examples from my own experience where I was able to turn challenges into opportunities to find new ways to solve problems.

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success?

    Team projects help students build emotional intelligence. Creative people take great pride in their work, and collaboration helps them learn to process the feedback and critique that can help them become better designers. They learn to keep an open mind and consider others’ opinions—and defend their own.

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

    Think positively. If you want to become a successful creative professional, you need to think like one. Read books about them, join organizations they belong to, and produce work that’s on par with theirs. Finally, keep a positive mental attitude to help you get through challenges.

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

    Over-deliver; Go above and beyond what’s expected of you. Don't simply do enough to get by—that’s not for the seriously creative. Be the first at the office and the last to leave.

    Anything else you’d like to share?

    Being able to work in industry and share that experience in the classroom is the best of both worlds.

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  • Fashion Design Instructor Helen Nosova

    Helen Nosova

    Fashion Design

    "Commit to your work. We all have passion... but without true commitment, that passion can easily go to waste."

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    Helen Nosova

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

    There was no single defining moment, but my childhood was full of wild fashion risks, customizing and altering my own wardrobe, and coordinating my friends’ outfits. I ventured into theatrical costuming at an early age.

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

    As a former museum professional, I require my students to visit and participate in fashion-related events at Phoenix Art Museum. They’re exposed to extraordinary objects that represent some of the most important moments in fashion history, as well as current designer works. I encourage them to be scholars of fashion, so they can become more intelligent and creative designers.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    While teaching a Theater Makeup course years ago, I created an assignment I called Rapid Fire Quick Change. Each designer performed various makeup and hair changes on a fellow student in under 30 seconds each—working in near total darkness to simulate the focus, speed and technical skill needed to succeed as a theater technician. It was high-pressure, but it was always great fun.

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

    In fashion, we work with other artists and designers to help us with inspiration, creation, promotion, and selling our designs. We must surround ourselves with talented professionals who support our vision and help bring our products to the marketplace. Our students have a rare opportunity to begin networking now with fellow artists who’ll go on to be photographers, graphic designers, and more. They can become their "go-to" professional contacts.

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

    Commit to your work. We all have passion, and that’s certainly an integral part of being an artist. But without true commitment, that passion can easily go to waste. I teach my students to research and analyze their ideas, sketch constantly, understand the business of our industry, and most of all practice good time-management.

    Anything else you’d like to share?

    I encourage my students to surround themselves with people that inspire them, challenge their ideas, and celebrate their achievements.

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  • Jack P. Sullivan

    Graphic & Web Design

    "When you do good work, opportunities seem to find you."

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    Jack P. Sullivan

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

    My first mentor was my high school art teacher. She suggested that I put my creative talent to use in the advertising industry, and advised me to get a degree in the field of graphic design. When she showed me samples of creative work that was being done in graphic design, that really appealed to me.

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

    I still work as a professional in the field, which means I can share real-world situations like dealing with clients. We talk about what clients expect from us; more importantly, I tell students not to be hindered by any limitations that a client may impose. Once we establish that, they have plenty of creative freedom to do amazing work. And when you do good work, opportunities seem to find you.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    In my package design class, students create a meal-to-box for a local restaurant. Each carrier box must contain four more boxes, each one holding an individual meal. So they have to decide the best size for the entree, side dishes, dessert, etc. Then comes the creative part of applying the theme to the boxes for a consistent look and feel—not just slapping a logo on the boxes. There are so many moving parts that it really forces the student to do their research first, then gather samples, then be able to execute that solution from both an engineering and design standpoint.

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

    In the package design project, students take the role of art director and work with a Photography student on a tabletop photo shoot. They must turn in three photos: the outside box, the interior boxes and how they fit into the outside box, and a detail shot highlighting the typography, illustration, and other aspects. The teamwork involved helps them understand how things work in the real world.

    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 have great ideas. You have to make them work visually. Break your work down to its simplest form visually, and you’ll get the greatest results.

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

    There are a lot of creative people out there, and some may be more creative than you. But if you can come up with good creative solutions and execute your design concepts, you’ll make yourself valuable.

    Anything else you’d like to share?

    I love the fact that the faculty here all share their strengths with each other to help students bring out their best.

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  • Visual & Game Programming Instructor Michael Thomas Di Cosola

    Michael Thomas Di Cosola

    Visual & Game Programming

    "When most people are asleep, you'll still be up working. Your passion is what'll get you through."

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    Michael Thomas Di Cosola

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

    My uncle was the chief electrical engineer at The Walt Disney Company. Through him, I got a behind-the-scenes look at the Disney magic and art. I remember watching an artist paint designs in the Enchanted Tiki Room and bombarding him with questions. That’s when I knew I wanted to bring art to others.

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

    I assign a project in my Interior Worlds class that gives students one week to complete a scene from the game series Unreal following all the rules of design (rules of thirds, golden spiral, etc.) I expect them to fail. But I also expect them to give their best. To try and try again. And learn what they did wrong and figure out how to correct it.

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

    Collaboration lets students see things from different points of view. Our Visual & Game Programming students work with our [Game Art& Design] students—and that’s led to many successful outcomes. One team even placed in the Independent Games Festival.

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

    Making games isn’t easy. Just because you love games doesn't mean you should make them. You have to have a passion. When most people are asleep, you’ll still be up working. Your passion is what will get you through.

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

    There’s no one way to do something. Just dive in and start doing it.

    Anything else you’d like to share?

    Students ask me all the time why I don’t go back to making games. I ask them to tell me where else but teaching can you help someone become the best person they can be, and watch them live their dreams. It’s like a video game, only it’s real.

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The Art Institute of Michigan alumni Calvert Griffin [My education] helped me to learn how to be an effective teammate and work well with others. Calvert Griffin
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design, 2014, The Art Institute of Michigan