Art Institutes

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/3444 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 to new to 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.

What Will I Study?

Fashion Design

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 is 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

  • Penaranda HS

    Martha Penaranda

    Fashion Design

    "Don't just dream about your fantastic ideas, get started—even if it's in the wrong direction."

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    Martha Penaranda

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

    It’s hard to isolate a single moment. From an early age I’ve been fascinated by the possibility of transforming what’s in front of you...the what if. I have to admit, all the cutting, gluing and painting things around the house got me in trouble a lot.

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

    Throughout my career I’ve worked in quite different settings. As a computer pattern design developer for a knitwear firm in Florence, Italy; running workshops in coloring and dying with indigenous communities in rural Colombia; and designing costumes and scenery for a great variety of plays and audiences. That wide range of experiences gave me the ability to recognize the value of the task at hand, and taught me that every individual has something to offer. My goal in the classroom is to recognize that diversity of aesthetics and skills, and develop them according to the individual.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    A creative career is a process of discovering possibilities. It’s the what if that drives us to explore different paths. I’m a firm believer in research. I urge students to look beyond the obvious. The web is a panacea of information, and we greatly benefit from its richness. But we should look beyond the computer. The world is full of patterns, colors and motifs. I want students to take risks, step out of their comfort zones, explore, discover, act on their ideas, fail, recover, and keep going.

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

    Theater is the most collaborative art form. The work of playwrights, directors, actors, designers, and crew come together to provide the theatrical experience. Everyone contributes their craft to create what the audience ultimately receives. Here in school we have such a big pool of diverse talent talent under one roof. I’ve brought together visual artists, musicians and photographers, and I’m looking forward to much more collaboration.

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

    Be flexible, be open-minded, rely on good research, but most importantly, take action. Don’t just dream about your fantastic ideas, get started—even if it’s in the wrong direction. Mistakes can take you to great discoveries.

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  • Vanessa Langton Portrait

    Vanessa Langton

    General Education

    "Work hard and always give your best—your work is a direct representation of yourself and your abilities!"

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    Vanessa Langton
    What would you say is the defining moment in your life when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    As a kid I made drawings regularly. When fellow students and teachers began to recognize my potential, I thought maybe there was something to art and creative expression. My mother nurtured my interests in art by taking me to museums regularly to look at the works of great artists and she bought me art supplies to practice. I knew very young that I could not live without art and art history in my life.

    How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience to provide an industry veteran's sense of the realities / challenges / opportunities of the profession?

    Prior to teaching art history I worked as a graphic designer and I know what it is like to be an ambitious art student trying to prep a portfolio to hunt for a job. As an art historian, I also know how important it is to be able to describe your artwork through written and spoken words. Through art history, students learn not only about different eras in art, but they also learn how to talk about art. These skills can be applied to any area of study—graphic design, the culinary arts, game art design, photography, etc.

    Is there a class assignment that exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring? Similarly, how does your approach inspire each student to push themselves beyond their own perceived limits?

    At the end of each quarter, my students are required to give an oral presentation. Not only does the student have to research a specific artist or art era, but they have to put together a slide show, a script, and present this to a room of their peers. This pushes the student towards a goal as they are faced with a deadline.

    What role does collaboration contribute to students' success, especially when students from other programs contribute to the same project?

    Perhaps when students are assigned to work together they end up discussing their chosen areas of studies through a critical point of view and look beyond the surface to acquire meaning. They could question the who, what, and why using methods of formal analysis to all areas of the creative spectrum.

    In your opinion, what is the single most important thing you impart to your students to help them succeed in your class and in the real world? Alternatively, what is the most critical advice you would offer any student as he / she embarks on a creative career?

    Work hard and always give your best—your work is a direct representation of yourself and your abilities!

    Read More...
  • Rebecca Kerr Portrait

    Rebecca Kerr

    General Education

    "Continue to refine your speaking skills so that the ability to communicate never stands in the way of your success."

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    Rebecca Kerr
    Is there a class assignment that exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring? Similarly, how does your approach inspire each student to push themselves beyond their own perceived limits?

    Just the act of Public Speaking often pushes students outside their comfort zone. Standing up in front of a full classroom with all eyes on you can be uncomfortable. Then students must organize their ideas and clearly present them to the class. That can be terrifying! Students often enter my class believing they can't stand up and deliver a speech to their peers. However, I provide the students with coping mechanisms, skill development, and a safe environment allowing them to deliver not only one but many speeches.

    What role does collaboration contribute to students' success, especially when students from other programs contribute to the same project?


    Collaboration in a communication class serves a dual purpose. Collaboration allows students to improve their group communication skills, as well as develop an end result that is better than any single group member could do alone. Working in a group challenges students to clearly express their ideas, mediate during disagreements, compromise for the good of the project, lead, follow, and much more. Additionally by bringing students from different fields of study and diverse backgrounds together, students' own ideas, abilities, and limitations are challenged often resulting in a better end product.

    In your opinion, what is the single most important thing you impart to your students to help them succeed in your class and in the real world? Alternatively, what is the most critical advice you would offer any student as he / she embarks on a creative career?

    I work to ensure students leave my class with the ability to clearly and effectively communicate their ideas. I believe the ability to skillfully convey abstract ideas, like those often found in art, can set an artist apart from their peers. In the creative career field, students will be asked to communicate on many levels. They will pitch ideas, lead groups, speak to investors, and hopefully deliver acceptance speeches. My advice to students: Continue to refine your speaking skills so that the ability to communicate never stands in the way of your success.

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  • Jude Okpala HS

    Dr. Jude Okpala

    General Education

    "Everything is a process; failure comes only when we have given up on the process."

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    Dr. Jude Okpala

    What would you say is the defining moment in your life when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    A defining moment for me was when I wrote my first poem entitled “Africa” and submitted it for publication. It was accepted and was included in an anthology dedicated to Black Poetry. Such a feat fed my creativity, more so, to fashion meaning with words and reflect on human reality.

    How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience to provide an industry veteran's sense of the realities / challenges / opportunities of the profession?

    I am a published writer, but I did not get published the first time I submitted my work to the editor. I was rejected multiples times and still get rejection letters today when I submit my work to publishers. I never gave up; I do revise the work and resubmit; at times, I search for outlets that cater to my work. Rejection letters like that, and any form of challenge, are opportunities for improvement; they are ladders for a higher plateau, and must be seen as such than as anything else. So, I tell my students that getting feedback on their work is an opportunity to improve on it. 

    Is there a class assignment that exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring? Similarly, how does your approach inspire each student to push themselves beyond their own perceived limits?

    My approach to teaching is essentially Socratic, and that means I function as a midwife giving birth to students’ learning; it means also that I do not see any of my students as tabula rasa, empty slate, that I have to fill in. They have their knowledge, which I must validate. With that position, my assignments call for critical thinking and dialog; it requires students to present what they already know about a topic and then align that learning with an opposing perspective.

    What role does collaboration contribute to students' success, especially when students from other programs contribute to the same project?   

    Collaboration is key to students’ success in my writing class; such a position serves the cliché that “one head is better than one.”  On a more clearer perspective, collaboration offers exchange and building of ideas through dialog; it fosters civic engagement, which is crucial to proper engagement in the society. Coming from different cultural and disciplinary backgrounds, my students collaborate to navigate their different experiences and build on them; they see how interdisciplinary a specific area of study is, and they gravitate more confidently and comfortably to each other. They come to understand that no discipline is really a silo, but an integration of others. A photography student sees a connection with a film student; a culinary arts student sees a connection with a design student; and they all see a connection with “English Composition,” where composition serves as a metaphor for integration of perspectives to build a new reality.

    In your opinion, what is the single most important thing you impart to your students to help them succeed in your class and in the real world? Alternatively, what is the most critical advice you would offer any student as he / she embarks on a creative career?

    I teach writing, so I want my students to understand that good writing comes through a process: I want to add a process of revision, which offers the opportunity to develop and improve on an idea. It would not be unreasonable to say that life goes through such a process; an encounter with failure should not define a person; it should be rather an opportunity to grow, to revise one’s perspectives and amend uncouth structures and styles. I would want my students to see life as such. Everything is a process; failure comes only when we have given up on the process. 

    Is there anything else you'd like us to know about you, your experience, or your role as a faculty member at The Art Institutes?

    I want students to know that my classroom is a learning community, where every voice counts and is empowered to speak and write about his or her perspectives. My classroom, as such, takes the shape of my students’ learning styles and builds on them with the goal of achieving active learning.

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