Schools and Scholarships for Aspiring Fashion Designers

Yesterday I wrote about what it takes to achieve a degree in Fashion Design, and what advantages that degree can give someone in the fashion industry. Now I wanted to revisit the topic, and highlight a few schools that offer different levels of degree or training programs for fashion design.

If you want to make dresses or clothes, turn your passion into a career. Photo by Matt Seppings

If you want to make dresses or clothes, turn your passion into a career. Photo by Matt Seppings

The Academy of Art University is one of the largest and most prestigious schools to offer distance learning courses and degrees in fashion design. It is also the only distance learning school to have a yearly show at the world famous New York Fashion Week. The website says that graduates of the school have gone on to work at DKNY, Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Max Studio, Nike, the Gap, and Van Heusen. Not a bad pedigree, even to someone like me who knows little about the fashion world.

Penn Foster Career School has a “career training program” focused on design and dressmaking. This is different from a degree, but could be just as helpful and informative.

The Art Institute of Pittsburgh has an on line Bachelors degree program Fashion and Retail Management. This is a different aspect of the fashion industry – not the design and creation of clothing and designs, but the marketing, merchandizing, sales, and management side of things.

There are three different distance learning degree programs offered by the International Academy of Design and Technology : a Bachelors of Fine Arts for fashion design, a Bachelors for fashion merchandizing, and a combined curriculum for fashion design and merchandizing. The course loads for these degrees are very much inter-related and cross over quite a bit, with each program focusing on a different aspect of the industry. Buying, marketing, creating, sales, management, promotion, and trend forecasting are all important aspects of the programs.

To go along with this institutional information, I researched a couple of scholarship opportunities, either for current fashion students, or those who aspire to enroll.

The NAAFA (National Association to Advance Fat Awareness) presents a contest for a one thousand dollar scholarship award. Anyone that is currently enrolled in any accredited fashion school is eligible. The contest encourages students to design and sketch clothing for plus sized women, and the judging is based on submitted sketches. For more detailed information check out the NAAFA web site.

The YMA Scholarship is one of the largest sources of scholarships in the fashion school world. Established in 1937 by members of the fashion world, it hands out large awards every year yo aspiring designers. No less than eighty $5,000 awards are presented each year, and another four students are selected as Geoffrey Beene and received twenty five thousand dollar awards. This is definitely one of the premier programs for finding scholarships in this field, being supported and funded by people in the industry, and should be researched by any aspiring designer.

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