2023 Best Online Fashion Degrees [Bachelor’s Guide]

Home » 2023 Best Online Fashion Degrees [Bachelor’s Guide]

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If you love art, clothes, and merchandising, then getting an online fashion degree might be on your radar. The world of fashion can be exciting, and studying design could help you make your entrance.

Best Online Fashion Degrees

In online fashion design courses, you might learn how to create apparel designs, produce pieces, and market your creations.

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You can develop key skills that could catch employers’ eyes and help make you a fitting candidate for interesting jobs in this field.

Online Fashion Degrees

Online Fashion Degrees

Clothes aren’t just something to wear. They’re a form of art and expression. If you’d love to turn your passion for clothing and apparel into a career, then pursuing an online fashion design school could be the first step toward your goals.

Fashion design students are often artistic. Taking college classes in this field could enhance those abilities and cultivate their usefulness in the fashion industry. As a fashion student, you might study:

  • Accessories
  • Color theory
  • Computer-based design programs
  • Design principles
  • Fashion history
  • Fashion research
  • Materials and textiles
  • Sewing skills

Some college programs include the opportunity to earn certifications. Before graduation, you might become certified in one or more popular illustration and design software programs.

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Fashion design students often engage in hands-on practice. They may sketch designs, cut materials, and sew articles of clothing. Even if your program is online, you can still have the opportunity for such experiences. Instead of working in an on-campus lab, you might use your own sewing machine to make your pieces.

With the designs you create in school, you can build a portfolio of your work. You can use it to showcase your abilities as you look for college internships or post-graduation job placements. Many schools combine fashion design and fashion merchandising into one degree because these two fields have a lot in common. Both require a keen eye for what looks good and what consumers will want to wear.

However, there are specifically on-campus as well as online fashion merchandising degree programs offered to students interested in this career field.

Merchandising studies could give you additional preparation for the business side of fashion. Many fashion design graduates want to become designers. Common employers for fashion designers include the movie industry, clothing manufacturers, and clothing wholesalers. You could also choose to be an independent designer.

Alternatively, fashion studies could help you launch a career in retail, wholesaling, or marketing. Graduates sometimes work as buyers, sales representatives, or retail supervisors. Experience could lead to management roles.

Fashion Careers & Salaries

Fashion Careers & Salaries

Many people who take fashion design classes want to become fashion designers. They may design clothing, accessories, or shoes.

Many designers work for apparel manufacturers or wholesalers. Others are self-employed. The entertainment industry also hires designers. Those professionals are often known as costume designers, and they choose what actors and other entertainers will wear during productions.

Fashion designers with experience may go on to become art or creative directors. Their managerial responsibilities could include setting a budget, supervising designers, and making final decisions about themes or designs. Not everyone who earns a fashion bachelor degree decides to pursue design work. Others may use their education to start a career in buying or selling.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, careers in arts and design pay a median annual salary of $49,600.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Marketing Managers $142,170
Wholesale Trade Sales Managers $131,420
Purchasing Managers $125,940
Art Directors $97,270
Retail Trade Sales Managers $92,950
Fashion Designers $75,810
Buyers and Purchasing Agents $66,690
Wholesale and Manufacturing Sales Representatives $65,420
Retail Supervisors $41,580
Merchandise Displayers and Window Trimmers $30,810

Wages vary based on education, experience, job responsibilities, and geographic location. The above salaries are based on national averages and may not reflect your personal wages. Retail sales jobs can serve as a starting point for entering the fashion world.

A designer’s eye could be helpful in creating store displays. Holding a bachelor’s degree could help a retail worker become a first-line supervisor or a store manager in a clothing shop. Opening a boutique is another option. Wholesale trade professionals sell goods to stores. They might help apparel companies get their clothing and accessories into retail establishments. Wholesale trade managers oversee the process.

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Wholesalers often communicate with a retail company’s purchasing agents or buyers. That’s another line of work for fashion graduates to consider. Purchasing agents’ and buyers’ responsibilities could include deciding which designs to carry during an upcoming season. Purchasing managers may have the final say. Their role could also include setting policies and supervising staff.

Marketing is important in the fashion industry as well. Fashion marketing managers may evaluate consumer trends and determine pricing or advertising strategies.

Fashion Bachelors Degree Curriculum & Courses

Fashion Bachelors Degree Curriculum

For a bachelor’s degree in fashion design, you’ll typically earn about 120 college credits. As you go through the fashion program, you can develop a portfolio of original ideas and designs. Here are some examples of fashion courses:

  • Artistic Principles: Studies in color theory and design elements may serve as the artistic foundation for your fashion program.
  • Design Illustration: You’ll learn how to create drawings that communicate your idea for individual pieces and ensembles.
  • Digital Design: In one or more courses, you may become proficient in computer-aided design (CAD), which can help you qualify for industry certifications.
  • Draping: This class teaches you to think beyond two-dimensional designs and consider how fabric will lay on a three-dimensional figure.
  • Fashion Business and Merchandising: You’ll prepare for a career in fashion by studying wholesaling, retail sales, marketing, and other business concepts.
  • Fashion Materials: A strong understanding of textiles and other materials can prepare you to choose the right elements for your fashion designs.
  • Fashion Techniques: This course may cover technical fashion skills, such as how to follow a pattern, use a sewing machine, and understand sizing guidelines.
  • History of Fashion: You might take one or more classes about how styles and trends have developed throughout history and into the present day.
  • Patterns: You’ll learn how to create flat patterns, and you may work with computer programs to help with the process.
  • Research in Fashion: Your time in this class can equip you to explore past designs, consider the source of your inspiration, and honor the work of design predecessors without compromising your originality.

Some programs also require an internship or a final senior design project.

Should I Get an Online Fashion Degree?

Fashion Bachelors Degree online

If you’re interested in a career in fashion, a degree could give you a competitive edge for securing a relevant job. You can learn technical and business skills in a fashion degree program, and you can also build your portfolio.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, fashion designers tend to earn between $38,570 and $146,300 each year. Jobs in this category aren’t currently experiencing much growth, so you may appreciate the increased job security that a college degree can provide.

One thing to note is that fashion designers often need to live in major metropolitan areas. You might consider whether that appeals to you before committing to this program. Apart from fashion design, this bachelors could also help prepare you for positions in buying, selling, and marketing.

Bachelor of Fashion Design Admissions Requirements

Fashion Design Requirements

The admission requirements for fashion design colleges vary from one school to the next, but filling out an application form is a nearly universal requirement. In addition, schools might ask for:

  • Essay that introduces you and your goals
  • High school transcript and transcripts from any college courses
  • Letters of reference
  • ACT or SAT scores (not required by all schools)

After being admitted to a college, you might be asked to submit a fashion portfolio before being accepted into the design program.

Fashion Schools Accreditation

Fashion Schools Accreditation

Regional accreditation is the standard sign of a quality college. Attending an accredited school is important for earning a credible degree. If you change your plans and decide to transfer to another school, you’ll likely appreciate that your coursework was earned at a regionally accredited institution. Most colleges only accept accredited transfer credits.

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Getting into a graduate program will probably require an accredited undergraduate degree too. Even if you don’t plan to pursue a master’s degree right away, you might want to someday. On the job front, some employers prefer candidates who hold accredited degrees.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Fashion Schools financial aid

College can be costly, but financial aid can help make it more affordable for qualifying students. Many students qualify for government assistance. State and federal programs distribute loans and grants, but loans typically have broader eligibility requirements than grants.

Scholarships are another way to reduce your tuition. Some may come directly from your college. You might obtain others from outside sources, such as professional associations or community groups. If you hold a job while in school, your employer might cover part of your costs.

As you explore financial aid options, one of your first steps can be to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

What Degree Do You Need to Be a Fashion Designer?

Be a Fashion Designer

While some people manage to slide into fashion design without a college education, earning a degree is likely to get you further in this field. In college, you can develop expertise in color theory, materials, computer design, merchandising, and other essential topics.

Some professionals launch their careers with an associate degree in fashion design. That program could give you a solid foundation, but a bachelor’s will often provide more in-depth study. A bachelors degree could demonstrate your commitment to excellence and give employers the confidence that you’re prepared, knowledgeable, and a cut above the competition.

Is Fashion Designing a Good Career?

Fashion Designing career

Yes, fashion designing is a good career for many professionals. In the fashion world, clothing is a form of art. Fashion designers are needed in many industries, including retail, marketing, and manufacturing. The entertainment sector also relies on fashion professionals.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, fashion designers in the motion picture and video industries earn a median salary of $86,240 per year. There’s room for advancement in fashion. While you might start as a retail worker or a design assistant, management roles might be possible someday. Managers are needed in creative, marketing, sales, and purchasing departments.

What Skills Do You Learn in a Fashion Bachelor’s Degree?

In a fashion program, you’ll study clothes, but that’s not all. Other skills you could develop include:

  • Assembling a portfolio
  • Choosing colors
  • Draping
  • Giving presentations
  • Making flat patterns
  • Marketing
  • Selecting materials
  • Sewing and serging
  • Sketching and illustrating designs
  • Thinking creatively
  • Understanding fashion history
  • Using computer-aided design programs
  • Working with others

The exact skills you develop might depend on the electives you select. If your degree program emphasizes both design and merchandising, you may divide your time evenly between art and business topics.

What Can You Do with a Fashion Degree?

Fashion design students often become designers who work for clothing companies, retailers, or movie production companies. Some may start as entry-level assistants and someday become creative directors.

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Some fashion professionals work in retail stores as sales workers, but others have more responsibility as supervisors or store managers. Wholesale and retail buyers source products for stores or companies to sell to others. In the fashion industry, that might involve determining which clothing lines will be sold in an upcoming season.

Can I Study Fashion Design Online?

Yes, there are online fashion design schools where you can take classes and earn a bachelors degree. In an online program, your courses and assignments will be similar to those offered in on-campus programs.

The difference is that you’ll be able to take those classes from the comfort of your own home. While the lectures and discussions will be held in a virtual format, you’ll still have hands-on projects to complete. You might create pieces using your home sewing machine and then use photos or videos to share them with professors and classmates.

How Long Is Fashion School?

degree in Fashion Designing

It often takes about 4 years to earn a bachelors degree in fashion design if you’re a full-time student. Part-time enrollment will typically take longer.

Four years is the typical time to completion for bachelor’s degrees at colleges with 16 week semesters. If you choose an online fashion school with back-to-back 8 week terms throughout the year, you might be able to cut 6 months to 1 year off your program length.

Transfer credits can shorten your program too. If you’ve completed any previous college classes, you can look into bringing some of your past credits into your new fashion program.

Is a Fashion Degree Worth It?

Fashion Degree

Yes, a fashion degree is worth it for many students. This field could allow you to showcase your creativity. You might create works of art—maybe even whole collections—for people to wear. Whether your passion is apparel, accessories, or shoes, there could be a place for you in the fashion world.

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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, arts and design occupations are expected to see 4% job growth over the next ten years. If you’re committed to a career in this field, then a bachelor’s degree might help you get ahead. In a fashion program, you can learn practical skills and develop a keen eye for good design.

Universities Offering Online Bachelors in Fashion Degree Program

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

Central Michigan University

Central Michigan University

Central Michigan University offers a Bachelor’s in Fashion Merchandising and Design. The program aims to harness students’ creative passions and teach them the hard skills needed to excel in the competitive fashion sector. This 57 credit program can be completed in-person or fully online and can typically be finished in 4 academic years, including an opportunity to study abroad in Paris.

CMU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Fashion Institute of Technology

Fashion Institute of Technology

The Fashion Institute of Technology offers a Bachelor of Science in International Trade and Marketing for the Fashion Industries. The program’s goal is to prepare graduates for exciting careers in global marketing, import and export operations, customs, and sourcing. The program requires the completion of 63 credits and offers courses such as International Trade, Trade Regulations, and Microeconomics.

The Fashion Institute of Technology is accredited by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.

LIM College

LIM College

LIM College offers several fully online fashion degree programs. Options include Business of Fashion, Fashion Merchandising, Fashion Media, Global Fashion Supply Chain Management, Retail Management, and more. Programs range from associates to master’s to give students the opportunity to find the perfect fit for their career goals, education level, and scheduling needs.

LIM College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Lindenwood University

Lindenwood University

Lindenwood University offers an online program for a BS in Fashion Business and Entrepreneurship. It is designed for students wishing to learn about the fashion industry, gain business acumen, and hone marketing and merchanting skills.

The program requires the completion of 120 credits and can typically be finished in 2 to 4 years. Core courses include Digital Apparel Production, Intro to the Fashion Industry, and Principles of Finance.

Lindenwood University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Miami International University of Art & Design

Miami International University of Art and Design

Miami International University of Art & Design offers a Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Merchandising. This online program aims to help students with a passion for fashion and business acquire the skills necessary to excel in the dynamic and expanding fashion industry. The program can typically be completed in 12 quarters. It covers topics in marketing, management, public relations, and advertising.

Miami International University of Art & Design is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design

Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design

Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design offers an online program for a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design. It is designed to be a great next step for students looking to learn essential skills and take the fashion world by storm. The 123 credit program aims to helps students gain fundamental knowledge of digital design, textile science, sustainable fashion, and clothing construction.

Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Savannah College of Art and Design

Savannah College of Art and Design

The core goal of the fashion degree programs at Savannah College of Art and Design is the mastery of new markets, technologies, and trends. The college offers degrees at the bachelor’s and master’s level. The school has concentrations in Design, Marketing and Management, Industrial Design, and Brand Management. All the programs utilize the knowledge of fashion insiders and expert faculty.

The Savannah College of Art and Design is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Arizona

University of Arizona

The University of Arizona offers a Bachelor of Arts in Applied Humanities with an emphasis in Fashion. The program aims to help students harness their passions for style and start exciting careers in fashion. In this 4 year, online program, students take classes like Fashion Forecasting and Research, Science of Textiles, and Society and Fashion.

The University of Arizona is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of Central Missouri

University of Central Missouri

The University of Central Missouri offers a Bachelor of Science in Fashion Textiles and Clothing in Business. The program’s goal is to complement students’ creativity with foundational skills in technology and business. The program requires the completion of 120 credit hours and includes courses such as Financial Reporting, Branding, Merchandising, and Apparel Design.

The University of Central Missouri is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of South Carolina

University of South Carolina

The Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of South Carolina allows students the flexibility to pursue their individual passions outside traditional routes. Students can take their classes in a fully online format or in-person. The program offers specializations in Hospitality and Tourism, Retail Management and Fashion Merchandising, and Sport and Entertainment Management.

The University of South Carolina is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Getting Your Bachelor’s in Fashion Degree Online

Bachelor’s in Fashion Degree Online

The world of fashion offers the opportunity to put your creativity to work. Through fashion, you can also help people look and feel their best. Plus, fashion is a business with opportunities for both entry-level and managerial roles.

If you’re ready to take the leap into fashion, you might want to start your journey by getting a degree. Online programming could let you earn a fashion degree while also working and balancing life’s responsibilities. You’d take classes, network with other students, and create your first designs—all from home.

You can explore accredited online fashion schools and start thinking about where a fashion design degree could take you.

Ready to start your journey?
Jordan Meeks
WRITTEN BY
Jordan Meeks
Jordan is pursuing a Ph.D. in Public Policy and earned her Master of Business Administration in Strategic Management and her Bachelor's in Business Administration. Jordan's research focuses on adults returning to college and online degree programs.