The Most Elite Fashion Schools In The World

Fashion captures a lot of public attention, as is evidenced by the statistics of people who watch fashion based shows in the mainstream media. This has placed the fashion industry in the category of t

Fashion captures a lot of public attention, as is evidenced by the statistics of people who watch fashion based shows in the mainstream media. This has placed the fashion industry in the category of the most rapidly growing industries. The market does not disappoint either, and demand for stylish clothing; and with it experienced fashion designers, is at an all time high.

The growth of the fashion industry means that new fashion houses sprout up in every corner of the globe, but only the best carry the day. To become a big name in the fashion industry, you have to be educated in the most elite fashion schools in the world, which makes choosing a fashion school a critical step in the career of an aspiring fashion designer.

When it comes to choosing the right fashion school, reputation and list of alumni are important factors as they determine the ranking of a fashion school, and the odds of placement after studying. In some cases, the mere mention of having graduated from particular fashion schools will get you a job with top-notch fashion houses. Other factors that come into play include the tuition fees and the available courses. Overall, you must choose a program that is not only renowned, but also affordable and comprehensive and one that offers exactly what you are looking.

This article compiles a list of top 10 most elite fashion schools in the world based on factors such as reputation, alma mater, tuition and programs offered. The schools that make up the list are some of the best options for an aspiring fashion designer.


10 Kingston University - Tuition Cost $19,200 

The London based Kingston University may not have as long an alumni list of famous fashion icons as other UK fashion schools but it does have its highlights that place it in the list of most elite fashion schools in the world. It has a comprehensive curriculum that covers all aspects of fashion design and is the perfect place for a person eyeing a managerial position in a fashion company.

Its graduates have held top positions in renowned companies such as Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan and Gucci. Tuition costs $19,200 and big names in the alumni list include Glenda Bailey, Sophie Hulme and Felipe Baptista.

9 Esmod - Tuition Cost $13,200

This is the oldest fashion design school in the globe dating back to 1841. As one of the most elite fashion schools in the world, it has a rich fashion history and is the place where the measuring tape and the mannequin were invented. It has a comprehensive undergraduate program on fashion design and fashion business and fashion related postgraduate programs.

Tuition is quite affordable and costs $13,200. Some of the famous graduates from the school include Damir Doma, Thierry Mugler, Suzy Menkes and Christophe Decarnin.

8 Bunka Fashion College - Tuition Cost $12,200-$14,400

The Bunka Fashion College has been an icon of fashion design in Japan since its founding in 1919, but it came to the global limelight in the 1960s when its graduates started featuring in Paris. Located in Japan's capital, Tokyo, the school is especially known for the Japanese avant-garde design. It offers programs in fashion design and technology, marketing, textiles and accessories.

Tuition fee ranges from $12,200-$14,400 depending on the course being undertaken, and proficiency in Japanese language is a pre-requisite. Great names in the fashion industry from the school’s alumni list include Kenzo Takada, Yohji Yamamoto, Tsumori Chisato, Junya Watanabe and Hiroko Koshimo.

7 Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Arts - Tuition Cost $9,000

This is one of the schools with a rich history of design. It is located in Antwerp, Belgium. It specializes in fashion design, and it is known for its serious program that produces only the finest designers. So serious is the program that quite a number of people drop out due to the heavy workload.

The school was first put on the fashion map in the 1980s by the Antwerp Six and has since gone on to produce celebrity designers. The Royal Academy of Fine Arts is one of the cheapest elite fashion schools due to fee subsidization by the Dutch government. Tuition costs $9,000 and big names in the alumni list include the Antwerp Six, Veronique Branquinho, Peter Pilotto and Martin Margiela among others.

6 Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale - Tuition Cost $13,230

Located in the world’s fashion capital, Paris, Ecole La Chambre Syndicale is a true representation of the values held dear by fashion designers and couturiers. The school offers courses in fashion design and technique, but it is best known for its couture technique program. Besides this, it is associated with the commission that decides which fashion houses make it to the list of true couture houses.

Training is at a baccalaureate-level, but applicants are supposed to have completed a fashion design course prior to being enrolled. Despite being one of the most elite fashion schools in the world, tuition is quite affordable and costs $13,230 per year. Famous graduates include Valentino, Andre Courreges, Nicole Miller, Yves Saint Laurent and Issey Miyake.

5 Istituto Marangoni - Tuition Cost  $17,670 to $24,500

Istituto Marangoni is another prominent name in the list of most elite fashion schools in the world. It is located in Milan, Italy with campuses in London and Paris, and most recently, Shanghai, China. With an experienced and industry real teaching faculty and campuses in the global fashion capitals, the odds of graduates finding jobs are as high as 90%. It offers programs in fashion design, fashion business, fashion promotion and brand management.

Tuition fee ranges from $17,670 to $24,500 depending on the program. Its alma mater include the Franco Moschino and Domenico Dolce.

4 London College of Fashion - Tuition Cost $21,300 

The London College of Fashion arguably has the richest fashion heritage, but it is its adaptability to the changes in the fashion design industry, that has placed it in the fashion big league. The school goes out of its way to offer more than just fashion design courses, producing all rounded graduates that are well equipped to handle the fashion industry demands.

Main programs include fashion design and the particularly popular fashion journalism course as well as courses in beauty therapy and cosmetic fashion. Tuition costs $21,300 and some of the fashion bigwigs that make up the list of this school’s alumni include Jimmy Choo, Patrick Cox, Rupert Sanderson and Alek Wek.

3 Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) - Tuition Cost -$8,185

Tuition costs $3,034 per semester for residents of New York and $8,185 per semester for out-of state residents. Famous graduates include Nina Garcia, Reem Accra, Calvin Klein, Carolina Herrera and Ralph Rucci among others. 

2 Parsons, The New School for Design- Tuition Cost $40,000

Located in Greenwich Village of Manhattan New York, Parsons represents the new face of fashion design education. It has produced great talent especially in the last ten years, courtesy of a dedicated faculty with established fashion design backgrounds. The school offers both undergraduate and postgraduate programs in fashion design and fashion marketing. To enhance education quality, the school has formed alliances with numerous fashion retailers and corporations that view and critique students' work.

Tuition in this prestigious private institution will set you back $40,000. Famous Parsons' graduates include Alexander Wang, Donna Karan, Alexa Adams of Ohne Titel, Anna Sui, Tom Ford, Sophie Buhai and Lisa Mayock of Vena Cava and Jason Wu just to name a few. 

1 Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design - Tuition Cost $20,500

This school tops the list of the most elite fashion schools in the world. It is located in the heart of London city. The school is partially funded by the government and as such affords many British students the chance to study there. It prides itself in having legendary faculty led by the famous Professor Louise Wilson, who has taught some of the big names in fashion design such as Giles Deacon and Alexander McQueen. Central Saint Martins college offers 3-year undergraduate and postgraduate programs in the fashion, textile and jewelry design fields.

It is less expensive than most elite global fashion schools due to the partial government funding and tuition fee is $20,500. Some of the renowned alumni from the school include Alexander McQueen, John Galiano, Giles Deacon, Stella McCartney, Phoebe Philo and Christopher Kane.

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The Most Elite Fashion Schools In The World