Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA): Fashion Design Degree Overview
For individuals who dream of seeing their original fashions in the windows of popular shops, a first step toward a career in fashion design could be to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design. Curriculum details follow, as does information on program requirements, salary information, job projections and continuing education.
A 4-year Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Fashion Design program bolsters students' artistic sensibilities and technical abilities through studies of fabrics and fashion design techniques. Considerations for admission likely require a portfolio review and a high school diploma or an equivalent. Throughout the program, students build their illustration, aesthetic and production skills through studio and classroom settings. To demonstrate their knowledge of materials and showcase their designs, students are often required to create a portfolio - also called a collection - of original work, complete a thesis or participate in a fashion show.
Generally, bachelor's degree programs require a personal statement, standardized test scores and a high school diploma or GED. For entry into a BFA in Fashion Design program, most schools require applicants to submit a portfolio that shows their drawing skills and their capacity for creating both artistic and functional apparel.
In addition to discussing garment design and construction, the BFA in Fashion Design program also covers the history of fashion. Many programs in this major contain studio sessions where students can gain practical experience. Courses in the program may include the following:
- Color theory
- Computer-aided fashion design
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
With a bachelor's degree in fashion design, candidates might find employment in specialized design services or performing arts, spectator sports and related industries. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for fashion designers expected to decrease by three percent from 2012-2022 and would remain competitive (www.bls.gov).
As of May 2012, there were over 16,000 fashion designers in the country making an average annual salary of $72,620, according to BLS reports. The BLS also found that some of the highest-paying industries for fashion designers were the management of companies and enterprises, footwear, cut and sew apparel manufacturing and motion picture industries.
Some schools offer Master of Fine Arts in Fashion Design programs, which may focus on issues of sustainability, design in global contexts and how technology has changed the industry. These programs generally take two years to complete and require students to spend multiple semesters in design studios, developing their own personal style, meeting industry professionals and, in some cases, taking on a design project for a professional company. Students must complete a thesis of their own professional work as well.
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