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. These 4-year programs teach students about clothing design, textiles and business management.
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design
A Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Fashion Design program bolsters students' artistic sensibilities and technical abilities through studies of fabrics and fashion design techniques. Throughout the program, students build their illustration, aesthetic and production skills. 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, students can find employment in specialty areas of the apparel industry, like costume design, footwear or accessories. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for fashion designers was expected to grow one percent from 2008-2018 and remain competitive (www.bls.gov). Job seekers may see increases specifically in retail apparel stores due to the demand for affordable fashions.
As of May 2010, there were over 15,000 fashion designers in the country making an average salary of $74,440, according to BLS reports. The BLS also found that some of the highest-paying industries for fashion designers were the durable goods, footwear, wholesaler 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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