Study Apparel and Textile Design in the USA

Decorative image for Apparel and Textile Design field of study

Want to be matched with Apparel and Textile Design programs?

Let us know what you're looking for so we can find the best school for you.

Call to action background image. Decorative.

The study of Apparel and Textile Design involves the exploration and application of artistic and technical skills in the design and production of clothing and textile products. It encompasses a range of disciplines, including fashion design, textile design, and apparel technology. 

Fashion design focuses on creating innovative and aesthetically pleasing clothing designs, considering factors such as style, trend analysis, fabric selection, and garment construction techniques. Fashion designers typically develop their design concepts through sketching, pattern making, and draping fabric on mannequins. They may also use computer-aided design (CAD) software to visualize and refine their ideas.

Textile design involves the creation of patterns, prints, and textures for fabrics. Textile designers use various techniques such as painting, drawing, screen printing, digital manipulation, and weaving to develop unique textile designs. They consider factors like color, texture, and pattern repeat in their designs, which can be used for apparel, home furnishings, and other textile applications.

Apparel technology focuses on the technical aspects of garment production, including pattern making, garment construction, and quality control. It involves understanding fabric properties, production processes, and manufacturing techniques to ensure that garments are well-fitting, durable, and meet industry standards.

Students studying Apparel and Textile Design learn a combination of artistic and technical skills. They study fashion history, trend analysis, design principles, fabric science, pattern making, sewing techniques, and garment production processes. They also gain knowledge of industry practices, marketing strategies, and sustainability considerations in the fashion and textile industries.

Overall, the study of Apparel and Textile Design prepares students for careers in fashion design, textile design, apparel production, merchandising, fashion entrepreneurship, and related fields.

Apparel and Textile Design

What does the study of Apparel and Textile Design consist of?

The study of Apparel and Textile Design consists of various components that combine artistic creativity with technical skills. Here are some key aspects typically covered in this field:

  1. Design Principles: Students learn fundamental design principles, including color theory, composition, balance, proportion, and visual aesthetics. These principles form the basis for creating appealing and harmonious designs.
  2. Fashion Illustration and Sketching: Students develop skills in sketching and illustrating fashion designs. They learn to communicate their ideas visually, capturing garment silhouettes, details, and fabric textures.
  3. Pattern-Making: Pattern-making involves creating templates or patterns that serve as the blueprint for cutting and sewing garments. Students learn how to draft patterns based on specific body measurements and design specifications.
  4. Garment Construction: This aspect focuses on the actual construction of garments using fabric, thread, and other materials. Students learn sewing techniques, fitting principles, and how to interpret and follow sewing patterns.
  5. Textile Science and Technology: Students gain an understanding of textile fibers, yarns, fabric properties, and fabric manufacturing processes. They explore different textile materials, their characteristics, and how they impact garment design and performance.
  6. Textile Design: This area focuses on creating original textile patterns, prints, and surface embellishments. Students learn techniques such as screen printing, block printing, digital printing, dyeing, weaving, and embroidery to add visual interest to fabrics.
  7. Fashion History and Theory: Students study the evolution of fashion throughout history, exploring different eras, influential designers, and cultural influences. They gain insights into fashion trends, social and cultural contexts, and the relationship between fashion and society.
  8. Trend Forecasting: Trend forecasting involves analyzing current and future fashion trends. Students learn how to research and identify emerging trends, consumer preferences, and market demands to inform their design decisions.
  9. Sustainability and Ethical Practices: With increasing concerns about the environmental and social impact of the fashion industry, students explore sustainable practices, ethical sourcing, and responsible production methods. They learn about eco-friendly materials, recycling, upcycling, and ethical labor practices.
  10. Professional Development and Presentation: Students develop skills in presenting their designs professionally. They learn about portfolio development, fashion show production, marketing strategies, and entrepreneurship to prepare for careers in the fashion and textile industries.

The specific curriculum may vary across institutions, but these areas generally form the foundation of Apparel and Textile Design programs. The field encourages students to merge their creativity, technical expertise, and knowledge of fashion and textiles to create innovative and aesthetically pleasing designs.

Apparel and Textile Design

What are the benefits of studying Apparel and Textile Design in the U.S.?

Studying Apparel and Textile Design in the United States offers several benefits for aspiring designers and industry professionals. Here are some advantages of pursuing this field of study in the U.S.:

  1. Quality Education: The U.S. is home to renowned fashion and design schools that offer high-quality education and training in Apparel and Textile Design. Many American institutions have well-established programs with experienced faculty, state-of-the-art facilities, and access to industry connections.
  2. Diverse and Dynamic Industry: The U.S. fashion industry is known for its diversity and innovation. Studying in the U.S. exposes students to a vibrant fashion scene, where they can gain exposure to a wide range of design styles, trends, and cultural influences. This diversity can foster creativity and help students develop a unique design perspective.
  3. Industry Connections and Internship Opportunities: Many U.S. fashion schools have strong connections with industry professionals, brands, and organizations. This allows students to network, participate in industry events, and gain valuable internship opportunities. Building connections and getting hands-on experience can enhance career prospects and provide a competitive edge in the job market.
  4. Entrepreneurial Environment: The U.S. has a thriving entrepreneurial culture, which extends to the fashion industry. Students studying Apparel and Textile Design in the U.S. have access to resources, mentorship, and support for launching their own fashion businesses or design labels. The entrepreneurial environment encourages innovation and provides opportunities for self-expression and creative freedom.
  5. Exposure to Technology and Innovation: The U.S. is known for its technological advancements and innovative practices. Studying in the U.S. can expose students to cutting-edge technologies and design tools used in the fashion industry, such as 3D printing, CAD software, virtual reality, and digital pattern making. Acquiring skills in these areas can be advantageous for future career opportunities.
  6. International Student Community: U.S. fashion schools attract a diverse community of students from around the world. Interacting with peers from different cultural backgrounds not only enriches the learning experience but also fosters a global perspective. Building relationships with international classmates can lead to collaborations and networking opportunities in the global fashion industry.
  7. Research and Specialization Opportunities: U.S. institutions often offer research opportunities and specialized tracks within Apparel and Textile Design. Students can explore niche areas of interest, such as sustainable fashion, textile technology, fashion marketing, or costume design. Engaging in research and specialization can deepen knowledge and open doors to specialized career paths.
  8. Industry Recognition and Prestige: Several U.S. fashion schools and programs have gained international recognition and prestige. Graduating from a reputable institution can enhance credibility and increase job prospects. Employers often value degrees from well-known schools and are familiar with the quality of education offered by U.S. institutions.

It's worth noting that the specific benefits may vary depending on the institution, location, and individual circumstances. It's essential to research and consider factors such as program curriculum, faculty expertise, industry connections, and the overall fit with personal goals and aspirations when choosing a school or program to study Apparel and Textile Design in the U.S.

What colleges and universities in the U.S. have strong Apparel and Textile Design programs?

There are several colleges and universities in the United States that offer strong Apparel and Textile Design programs. Here are some notable institutions known for their reputable programs in this field:

  1. Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) - Located in New York City, FIT is renowned for its comprehensive programs in fashion design, textile development, and fashion merchandising management. It offers Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) and Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degrees in Fashion Design, Textile/Surface Design, and Fashion Business Management.
  2. Parsons School of Design - Part of The New School in New York City, Parsons is a prestigious institution with a strong focus on design education. Its School of Fashion offers programs such as BFA Fashion Design, BFA Fashion Marketing, AAS Fashion Marketing, and MFA Fashion Design and Society.
  3. Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) - RISD, located in Providence, Rhode Island, is widely recognized for its excellence in art and design education. The Apparel Design program at RISD emphasizes innovative design concepts and technical skills. Students can pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree in Apparel Design.
  4. Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) - SCAD is a prominent art and design school with campuses in Savannah, Atlanta, Hong Kong, and Lacoste (France). Its School of Fashion offers various programs, including BFA and MFA degrees in Fashion Design and Fibers.
  5. Kent State University - Kent State's Fashion School in Ohio is highly regarded for its comprehensive fashion programs. It offers a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Fashion Design and Merchandising, with specializations in Apparel Design and Textiles.
  6. University of Cincinnati - The University of Cincinnati's College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP) offers a renowned Fashion Design program. Students can pursue a Bachelor of Science in Fashion Design with a focus on creative design or technical design.
  7. Drexel University - Drexel's Westphal College of Media Arts and Design, located in Philadelphia, offers a Bachelor of Science in Fashion Design and a Bachelor of Science in Fashion Design and Merchandising. The program emphasizes interdisciplinary collaboration and real-world experiences.
  8. California College of the Arts (CCA) - CCA, with campuses in San Francisco and Oakland, offers a range of fashion-related programs. Students can pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Fashion Design or Textiles, or a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Fashion Design.

These are just a few examples of institutions with strong Apparel and Textile Design programs in the U.S. It's important to conduct thorough research, review program details, and consider factors such as curriculum, faculty, resources, internships, and alumni networks when selecting a program that aligns with your interests and goals.

What community colleges have strong Apparel and Textile Design programs?

While community colleges may not offer specialized Apparel and Textile Design programs to the same extent as four-year institutions, there are community colleges in the United States that provide strong education in fashion design, textiles, and related fields. Here are a few community colleges known for their quality programs in fashion and design:

  1. Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM) - FIDM has multiple campuses in California, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Orange County, and San Diego. It offers associate degrees in various fashion-related fields, such as Fashion Design, Textile Design, and Merchandise Product Development.
  2. Los Angeles Trade-Technical College (LATTC) - Located in Los Angeles, California, LATTC offers an Apparel Design program that provides students with skills in pattern-making, draping, garment construction, and fashion illustration. The program prepares students for entry-level positions in the fashion industry.
  3. City College of San Francisco (CCSF) - CCSF offers an Apparel Design and Merchandising program that provides training in fashion design, pattern-making, sewing, and textiles. The program covers both creative and technical aspects of the fashion industry.
  4. Harper College - Located in Palatine, Illinois, Harper College offers an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree in Fashion Design and an AAS degree in Fashion Merchandising. The programs provide a comprehensive foundation in fashion design, garment construction, fashion illustration, and merchandising.
  5. Mesa Community College - Mesa Community College in Mesa, Arizona, offers an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree in Fashion Design and Clothing. The program covers areas such as fashion illustration, pattern-making, draping, garment construction, and textiles.

It's important to note that community colleges may have varying program offerings and resources. While they may not offer the same depth or breadth of coursework as four-year institutions, they can still provide valuable foundational education and hands-on training in apparel and textile-related disciplines. Additionally, community colleges often offer more affordable tuition options and flexible schedules, making them accessible to a broader range of students.

What kind of career opportunities will I have after studying Apparel and Textile Design in the U.S.?

Studying Apparel and Textile Design in the U.S. can open up a range of exciting career opportunities in the fashion and textile industries. Here are some potential career paths you can consider:

  1. Fashion Designer: As a fashion designer, you can create your own clothing lines or work for fashion houses, apparel brands, or design studios. You'll be responsible for designing garments, creating sketches, selecting fabrics, overseeing pattern-making, and coordinating the production process.
  2. Textile Designer: Textile designers focus on creating patterns, prints, and surface designs for fabrics. They can work in textile mills, design studios, or as freelancers, developing original textile designs for apparel, home furnishings, upholstery, or other textile applications.
  3. Pattern Maker: Pattern makers interpret fashion design sketches or prototypes and create the templates or patterns used for garment production. They work closely with fashion designers and garment manufacturers to ensure accurate sizing, fit, and construction of garments.
  4. Fashion Illustrator: Fashion illustrators use their artistic skills to create visual representations of fashion designs. They may work for fashion magazines, advertising agencies, or as freelancers, providing illustrations for fashion editorials, marketing campaigns, or fashion presentations.
  5. Apparel Product Developer: Apparel product developers work on the technical aspects of garment production. They collaborate with designers, pattern makers, and manufacturers to ensure that garments meet quality standards, fit requirements, and cost parameters.
  6. Textile Technologist: Textile technologists focus on the technical aspects of textile production and development. They work with different types of fabrics, conducting research, testing, and analysis to ensure quality, performance, and innovation in textile materials.
  7. Fashion Buyer/Merchandiser: Fashion buyers and merchandisers work for retail companies or fashion brands, responsible for selecting and sourcing apparel and textile products to be sold. They analyze market trends, negotiate with suppliers, and manage inventory and pricing strategies.
  8. Costume Designer: Costume designers work in the entertainment industry, designing costumes for theater productions, films, television shows, or events. They collaborate with directors, actors, and production teams to create costumes that reflect the characters and visual aesthetics of the production.
  9. Fashion Stylist: Fashion stylists work with individuals, fashion brands, or media productions to create visually appealing outfits and looks. They select clothing, accessories, and props to create a desired image or style, working in areas such as editorial styling, celebrity styling, or personal styling.
  10. Entrepreneurship: Studying Apparel and Textile Design can equip you with the skills and knowledge to start your own fashion label or design studio. Entrepreneurship allows you to create your own brand identity, design aesthetic, and business strategy in the fashion industry.

These are just a few examples of potential career paths in Apparel and Textile Design. The fashion industry offers diverse opportunities, and your specific interests, skills, and experiences may lead you to specialized roles or unique career paths within the field.

Check Out These Schools

Featured Programs

Edmonds College

Typical cost per Quarter: $1,000—$5,000

Bachelor Degree Secondary/Boarding Certificate/Short Term

Subscribe to get the latest from Study in the USA

You can unsubscribe at any time.