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Best Fashion Schools In Chicago | Cost, Requirement & How To Apply

Interested in a fashion design degree in the Chicago area? Learn about programs ranging from certificate to master’s degree, program length, and cost for fashion schools near Chicago.


Those interested in a fashion design degree program have approximately five schools with fashion and apparel programs in the Chicago area to choose from.

Bachelor of Fashion Design program is the most affordable in Chicago, IL. You can expect to complete these 120-135 credit programs in four to five years if you attend classes full-time.

To begin with, you must enroll in both classroom courses and those that include sewing and design work. You may be required to take classes in Introduction to Textiles, Principles of Fashion Design, and Technology in Fashion Design, among others.

Are There Fashion Schools in Chicago? 

Postgraduate education in fashion design is offered at a wide range of levels, from bachelor’s degree to master’s degree programs. Students in Chicago can complete certificate programs that focus on practical skills and can be applied to associate degree programs at colleges.

These 2-year associate degree programs can take two years to complete and include a wider range of classes that can cover fashion marketing and merchandising.

Bachelor programs can lead to a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Fine Arts in fashion design and often require students to complete a portfolio of work, participate in a fashion show, or complete an internship.

Master’s degree programs allow students to focus on a specific area of ​​interest in fashion design, and often require students to complete hands-on exhibition work.

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How Much Do Fashion Schools Cost in Chicago? 

Tuition for a fashion design schools in Chicago typically ranges from $4,000 to $28,000 per year for tuition, fees, and materials, with prices becoming higher for non-residents attending public school.

Here, a bachelor’s degree is approx. $5,100 per year for residents and $13,500 per year for non-residents. Meanwhile, a bachelor’s degree at the Art Institutes, a private college with campuses across the country, costs an average of $22,974 per year, including all tuition and fees.

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What Are The Requirements For Fashion Schools In Chicago? 

Getting into fashion school is difficult, as many programs have low acceptance rates. Each fashion school is different from the others and has its own entry requirements.

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You should prepare yourself for the application process if you decide that fashion school is the perfect choice for you. You must collect all the requirements and do the research which includes:

  • Submit your high school transcripts or GED
  • Fill out the questionnaire
  • Pay the application fee
  • Write an introductory essay
  • Submit your SAT or ACT scores
  • Send letters of recommendation
  • Show your portfolio

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What Are The Best Fashion Schools In Chicago? 

School of the Art Institute of Chicago

SAIC students can earn a bachelor’s degree in studio with a concentration in fashion design through electives that teach historical, costume, and contemporary design, as well as skills in draping, pattern making, drawing, and garment construction.

Students can participate in internships in New York, Paris, London and Antwerp. The two-year Master of Design in Fashion, Body and Clothing program combines design studios with independent research and technical laboratories.

Students can take electives in film, writing, sculpture, performance or new media, as well as a capstone project each year.

The 30-credit post-baccalaureate certificate program in Fashion, Body and Clothing is designed for students with a bachelor’s degree in another field who need the training and experience to build a portfolio for entry into a master’s degree program in fashion design.

This certificate program takes three semesters and includes advanced coursework typically offered in an undergraduate fashion design program.


Columbia College Chicago

The Department of Fashion Studies at Columbia College Chicago offers both a BFA and a B.A. diploma programs in fashion design.

Both programs allow students to apply artistic concepts to the actual business of the fashion industry through courses such as merchandise management and marketing.

The BFA program is heavy in fashion courses, with 72 credits in fashion design that include courses in menswear design, hosiery, fashion show production, and fashion workshop.

Participants in the BFA program must complete a senior thesis, internship, and portfolio. As part of the B.A. program, students learn to understand design concepts, solve creative problems, and develop a body of work through 42 credits of fashion studies.


Dominican University

Dominican University offers a bachelor’s degree diploma program in fashion design with coursework in pattern and drapery design, fashion history, clothing structure and textiles.

All students are required to complete a fashion design internship and create a portfolio of work. The Clothing and Textile Studies concentration highlights historical, cultural, and costume design, while the Fashion Development track focuses on product development in fashion.

An emphasis on surface design teaches students the craft of fashion, cultural arts, and textiles.

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College of DuPage (COD)

To earn this certificate, you must earn 30 credits, and at least half of them must be earned at the College of DuPage. The core courses in this program are fashion illustration, principles of textiles, pattern making, fashion design, garment construction and draping.

Credits earned for this certificate can be applied toward the Fashion Design degree program at COD. Certificates in fashion merchandising, fashion entrepreneurship and fashion apparel manufacturing are also available.


Hovet Fashion Studio

In fact, they are a bit different from other fashion schools in Chicago. At Hovet fashion studio, you will be given the opportunity to pay for an individual lesson on some fashion courses.

You can also pay for a 10-hour lesson, which costs $400. Group master classes consisting of 4 students are also available for you.

So, any course you want to sign up for, as you will gain more knowledge about fashion, you just have to pay up front to be safe. This fashion school is also one of the best in terms of offering fashion courses.


Harper College

Harper College offers a variety of fashion programs. Their A.A.S. A degree in fashion will help you choose between fashion design and fashion entrepreneurship.

Here you’ll take coursework such as textile design, flat pattern design, draping, costume history, and global clothing sourcing, among many other classes. This A.A.S. it’s only a 61-hour program that will only give you basic fashion design skills.

They also have an A.A.S. in Fashion Merchandising degree where you will focus on the business side of fashion as well as learning about the design side of it.


How Much Do Fashion Designers In Chicago Earn?

The more experience you can get early in your career, the more you can achieve in your future career. According to O*Net (2016), the average annual compensation for fashion designers is currently $64,000.

While job growth isn’t expected to change significantly through 2022, focusing your search on larger locations like Chicago can help you find some options.

Join professional organizations when you enter the door of this business to network with experts in the field.

A large organization in the state of Illinois that unites designers is called Fashion Group International of Chicago. In addition, you can participate in fashion events and presentations, such as Fashion Focus Chicago

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How Do I Become A Fashion Designer In Chicago?

The world of fashion is not just designers. The dynamic industry offers many job opportunities, from stylist and fashion brand PR to publicist and marketing manager. Explore different options and analyze what interests you the most.

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A degree in fashion design or fashion merchandising provides valuable training for a career in fashion. However, designers also need practical experience.

While studying, fashion designers should look for internship opportunities. Many colleges connect aspiring designers with companies that hire interns. During the internship, students work under the guidance of an experienced fashion designer.

The internship provides hands-on experience with the business side of the fashion industry. While students hone technique and aesthetics in the classroom, internships provide professional training.

In addition to internship experiences, students should consider part-time or contract work opportunities. Working for a small brand helps students build their portfolio and possibly launch their own line.

Experience working with a major brand helps designers build their resume and make valuable connections in the industry.

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Best Paying Fashion Design Jobs in Chicago

Fashion designers in Chicago work for major fashion brands on the wholesale and manufacturing sides. In these roles, they create apparel and accessories that brands distribute to retailers.

Almost a quarter of fashion designers work as freelancers, where they contract with clients to create products. Some of these designers launch their own clothing lines or create high-end custom clothing. There are some career opportunities in fashion design

  • Fashion Designer
  • Retail Buyer
  • Rental Manager
  • Fashion Stylist
  • Jewellery and Footwear Designer
  • Personal Shopper
  • Makeup Artist
  • Fashion Model
  • Fashion Photographer
  • Fashion Journalist
  • Textile Designer

Best Fashion Schools In Chicago FAQs

How Long Is Fashion Schools In Chicago? 

Associate degree programs in fashion design in Chicago are two-year courses that teach students fundamental technical design skills such as tailoring, tailoring, and fundamental fashion theories.

Is Chicago A Good Place To Study Fashion And Design?

Although there aren’t many fashion schools in Chicago, the few that are there are put to good use. You will be able to see fashion design from many perspectives and you will begin to see how huge the fashion industry is.

Are Fashion Schools In Chicago Easy To Get Into?

Getting into these fashion schools may not be as easy as your passion, but your preparation will pave the way. You must know and prepare all the requirements in time, as well as know the application date.


Attend one of seven fashion schools in Chicago, IL to begin this exciting career. All seven of these institutions offer bachelor’s degrees, and two also offer master’s degrees.

However, you must take courses in business, marketing and fashion design if you are a fashion merchandising student. You may be required to take classes in consumer behavior, product planning and product management strategies, etc.

You may need to do an internship or study abroad as part of your degree. These meetings will likely take you to Chicago, which has a large fashion community.

REFERENCES – Top School in Chicago for Fashion Design Programs



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