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

Because the program you choose can have a significant impact on your future, we’ve developed a list of the best fashion design schools in California, to help you choose the school that’s best for you.

Most of the fashion schools iv California  listed here are dedicated exclusively to fashion or a combination of fashion, design and art. This might be great for you if you’re not interested in liberal arts or completing general education requirements.

However, if you’re looking for a more “traditional” college experience, you might want to look into liberal arts colleges that may not be 100% fashion-focused and didn’t make this list of the best fashion schools, but still offer great fashion programs for students.

Are There Fashion Schools In California?

Since fashion is so important in California, it’s no surprise that the state offers some of the best selection of fashion schools in the country. There are tons of schools with different types of fashion degrees, and 11 of those schools offer graduate degrees.

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How Much Do Fashion Schools Cost In California?

The average tuition in California is $10,172, but schools like Chaffey College and Monterey Peninsula College cost just over $1,100 per semester.

Studying in California gives you the opportunity to interact with the national fashion community. Membership in the California Fashion Association can help you get started as a student.

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What Are The Requirements For Fashion Schools In California?

Below are the general qualifications required for admission to fashion design school. They are as follows

Submit your high school transcripts or GED: Most fashion schools require you to provide proof that you have completed high school or the equivalent.

You should submit high school transcripts detailing the subjects you took and your grade point average. If you took the General Educational Development (GED) test instead, you must provide supporting documentation.

Fill out the application form. To apply to a fashion school, you need to submit an application form along with your documents. Application forms usually include intended major and contact details.

Pay the admission fee: When you apply for a fashion degree at a fashion institute or any other higher education institution, you will often be required to pay an admission fee.

This processing fee for your application is usually around $50. Application fees are usually non-refundable.

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What Are The Best Fashion Schools In California?

The best fashion design schools in California are ideal for creative people with a passion for fashion. These programs are ideal if you want to become the next breakthrough designer to impact the fashion industry.

Whether you want a more academic method of learning or hands-on creativity, we have a program for everyone. This section will take a look at five of the best fashion design programs you’ll find in the state of California.

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Orange Coast College

Orange Coast College is one of the best fashion design schools in California. Its fashion program is one of the best that fits several design elements while studying.

Students will learn about developing a personal brand or collaborating with famous designers to achieve their visions of success. With a diploma, you can work as a development specialist, tailor, merchandiser and fashion designer.

Another huge advantage of this major is that students can pursue a four-year bachelor’s degree program. This educational path can often be preferred, especially if you want to expand your education for the highest paying career.

At Orange Coast College, students can complete internships with national and local brands, offering real-world experience alongside their studies.

Another unique aspect of Orange Coast College’s fashion program is that students will have access to “The Box.” The Box is a student-owned and student-run retail store that carries the most popular local brands.


Los Angeles Trade Technical College

Los Angeles Trade–Tech College (LA Trade–Tech) is a public community college in California. It offers academic courses as well as professional training programs for four-year schools.

Explore the techniques of garment creation, illustration, draping, pattern making and sorting covered in the Apparel Design and Fashion Technology programs.

The most frequently used clothing programs included in the manual. During the two-year curriculum, students participate in hands-on sessions on innovative design and learn basic concepts.

Automotive technology, construction technology, welding, fashion merchandising, fashion design, cosmetology, nursing, chemical technology, culinary arts and iconic graphics are some of the programs they offer.


American River College

American River College is a fantastic option for fashion students looking to delve into one of the hottest industries in the world.

While studying at this school, you will acquire competitive and marketable skills that will help you find the best employment opportunities. There are currently two program options: merchandising and fashion design.

In the Fashion Design program, students will work on the design and production of clothing. You will focus on the skills required for specialist firms, sole proprietorships or large manufacturers.

After graduation, your degree or certificate will show that you have a strong understanding of merchandising, manufacturing and marketing.

Merchandising, or fashion merchandising, is a second area of ​​study that focuses primarily on in-store displays and product promotion. A degree in this field provides fundamental skills including visual presentation, retail management, purchasing and fashion coordination.


San Diego Mesa College

The fashion program at San Diego Mesa College is the perfect combination of practical skills, fashion theory and technology. Students will learn the most competitive skills to help them approach the fashion industry with promising abilities.

You will also find this program ideal for those seeking a multidisciplinary education. Currently, the fashion program at San Diego Mesa College focuses on three major areas of specialization:

Fashion Consulting, Fashion Design, and Fashion Merchandising. Each major has its own unique learning path, such as Fashion Merchandising, which focuses on visual presentation and retail buying.

Fashion design is a great option for people who want to create ready-to-wear garments using technological skills such as draping, sketching and pattern making.

A unique program available at San Diego Mesa College is the Fashion Consulting Program. With this course, you’ll work on the skills you need to be a personal shopper or wardrobe consultant.

This job can be one of the most sought-after career opportunities for many California graduates. There are dozens of courses that students can take while studying in a fashion program.

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Mt San Antonio College

Mount San Antonio College (Mount San Antonio) is a public college in Walnut, California.

It offers more than 260 degree and certificate programs and 25 supporting programs in the areas of associate degrees, vocational education, community recreation classes, English as a second language, adult education, and summer youth programs.

Mount San Antonio College’s Design and Merchandising program offers classes that offer the latest technology in their respective fields, taught by industry experts. Mt. SAC also provides diplomas and qualifications in fashion design and fashion merchandising.


City College of San Francisco

City College of San Francisco’s fashion program is fantastic for students interested in fashion design and merchandising careers.

You’ll find a variety of programs that give you the skills you need to succeed in a variety of fashion-related careers. In addition, you will get real practical work experience in various fields.

There are two main study paths for fashion students: degrees or certificates. After completing your degree, you can pursue an associate degree in fashion design or fashion merchandising.

Certificate programs are much more diverse, including majors in Fashion Illustration, Fashion Merchandising, Fashion Styling, Apparel Design, and more. In each field of study, students will be required to complete several foundational courses.


Santa Rosa Junior College

Santa Rosa Junior College takes a unique approach to fashion education by offering two distinct programs: Fashion Fundamentals and Fashion Design.

Fashion Fundamentals helps provide the foundations students need to pursue careers in many fashion-related fields. You will learn a beginner-friendly approach to product marketing, construction techniques, and clothing presentation.

For a more advanced field of study, a fashion design program may be better for students. In this program you will work in all areas of garment production, from initial design to textile selection.

You will also work on various pattern making and sewing techniques and product marketing. When you graduate from Santa Rosa Junior College, you can earn either an Associate of Arts degree or a certificate.

These qualifications will then prepare you to transfer to a four-year bachelor’s degree program if required.


How Much Do Fashion Designers In California Earn?

As of October 28, 2020, a fashion designer in California can expect to earn an average annual salary of $59,095 per year or $28 per hour.

The typical salary for this job is between $48,169 and $72,397, or $23-$35 per hour. Of course, your own salary will vary based on things like your location, what degree you have, and how much experience you have in the field.

For example, if we want to know what you might be doing in California, we might look at a few different cities to get an idea.

Those working in San Francisco can have an average salary of $73,869 per year, while those working in Los Angeles can earn slightly less at $66,836 per year. Even within the same state, you’ll find that salaries vary from city to city.

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How Do I Become A Fashion Designer In California?

Many fashion designers have a bachelor’s degree in fashion design or fashion merchandising. In these programs, students learn about textiles and fabrics and how to use computer aided design (CAD) technology.

They also work on projects that they can add to their portfolio where their designs are showcased. For many artists, including fashion designers, developing a portfolio—a collection of design ideas that showcase their style and abilities—is essential, as employers rely heavily on a designer’s portfolio when deciding whether to hire someone.

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For employers, this is an opportunity to evaluate talent and creativity. Students studying fashion design often have the opportunity to submit their designs to student or amateur competitions, which help them, develop their portfolios.

The National Association of Schools of Art and Design accredits approximately 350 institutions of higher education with art and design programs, and many of these schools award diplomas in fashion design.

Many fashion schools in Florida require students to complete basic art and design courses before entering the program. Applicants are usually required to submit sketches and other examples of their artistic ability.

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Best Paying Fashion Jobs In California

You can start an exciting career in fashion in California after graduation. Major employers in this state include Dreamforge, YMI Jeans Inc. and JustFab.

You can find work with retailers, marketing companies, and fashion design companies. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, California’s unemployment rate is 8.3%. However, since August 2013, it has been decreasing.

The salary you get depends a lot on your experience. As you gain experience and seniority, your earning potential can increase. Fashion designers in California earn an average salary of $70,490 (BLS, 2012).

Warehouse workers earn an average of $32,430 per year. The average salary for a marketing professional is $77,330 per year (BLS, 2012).

Fashion Schools In California FAQs

Are Fashion Designers In Demand In California?

Employment of fashion designers is projected to grow by 3 percent over the next ten years, slower than the average for all occupations. Despite limited employment growth, an average of about 2,300 fashion designer jobs are projected each year over the decade. Most of these vacancies are expected to arise from the need to replace workers who move into other occupations or leave the workforce, such as retirement.

Where Do Fashion Designers Work In California?

Many fashion designers work in their firms for wholesalers or manufacturers who sell clothing and accessory lines to retailers or other marketers for distribution to individual stores, catalog companies, or online stores. Self-employed fashion designers usually design high-fashion and unique clothing on a bespoke or bespoke basis. In some cases, a self-employed fashion designer may have a clothing line that bears his or her name.

What Can I Learn In Fashion Schools In California?

Fashion design programs include coursework in fashion merchandising, business, and marketing. Designers use these skills to launch a line, gauge customer demand for styles, and make a profit. After completing the fashion design program, high school students can design a line for a school fashion show.


Many of the schools on the list above focus on fashion design, although more schools include merchandising and fashion business in their degree options. If you are sure that you are interested in the design side of fashion, then this program is a good fit.

However, there are so many other options out there, especially at a powerhouse like FIT. The fashion industry is much more than design, so explore other programs and majors before making a decision.

Some of the programs above offer ample room for students to explore their artistic and design interests, and offer dozens of degree options and specializations. Others are more focused and narrow, and may work well for students who already know what they want to do. Spend some time exploring the program websites to better understand your options.



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