Best Fashion Schools in San Diego | Cost, Requirement & How To Apply               

Aspiring fashionistas in San Diego, California can find fashion schools & programs at two for-profit institutions, a private nonprofit universities and public community colleges.

The best fashion school in San Diego boasts of diversity of programs, affordable tuition and opportunities for real-world industry experience.

Fashion design schools in San Diego 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.

Are There Fashion Schools In San Diego?

If you want to further your education in fashion, you can find associate’s and bachelor’s programs at several schools in the San Diego area.

Graduate fashion programs are available at public colleges in the San Diego area; there is one private college that offers a bachelor’s degree in the field.

Practical courses develop fashion skills, while related business classes teach merchandising and related skills. Internship or co-op education experience required. Continue reading to learn more.

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How Much Do Fashion Schools Cost In San Diego?

A quality college education doesn’t have to be expensive. At Mesa College, you can work toward your educational goals and experience all the benefits of a four-year college at a fraction of the cost.

Discover financial aid options and learn more about affordable community college tuition. Tuition at Mesa College is only $46 per unit and it is free to apply.

FIDM-Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising-San Diego is a private commercial institution in San Diego, California. Its campus is located in the city with a total number of students of 66.

The academic year at the school is designed for a quarter. The student-faculty ratio is 21 to 1. The highest degree offered at FIDM-Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising-San Diego is an associate degree. The school offers life experience credit.

Tuition and fees for 2018-2019 were $32,293. The application fee is $25.

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What Are The Requirements For Fashion Schools In San Diego?

A career in fashion requires a strong design portfolio. Many fashion designers start building their portfolio even before enrolling in fashion programs. Students develop their portfolios to showcase their designs and skills.

For example, designers may want to showcase the range in their portfolio by including ready-to-wear looks and haute couture custom looks, or they may want to emphasize their technical skills.

Designers update their portfolios throughout their fashion career. Internships, entry-level positions, and stylist positions help designers build their portfolio.

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What Are The Best Fashion Schools In San Diego?

San Diego Mesa College

Fashion design coursework covers garment construction, fashion selection, fashion sketching, drapery garment design and computer aided garment design. You will also be able to choose electives such as fine arts, textile design and ethnic costume history and design.

The Fashion Merchandising specialization allows you to take classes in visual merchandising, fashion promotion, fashion management and buying. Additional requirements include a course in one of the following three areas: Professional Selling, Principles of Retailing, and Principles of Advertising.

Both associate degree programs require you to complete a total of 60 units of general education courses and electives. You can also take any of these programs as a certificate of achievement; you will take slightly fewer courses in your major and will have no general education sections.


Palomar College

The Fashion Design program is a technically oriented curriculum that prepares you to work in the fashion industry. Among other subjects, you will study pattern making, illustration, sewing basics and tailoring.

You will also complete coursework in computer aided design (CAD) for fashion and have the opportunity to create a portfolio of your work for credit. You will need to take 44-46 units of fashion design coursework in addition to your general education requirements.

The Fashion Merchandising program provides you with the foundational coursework you will need to transfer to a 4-year college or university or to begin a career as an assistant buyer, store owner, advertising consultant, or similar position.

You will receive 32.5-33.5 credits of coursework in textiles, visual merchandising, fashion history, digital design and other areas. Cooperative education internships and fashion field research are part of each program’s curriculum, as are general education requirements.


Point Loma Nazarene University

In addition to general education requirements, you take courses in fashion buying, costume history, textile science, marketing, fashion design, visual presentation and display, fashion retail, and personal, family, and community health.

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The college recommends coursework in drawing, computer graphics, and entrepreneurship, as well as internships in family and consumer sciences. You will be able to show your creations at the annual fashion show. You must also take a senior capstone seminar.

To earn a fashion degree in the San Diego area, both San Diego Mesa College and Palomar College offer associate degree programs; Point Loma Nazarene University offers a 4-year Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Merchandising.


How Much Do Fashionistas In San Diego Earn?

The average annual salary for a fashion job category in California is $46,921 per year. Just in case you need a simple salary calculator, that’s about $22.56 an hour. This is equivalent to $902/week or $3910/month.

The average salary range for a job in the fashion industry varies widely (up to $27,293), indicating that there can be plenty of opportunity for promotion and salary increase depending on skill level, location, and years of experience.

Judging by recent job postings on ZipRecruiter, the fashion job market in California is not very active, with few companies currently hiring.

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How Do I Become A Fashionista In San Diego?

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.

As in other arts, networking helps fashion designers find professional opportunities, secure clients, and advance their careers.

Designers should start communication as early as possible, even before entering the fashion program. Networking events at the school offer a valuable resource for meeting fashion professionals.

Connect with other designers, suppliers, buyers and everyone else in the industry. These connections can pay off when you start freelancing or apply for full-time positions.

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What Are The Best Paying Fashion Jobs in San Diego?

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

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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.

Depending on your professional interests, you can pursue different careers in the fashion industry.

For example, if you have a creative bent, you might consider a career as a designer, stylist, photographer, creative director, or in a manufacturing position such as a seamstress, cutter, or grader.

Alternatively, if you are interested in the business side of fashion, working in marketing, public relations, merchandising, buying, retail and sales may suit you. Here are some roles you could consider in your pursuit of a career in the fashion industry:

  • Designer
  • Manager
  • Journalist
  • Photographer
  • Marketer
  • Public Relations Specialist
  • Merchandiser
  • Buyer
  • Sewage
  • Cutter
  • Grader
  • Creative director
  • Researcher
  • Stylist
  • Model
  • Retail Specialist
  • Seller

To learn more about fashion jobs, you can check out these well-paying jobs in fashion industry that suit recent college grads.

Fashion Schools In San Diego FAQs

What Is The Coursework For Fashion Schools in San Diego?

During the fashion design program, students study fabrics, fashion theory, and color theory. They will also learn how to create styles using computer aided design (CAD) software. Fashion design courses use design assignments to help students improve their skills and build a portfolio.

What Does It Take To Be A Fashion Designer In San Diego?

A career in fashion requires a variety of skills. Designers rely on their creativity and artistic sensibility to create designs. The career requires strong communication skills, the ability to collaborate and a detail-oriented outlook. Hard skills such as the ability to use design software, training in garment construction, and an in-depth knowledge of textiles and color also help designers.

How Do I Start My Own Fashion Business In San Diego?

Students planning to start their own fashion business also need strong marketing, sales, advertising and management skills. Self-employed designers use sales and product development skills to understand their consumers and create designs that are in demand. In general, fashion designers must balance their passion and creativity with technical and business know-how.


Most formal fashion design programs take 2-4 years, but your formal design education can last longer if you choose to work while studying.

Successful designers who didn’t go to fashion school are usually ready to start looking for work at design firms after about five years of experience, but going the self-taught route gives you the freedom to take the fashion world by storm as fast or as slowly as you want.


  • – What Schools Have Fashion Degrees in San Diego, California?


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