6 Fashion Design Programs In The St. Louis Region

By Klara Kobylinski
In Style

With college deadlines quickly approaching, there’s no better time than now to squeeze in a few extra applications to bolster your list of choices come spring. We compiled a list of St. Louis’ best programs in fashion where you can pursue your artistic passions—be they fashion design, fashion merchandising or fashion management—and graduate set to thrive in the competitive industry.

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photo courtesy of Wash U

Art Institute of STL BA Fashion Marketing
The Art Institute is designed for those more interested in the business side of fashion, as well as non-traditional students hoping to earn a degree in only three years.

  • Coursework + Skills: Merchandise presentation, retailing, buying, visual merchandising, fashion history, design, manufacturing, sales, consumer. behavior, catalog design, advertising, business development, fashion cycles.
  • Successful Alums: Go on to become fashion buyers, merchandisers, retail store managers, runway coordinators.
  • Other Benefits: Small class sizes, study abroad in Florence, only 12 quarters required for degree.

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Fontbonne BFA Fashion Merchandising
Fontbonne offers many study abroad and professional shadowing opportunities—its fashion merchandising program is ideal for the independent student.

  • Coursework + Skills: fashion merchandising, dress and culture, career seminar, apparel production and evaluation, fashion brand management, fashion behavior and forecasting, product development.
  • Successful Alums: Cassidy Dansberry (founder and designer of She Dandy Boutique), managers and technical designers at established fashion brands.
  • Other Benefits: Professional shadowing opportunities, study abroad opportunities in London, Italy and France.

Lindenwood University, BA/BFA Fashion Design
Lindenwood’s recently revamped (and upgraded) fashion design program provides students with all the right tools seamlessly and professionally break into the industry.

  • Coursework + Skills:  2-D and 3-D Design, color theory, graphic design, textile science, apparel design, draping, pattern-making, fashion illustration, computer aided- design, fashion accessories, fashion business and entrepreneurship and portfolio design.
  • Successful Alumni: Designer AJ Thouvenot of “Project Runway” fame and ALIVE Magazine Fashion Editor Sarah Stallmann.
  • Other Benefits: Features include two large design and construction studios, CAD computer lab, $3 million of Lectra software, CS6 Adobe Suite, and OptiTex Patternmaking software. Faculty have degrees from prestigious design schools such as SCAD + have connections in the industry.

Stevens Institute of Business & Arts B.A. Retail Management/Fashion Merchandising or A.A.S. Retail Management/Fashion Merchandising Degrees
Stevens Institute ensures that the aspiring fashion student meets like-minded people. A small school offering courses only in business and arts, resources are devoted exclusively to these areas of study.

  • Coursework + Skills: retail buying, sales, management, visual merchandising, marketing, promotion, fashion show production, designer representation, designer studies, fashion forecasting, design, textiles, history of costume, 20th century dress, retail profitability and analysis, apparel product development.
  • Successful Alums: Go on to work in retail buying, sales, management, visual merchandising, marketing, promotion, fashion show production, and designer representation.
  • Other Benefits: The school has recently been named one of the top 20 fashion design programs in the world. Choose between 18-month associate or 3-year bachelor degree.

Washington University in St. Louis BFA Fashion Design
Wash U is the place to go for those who seek a second major. Many fashion design students pursue another degree or minor in business or art history.

  • Coursework + Skills: 2-D  and 3-D design, digital design, fashion design, illustration, photography, 2-D and 3-D fashion design, apparel strategy, digital fashion and textile design, fashion history and research, pattern making and production, senior year signature collection with industry professional mentors + runway show.
  • Successful Alumni: Paul Dillinger (Levi Strauss), Jordana Warmflash (Novis), Chantal Strasburger (Hearst).
  • Other Benefits: Small class sizes, free weekly lectures by visiting artists, study abroad program in Florence, many distinguished faculty and alums: faculty made up of practicing artists and designers.

Webster University B.F.A. Costume Design, B.F.A. Costume Construction, B.F.A. Wig and Makeup Design
Webster offers a program tailored toward the theatrically inclined. Students receive highly specialized training for performance pieces.

  • Coursework + Skills: Drawing, design concepts, 3D design, history of theatre, costume design for dance.
  • Successful Alums: Include models, costume designers and STL Bed of Eden boutique owner Avery Ross.
  • Other Benefits: Students design for the university’s theatrical productions and are connected to valuable off-the-beaten path internships within the industry.
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