Are Fashion Design programs rated???

<p>So my daughter (rising HS junior) just completed a 1 week session at SCAD and now, of course, wants to study Fashion. Fashion what? Fashion design? Fashion merchandising? I'm not entirely sure.</p>

<p>My wife and I are both technical and can easily research and evaluate engineering or science programs at colleges, but we are totally out of our element with respect to Fashion. I am, of course, concerned about her career prospects and really want to make sure that if she goes down this road she attends a decent school with decent prospects for a job upon graduation.</p>

<p>Are there any objective (or even subjective) ratings or assessments of programs? I know there are programs at SVA, Pratt, FIT etc but can find only individual opinions of their quality and career-making success.</p>

<p>Thanks!</p>

<p>Participating</a> Schools | Council of Fashion Designers of America
If the link doesn't load up then google "CFDA scholarship participating schools"
The above link really isn't a rating, but those are generally considered schools with top/decent programs in the US. Outside the US the big name schools are Antwerp Royal Academy, Central St Martins, and London College of Fashion.</p>

<p>In general, one of the reasons why I think it would be hard to rank/rate programs is because the quantitative information doesn't really matter when it comes down to "talent/craft/skill". My advise to your daughter(and this is coming from someone who went through a fashion design program) is that if she's serious about becoming a "working fashion designer" go for the schools in NYC, particularly look into FIT or Parsons. I also would advise to not take out heavy loans or to get into to much debt for one school over the other(even if this means not choosing a NYC school). Fashion industry jobs are low paying and hard to come by. There is more supply of designers than there is supply of jobs(including the low paying). Getting into too much debt for any one school is going to be a huge mistake when she finds herself trying to find a job, or trying to make a living off of a job that pays her about the same as a data entry or low skilled job.</p>

<p>Thanks, liek0806. Your comments make a lot of sense to me. Few of the usual metrics for describing the student bodies of colleges (avg ACT, gpa, class rank etc) seem to be used for art or design schools which I find a bit disorienting but it does make sense as the talent of their students cannot be measured by these means.</p>

<p>My daughter really liked Savannah College of Art & Design and while they claim good results at both internships and graduation outplacement I have to wonder WHERE are these kids going when NYC or LA are the obvious centers for that industry. But she's not interested in attending school in NY and finds Savannah a much more accessible town, at her age anyway.</p>

<p>I'm glad to see SCAD listed in the CFDA list. It does suggest participation in the industry at a high level.</p>

<p>As for debt and job prospects, you're preaching to the choir! It is my great fear that she graduate and find herself in a 2000/mo efficiency in Brooklyn, making 30k a year.</p>

<p>Yesterday when I responded I spent probably an hour trying to gather my thoughts of what to say and what not to say.
From my experience, or maybe just because my school's program was very rigorous, interning was close to impossible during the school year. Many of my classmates interned only during the summer. Some of my classmates simply didn't intern at all, and have found themselves having to build up that internship/work experience for free after graduation. I guess if all programs on that CFDA list are reputable they are bound to be as rigorous as mine, which should mean that SCAD students probably relocate for the summer to either LA or NYC.
Seeing all this and the reality of the industry, I think back to some of the statistics my art school would provide in regards to the success of students finding employment after graduation(in my department). And all I can say is that those statistics were misleading. They were misleading because they would survey only a select few of the graduating class. And "successful at finding employment/job after graduation" could have meant anything from working a part time retail job while looking for a design job/internship on the side, to simply working in something unrelated to fashion design.
If your daughter is not interested in NYC schools, and is interested in a bachelor's program, I would recommend Otis College of Art & Design. It's in Los Angeles and it's very well regarded. It used to have ties with Parsons, and was considered the Parsons of the West before they split up. They have a good reputation with LA employers. But if the school is really not a match for her, than SCAD and RISD would be great options too.
Overall, I would recommend to apply to many fashion design programs regardless of location and see which school offers the most merit/need aid. What I think now matters the most is learning the skills from a decent school at possibly the cheapest cost. There are even some non-art schools, like WUSTL, Cornell, and I think Wisconsin-Madison, that have fashion design/merchandising/production majors. Since those are generally large research universities, they might have enough money to bring down the cost of studying there(be it through merit or need-based aid). For me, Otis came out to be the cheapest. Pratt was the second cheapest, after a merit scholarship that I believe is solely based on high school GPA. Some european/foreign schools generally have cheaper tuition than the privates in the US. I think Antwerp is less than 10K for tuition per year for internationals. Of course there is a catch, you have to learn the language of instruction by the second year at Antwerp.
Also, the only statistic I think possibly "worth" taking into consideration is the retention rate of the design program. At my former school, I think over half of those entering fashion design end up dropping out or not completing the program(for various reasons including: disenchantment with fashion design, rigor, financing the cost, failing, etc).
Another thing I would also look into is a school that offers various related or similar majors that your daughter might be interested in exploring if she finds herself unhappy with fashion design. The great thing about the four year programs, is that most students are forced to have the foundation year during their freshman year. Foundation kind of exposes them to a little of everything before committing to a department of their choice. Your daughter might realize after foundation year that design/art isn't a thing she's interested in, or she might realize that jewelry design, graphic design, product design or what have you, are better options than fashion design.
Lastly, I'm not sure if you're aware of this website, but some students/designers post samples of their work/portfolios.
<a href="http://www.styleportfolios.com/searchresults.php%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.styleportfolios.com/searchresults.php&lt;/a>
Under the keyword search you can type in the name of schools(say "savannah" or "parsons" or "otis" or "rhode island") to look at the quality of work of current students or alumni.</p>

<p>Thank you, liek!</p>

<p>You're the only one to respond to any of my inquires here on CC and I'm grateful for your thoughtful replies.</p>

<p>My wife and I have been talking at length, and have formed a loose assessment. Although I am not creative I do work in sales of creative services to a large retailer based in NYC and have extensive contact with both creatives and "business types." I have found that often the two are mutally exclusive, and the creative person who has a clue about the business (or vice versa) is fairly rare. So Assessment 1 is: creative talent + business basics = big combination.</p>

<p>Assessment 2 is: fashion is a big industry employing many people, and while the prospective student may picture herself with a sketch pad designing clothes, these jobs are relatively rare. However, many adjunct jobs and functions exist, so a person can find a place without being a bona fide FASHION DESIGNER. I hope, anyway!</p>

<p>Assessment 3 is: like any path through school and into the work world, fashion is highly individual and depends more on the individual's talent and luck in the job market than it does on their college's curriculum or "success rate" at helping kids find jobs. Certainly there are students at top-flight design schools who may, though quite talented, suffer in the job market because they weren't assertive or resourceful or lucky or even charismatic enough to secure a decent internship which would perhaps lead to a shot at the next job which would lead to.... and so on. The simple answer to all these questions is IT DEPENDS ON THE STUDENT. </p>

<p>If these assessments are true, I think my girl has a shot. She's clearly got some talent, and this was affirmed by her teachers at the SCAD summer program. Does she walk on water? No. And she's very driven and determined about her goals and is resrouceful at figuring out a path and pursuing. She's in a tough HS curriculum and is doing well studying not just art but a full slate of college-prep courses. She fully intends to study all the basic business courses in college and will hopefully combine creative with business understanding.</p>

<p>So I'm going to check out Otis, as you suggest, and I'm sure there will be others, including RISD although it looks wicked tough to get into. And while SCAD is expensive, it'll be doable if she's able to land about 15k in scholarships, which I think at this point may be possible. And it does have a wide variety of creative majors, should she decide against fashion but want to do something similar.</p>

<p>I'm sending her the link you posted so she can see first-hand.</p>

<p>Thanks again!</p>

<p>I suggest you post on the Visual Arts forum. LOTS of savvy people there that may be able to add to your information.</p>

<p>i think beastman did and no one else responded, you should check the post.</p>

<p>I did post the identical question Visual Arts and none of the savvy people responded! CC is a bit of a crap-shoot. I'll see what I consider pretty useless threads go on for pages while others shrivel up and go away. Oh, well!</p>