Fashion Design Major
What is Fashion Design?
Drexel's top-flight Fashion Design major is a studio-based, boutique-style undergraduate program that trains the next generation of creative thinkers for the fashion industry.
The program is ranked in the top four in the United States and 14th in the world. Students in Drexel’s Fashion Design program have the opportunity to study alongside dynamic educators with extensive industry experience, produce innovative designs in our well-equipped studios, and participate in Drexel’s world-renowned co-op and study abroad programs. The culmination of the program is the Drexel Fashion Show, at which students showcase original garments and accessories for industry leaders.
Students in Drexel’s Fashion Design undergraduate program receive a bachelor of science degree from one of the nation’s top universities located in the United States’ sixth largest city, with easy access to Philadelphia’s rich cultural and vibrant design scene.
Why Study Fashion Design?
Drexel’s Fashion Design program educates and trains visionary designers to use an integrated approach toward the creation of contemporary fashion within the context of an expanding, yet converging, global economy and society. Through a series of courses offered freshman year, students will explore the challenges facing our industry and learn how to implement inclusive, responsible, and sustainable solutions in their design process. The fusion of art, design, science, and technology serves as a springboard for the production of unique apparel for the 21st century, and represents a transdisciplinary approach that requires flexibility and focus. Check out our Instagram to see what our students are up to!
During their third year, students are provided with commercial studio/atelier training that goes hand-in-hand with classroom instruction through the University’s cooperative education program. Fashion Design students complete a six-month co-op experience, working full-time at major designers and with national and international brands in New York City, Los Angeles, and in other fashion-centric cities all over the world. Cooperative education offers invaluable opportunities for students to observe and participate in the fashion industry at the ground level. Critiques by visiting professionals are included in all upper level courses and provide valuable “real world” input as well as future career connections.
Many of students spend a term studying abroad during their sophomore year in the world’s great fashion capitals, including London, England and Florence, Italy. Students can also choose from a range of intensive courses abroad (ICA) such as Drexel's Fashion Break in South Korea: Korean Fashion Industry in Seoul, one of Korea’s largest fashion markets. Students visit fabric markets, tailors, expert patternmakers, and factories where they design, source, and realize their garment or accessory.
Each year, Fashion Design students submit their designs to national and international competitions, such as the Supima Design Competition, International Fashion Illustration Competition in Korea and the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund—the largest fashion scholarship program in the world. Students are also taught to think globally with participation in the Global Capstone Exchange Project, a collaborative sustainable design course with Seoul’s Sungkyunkwan University School of Art. Students collaborate via Skype and then travel to Korea at the end of the term to complete, present and critique the projects.
And what would a fashion education be without a fashion show? Fashion Design majors conclude their senior year studies with the presentation of their collection in the Drexel Fashion Show (2019), a beautifully staged event featuring professional models and prominent media coverage right in Philadelphia. For 2020, in response to Covid-19, the virtual Drexel Fashion Design Show was created to showcase student work.
By the end of senior year, students are prepared to work in the multi-trillion-dollar global fashion industry. Graduates pursue careers in fashion design, styling, advertising, computer-aided and technical design, and more.
What Skills Will You Learn in a Fashion Design Undergraduate Program?
Students who pursue a major in Fashion Design will learn skills, such as:
- Strong visualization skills
- Concept development
- Responsible design / sustainable design
- Textile surface design
- Design research
- Identify and synthesize trends / apply for specific market/brand
- Problem solving/ think outside of the box
- 3-D design – Clo virtual design simulation
- Patternmaking / CAD pattern and fitting
- Garment construction / technical design
- Knitwear design and programming
- Professional presentation and time management skills
- Knowledge of Adobe Photoshop, InDesign & Illustrator
To learn more about the skills taught throughout the Fashion Design program, visit the curriculum page.
Facilities for Fashion Design Majors
Fashion Design majors are housed in the URBN Center, Westphal’s state-of-the-art facility, with well-equipped, spacious studios available to students 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Students have access to an extensive array of high-tech equipment for their design work, including:
- CAD pattern
- CLO 3-D virtual garment simulation
- Shima Seiki Apex-3 design technology
- automated knitwear machines
- 3-D printers
- laser cutters
- cutting-edge analytic platforms
- enterprise resource planning/production lifecycle management software
- trend forecasting resources
The Shima Seiki Fashion Knitting Lab features the latest equipment for the design, simulation, and production of fully fashioned knitwear. Students can engage in collaborative University-wide research through the use of the Shima Seiki Haute Technology Laboratory and the Hybrid Making Lab. They acquire detailed knowledge about industrial productions, advanced technologies in design, collaborative design, materials and processes, and the marketing and merchandising of clothing.
The URBN Center is also home to the Richard & Penny Fox Historic Costume Collection, an outstanding museum-quality collection of over 17,000 fashion items and accessories from Renaissance textiles to French couture, with extensive holdings of the greatest designers of the last hundred years. The facility boasts a custom-built gallery, which presents two exhibitions annually, and a study room to accommodate students and researchers interested in exploring the extensive costume collection.
Career Opportunities with a Fashion Design Degree
Students who complete their bachelor of science in fashion design from Drexel have the opportunity to pursue job opportunities such as:
- Designer (women’s, men’s, children’s)
- Associate Designer
- Assistant Designer
- Activewear Designer
- Product Development
- Accessory Designer
- Computer-aided Designer
- Pattern Maker
- Technical Designer
- Costume Design
- Creative Director
- Knitwear Designer
- Textile Print Designer
- Textile Research & Development Specialist