​the business of fashion asks “is fashion education selling a false dream?”

The industry website has published global fashion school rankings, but its research found widespread dissatisfaction among students.

by Charlotte Gush
24 August 2015, 3:04pm

Chun Yin Mok, London College of Fashion

The demand for fashion education has exploded over the past decade, with some schools experiencing "enrollment increases tripling student populations" according to Sara Kozlowski, Director of Education and Professional Development at the CFDA.

But are these school delivering on their promises? A survey conducted by the Business of Fashion has found that, although students are generally happy with teaching staff and university or college facilities, they are very underwhelmed by the career support they have received. "Brilliant school, brilliant exposure, zero help afterwards," one former Central Saint Martins student told BoF, a sentiment mirrored here in the States by a Parsons graduate: "Parsons tested my work ethic and exposed me to a diverse student body and resources, but poorly prepared students for the realities of job placement and career development," they said.

Of the 4,032 students surveyed, only 57% were satisfied with the careers services; only 53% were satisfied with networking events; and just 49% were satisfied with the quality of recruiters on campus. BoF points out that some areas of the fashion industry, like design positions, are becoming saturated -- there aren't as many jobs as there are graduates who want them. However, the publication does point out that some schools are adapting by offering a broader range of fashion education, like London College of Fashion, which launched a new Fashion Business School earlier this year in addition to its pioneering Center for Sustainable Fashion -- a forerunner of the new Center for Sustainable Design at The Pratt Institute.

The rankings for undergraduate and graduate courses show that London is still a very dominant center for fashion education, with Central Saint Martins taking the top spot and Kingston, Westminster and London College of Fashion all in the top 10. For MA courses, postgraduate-only school Royal College of Art is number one, with Central Saint Martins and London College of Fashion ranking second and fourth respectively.

The rankings also prove that you don't have to go to one of the famous school to get the most out of your degree: Bunka College in Tokyo, RMIT in Melbourne, Drexel in Philadelphia, Savannah College of Art and Design in Atlanta and Ryerson in Toronto all placed on the top ten lists.

Graduate Courses (MA)

  1. Royal College of Art, London
  2. Central Saint Martins, London
  3. Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp, Antwerp
  4. London College of Fashion, London
  5. Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, Atlanta

Undergraduate Courses (BA)

  1. Central Saint Martins, London
  2. Bunka Fashion College, Tokyo
  3. Kingston University, London
  4. Parsons The New School of Fashion, New York
  5. Fashion Institute of Technology, New York


Photography Anabel Navarro Llorens

Central Saint Martins
Royal College of Art
London College of Fashion
fashion schools