Handbag and Purse Design Schools in the U.S.

Handbag and purse designers create handbags and purses for accessory and apparel manufacturers and retailers. Many purse designers start their own businesses after completing a fashion design undergraduate degree.

Selecting a Handbag and Purse Design School

Colleges and universities in the U.S. typically don't offer degree programs in handbag and purse design alone. Schools may offer a bachelor's degree in fashion design or a bachelor's degree in fine arts, each of which may include a concentration in purse design.

Bachelor's degree programs in fashion design may include just one or several handbag and purse designing courses. Students looking to specialize in purse design may want to consider schools whose handbag design classes provide the range of skills needed to develop a professional portfolio and obtain jobs. Courses that focus specifically on handbag design include purse construction, zippered handbags, sports bags and purse assembly. Other typical purse designing coursework includes computer-aided design (CAD) programs, drawing, patternmaking and materials.

Schools offering purse design courses typically provide internships and cooperative education assignments with apparel manufacturers and retailers. Students might consider schools that have a history of providing work experiences with employers that specialize in designing, producing and marketing handbags.

Aspiring purse designers might look for programs with business courses because many designers are self-employed as contractors and freelancers. Some fashion design schools offer business classes relevant to handbag design, including Internet marketing, retail marketing and family businesses.

Students might consider schools with labs and studios that include the latest versions of software, such as Lectra Romans CAD, which is used to design and produce accessories such as handbags. Schools that sponsor accessory design contests or encourage participation in industry-sponsored competitions foster the professional development of purse and handbag design students.

Largest Fashion Design Colleges by Student Enrollment

College/University Student PopulationInstitution Type
Arizona State University67,0824-year, public
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities51,1404-year, public
Michigan State University46,5104-year, public
Indiana University - Bloomington40,3544-year, public
University of California - Los Angeles38,2204-year, public
University of North Texas34,8304-year, public
Virginia Commonwealth University32,0444-year, public
University of Cincinnati - Main Campus29,6174-year, public
Texas Tech University28,4224-year, public
Iowa State University26,8564-year, public
University of Kentucky26,0544-year, public
University of Illinois at Chicago25,8354-year, public
Kent State University - Kent Campus22,9444-year, public
Northern Arizona University22,5024-year, public
Drexel University21,5324-year, private not-for-profit
University of Delaware20,5004-year, public
Montclair State University17,4574-year, public
University of Alaska - Anchorage16,6494-year, public
Western Washington University14,6204-year, public
Baylor University14,5414-year, private not-for-profit

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