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Associate of Fine Art (AFA): Fashion Design Degree Overview

In fashion design fine arts associate's programs, students learn about design techniques, procedures and technology through traditional courses and direct experience. Students will be asked to demonstrate their work through a portfolio.

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Essential Information

Associate of Fine Art programs in fashion design typically aren't offered, but students can pursue an Associate of Art or an Associate of Applied Science degrees in fashion design. These programs combine traditional lecture and studio art courses. From initial conception to a completed fashion piece, students learn about the entire design process, as well as design techniques, textiles, sewing methods, computer-design software and merchandising. Additionally, opportunities to design portfolios for presentation to potential employers are provided.

Generally, these programs are two years in length and require a high school diploma or General Education Development (GED) equivalent for admission. In some cases, a demonstrative artwork portfolio is also expected.


Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Advertising and Commercial Design
  • Commercial Photography
  • Fashion Design
  • General Visual Communications Design
  • Graphic Design
  • Illustration and Drawing
  • Industrial Design
  • Interior Design and Decorating

Fashion Design Associate's

Students enrolled in a fashion design associate's program may take courses on the following subjects:

  • History of fashion
  • Color theory
  • Technical drawing
  • Pattern design
  • Draping

Popular Career Options

A range of career opportunities are available for associate's-level fashion design graduates, including:

  • Fashion designer
  • Assistant designer
  • Fashion stylist
  • Pattern maker
  • Fashion illustrator

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for fashion designers is expected to grow at a rate of 3% over 2014-2024. Those with formal education, outstanding portfolios and experience have the best chances in this competitive field. The mean annual salary for these professionals was $73,180 as of May 2015.

Continuing Education Information

Graduates of associate's degree programs in fashion design can continue their educations by enrolling in bachelor's and master's of fine arts programs in fashion design. Bachelor's degree programs may give students the option to focus on specialized areas of design, such as footwear, knitwear or children's apparel. Graduate-level programs generally teach students design and market research methodology and give them the opportunity to build professional-quality design portfolios.

Individuals who complete an associate's degree in fashion design, like an Associate of Art or an Associate of Applied Science, will take lecture and studio courses and gain hands-on experience. Different jobs that graduates might pursue include fashion illustrator, assistant designer, and fashion stylist.

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