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Online Fashion Design Degree Program Overviews

Dec 04, 2019

Find out about online fashion design courses and in which degree programs they're most commonly offered. Get course descriptions, program info and online requirements to make an informed decision.

Essential Information

Online associate's degree programs are fairly widespread and usually focus on fashion merchandising and marketing. Online bachelor's programs are also readily available and can lead to a degree in fashion design, fashion merchandising or fashion retail management. Both associate's and bachelor's degree programs may be completed entirely online, but many programs require students to complete an internship experience. These undergraduate programs cover topics that include marketing, fashion business, retail management, consumer behavior, textiles and fashion design.

Online master's degree programs in fashion are rarely offered, but can be found at select schools. These programs usually lead to a Master of Fine Arts in Fashion Design. Courses allow students to practice more advanced construction processes. Individuals may take courses in green fashion design, menswear, knitwear design, active sportswear design and visual merchandising. Students may be asked to participate in special fashion projects, such as runway shows, so they can exhibit their designs. Entry to these programs will generally require students to already hold a bachelor's degree in design or arts.

Both graduate and undergraduate online programs in fashion design will ask students to have a digital camera and scanner, along with design and word processing software.

Associate's Degree in Fashion

Within the field of fashion, students can earn an associate's degree in fashion merchandising or marketing. They study contemporary trends and modern sales strategies in the field. Programs in the field are intensive to the arts. To be enrolled in an associate's degree program, students must have a high school diploma. Several associate's degree programs in fashion are available online.

Program Information and Requirements

Typically, it takes two years to complete an online associate's degree program. Online programs in fashion are available entirely online; however, some programs require that students complete an in-person internship. Online fashion courses are asynchronous, so students do not have to be online at specified times to complete lessons and assignments. Through various Web-based applications, students can interact with classmates, complete assignments and watch video lectures.

Students must have a working computer and high-speed Internet access to complete the online program. They also need a digital camera or a scanner to turn in completed assignments. Adobe Flash Player, Acrobat Reader and a word processing program are also among the typical requirements.

Course Topics

In addition to fashion courses required for the major, students must complete general education classes. Courses on basic office skills are also commonly included.

Business Practices in Fashion

This class introduces students to the role of business in fashion. They study management, financial, marketing and organizational concepts, as well as exploring the ethical responsibilities of owning and managing a fashion business.

Fashion Design

Students explore introductory topics in fashion design. They learn to cut and drape fabric, create patterns and study sewing techniques used in the industry. They transform their ideas from sketches into working patterns.

Planning and Controlling Merchandise

In this class, students learn common techniques used by retailers to forecast item popularity and to develop competitive pricing strategies. They also study strategies for planning what items to have available.


Bachelor's Degree in Fashion

An online bachelor's degree in fashion can lead to careers in marketing, management, merchandising or design. Through fashion programs at this level, students analyze trends in the industry and learn to predict colors, styles and fabrics that will become popular. They acquire skills constructing clothing, selecting patterns and fabrics, creating visual displays and making sales. Students must have the equivalent of a high school diploma to be eligible for enrollment. Online bachelor's degrees in fashion can be found from a number of accredited schools.

Program Information and Requirements

Most programs have some in-person requirements, such as an internship. Online students can display their work through an online portfolio, which professors can grade, review and send back. They have access to the online library and can interact with teachers and other students while completing assignments and watching lessons.

In addition to standard online program requirements, such as a computer and Internet access, students must typically have Adobe Photoshop. Speakers and a digital camera are also required to complete coursework.

Course Topics

Courses in these programs include hands-on training with digital fashion design applications and theoretical training on fashion sales and marketing. Programs often include courses on management principles, as well.

Consumer Behavior

Through this class, students analyze the factors affecting consumer purchases. They learn how to use this information to set up a store and create an atmosphere that entices customers into buying products.

Product Line Development

Students analyze techniques for developing a product line by studying fashion collections along with and common designers and suppliers. They also learn how to plan, design a clothing line, develop a certain style and present clothing.

Apparel Trends

Students taking this course study techniques for predicting trends by learning to follow trends as they emerge and analyze how fashion could be affected by them. They study specific events that influence fashion.


Master of Fine Arts in Fashion

Master's degree programs in fashion are rare in the online format, but they are available. Through these programs, students learn to analyze fashion trends to design and sell products that are stylish. They develop skills enabling them to display and market products to the public. Enrollment requirements mainly include a bachelor's degree in an art or design area.

Program Information and Requirements

Master's degree programs are available entirely online, and they take about two years to complete. The online courses are facilitated by video lectures, written assignments and interactive discussions with classmates. Students can also display their work online and receive feedback from professors and other classmates.

Course Topics

Online graduate-level courses in fashion design may involve interactive projects through which students team up with other participants of the program. Students complete major core courses and electives of their choosing.

Marketing and Promoting Fashion

This class identifies commonly used techniques for fashion sales, including word-of-mouth and social networking. Students then learn to evaluate their effectiveness and develop marketing plans. They study specific techniques for receiving a buyer response from product promotion.

Green Fashion Design

Through this class, students learn to use natural textiles and designs to create clothing that has a positive social and environmental impact. They also create marketing plans and learn specific techniques for product presentation.

Constructing Fashion

This class trains students to design and sew their own fashion designs. They learn to turn sketches into patterns, select fabrics and sew pieces together to create outfits. They study industry techniques and learn to incorporate trends into their pattern design.


Career Information

A degree in fashion at the associate's degree level can lead to several entry-level opportunities as retail store managers, fashion buyers or visual merchandisers. Although many of these positions require a bachelor's degree, aggressive and enthusiastic job seekers could find opportunities with an associate's degree. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary for retail store managers, also called first-line supervisors of retail sales workers, was $39,630 in 2018.

With a bachelor's degree in fashion, students can pursue careers as buyers, visual merchandisers, fashion designers or fashion coordinators. According to the BLS in 2015, fashion designers made a median annual salary of $72,720. Visual merchandisers made a median salary of $28,450 in 2018.

With a master's degree in fashion, students can choose from a wide variety of career opportunities. Some options include fashion entrepreneurship, fashion design, fashion marketing or fashion promotion. According to the BLS, fashion designers in apparel manufacturing made an average salary of $87,530 in 2018.

From the associate's to the master's degree level, degrees in fashion design can be earned online, although graduate degrees may be harder to find. Many different aspects of design, business, fashion merchandising, fashion ethics and fashion trends are covered in these programs, preparing students for careers within the fashion industry.

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