5 Best fashion schools in Chicago

There is a lot of fashion going on in the United States alone, whether it’s the design and production of sportswear, sewing of luxury attires, designing students’ uniforms, or even the production of footwear. The number goes on and on, and that is why Statista discovered that the U.S. fashion and accessories e-retail revenue to be worth 205bn USD from 2017 to 2025.

And, this number is projected to continue increasing whether in the United States, or the World. So deciding to join the bandwagon in this multi-billion industry would not be a mistake, and one of the best ways to start is through these fashion schools in Chicago. 

One of the reasons I love these schools is because they will teach you all you need to learn about fashion, but they won’t just end there, they will also help you to learn the business aspect of fashion. You will learn to market properly, brand your products, to even pitch your products to investors too.

These Chicago fashion schools don’t only want to help you to build fantastic apparel, they also want to make you become a problem solver, to be able to introduce design ideas to non-design organizations and fields. Some of them also offer online programs which you can enroll in from wherever you are, this helps you to be flexible with your studies and also grab that important course for your career.

If you are not so sure if fashion would be a good fit for you, you can just enroll in some of the free online fashion design courses, especially if you are just starting. 

Moreover, it amazes us how fashion always evolves, we know of those people that would always want to be on the latest fashion, which you might be (you should be if you are not yet, if you want to succeed in this industry). We also know of those that don’t care which fashion is trending, perhaps they are still putting on their usual type of apparel for the past decade.

First of all, let’s take a look at how beneficial these schools can be for you.

How good are fashion schools in Chicago?

Even though Chicago doesn’t have lots of fashion schools, the few they have are well utilized. You will be able to see fashion design from lots of perspectives, and you will start seeing how huge the fashion industry is.

From these fashion schools, you will be shaped to narrow your desire to some niches like designing, writing, styling, or even branding. These fashion schools in Chicago will also open your eyes to see the history of fashion, and how and why we got to where we are in fashion now.

You will also be opportune to meet great minds in this industry, both those you model their creativity and those that will be with you to even build a better career. Even if you’ll spend 3 to 4 years in some of these schools, you will shockingly be happy to notice that the school is more of a lifestyle than an education.

Furthermore, River Forest is just a few miles away from Chicago, where you can go and explore lots of extremely beautiful fabric stores, visit world-leading museums, go to the Magnificent Mile and even interact with the fashion community. Your internship could even be the best thing that will happen to you in your academic year in these fashion schools, because, Chicagoland has lots of fashion organizations ready to welcome you.

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Average cost of fashion schools in Chicago?

There are some factors that determine the amount a student pays as tuition in these fashion schools, one of the major factors is the citizenship of the student. If you’re a citizen of the United States and a Chicago resident, you’ll pay a lot lesser than an international student.

So, the average fee is $460 per credit hour.

How to get into Fashion Schools in Chicago

Getting into these fashion schools might not be as easy as your passion to be admitted, but your preparation will pave the way. You need to know and prepare all the requirements on time, and you need to know the due date for applying.

Then another important aspect is what to present on you portfolio, make sure to present it in the best visible way, if you’re using pictures, let them be of high quality, the same goes for videos. That said, it also means you need some fashion experience, no matter how little, to stand a chance of being admitted in any fashion school in Chicago.


Fashion Schools in Chicago

These schools were properly selected with the help of the QS World University Ranking, and our meticulous research work.  

  • School of the Art Institute of Chicago
  • Columbia College Chicago
  • Dominican University
  • Harper College
  • Hovet Fashion Studio

1. School of Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC)

This is the best fashion school in Chicago according to QS Top University Ranking, and the 9th best in the world. The school has been leading for over 150 years, it has also been recognized by Columbia University’s National Arts Journalism Survey as “the most influential art college in the United States.” and has produced great alumni.

One of the characteristics that make this school different from other fashion schools in Chicago is how they make their students work closely together with scholars and leading practitioners. Also, their fashion school is properly designed so that students who graduate will have a very strong voice in the global design world. 

Their fashion department has 3 forms of programs;

  • Bachelor of Fine Arts: Fashion Design Pathways
  • Master of Design in Fashion, Body, and Garment
  • Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Fashion, Body, and Garment

2. Columbia College Chicago

This is one of the fashion schools in Chicago that values technology in fashion. Their students have been prolific in the fashion world, including recently winning NRF Foundation’s Next Generation Award for 2 consecutive years. The school has also seen that you don’t only need a satisfactory skill in fashion to succeed in this world, you also need to hone yourself with necessary business skills.

Their aim is not just to create a beautiful, trending garment, but how their students’ creativity and styles can solve problems, and also contribute to culture. To achieve this, they will be teaching you in their classes, and studios, and you will also be working with retailers and wholesale showrooms to gain real-life practical experience. 

The school has two degrees in a fashion which are;

  • Fashion Studies, BA
  • Fashion Design, BFA

You can also choose other minors like marketing, public relations, journalism, business & entrepreneurship, and many others so that you will even improve your employability.

3. Dominican University – Fashion Design

This school makes their fashion design programs so unique, where they want to help you to understand fashion from the industry perspective and as a form of art. At your undergraduate level, you will be able to create pages for your professional portfolio, this will help you in your senior capstone project, and most importantly for the job market.

The school only offers a BA in Fashion with coursework in Apparel Structure and Design, Surface Design of Fabrics, Jewelry Design, Fashion Illustration, Specialty Markets, etc. You can also choose one of their minors to improve your major, which includes; Art, Foreign Language, Theatre Arts, Business, and Communication.

4. Harper College

Harper College offers diverse fashion programs. Their A.A.S. in fashion degree will help you to choose between fashion design and fashion entrepreneurship, where you will be having coursework such as apparel textile design, flat pattern design, draping, costume history and global sourcing apparel, and many other classes. This A.A.S. is just a 61-credit-hour program, and will be giving you just the foundational fashion design skills.

They also have A.A.S. in fashion merchandising degree, where you will be focusing on the business aspect of fashion, and you will also learn the design part of it. This is one of the fashion schools in Chicago that offer certificate programs in apparel construction, fashion design, and textiles. 

5. Hovet Fashion Studio

Unlike most of the other fashion schools in Chicago we have listed, Hovet Fashion Studio is exclusively focused on short practical courses, where you can either choose to partake in a one-on-one lesson, 10-hour lesson or a group workshop class. In the private class, you can choose to focus on the beginner’s sewing package, fashion design package, or beginner’s pattern-making package. 

These packages are worth $400 and above, for 10 hours, but you can also choose to take them course by course, where you can pay on hourly bases. Their group work is just for 4 students per session, so the earlier you apply the better.

Whereas they also have their virtual classes that come a lot cheaper than their in-house classes.


As you can see there are only a few fashion design schools in Chicago, but, sometimes, the lesser the better. So make great use of this list, each of them has unique features that make them outstanding.

Fashion Schools in Chicago – FAQs

[sc_fs_multi_faq headline-0=”h3″ question-0=”Do fashion schools in Chicago accept foreigners?” answer-0=”Yes, they accept international students.” image-0=”” headline-1=”h3″ question-1=”What is the most famous fashion school in Chicago?” answer-1=”School of Art Institute of Chicago is the most popular and the best Chicago fashion school.” image-1=”” headline-2=”h3″ question-2=”How many fashion schools are in Chicago” answer-2=”There are less than 7 fashion schools in Chicago” image-2=”” headline-3=”h3″ question-3=”How long does it take to finish fashion school in Chicago?” answer-3=”It takes 3 to 4 years to finish your diploma or BA in these schools.” image-3=”” count=”5″ html=”true” css_class=””]

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