What is Fashion Design?
The fashion industry is involved with the design, manufacturing and merchandising of apparel and accessories. Fashion designers communicate ideas three-dimensionally through their knowledge of color, fabric and silhouette. Today’s fashion designer must lead the marketplace by producing beauty and excellence in design.
In the program, students learn to ideate, sketch, pattern, sew, and produce garments at quality levels. The emphasis is on both the form and the function of a design its expression and how it moves and fits the body. Students must learn a wide array of skills in preparation for work in a fast-paced global economy. In spring of their third year of study, students may choose to focus on the design or product development aspect of fashion.
People who are successful in fashion design have visual and kinesthetic/tactile learning styles. Fashion designers are creative, imaginative and artistic. They are able to understand the design process as it relates to the three-dimensional form of the garment. Fashion designers are able to sketch, design, plan and execute a garment at a high quality level, paying attention to the function (movement, wear, draping) as well as the beauty of the garment. They love the challenge of a fast-paced, trend-driven business that merges creativity with marketplace opportunities.
People who work in this field must have good communication skills, have excellent time- and project-management skills, and understand business planning. They enjoy working in creative teams to understand the consumer’s wants and needs and to develop that fashion product for wholesale and retail brands.
Apparel technology, production and distribution are global, and the fashion knowledge and business training of this program are fundamental for the successful retailer and merchandiser in today’s highly competitive world. Fashion designers may design apparel or accessories for a manufacturer in New York, Los Angeles or many other cities in this country and throughout the world. Apparel technology, production and distribution are global. Textile and pattern companies, theater, television, film and amusement parks all require designers of costumes and apparel.
Employment opportunities in the fashion design and product development field include: fashion design and merchandising, fashion forecasting, promotion, marketing, designer, assistant designer, sketcher, stylist, pattern maker, technical designer and fashion illustrator. There are also opportunities in fashion promotion and fashion merchandising. Advertising, buying, coordination and display are other areas of interest.
Majoring in Fashion Design
The goal of undergraduate design education at the School of Design in UC's College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP) is to provide a foundation that will allow graduates to deal with diverse professional challenges appropriately and to master tools and media of the future. This foundation has three components: 1) an integrated twelve-quarter curriculum, rather than a collection of courses, concentrating on the design process rather than product, 2) one and one-half years of supervised experience in the design field through the professional practice (co-op) program, and 3) a structured liberal arts education.
Students spend their first year in foundation studies, which provide a concentrated study of rudiments related to optical and tactile sensations that intensify perception. The focus of these studies concerns formal and fundamental concepts of two- and three-dimensional organization. Emphasis is placed on the ingredients of process: inquiry, analysis, comparison, evaluation and a language. The studies are an introduction to tools, methods and materials, including development of basic technical ability. The chronological order of courses provides a continual linear experience through a carefully planned analytical sequence of interlocking components.
Within the fashion design program, there are two areas of concentration: design and product development. In the sophomore year, students take courses in both areas to develop a broad base of skills and to determine on which area they will focus in the future. In the third year, students begin to focus on design or product development.
Students focusing in design develop a command of both creative and technical skills. Students are able to create and execute a design that emphasizes both function and beauty through the formation of three-dimensional, wearable design. With a focus on product development, students are taught to understand the design process, the product development process and the interaction of design with merchandising. They are involved in researching consumer behavior, understanding current merchandising concepts and functions, and developing merchandising skills for manufacturing and fashion retailing.
The fashion design program provides a broad liberal arts background as a basis for understanding economic, sociological and psychological influences of fashion. The curriculum includes basic art and design courses, fashion design courses, and technical courses in pattern-making, draping and tailoring. Students must develop a knowledge of material specifications and cost analysis; have research, writing, presentation and computer skills; and possess critical-thinking skills. Electives allow the student to explore other areas of interest.
Minoring in Fashion Design
Fashion design is not offered as a minor.
This curriculum information is intended as a general information guide for students considering enrollment in this program. These online tools are designed to assist you, but are not a substitute for planning with an academic or faculty advisor.
If you are currently confirmed or enrolled, you can check your degree requirements online. If you are considering transferring to this major from another school, use u.select to see how credits you have earned will transfer to UC. See course descriptions by college.
For an updated curriculum, please visit http://daap.uc.edu/academics/design/bs_fashion.html
UC Advantages and Special Opportunities
- The city of Cincinnati, once called the "Queen City of the West" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, provides an excellent array of cultural resources for students who intend to pursue a degree in the visual arts. It offers the energy and assets of a larger city, along with quiet neighborhoods steeped in rich traditions. Cincinnati offers live music venues that range from top-notch symphony and opera companies to a growing pop and rock community. Home to the Cincinnati Art Museum, the Taft Museum and the Contemporary Arts Center, the city also enjoys the presence of numerous art galleries and a strong support system among practicing artists. Cincinnati is situated within driving distance of Chicago, Pittsburgh, Atlanta and New York City, allowing DAAP students to take advantage of the rich cultural resources of these cities as well.
- The DAAP College Library has an outstanding collection of books, periodicals and visual resources supporting architecture, planning, design, art history and related subjects. Access to library holdings is provided by an automated online catalog, UCLID, which provides access to the University of Cincinnati Library information database, and through OhioLINK, the holdings of other academic libraries throughout Ohio.
- The Computer Graphics Center is a state-of-the-art university facility with hardware that includes PCs, Apple computers and peripherals such as scanners, plotters and digital video-editing suites. Students have access to sophisticated graphics equipment and receive hands-on instruction to augment the use of laptops in the classroom. All computing equipment is linked by high speed Ethernet to facilitate access across the campus.
- The college supports a Rapid Prototyping Center, which is the home of state-of-the-art equipment that allows students to create communication aids for their design projects. Using CAD (computer-aided design) models, students are able to create physical models using three basic methods: 3-D printing, large format laser-cutting and CNC (computer numeric control) devices, including a Kuomo CNC Router. This facility is intended for all DAAP students to use in creating large-scale designs.
- The professional practice program (also known as cooperative education or co-op) offers students an opportunity for selected practical experience purposefully intermingled with a gradually expanding academic background. The University of Cincinnati invented the concept of cooperative education over 100 years ago, and is currently the second largest U.S. cooperative education institution. Approximately 45 percent of School of Design students co-op locally, and an additional 20 percent co-op elsewhere in Ohio, with the remaining students working across the country and overseas.
- Fashion design co-op students work for both small design firms and large businesses across the country in the areas of design, technical design and product development. Students begin their co-op experiences in either the second semester of their sophomore year, and alternate semesters of full-time work and study on a year-round calendar until the final quarter of the fifth year (there is no tuition for the semesters students work). They graduate with five semesters, or a year and a half, of work experience in their field.
- DAAP students learn creative and technical skills in the studio environment, taught by a passionate faculty who interact with their students on a daily basis. The goal is to guide students as they grow both intellectually and professionally. Faculty are innovative in transforming the art and design disciplines by applying the newest technologies. They inspire students to take advantage of interdisciplinary studio projects and work within corporate partnerships. This, along with a broad liberal arts background, prepares DAAP students to practice their art and design in both local and global markets.
- Computer Requirements: All undergraduate students entering the School of Design in the Fashion Design program are required to purchase a personal laptop computer. Each discipline has its own specific requirements for hardware and software. You can review the current requirements at http://daap.uc.edu/admissions/computer_requirements.html. Please note that these requirements may be slightly altered as equipment evolves. The requirements listed on the website will always be the most recent and accurate. Therefore, students new to DAAP are encouraged to delay their computer purchase until the summer prior to entering to make the most informed computer purchase. Many of our programs have additional technology requirements for students in the later years of study.
The School of Design at the University of Cincinnati seeks to attract, enroll and graduate academically talented students of varied and diverse backgrounds. Success in our programs is largely dependent upon sound academic preparation. However, in multidisciplinary programs like those in design, students’ insight and perspective are greatly enhanced by exposure to students from different backgrounds, geographies and co-curricular interests. We have designed an admissions review process and a timetable to support these goals.
Admission criteria for the fashion design program varies based on the relative strength of test scores, class rank and GPA. Please see the Freshman Class Profile for this major in the Quick Facts sidebar on this page for the range of academic credentials typically accepted into this program. Test scores in the lower range may be acceptable with higher class rank and/or GPA. Submission of an art portfolio is not required.
Freshmen applying to this program should also have completed the following college-preparatory subjects:
- 4 units of college prep English
- 3 units of college preparatory math
- 2 units of science
- 2 units in one language
- 2 units of social studies
- 1 unit of fine arts
- 2 additional college prep subjects
Transferring to UC Requirements
Students seeking to transfer from another regionally accredited university or college must have at least a 3.0 cumulative grade point average in previous college work to be considered for admission. Transfer students to the School of Design programs generally are admitted to the foundation year program.
Changing Majors within UC Requirements
Students seeking to transfer from other colleges and programs at UC must have at least a 3.0 cumulative grade point average in previous college work to be considered for admission. For priority consideration, complete transfer applications should be received by March 1 for the following fall quarter. Transfer students to the School of Design programs generally are admitted to the foundation year program.
All students accepted into the School of Design must take the first-year curriculum as outlined on the foundation studies curriculum guide. Fashion design students must complete a total of 126 credit hours for graduation. Students must also complete five semesters (or six quarters) of mandatory professional practice (co-op) and receive a satisfactory (S) for all required work quarters. Students must obtain a minimum overall grade point average of 2.0 and, in addition, must have a 2.0 grade point average for the senior year to be eligible for graduation. In order to be eligible for graduation with honors, a student must have earned at least a 3.6 grade point average and complete a set number of credits within the college.
Freshmen priority deadline for programs in the School of Design: Applicants who submit a complete application by 5 p.m. on December 1 will be pooled and reviewed for selection. Consideration of the applicants' personal statements and statements of co-curricular activities will be factored into the admissions decisions. Applicants who submit a complete application by 5 p.m. on December 1 will be notified of selection decisions by January 15. Please do not call prior to this date regarding a decision on your application. Applications received after December 1 may be considered on a space-available basis.
Students seeking to transfer from other colleges and programs at UC or another regionally accredited university or college should submit a complete application for admission by the priority deadline of March 1 for the following academic year.
The University of Cincinnati is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
All programs in the School of Design are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.