Fashion studies student holding dress on a hanger

Fashion Studies Program

The Fashion Studies program provides students the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of creative design, merchandising and entrepreneurship and applying their knowledge to the retail, wholesale and business side of the fashion industry. 

Determine Your Path

Use you passion to gain knowledge and learn technical skills for a career in the fashion industry.  

Prepare for a career in fashion, transfer to a four-year baccalaureate-granting institution or update your skills. College of DuPage offers:

  • Dedicated instructors with years of practical industry experience and certification.
  • Instruction in top-notch facilities and on cutting-edge equipment.
  • Flexible course schedules with day, evening and online learning.
  • Practical, hands-on experience as well as classroom-based studies. 
  • Affordable programs that get you on the fast track to success without breaking the bank.
  • An annual fashion show.

Fashion Design 

The Fashion Design Associate of Applied Science program allows students to be exposed to the constant changes in the fashion field by offering up-to-date classes that reflect the fashion industry in its current form. Classes will prepare you to design, develop and make clothing by focusing on the hands-on production and technical skills needed in the industry. Careers in the industry vary by your skills and preferences.  

Course curriculum will introduce you to the fundamentals of design, construction, pattern making, draping, product development, computer and hand illustration and textiles. Students can choose from a variety of elective classes that focus on their desired educational and career goals. Design students will continue on to our capstone class where designs are made from concept to finished runway ready garments.  

Fashion Merchandising 

The Fashion Merchandising Associate of Applied Science program introduces students to the fashion industry and its varied channels of employment. Classes cover the foundations of wholesale, retail and production along with branding, forecasting and promotion. 

Course curriculum offers a range of classes that allow students to explore the careers of fashion merchandising. Classes offered include textiles, fashion business, production, branding, retail practices, visual and digital marketing. Students will choose from a wide selection of electives that allow them to focus on their strong natural skills and the emerging needs and constant changes of the industry.    

Fashion Design

The Fashion Design certificate is for students seeking in-depth knowledge of the fashion industry for their own career goals without the desire to further their education in the field. 

Course curriculum will introduce you to the fundamentals of design, construction, pattern making, illustration and textiles. Elective choices allow students to customize their education to support their career goals.    

Fashion Entrepreneurship 

The Fashion Entrepreneurship certificate covers the basics of examining a small business startup. Students will learn the fundamentals of garment construction and product development. Elective choices allow students to customize their education to support their career goals.    

Fashion Merchandising

The Fashion Merchandising certificate is for students seeking in-depth knowledge of the fashion industry for their own career goals without the desire to further their education in the field. 

Classes cover the foundations of wholesale, retail, and production along with branding, forecasting and promotion. Elective choices allow students to customize their education to support their career goals.  

COD Stories

Gina Gianni

"The COD Fashion Studies program is so hands-on. The skills I’m learning and contacts I’ve made will aid me in establishing myself as part of the fashion community.” - Gina Gianni

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COD Stories

Theadora Iacobellis

"COD gave me the opportunity to grow at my own pace and find out what I really wanted to do with my life. If you were to tell me a few years ago this is where I would be, I would have never believed it." - Theadora Iacobellis

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COD Stories

Aby Cardenas Arcila

"The Fashion Studies program was the first place where I felt that I really belonged, where I discovered that dreams and concepts can become real, that struggling and many times getting frustrated are not the stopping point but part of the process." - Aby Cardenas Arcila

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COD Stories

Rebecca Brush

"I have been able to embrace my creative passions and interest in fashion instead of thinking I had to push them aside in order to pursue a ‘real’ job. I have such love for the Fashion Studies program for helping my find my niche.” - Rebecca Brush

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COD Stories

Peach Carr

"College of DuPage is a great jumping off point or a great finishing point. There’s amazing instruction here, there’s great support, and I can pass on little tiny pearls of wisdom and guide the students." - Peach Carr

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Get Started Today

The first step to getting started in the Fashion Studies program is to apply for admission

Our Academic and Career Pathways give you a roadmap to achieving your career goals. Follow a timeline based on your degree that outlines which classes you need to take and when so you graduate on time or move on to the next phase in your career.

Fashion Design

Students taking fashion design courses will:

  • Demonstrate neat and understandable sketching techniques to effectively communicate creative ideas in a digital or non-digital format.
  • Use their developing artistic voice and learned creative techniques to design items by means of the process of research, analysis of trend information and understanding of apparel markets.
  • Use learned knowledge of fabrics, drafting, draping, sewing & embellishment to make their creative work.
  • Present visually pleasing finished work in sketch or fabric form using industry vocabulary to describe their creative process and market expectations.
  • Understand the retail and wholesale business of fashion and importance of schedules, markets and sales in the retail industry of brick and mortar & online.
  • Determine the time frame needed for completion of projects that recognize their creative potential to its fullest.

Fashion Merchandising 

Students taking fashion merchandising courses will:

  • Understand fashion trend reports, and their effect on current and historical markets.
  • Promotion via social media, event planning or fashion shows.
  • Knowledge of the interaction between wholesale and retail markets.
  • Demonstration of visual merchandising techniques.
  • Understand the need for strong computer, math and problem-solving skills as needed for buyers and wholesale sales.
  • Identify clothing fabric and construction as a determination for quality level.
  • Be able to demonstrate styling and merchandising knowledge.

College of DuPage has several transfer agreements in place with four-year colleges and universities and the Illinois Articulation Initiative (IAI). For more information on specific transfer agreements, visit 

View information about this program, including estimated cost and employment opportunities.

What is Fashion Studies?

Fashion Studies allows students to explore their interests, focusing on the creative side of fashion design, as well as the business side of fashion merchandising, production and entrepreneurship.

Explore Fashion Studies Careers

Take the next step in your fashion studies career search and discover job titles of recent graduates, places where alumni are working, estimated salary and more through Career Coach. Browse fashion studies career data.


Frequently Asked Questions

The following are answers to frequently asked questions regarding the Fashion Studies program. 

Fashion Design is for you if you have a strong sense of fashion trends and if you are well organized, but flexible. You should also be creative and artistic, work well and quickly under pressure and have the ability for verbal and written communications.

In order to be successful in the fashion design field, you will need to have knowledge of garment construction and strong technical skills. You will also need basic math ability and sketching skills and knowledge of textiles and garment fit.

Opportunities for advancement increase with work experience. Entry-level design team positions may lead a novice designer into a position as designer, trend director, technical design, print and color designer or quality control management, self-employment and freelance design are other options.