Southern California, home to the Fashion District of Los Angeles, is considered a fashion hub by many. Yet, although it is the second largest city in California, San Diego is home to very few fashion design schools. When applying for study in fashion design, future couture designers, buyers and costume makers in San Diego have their choice of four schools.

The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising -- San Diego

The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising’s (FIDM) San Diego Campus offers both non-degree coursework and two to four years of coursework leading to a bachelor’s or associate degree in areas like film and TV design, knitwear and menswear. At the school’s East Village campus, students can enroll in a variety of practical and theoretical classes. Interested San Diegans may consider stopping in for one of FIDM’s drop-in classes, like visual communications, which focuses on a clothing store’s window design, or trend forecasting. The school is known for its 90 percent success rate in placing graduates in positions related to their field within six months of finishing a degree.

Point Loma Nazarene University

Fashion merchandising is among the specializations available to family and consumer science majors at Point Loma Nazarene University. Point Loma students can study apparel construction, computer-aided technology and textile sciences through the Bachelor of Arts program in fashion and interiors with a concentration in fashion merchandising. Those specializing in fashion merchandising can also participate in the school’s yearly fashion show, where students debut their designs. Alumni have gone on to work as magazine editors, buyers, designers and fashion directors. The average Point Loma student has a 3.75 GPA in high school and scored at least 1160 on the SAT.

San Diego Mesa College

San Diego Mesa College, one of the largest community colleges in California, offers both one-year certificate programs and two-year associate degrees in fashion merchandising, design, consulting and computer fashion technology. Applicants must have a high school diploma or the equivalent. Students in the computer fashion technology program work with Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and Microsoft Office, among other software programs, to create designs, model textiles and create patterns. Students learn the basics of computer fashion technology in the traditional fashion design program, then deepen their study in design with coursework emphasizing theory, trends and the history of fashion. Sand Diego Mesa College has an overall graduation rate of 24 percent.

The Art Institute of California -- San Diego

The San Diego campus of the Art Institute of California is one of two programs in San Diego conferring a bachelor’s degree in fashion design. Students at the school have the option of pursuing certification in fashion retailing, or majoring in fashion marketing and management, and fashion design. Coursework varies between theoretical approaches to design in classes like early and modern history of fashion, and functional approaches in classes like fit analysis, technical drawing and design studio. Ninety-one percent of Art Institute fashion design majors are employed in a related field within six months of graduation.

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