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Which Fashion Schools are the most sustainable focused?

November 06 2019

For students interested in going into fashion, these 10 fashion schools, regardless of order, all offer degrees, certificates and courses on sustainable fashion.

1. Parsons The New School for Design (New York, NY)
One of the world’s top fashion schools, {{Parsons has always been invested in sustainability. Not only is its course on {{Sustainable Systems mandatory for all incoming freshmen, the campus buildings are environmentally friendly. For example, Parsons’ buildings conserve energy and water and manage waste. Plus, the facility staff are trained in energy efficiency.
Since Burak Cakmak became the dean of fashion, sustainability became the school’s core value.
Programs: Option to specialize in sustainability is open to all majors.
Courses: Sustainable Systems; Zero Waste Design; Sustainable Fashion; Ethical Fashion; EcoFashion: Sustainable Solutions; Sustainable Business Models
Online courses: Medium of Fashion: Textiles; Fashion Entrepreneurship; Design and Innovative Sustainable Business

Special projects: Partnership with Loomstate to create jeans that are as close to zero waste as possible but still look good

2. Fashion Institute of Technology (New York, NY)
FIT was one of the nation’s first higher education institutions to openly work with the government to reduce carbon emission. In 2011, FIT was the first institution to reduce carbon emission by 30%. As of 2016, FIT has reduced it by 46% and is looking to reach 50% by 2025.
At two of their campus buildings, the roofs are covered with 1¼ acres of sedum plants that help insulate the buildings, absorb carbon dioxide, and soak up water during heavy rainfall and prevent city’s sewers from flooding.
While at FIT, students are constantly exposed to sustainability both inside and outside of their studios and lecture halls.
Program: Minor in Ethics and Sustainability, an interdisciplinary study that equips students to apply sustainability in all areas, materials, economics, aesthetics, theories and social responsibility; non-credit certificate in Sustainable Design Entrepreneur, a series of four-week classes that equip participants to learn about and practice sustainable business ideas
Courses: International Corporate Responsibility; Corporate Social Responsibility; Sustainability in Fashion Merchandising; Sustainable Packaging
Special projects: Annual Sustainable Business and Design Conference; Sustainability Awareness Week with talks and exhibitions on sustainable fashion

3. California College of the Arts (San Francisco, CA)
California College of the Arts
has the longest-running sustainable fashion design program in the country. Sustainability is included in the curricula in all levels of degrees, from bachelor’s to master’s degrees.
Program: B.A. in Fashion Design and M.B.A. in Design Strategy are about fashion and design in general, but sustainability is deeply embedded into the curricula. In particular, M.B.A. in Design Strategy focuses on teaching students to create design strategies for “total value creation,” which according to the university’s website, means “something much more than mere profitability.”
Courses: Leadership by Design; Market Insight Studio; Fashion Design: Sustainability; Eco: Sustainability Seminar; Sustainability Studio; Innovation Studio

4. Pratt Institute (New York, NY)
As one of the city’s leading fashion schools, the Pratt Institute integrates sustainability across multiple studies. At Pratt, the Center for Sustainable Design Strategies serves as research and resource center for any faculty or students interested in sustainable design.
Program: Minor in Sustainability Studies, an interdisciplinary study that looks at sustainability with environmental, economic and social lens; Certificate in Design Entrepreneurship
Courses: Ecology; Sustainability and Production; Science and Society; Chemistry of Modern Poly Materials; Sustainable Core; Sustainability and Fashion
Special project: As a part of the CSDS, the Pratt Design Incubator for Sustainable Innovation was founded in 2002 and is based on four sectors: clean energy, fashion, design and design consulting. Currently, the incubator hosts 12 businesses, and has just opened the Pratt Pop-up shop in Brooklyn, New York.

5. Otis College of Art and Design (Los Angeles, CA)
One of the top art schools on the West Coast, Otis offers its students a wide network of industry leaders specializing in sustainable fashion and design. Not just limited to fashion design, throughout different departments, spanning from Fashion Design to even Toy Design, sustainability education heavily influences the school’s curriculum.
Program: BA in Fashion Design offers “core coursework that explores eco-friendly, smart design,” according to the school’s website; minor in sustainability is available for all majors.
Courses: Human Ecology; Science and Sustainable Design; Sustainability Capstone; Fashion Design and Illustration
Special project: The school’s Fashion Design Department founded the Otis Sustainability Alliance, a group of creative leaders from related fields, including fashion, design, art and higher education, “who are committed to advancing the environmental, social, educational, and economic dimensions of sustainability,” according to the website.

6. Academy of Art University (San Francisco, CA)
Established in 1929, San Francisco’s Academy of Art University is the largest accredited private art and design school in the country. From as early as 1998, the school implemented environmental and sustainable design options into the curriculum.
While the school doesn’t provide degrees or certificates specifically on sustainable fashion or design, it provides both in-class and online courses centered on sustainability.
Courses: Sustainable Design; Survey of Sustainable Design; Sustainable Designs & Practices Studio
Online courses: Sustainability and Society

7. Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (Los Angeles, CA)
While the school doesn’t offer a degree specifically in sustainable fashion, the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising provides its students with a deep understanding of sustainable fashion and design across multiple departments.
Based in California, the denim capital of the country, students majoring in business of denim learn about sustainable methods on developing denim products.
“Denim is a prefered market for many of our graduates,” Barbara Bundy, the vice president of education, told TeenVogue. “It’s also a prominent market developing and promoting more sustainable practices, from growing cotton to engineering yarn and fabrics.”
Program: B.A. in Business in Denim
Courses: Sustainable Practices in the Product Lifecycle; Sustainability & The Fashion Industry; Sustainable Practices in Design; Creative Pattern Making
Special project: Special exhibitions featuring green textiles and raw materials; partnership with Guess to mentor students on sustainable design

8. Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design (London, UK)
Ranked the best fashion school in the world for the last two years, Central Saint Martins boasts not only its expertise in fashion, but also its innovation in sustainable fashion. To CSM, green fashion is very important because it is not only ethical, but also the future of fashion. At CSM, the proud alma mater for top designers like Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen, students interested in sustainable fashion will have access to top industry leaders.
Program: M.A. in Material Futures is a multi-disciplinary study that focuses on developing smart, eco-friendly textile technologies to respond to the emerging environmental awareness in the industry. Students will work on at least one paying client project.
Courses: Ethical and Sustainable Practice in Fashion; Sustainable Fashion; Introduction to Sustainable Fashion for Professionals
Online course: Promoting Sustainability in Fashion
Special project: Textile Futures Research Community, a research group that studies ways to make textiles and materials more sustainable through technological and innovative means

9. London College of Fashion (London, UK)
One of the world’s top fashion schools, London College of Fashion offers its students in-depth knowledge and expertise in sustainability. Across different departments, many majors offer courses and projects on sustainability.
Program: M.A. in Fashion Futures focuses on fashion practices and theories with goals to create a sustainable, thriving world.
Courses: New Perspectives on Fashion; Sustainability Solutions.
Special project: Centre for Sustainable Fashion, a research center that challenges “reactionary fashion cultures, which reflect and reinforce patterns of excessive consumption and disconnection”
CSF collaborated in developing the school’s M.A. in Fashion Futures by sharing a network of professors, designers and industry leaders. CSF launches many activities, such as opening the UK’s first sustainable fashion lab, launching Shared Talent India, which encourages designers to exchange expertise with other experts across the supply chain, and giving out the annual Fashioning the Future Awards, which awards innovative sustainable designs from students and graduates across the globe.

10. AMD Academy Fashion & Design (Hamburg, Düsseldorf, Munich, Berlin & Wiesbaden (start 2019), Germany)
Established in 1989, AMD Academy Fashion & Design offers a curriculum embedded in sustainability and a team of instructors eager to train and learn with students.
Program: M.A. in Sustainability in Fashion and Creative Industries, an international program offered in English that covers areas, such as sustainable design strategies, sustainable production and sustainable business.
According to the school’s website, the program “is aimed at designers, managers or entrepreneurs, who want to operate in an economically effective and at the same time responsible way.”
Courses: Sustainable Design Concepts; Fashion and Society; Sustainable Marketing and Social Media; Sustainable Fibres and Textiles; Sustainable Business Psychology and Leadership; Sustainable Standards and Quality Management

All info comes from The University Network