Fashion Design

Watch the virtual presentation of the 92nd Annual Fashion Design Show on IGTV and YouTube.
See the Des Lee Gallery Exhibition: May 14-22; register for in-person viewing appointments through link.

Built on a foundation of both art and design, the Sam Fox School's Fashion Design program provides opportunities to explore varied aspects of design for the human body. Throughout the program you are challenged to develop an intellectually rich and relevant narrative about clothing and fashion in contexts ranging from the personal to the industrial. With an emphasis on technology, sustainability, and interdisciplinary collaborations, the major fosters creativity and innovation in fashion design.

We offer both a BFA in Fashion Design, which offers a more studio-intensive experience, as well as a BA in Design with an optional concentration in Fashion, in which you can pursue more courses in other disciplines. Whatever degree path you choose, you can take classes in any area that interests you at WashU—business, environmental science, psychology, engineering, literature—all of which will enhance your studio work. All Sam Fox School students can pursue second majors, minors, and even dual degrees in other disciplines across the University.

Socially Engaged Practice

You can participate in dozens of community-engaged courses and initiatives. Check out recent projects, and learn about the Minor in Creative Practice for Social Change.


Our renowned faculty engage in research about wearable technologies, design children's apparel, and more. See their recent work in these faculty portfolios.

Alumni + Careers

Your art education will uniquely prepare you for your career, whether that's as an artist, or as an attorney, doctor, or entrepreneur. See where our alumni have landed.


Degree Paths

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design
- Provides you greater disciplinary depth within the fashion design major
- 65 credits of studio work (about 1/2 your total coursework)
- Capstone experience (required): A public showcase of your collection at the annual WashU Fashion Design Show

Bachelor of Arts in Design (optional concentration in Fashion)
- Allows you to experience design research and process through work in graphic design, illustration, fashion, and interaction design
- Option to pursue a concentration in Fashion, taking foundational courses in fashion complemented by a wider range of courses in other areas of study
- 30-36 credits of studio (about 1/4 of your total coursework)
- No capstone experience

Did you know? Students enrolled in other schools at WashU can pursue second majors and minors within the Sam Fox School.

The College of Art subscribes to the standards for the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree and Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree as set forth and accepted by the College Art Association of American (CAA) and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). For students entering the College of Art in fall 2020, a BFA degree requires a total of 121 credits of course work, and a BA degree requires 120 credits of course work. Detailed degree requirements for the BFA and BA degrees can be found here>>


In your first year, required studio coursework focuses on enhancing art and design core abilities, including drawing, 2D design, 3D design, digital media, and a weekly seminar highlighting the various ways of practicing design. Every first-year student is mentored by a dedicated academic advisor who guides them in shaping the educational and degree path they desire. This includes course selection and scheduling.

In your second year, you build a foundational understanding of clothing and fashion in contexts ranging from the personal to the industrial. Exploring both theory and practice, your fashion design introductory course engages concept, materials, and process to initiate you to nuanced aspects of the field. You thoughtfully work with textiles and learn to visualize fashion by using basic strategies for communication of garment design ideas and information.

As you advance in your studies, you undertake projects that address garment design problems, as well as fabrication strategies and textiles, while engaging in both analog and digital visualization in two and three dimensions. These projects provide myriad paths for developing your creativity and innovation.

All studio courses have a low student-to-faculty ratio to ensure personalized attention.


The Business of Fashion 3D Fashion Design Foundations
Fashion History & Research Digital Fashion & Textile Design
Fashion Promotion & Exhibition Fiber Manipulation (elective)
Patternmaking & Production Fashion Collaboration (elective)
2D Fashion Design Foundations Knitwear Design (elective)

BFA Capstone

View the website showcasing the 2021 capstone collections>>
View the 2021 Fashion Design Show Catalog>>

As a senior in the BFA program, you undertake the two-semester capstone experience, where your personal aesthetic is refined as you design, pattern, and realize in final fabric a capsule collection. Guided by faculty and professional mentors, you work through the full design process, from initial research and conceptual design to pattern and muslin stages to the final construction of each garment. Your designs are featured on the runway in the annual WashU Fashion Design Show and reviewed by external fashion professionals.

The senior design studio is professionally equipped, allowing you to work in a design room setting. Recent signature collections have been inspired by everything from dance and science-fiction genres to sustainable design and architecture.

In the Portfolio Development class, you document the work completed during your BFA experience with a personal brand strategy that includes an online portfolio.

Check out this website showcasing the capstone collections by the Class of 2021>> | Read the news release for the 92nd Annual WashU Fashion Design Virtual Show>>

View photos from the 90th Annual Fashion Design Show>>

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Studio Spotlight

For a cross-disciplinary course, teams of students and faculty worked to research, design, and construct prototype garments tailored to the needs of elite Paralympic wheelchair athletes. Learn more>>


Clothes, Confidence, and the Stubbornness of Joy>>
Student fashion design heads to Instagram>>
Associate professor Mary Ruppert-Stroescu plays a lead role in the Maker Task Force producing PPE>>
Three Sam Fox School fashion design students receive the 2019 Fashion Scholarship Fund Case Study Scholarship>>
Meredith Liu designs custom tam for Chancellor Andrew D. Martin's inauguration>>
Fashion Design Student Wins FGI Scholarship>>
Five Students Named Finalists in St. Louis Blues Contest>>
Fashion Design Students Named Finalists in National Design Competition Sponsored by Alpaca Owners Association, Inc.>>

How to Apply

Learn about the application process, including submission guidelines for the portfolio, here>>

Questions? We’d love to speak with you by email, phone, or video about our program.
Please email Rachel Youn at