The fashion design curriculum offers technical and design courses that provide skills required in the fashion industry. Individual designs are presented in two-dimensional form, developed and perfected through techniques used in the fashion industry, and then executed in final and three-dimensional form in fabrics appropriate to the design. A fashion industry internship is required.

Learning outcomes

Upon completing this program, students will know and know how to do the following:

  • Utilize problem-solving skills: Apply investigative and research skills in the completion of studio projects
  • Implement industry-standard computer technology.
  • Demonstrate professional visual and oral presentation skills
  • Understand the global nature of the fashion industry

Degree requirements for Fashion, Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) with fashion design concentration

General Education requirements

University Core Education Curriculum
UNIV   111 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry IFocused Inquiry I3
UNIV   112 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry IIFocused Inquiry II3
UNIV   200Inquiry and the Craft of Argument3
Approved humanities/fine arts3
Approved natural/physical sciences3-4
Approved quantitative literacy3-4
Approved social/behavioral sciences3-4
Total Hours21-24
Additional General Education requirements
ENGL   388Writing in the Workplace3
General education electives6
Total Hours9

Collateral requirements

Art Foundation Program
ARTF   131Drawing Studio3
ARTF   132Surface Research3
ARTF   133Space Research3
ARTF   134Time Studio3
ARTF   139Project2
Art history
ARTF   115
ARTF   116
Art History Survey
and Art History Survey
6
Additional requirements
Textual Analysis (satisfies University Core humanities/fine arts)
Introduction to Contemporary Mathematics (satisfies University Core quantitative literacy)
UNIV   101Introduction to the University1
Total Hours21

Major requirements

FASH   201Construction Techniques3
FASH   202Draping3
FASH   203
FASH   204
Patternmaking
and Patternmaking
6
FASH   205
FASH   206
Fashion Drawing I
and Fashion Drawing I
6
FASH   290Textiles for the Fashion Industry3
FASH   301Design I Studio3
FASH   302Design I Studio3
FASH   319Contemporary Fashion3
FASH   330The Business of Design3
FASH   343Fashion Forecasting3
FASH   345Computers for Fashion Design: Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator3
FASH   350Fashion Promotion3
FASH   391Fashion Workshop3
FASH   401Design II Studio3
FASH   402Design II Studio3
Take two semesters of the following:6
Design Theory and Illustration I
Take two semesters of the following:6
Design Theory and Illustration II
FASH   490Fashion Seminar1
FASH   493Fashion Internship1-3
Total Hours65-67

Open electives

Select six open elective credits at the 300 level or higher6

Total minimum requirement 122 credits

What follows is a sample plan that meets the prescribed requirements within a four-year course of study at VCU. Please contact your adviser before beginning course work toward a degree.

Freshman year
Fall semesterHours
ARTF   115 Art History Survey 3
ARTF   131 Drawing Studio 3
ARTF   132 Surface Research 3
ARTF   139 Project 1
MATH   131 Introduction to Contemporary Mathematics (satisfies University Core quantitative literacy) 3
UNIV   101 Introduction to the University 1
UNIV   111 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry I Focused Inquiry I 3
 Term Hours: 17
Spring semester
ARTF   116 Art History Survey 3
ARTF   133 Space Research 3
ARTF   134 Time Studio 3
ARTF   139 Project 1
UNIV   112 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry II Focused Inquiry II 3
Social/behavioral sciences course (University Core) 3
 Term Hours: 16
Sophomore year
Fall semester
FASH   201 Construction Techniques 3
FASH   203 Patternmaking 3
FASH   205 Fashion Drawing I 3
FASH   290 Textiles for the Fashion Industry 3
General education elective 3
 Term Hours: 15
Spring semester
FASH   202 Draping 3
FASH   204 Patternmaking 3
FASH   206 Fashion Drawing I 3
FASH   345 Computers for Fashion Design: Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator 3
FASH   391 Fashion Workshop (fashion show production) 1
UNIV   200 Inquiry and the Craft of Argument 3
 Term Hours: 16
Junior year
Fall semester
ENGL   215 Textual Analysis (satisfies University Core humanities/fine arts) 3
FASH   301 Design I Studio 3
FASH   319 Contemporary Fashion 3
FASH   350 Fashion Promotion 3
FASH   403 Design Theory and Illustration I 3
 Term Hours: 15
Spring semester
ENGL   388 Writing in the Workplace 3
FASH   302 Design I Studio 3
FASH   330 The Business of Design 3
FASH   343 Fashion Forecasting 3
FASH   391 Fashion Workshop (fashion show production) 1
FASH   404 Design Theory and Illustration II 3
 Term Hours: 16
Senior year
Fall semester
FASH   401 Design II Studio 3
FASH   403 Design Theory and Illustration I 3
FASH   490 Fashion Seminar 1
Approved natural/physical science (University Core) 3-4
Open electives 6
 Term Hours: 16-17
Spring semester
FASH   391 Fashion Workshop (fashion show production) 1
FASH   402 Design II Studio 3
FASH   404 Design Theory and Illustration II 3
FASH   493 Fashion Internship 1-3
General education elective 3
 Term Hours: 11-13
 Total Hours: 122-125

FASH   145. Computers for Fashion I. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 2 lecture and 2 laboratory hours. 3 credits. Laptop computer required. Basic computer skills required. This course introduces students to contemporary technology with emphasis on basic computer graphics software used in the fashion industry today.

FASH   201. Construction Techniques. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 1 lecture and 4 studio hours. 3 credits. The basic principles involved in garment construction with emphasis on professional design-room practices in sewing, pressing and finishing of garments. Knowledge of basic sewing is advisable.

FASH   202. Draping. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 1 lecture and 4 studio hours. 3 credits. Basic principles of three-dimensional patternmaking by draping muslin on a dress form. Student will be required to purchase the specified dress form.

FASH   203. Patternmaking. 3 Hours.

Continuous courses; 1 lecture and 4 studio hours. 3-3 credits. Prerequisite: completion of FASH   203 to enroll in FASH   204. Basic principles of patternmaking, developing various styles from master patterns and creating designs to be constructed in muslin. Students also will draft a set of master patterns and learn to "true" the pattern to produce production-ready patterns.

FASH   204. Patternmaking. 3 Hours.

Continuous courses; 1 lecture and 4 studio hours. 3-3 credits. Prerequisite: completion of FASH   203 to enroll in FASH   204. Basic principles of patternmaking, developing various styles from master patterns and creating designs to be constructed in muslin. Students also will draft a set of master patterns and learn to "true" the pattern to produce production-ready patterns.

FASH   205. Fashion Drawing I. 3 Hours.

Continuous courses; 1 lecture and 4 studio hours. 3-3 credits. Prerequisite: completion of FASH   205 to enroll in FASH   206. Introduction to the fashion figure working from models and photographs. Covers flat drawing techniques and fashion design theory. Explores different media and the use of color.

FASH   206. Fashion Drawing I. 3 Hours.

Continuous courses; 1 lecture and 4 studio hours. 3-3 credits. Prerequisite: completion of FASH   205 to enroll in FASH   206. Introduction to the fashion figure working from models and photographs. Covers flat drawing techniques and fashion design theory. Explores different media and the use of color.

FASH   210. Visual Merchandising. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Theory and practical application of visual merchandising techniques in the fashion industry. Development of design concepts, fixturing, layout and presentation for retail, manufacturing and special events. Use of computer-aided design.

FASH   240. Survey of the Fashion Industry I. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. A survey of the apparel industry emphasizing the role of the designer and the various stages of production.

FASH   241. Survey of the Fashion Industry II. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. An analysis of the apparel industry emphasizing retail aspects.

FASH   245. Computers for Fashion II. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 2 lecture and 2 laboratory hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: FASH   145. Laptop computer required. Assumes basic computer skills. This course introduces advanced skills in technology by utilizing graphic, illustration and desktop publishing software as they are used in the fashion industry.

FASH   250. Concepts of Fashion Merchandising Environment. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Basic research techniques and analysis skills for evaluating contemporary fashion and apparel topics.

FASH   260. Survey of Luxury Fashion. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits Prerequisites: FASH   240 and FASH   241. Enrollment restricted to fashion design and merchandising majors. Provides an overview of the luxury fashion industry. The class includes the history of the luxury fashion industry, as well as covering the forecasting, development, branding, marketing, buying, selling and counterfeiting of luxury fashion products. Students explore the luxury fashion industry through lectures, assignments and face-to-face exposure to suppliers, manufacturers and retailers in the luxury sector.

FASH   290. Textiles for the Fashion Industry. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. This course is designed to develop an understanding of the factors which influence the tactile behaviors of fabrics during garment design, manufacture and wear. Apparel fiber construction, finish and properties both natural and man-made will be analyzed.

FASH   301. Design I Studio. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 1 lecture and 4 studio hours. 3 credits. May be repeated. Prerequisite: completion of all sophomore studio courses. A series of courses that focus on selected topics in design, reflecting current fashion emphasis. See the Schedule of Classes for specific topics to be offered each semester.

FASH   302. Design I Studio. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 1 lecture and 4 studio hours. 3 credits. May be repeated. Prerequisite: completion of all sophomore studio courses. A series of courses that focus on selected topics in design, reflecting current fashion emphasis. See the Schedule of Classes for specific topics to be offered each semester.

FASH   319. Contemporary Fashion. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: UNIV   200 or HONR   200. An in-depth study of fashion beginning at the Industrial Revolution and continuing to the present from a historical and socioeconomic point of view. Hands-on examination of vintage garments and field trips to museum collections.

FASH   330. The Business of Design. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. This course introduces basic global economics and general design business concepts such as the free enterprise system, legal forms of business and financial considerations. It also surveys business and management practices such as planning, decision-making, communication, global ethics, marketing, human resources, finance and entrepreneurial skills needed to open a design business. Crosslisted as: IDES   330/GDES   330.

FASH   341. Merchandise Planning and Control. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Theory and mathematical application of the major elements of retail buying and merchandising. Discussion covers planning and control of inventory, profit analysis, merchandise pricing and purchase negotiation.

FASH   342. Retail Buying Simulation. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: FASH   341 and INFO   162. Practical application of retail buying in relation to the calculations for a six-month buying plan for a department within a department store. The simulation includes projection of sales, stock levels, markdowns, purchases, gross margins, markup, etc.

FASH   343. Fashion Forecasting. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Using basic principles to identify, track and analyze current trends, students will develop a fashion forecast. Demographic, economic, social and historical forces of behavior will be evaluated.

FASH   345. Computers for Fashion Design: Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 2 lecture and 2 laboratory hours. 3 credits. Laptop computer and basic computer skills required. Students will learn to conceptualize fashion design while gaining an understanding of graphic and illustration software through the utilization of the computer as a drawing and communication tool.

FASH   350. Fashion Promotion. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: junior standing. Through lecture and field experience, students are exposed to technical and creative aspects of fashion promotion and public relations. A variety of media are utilized. Students may be required to spend time outside the classroom on promotional activities.

FASH   370. Design History: 20th and 21st Centuries. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: ARTF   105-106. Study of the major theories and styles on communication arts, fashion and interior environments of the 20th and 21st centuries. Contemporary analysis of cultural conditions and the manner in which designers respond to those conditions. Crosslisted as: GDES   370/IDES   370.

FASH   380. Fashion Branding. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Students will understand the concept of fashion branding and the processes necessary to successfully develop or redevelop a fashion brand.

FASH   390. Historic and Ethnic Textiles. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: FASH   290 or IDES 446 or permission of instructor. An examination of the history of textile design and production around the world. Crosslisted as: INTL   390.

FASH   391. Fashion Workshop. 1-3 Hours.

Semester course; variable hours. 1-3 credits. May be repeated for a maximum total of 6 credits. A topical workshop offered in various areas of fashion not included in the regular curriculum. See the Schedule of Classes for specific topics to be offered each semester.

FASH   401. Design II Studio. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 1 lecture and 4 studio hours. 3 credits. May be repeated. Prerequisites: completion of all sophomore studio courses and permission of instructor. A series of upper-level design classes for the advanced or skilled student, reflecting current topics in the fashion industry. See the Schedule of Classes for specific topics to be offered each semester.

FASH   402. Design II Studio. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 1 lecture and 4 studio hours. 3 credits. May be repeated. Prerequisites: completion of all sophomore studio courses and permission of instructor. A series of upper-level design classes for the advanced or skilled student, reflecting current topics in the fashion industry. See the Schedule of Classes for specific topics to be offered each semester.

FASH   403. Design Theory and Illustration I. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 1 lecture and 4 studio hours. 3 credits. May be repeated. Prerequisite: completion of all Department of Fashion sophomore studio courses. A series of design theory and illustration topics that address current fashion and support the Department of Fashion design courses. See the Schedule of Classes for specific topics to be offered each semester.

FASH   404. Design Theory and Illustration II. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 1 lecture and 4 studio hours. 3 credits. May be repeated. Prerequisites: Completion of all Department of Fashion sophomore studio courses and permission of instructor. A series of advanced design theory and illustration topics that address current fashion, challenge the skilled student and support the Department of Fashion design courses. See the Schedule of Classes for specific topics to be offered each semester.

FASH   442. Advanced Show Production. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. A practical application of the production, planning and execution of a professionally staged and choreographed fashion show featuring the Department of Fashion Design and Merchandising students’ juried work.

FASH   443. Supervision and Management. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. The study of advanced leadership skills as they relate to the fashion industry. Topics include team building, negotiations, time and stress management, and communications. Emphasis placed on leadership and supervision skills across cultures.

FASH   445. Fashion Entrepreneurship. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: FASH   341 and FASH   342. Studies operational functions as related to the objective and decision-making procedures inherent in successful small-business retailing. Quantitative strategies will be applied as students develop a model plan for a retail business.

FASH   450. Line Development. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Pre- or corequisite: FASH   341. Students will learn the fundamentals of producing a line of apparel, accessories or home fashions from conception to consumer. Emphasis will be placed on market research, specification sheets, costing, sourcing, production and sales.

FASH   451. Importing and Exporting Fashion. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: FASH   450. An overview and introduction to import/export theory, government regulations and global sourcing. Students will gain insight to the dynamics and cultures of the international fashion marketplace.

FASH   490. Fashion Seminar. 1 Hour.

Short course (5 weeks); 3 lecture hours. 1 credit. A professional seminar for senior fashion majors. Lectures will cover career opportunities and job preparation.

FASH   492. Independent Study in the Fashion Industry. 1-3 Hours.

Semester course; 1-3 credits. May be repeated. Prerequisite: junior or senior standing as a major in fashion design or fashion merchandising. Learning experiences should be designed with the supervising faculty member in the form of a contract between student and instructor; approval of department chair necessary prior to registration. This course will be limited to those students who have demonstrated intense commitment to a particular area of study within the fashion industry.

FASH   493. Fashion Internship. 1-6 Hours.

Semester course; variable hours. 1-6 credits. Repeatable in combinations for a maximum of 6 credits. Open to junior- and senior-level fashion majors only. An on-the-job practicum in which students apply the formal classroom and studio training they have received in their option (design, merchandising).