Ask Alexandra: Best Fashion Courses

Ask Alexandra is my advice column. Have a question you want to ask me? Fill out the form here.

Here are two questions that have come to me about fashion schools.

Rachel WIlkinson, London College of Fashion, fashion jobs, careers, fashion school, St Martins

Hello Alexandra,

You have written quite useful advice regarding fashion education, but I’d like to know which fashion schools would you say are the best ones in continental Europe, or what would be the most advisable source to find that out. I have found the Fashionista ranking to be a very strange patch of information, given the fact that it lists fashion schools no one has ever heard of while being extremely vague about their qualities. Given the fact that realistic, reliable data for it is scarce (online forum comments are always tricky), and after reading your insightful “5 things to consider before choosing a fashion college,” I thought you’d have an insight that is clearer than most.

Many thanks, and congratulations for your blog,


Here are two questions that have come to me about fashion schools.

Hi Rudolf,

This is a tough question that I really wish I could answer for you properly, but I don’t have the knowledge to do this. On that note, neither does Fashionista, I saw their list of Top 50 Fashion Schools in the World, and I will agree it is totally flawed. Marangoni and Esmod on top of Royal College of Art? That is CRAZY! Plus, they don’t explain how they created the ranking, so I don’t think it is accurate at all.

Anyway, here is some advice I can give you, based on what I know. And remember, this list is based on my personal experience only.

  • The UK has a lot of good schools, the best being St. Martins, but other schools of note are Royal College of Art, London College of Fashion, Ravensbourne, Epsom, Middlesex, and Kingston. I know about five Kingston graduates very well, and they are all based in Paris now. Between them, they have all held VERY senior roles at companies like Hermes, Dior, Sonia Rykiel, Burberry, Ungaro, Giambattista Valli, and Givenchy. As far as I know, their graduates are highly valued, as are the other ones on this list.
  • Ecoles de la Chambre Syndicale in Paris is good, but very technical and not great at training designers, although they are super well connected in the indsutry. Studio Bercot was good when I was in Paris ten years ago.
  • Antwerp Royal Academy also has a good reputation, but it is very hard to get in, and extremely difficult to make it through the four year course.
  • I have no opinion or knowledge of the schools in Italy, but in my many years in the fashion industry, I have never met someone in a senior, or even middle, role in the fashion industry who studied at an Italian school, which leads me to think that the Italian schools aren’t much good unless you plan on staying in Italy. On that note, I have heard that Marangoni trains a lot of people who go into the business side of fashion.
  • Stay away from American schools abroad (ex. American schools in Paris or London) as they generally have bad reputations and are total rip offs.

Hope that helps!

Here are two questions that have come to me about fashion schools.

I am interested in finding out which schools have the top ‘fashion design short courses’ internationally, for people who do not have the time and money to spend on getting bachelors or masters in fashion design. People only discuss what schools are best for bachelors and masters, and we all know the top names. but for someone like me who already has a bachelors degree in textile design, and a couple of years of work experience, finding and choosing what school would be most useful for me to go to for short courses in fashion design and pattern making/draping is very difficult. I would really appreciate your help and knowledge on this one.

Here are two questions that have come to me about fashion schools.

Dear Myra,

I worked for the short course programs for both Central Saint Martins and London College of Fashion, and I highly recommend both of them. They are either evening, weekend, or summer school classes. The summer school classes are intensive 5 day courses, and you are taught by instructors who are on the degree and MA course teams. Sure, there will be a lot of international rich girls who think they are entitled to jobs in the industry because they can afford the designer clothing, but you can make the most of it by asking a lot of questions from the instructors and showing a lot of interest.

Plus, you get to spend some time in London and it is a fantastic city!

If anyone has any follow up questions on this post, feel free to ask them in the comments! I will be answering them as they come in. And also… I am working on an ebook about how to break into the fashion industry. If you are interested in getting info about this when it launches, drop me an email to with “Interested” in the subject line.

Fashion illustrations by Rachel Elisabeth Wilkinson, a graduate from London College of Fashion.

  • Rudolf Seabra

    This is Rudolf speaking “”, thank you for your reply Alexandra! Except that with Mr.Cameron’s stand at education funding, studying in the UK has become prohibitive for me. I was already aware of Antwerp (It’s actually my dream school, and still my major goal), and I wonder, is it harder than Central St.Martin’s to get in? Or the type of students they search for is different?
    As a fellow Hermès lover myself, I must say I have become quite fond of your blog. And, your pro-fur rant was actually quite courageous and a fresh perspective that was really eye opening regarding this topic.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, it is really sad that the tuition fees have gone up at lot in the UK, I think the fashion world will miss out on a lot of amazing talent because they won’t be able to afford the good schools. I believe (although I am not sure) that Antwerp’s course is much smaller than CSM, and is therefore a little more difficult to get into. My suggestion is to contact the school and ask them questions. And if you get in, let me know about your experience there!

  • Namrata Bharati

    Hi Alexendra,
    I am from India,and i want to ask you what role an fashion institute plays in fashion designing career. Is it realy important to be graduate from a big institute to have a bright future in this field?

  • Rudolf Seabra

    Hi Alexandra! Well, the Antwerp office is very, very nice (as most Belgians I have ever encountered, for that matter) but they are always quite vague about what they are searching for in a student. The impression I did get is that they are much more focused on creativity and putting fashion in a broader cultural context, a very Belgian approach, if you will.

  • Rudolf Seabra

    Alexandra, would you be able to give me some feedback regarding illustrations and sketches if I e-mailed you those, if that would not be too much of a stretch? I am aware you have a life and other commitments, but such help would be greatly appreciated!

  • Inés Cruz

    Hi everybody! I went to 2 summer courses at St.Martins myself (one of them taught by Alexandra) and I highly recommend them. Sure, as she says, sometimes you find people who are there only to spend some time because the generaly like fashion, but in my case, which was trying to learn about the fashion business when contemplating a career change, they were very useful. Also, St. Martins was very helpful when recommending me the courses which were more interesting for me.

  • Ramansharma774
  • Anonymous

    Hi Rudolf,
    I’m afraid that is a bit of a stretch… Are they posted anywhere? If you blog or Tumblr them I can certainly leave a comment or two!

  • Anonymous

    It helps, but it isn’t a necessity. A good school doesn’t only offer you an excellent education, but it allows you to network and make good contacts. If you can’t go to a good school, just make sure to try and make those contacts.

  • lakshmi

    hi Alexandra, I am thinking of doing a one year course in fashion business. I am confused between Marangoni Milan and ESMOD paris. As it is not a masters course, and I do not have any previous experience in design, do you think such a course is beneficial? Which school has better job prospects after completing the course? Many Thanks

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    I’m sorry, I really can’t give you much advice on these schools as I know very little about them. I believe Marangoni has a better reputation, but I am not 100% sure of this.

  • lakshmi

    thank you alexandra :)

  • avani

    Hi Alexandra, I am from India, could you pls tell me how the diploma course in fashion management at LCF is, if there will be good job prospects after its completion both in the UK as well as India, and if its better to do the same course in India or is it worthwhile spending so much and going out? Thankyou :)

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    LCF is a great school, but I know nothing about the schools or industry in India so I cna’t make a comparison.

  • Snooka

    Hi Alexandra,
    I am living in Australia and have always been very interested in fashion design but haven’t had much exposure. I was interested in taking the CSM 4 week fashion design summer school course. Do you know much about it? Would you recommend it to a beginner? Are there other courses that you think are better?


  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    It has been a while since I have taught there, but from what I know, almost all of the classes are great.

  • zander

    Hi Alexandra,

    In this post you mentioned to stay away from American schools that are in Europe. Do you know anything about Paris College of Art, and it’s reputation in the industry? Would you recommend going there or do you know anything of the quality of their fashion education?

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    Haven’t heard of it. My thoughts are, if you are going to study at in Paris, go to a French school that will have French teachers, French tuition fees (WAY cheaper than American ones), and better connections to land you jobs an internships in Paris.

  • Ezoe Robinson

    Hi Alexandra, I am 19 and I recently got offers from BA Fashion at Westminster and BA womenswear, ( and Fashion Print) at Central Saint Martins, but I am now torn between CSM womenswear and Westminster, due to the fact I heard that there is not a lot of technical tuition on the CSM BA. However I have seen a few students who have managed to get good jobs at the end of the course at high end brands like Marchesa and internships at Dior and Lanvin. At the same time a larger amount of students from Westminster have found jobs at brands such as Robert cavalla, Karen Millen, Mulberry ect and have more technical and construction skills, but a less reputation. I have heard good and bad things about the CSM and Westminster BA. Which school has better job prospects after completing the course? Kind Regards


  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    I think you weighed the odds quite well in your comment. It is true that CSM isn’t know for getting the fast fashion jobs (which are usually the ones that pay better.) I’d say if you are more into creativity/artsy stuff and want to have your own business, go to CSM. If not, go to Westminster. I didn’t have a single technical class on the MA at CSM, but then again, we were expected to have the technical skills by then.

  • Nico

    Hi, Alexandra!

    I have just graduated from Architecture College in Brasil and I want to try a career in Fahion. I have applied for Graduate Diploma in Fashion at CSM, but didn’t have enough material to get admitted. I’m thinking of doing some short courses in order to find out witch courses I could enroll aftewards. But my doubt is: what type of course or level would I fit in? I feel I am caught in a place between undergrad and post grad… (I don’t have the all the skills of a BA Bachelor in Fashion, but feel that going through a college all over again isn’t necessary, especially having skills in Architecture that can be used in Fashion).

    Would you know of any courses (not short ones) in Fashion Design that would take a student with a slightly diverse background? I am thinking of going to London for that..

    Thank you so much!

  • Arshack

    Hi Alexandra, I have received 2 offers for an MA in Fashion Design. One is from LCF and the other from
    Kingston. Which one would you recommend me to accept? Many Thanks

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    Both are very good! Although I think LCF might have a better international reputation. And look at course sizes… Congratulations!

  • Arshack

    Thanks for the quick reply! :)

    I thought so too but after I saw on the link bellow that it is the number 4th best University in the world and your comments about the people you know graduates from Kingston University, I got I bit confused…
    I guess I will just choose the cheaper or the one with more scholarships…

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    Fashionista’s ratings are hardly scientific. But yes, Kingston is awesome, although so is LCF. I think LCF is better for high street/fast fashion jobs and Kingston is better for luxury. Keep in mind that fast fashion
    jobs usually pay better, and you are less likely to “expire” when you get old, whereas there isn’t much room for “old” people in the luxury world, unless you are on the technical or business side. Good luck!

  • Arshack

    Hahaha! you are right! I am the National sample coordinator for for one of the biggest british retailers in Bangladesh… I just felt I wanted to start an ethical brand made in here for the luxury market. I think I got already my choice! :) Many many thanks Alexandra!!!

  • Smith

    Hi there! I am currently planning to enrol into one of LCF’s short courses and I was hoping if you could give me some feedback as to which one of these courses is better, if one were interested in fashion brand management : Luxury brand management & product design OR Creative brand management. I already have a MSc in International Marketing that covered brand management but I would like to expand my knowledge of its application in fashion. Love to hear what you have to say! Thanks!:)

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    Sorry, I am not very familiar with any of those courses, find out who the instructors are and look up their bios.

  • yayaaaa

    Hi Alexandra, as I’m dropping out of college after 3 months, i would love to attend a short course beginning i January in Paris. Do you have any suggestions?
    Thanks for your time!

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    I don’t know of any, although I HIGHLY recommend the short courses at London College of Fashion and St. Martins.

  • Sylvia

    Hi Alexandra,
    I have a quick question for you. I would like to do a short course in fashion buying and merchandising and I found two options, one course is taught at the LCF and the other one is taught at the Fashion Retail Academy. Now I know that LCF reputation may be better than FRA but the second course seemed more practical, in-depth and exhaustive than the LCF one. What do you think? Do you know anything about FRA? Which one would you reccomend?

    Thank you very much!

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    Haha, I used to teach at FRA, too. It is a very good school, and the instructors are pros. I would go with the one whose description is best suited to your needs, both are good schools.

  • caroline

    Hi Alexandra! I’m portuguese and I am now applying to BA fashion design in England. My options are CSM ( BA fashion womenswear) ; LCF( BA Fashion Design and development) and Kingston (BA fashion). I am finishing my portfolio but i still have some doubts. I read a lot of advices of senior students on the internet about the portfolios to apply to CSM, and what I have read is really scary. I know that they are demanding and critical, but is that true that they only took 5 minutes to see and analyze a portfolio? I need to know more about the portfolio analysis and what they really want to see there, because in my country we don’t need to show a portfolio to go to uni, we just need to have specific minimum grades. I also read that sometimes if they think you aren’t good enough for the BA they put you on the foundation course if you haven’t one yet, is that true? or they just reject your application?

    Thanks! I really like your posts!

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    Yes, it is true that they only spend five minutes as that is enough time to gauge whether a students is decent or not. I’m guessing that if they think it is great, they will spend more than five minutes. They look for research and development, as well as final product. Non conventional inspiration and illustrations will help you stand out. So will an interesting background. And yes, sometimes they will accept you onto foundation, take that as a compliment!

  • Divya Khanduri

    Hi Alexandra
    I am Divya from India and I am interested in Masters in Fashion styling. Can you suggest me some good colleges and full time courses available in the same field. I am already working as a stylist here but would like to go for higher education in the same field.
    As this is not really a much explored field so there are very less colleges that offer a masters in Fashion styling.

  • Divya Khanduri

    I would request you to suggest some colleges that offer Postgraduate or Masters in Fashion stling in USA, London and Paris.

  • Nysha

    Hi Alexandra,

    I am planning on taking up a short course in Fashion and I want to try and get an internship after the completion of the course. Is there any college that offers short courses along with internships? I have checked out LCF and Kingston as you’ve suggested earlier and I have definitely shortlisted them. Could you suggest some colleges in France or Spain as well? Thank you :)

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    Sorry, I don’t know of any schools in Spain. Ecoles de la Chambre Syndicale and Studio Bercot in Paris are both good, but I don’t know if they do short courses.

  • Hanna

    Hi Alexandra
    I’m a 24 year old girl from Iceland who have a dream of being a stylist! I would love to find something that gives me diploma, maybe for the summertime or just shorter than 1 year! Can you help me :) ?

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    Check out short courses at St. Martins!

  • Kate

    I ‘ve got the BA womenswear offers from both LCF and Ravensbourne,but just can’t decide which one to choose,i wonder which one is more about letting students do whatever they want and just be themselves??
    Thanks a lot!!

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    I can’t help you on this one, I’m afraid. I’d suggest looking at student numbers (how many on the BA at LCF and how many at Ravensbourne) and also the companies that these school shave connections with.

  • Noe

    Hi, Alexandra!

    I am just graduating from a Design University in South America and I want to do a Ma in London. I have been accepted in Ravensbourne, but I am not sure if it is a good university. Going to study there it is really expensive for us, so I want to make a very good postgradute that help me to get a good job, that is the only way it is going to be worth it. They have offer me a Ma in fashion and an Ma in Wearable Futures and I am not sure if they are good and which one is the best.

    Thanks so much!!!

  • António

    Hi Alexandra!

    I don’t agree with you about fashion schools in UK. Bad teaching (technically mediocre and do-yourself philosophy, everytime) and an astronomic money investment.

    The best schools are in France. They are technical, but they will give you the basis to get into your creativity (without technical teaching you will don’t do nothing with your creativity).



  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    I completely agree the French schools are better for technical education but if you want to be a designer you are better off going to a school in London – they are better trained to nurture and develop creativity and it shows by where the graduates end up. I studied in both places and I’ve seen it firsthand.

  • emily

    Hi Alexandra.

    I have been offered a place at both Westminster (BA fashion 4 yr sandwich) and Ravensbourne (BA 3 yr fashion) and I am stuck between them, do you have any idea which is better out of the two?

    Thank you so much!

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    Both are good! I don’t like paying tuition for a year while you are doing an internship, but otherwise Westminster has a great reputation.

  • Emily

    Thank you so much for your reply! I decided to go with Westminster :)

  • Susie

    Hi Alexandra,
    I found this post very interesting. I am currently looking at universities in Europe in this field. I was looking at the Paris College of Art, an American school in Paris. Would you recommend it, because I read you generally advised to avoid them?
    Furthermore, do you know of any good schools in Germany as well?

    Many thanks!!

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    I don’t know of any schools in Germany, sorry. And my advice on the American schools abroad is that you should do your research carefully. I have yet to hear any good stories from these types of schools but there may certainly be exceptions.

  • Susie

    Thank you for your quick reply!

  • Angela Smith

    Hi Alexandra,

    You mentioned Kingston as being a good UK program.

    Did you mean Kingston College or Kingston University?



  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    The second one – the university! :-)

  • sonal

    Hi Lakshmi! I was doing research for masters in fashion business courses and came across your post. I have been admitted in Esmod and have heard very mixed reviews. Seeing that your post is from 2 years ago I assume you must have already finished you degree and would love to hear about your experience and inputs. You can email me at so that maybe we can talk better. Any help would be appreciated! thanks a lot =)

  • sonal

    Hi Antonio!
    I was doing research for masters in fashion business courses and came across your post. I have been admitted in Esmod and have heard very mixed reviews. Seeing that your post is about colleges in France I assume you must have some experience inputs. You can email me at so that maybe we can talk better. Any help would be appreciated! thanks a lot =)

  • sonal

    Hi Alexandra,
    I have been offered admission into Esmod for Postgraduate International fashion and luxury brand management programme. My aim is to work for a few years and then set up my handbag brand. Does Esmod have a good reputation for this course? I have been told that it is only good for fashion design so am unsure. Or would you have any other suggestions for colleges in Europe. Thanks!

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    Hi Sonal,
    I’m afraid I don’t know anything about this course so I’m not fit to comment… Best of luck! Alexandra

  • tee

    Hello Alexandra,
    I intend to go into childrens wears fashion business and I have no prior fashion design experience. A lot of schools don’t seem to have fashion in childrens wear as a course.Would you suggest I go into fashion design basics first?

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    I’ve never heard of a children’s wear course – so yes, you should study womenswear or menswear and try and choose a course that will let you work on childrenswear. Many of the principles are the same.

  • Rob

    Hi Alexandra, thank you for the amazing and insightful post on the blog! I am now considering a school in London, and I’m considering the part time fashion design course at LCF. I don’t come from a rich parents background and would have to pay an expensive life in London through the course. (don’t think it would be possible at full time BA, would it?) But I’m unsure about the quality of the part time course – is it as good and competitive as full time courses? Would it be possible to get into MA at CSM or RCA after the course?

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    I’m sorry – I don’t know much about the part time courses but my assumption would be same school, reputations, facilities, and similar instructors, therefore nearly as good. The downside will most likely be that you might not network with as many students as as a FT time course and the networking is very important.
    Have fun! LCF is great.

  • Rob

    Thank you very much Alexandra!

  • Blair


    I have been looking into ESMOD as well. If you decided to go there, would you mind telling me how you liked it? Or if you decided not to go, could you tell me why? You can email me at Thank you so much, I would really appreciate it!!!

  • Tmg93

    Hi, I have been accepted for the MA in Fashion Management program in Univ of Southampton and Northumbria univ as well as the Grad Dip in Fashion Management in LCF. Which do you think would be a better option in terms of the course , exposure and job opportunities? Thanks!

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    Sorry – I don’t know those courses!

  • Melody Prince-Boateng

    Hey Alexandra, I recently graduated with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration, major in Marketing and minor in Communications. Ideally I would like to start my own business in fashion but I want to increase my knowledge in the field of business fashion first. I was considering the Post Graduate Certificate Fashion: Buying and Merchandising at LCF. Will this be of any benefit and also will it hold some weight in comparison to an MA? Also will I be able to get any internships or jobs if I complete this three-month course? I want the best value for my money. Thank you very much.

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    Sorry – I don’t know this course! You’d be better off contacting the school. Good luck!

  • nada

    Hello, I got offers from Regent’s University in London and Paris College of Art in paris, both for fashion design courses. I was wondering if you could recommend any of these two?
    Thank you in advance!

  • AB28

    Hi Tmg93,
    I came across your post now although it’s a month old. I too have been accepted for MA in Fashion Management program in the University of Southampton. I wanted to know how is it as a college and have u heard any reviews about it ?
    Also, I’ve applied for MA in Fashion Design Management in LCF but haven’t heard from them post the submission of the study proposal and essay. Could you tell me approximately how many weeks would they take to revert ?

  • Mercedes

    Dear Noe G**nd*,

    You are extremely talented, it doesn’t matter where you study, I am sure you will always succeed.


    Mer A.

    Ps. loved to run into you while doing my MA research.

  • isha


    Even I am planning to take-up postgraduation in international fashion and luxury brand management from ESMOD. Do let me know ur reviews for the same. I have come across institute francais De la moda offering M.Sc for the same (actually I can’t find any type of reviews about this school).
    P.S: Alexandra if you something about IFM!!


  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    Sorry, I don’t know enough recent information about these schools to comment right now. Sorry I can’t help!

  • Basma shahin

    Hi Alexandra I want to take make-up courses and I decided to take them at London College Of Fashion but then I read about the London School of Make-up and now I can’t decide between them they both have great reviews but the London School of Make-up gives IMA certificate so I don’t really know what which one I should choose.

  • anks

    hi alexandra,
    i was wondering whats the best place to do a short course in fashion in europe and in what institute?
    thank you!

  • Jen

    Hi Emily,

    Not sure if you’ll see this because it’s been a while, but I am currently deciding between Westminster and Ravensbourne, and was wondering how your experience at Westminster is so far!

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    St. Martins is great and so is London College of Fashion. I don’t know about other schools.

  • AnnaP

    Hi Alexandra,
    Just found your blog and this post. I hope you get to see my comment/post as I would appreciate your view. I am trying to change careers and would love to work in the fashion industry. My first degree is in law and now I am thinking about doing a masters in fashion management as I understand (following many unsuccessful job applications) and appreciate (as a different sector special skills are required) is required. However I am struggling as the tuition fees of many schools are high and it is uncertain whether you can find a job later on that you would be able to pay off the loan. Do you think an online short course (similar to the ones offered by St Martins) are a good start/ offer assistance with the career change? Do you think prospective employers see them as an additional skill? Also I would love to have your view on short courses offered by fashion schools and whether such courses offer you an insight on the fashion industry (only) or they assist you in the job search. Thank you very much.

  • Aashi

    Hi Alexandra,

    I am an Economics graduate, and currently pursuing a Bacherlors in Law. I am from India. I’ve always been interested in fashion and would like to explore the short term courses at London College of Fashion. Now, since I have no professional degree or previous experience in fashion, I am a little confused about which course to go for.

    The ones I am looking at are :
    – Introduction to the fashion media business (which covers a lot of areas including merchandising and journalism) 5 week course.

    – Introduction to fashion buying and merchandising (5 week course).

    Which one do you think would prove to be most valuable?

    Thanks a lot!

  • Chandni Vajir

    Hi Alexandra ,

    I am from India and I am 30 now and looking for short courses in fashion.
    My past academic is :
    I have done a one year diploma course in fashion designing in India with a bachelors degree in arts(not related to fashion) plus post graduation in business management (online one year)

    I have my own label n working for 6 years for it now but it seems I need more specialised courses in pattern making , embroideries and designing as well. I went through all the short courses at CSM & LCF both.
    Please suggest as which college is better? And which course should I take first for fashion design.

    Would also be interested in your ebook.

    Thanks awaiting your reply.