UK dominates the list of best universities in the world for studying fashion

Despite the top marks for UK fashion schools, the survey found widespread dissatisfaction among students and alumni

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The Independent Online

The UK has taken The Business of Fashion’s (BoF) global school ranking by storm as Central Saint Martins took the top spot for being the best institution in the world to study for a fashion-related degree.

Three other UK universities made the top ten – Kingston, Westminster, and London College of Fashion – making Britain the top country to head to if you want to be a fashion student.

Having taken into consideration rigorous information from 24 participating fashion schools in 11 countries, more than 4,000 fashion students and alumni were surveyed, as well as HR professionals and fashion influencers.

Each programme was then evaluated on three key areas – global influence, learning experience, and long-term value – when putting together the BoF’s first global ranking list.

The top ten universities in the world to study for a fashion-related BA:

  1. Central Saint Martins – 95 per cent
    London, United Kingdom

  2. Bunka Fashion College – 89 per cent
    Tokyo, Japan

  3. Kingston University – 84.9 per cent
    London, United Kingdom

  4. Parsons New School of Fashion – 83.8 per cent
    New York, United States

  5. Fashion Institute of Technology – 82.9 per cent
    New York, United States

  6. Polimoda – 82.2 per cent
    Florence, Italy

  7. University of Westminster – 80.2 per cent
    London, United Kingdom

  8. London College of Fashion – 79.2 per cent
    London, United Kingdom

  9. RMIT University – 76.6 per cent
    Melbourne, Australia

  10. Drexel University – 74.2 per cent
    Philadelphia, United States

Vice-chancellor of University of the Arts London (UAL), Nigel Carrington, described how having two UAL colleges – Central Saint Martins and London College of Fashion – placed highly in the rankings reiterates UAL’s position as a world-class provider of fashion education.

He added: “It’s particularly rewarding to be recognised by rankings which are based on the views of students and alumni as well as fashion influencers.

“UAL alumni have a huge influence on the fashion industry, making up more than half of the 78 labels showing at London Fashion Week this year alone.

“Based on the quality of our recently-graduated students’ work, it’s a trend I predict will continue.”

However, despite top marks for the UK’s fashion schools, the survey of the 4,032 students and alumni found widespread dissatisfaction, forcing the BoF to ponder whether fashion education is “selling a false dream.”

Even though, according to the British Fashion Council, the industry contributes £26bn to the UK economy, only 57 per cent said they were satisfied with the careers services which were offered, and just 53 per cent were satisfied with networking events. As well as this, just 49 per cent said they were satisfied with the quality of recruiters on campus.

Supporting these figures, many students told the survey they were unhappy with the lack of support offered in helping them find employment, with one Central Saint Martins student saying: “Brilliant school, brilliant exposure, zero help afterwards.”

Another Parsons alumnus added: “Parsons tested my work ethic and exposed me to a diverse student body and resources, but poorly prepared students for the realities of job placement and career development.”

Post-graduation, the survey found disappointed students ended up taking jobs outside of fashion – or not finding jobs at all. With BA tuition fees costing an average of $18,000 per year (£11,434) and MA tuition at an average of $23,000 per year (£14,611), the results stated how students are clearly looking for a better return on this significant investment.

Acknowledging how the landscape of fashion education is entering a phase of change, BoF’s founder, Imran Amed, and editorial associate, Robin Mellery-Pratt, said: “What’s clear is that the fashion education landscape is in an exciting period of flux.

“We hope that our global ranking of fashion schools will provide fodder for discussion and debate in the years to come as the fashion industry enters a new period of growth and expansion.”