The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Studies degree program in KCAD’s Pamella Roland
DeVos School of Fashion empowers students to pursue careers in the fashion industry
through immersive experiences that cultivate critical thinking and design skills while
broadening their understanding of fashion retailing, sustainability, and presentation.
Collaborative projects enable students to refine ideas, processes, and people skills
in real-world settings, while the program’s culminating senior capstone show allows
students to discover and express their own identity as designers.
"What I love about fashion as an art form is that you can take something inside of
you and put it outside of you."
Fashion Studies student Hazel Lovecraft takes us from her childhood love of all things
fashion to the tools, techniques, and inspiration she's drawing on now to bring her
own original designs to life.
"I wouldn't have been so willing to just put myself out there if I didn't have the
experiences I had at KCAD."
Post-KCAD, 2021 Fashion Studies grad Caleb Ryan Wells has been making some big waves
in the industry with the launch of their own bespoke genderless clothing brand, Caleb
As a student in the Fashion Studies degree program in KCAD’s Pamella Roland DeVos
School of Fashion, you’ll engage in a broad and immersive study of fashion that explores
traditional and emerging design and construction techniques, couture methods, sustainable
practices, fashion illustration, product development, and the organization and execution
of exhibition and runway events.
You’ll learn to transform two dimensional ideas into the three dimensional. At the
same time, you’ll also be investigating the realities of the fashion industry through
specialized courses in functional design, retail buying, and fashion show production.
Your senior year offers options: complete your final year at KCAD, developing and
publicly presenting an original collection of garment designs through a senior capstone
course and fashion show that will allow you to discover and express your own design
identity. Or, you can apply to spend your senior year studying at the Fashion Institute
of Technology in NYC.
You’ll also round your education out with a wide range of general education and art
history courses that will stimulate your curiosity, broaden your perspective, and
inspire new creative expressions. KCAD’s flexible General Education Pathways model empowers you to direct your learning by exploring subjects you find most engaging
While earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Studies, you’ll develop a heightened
ability to conduct relevant research; identify trends in color, fabric, and silhouette;
and apply design elements and principles to create work with a unique point of view
that balances aesthetics and functionality. You’ll learn to express your design ideas
on paper through fashion illustrations and engineered flats before ultimately bringing
them to life through a synthesis of design, construction, fitting, pattern-making,
and draping skills.
Your intensive classroom experiences will cultivate strong critical thinking, communication,
and design skills, while collaborative projects will help you develop stronger ideas,
processes, and people skills in real-world settings. You’ll also understand how to
plan out and manage the logistics of a runway fashion event.
The Fashion Studies degree program extends KCAD’s legacy of leadership in design education
into the world of fashion. While earning a BFA degree that will add strength to your
résumé, you’ll receive a specialized design education with a well-rounded general
education. This strong foundation ensures that you’re not left to “sink or swim” on
your own; you’re set up to succeed.
With the versatile skill set and strong portfolio you’ll build at KCAD, you’ll be
an excellent candidate to take advantage of the option to study away at the Fashion
Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York City. The program’s unique curriculum structure
allows you to spend the first three years in the program at KCAD before applying to
FIT, where you’ll complete your final year if accepted. You’ll be immersed in the
epicenter of American fashion, opening up a world of opportunity for you, exposing
you to resources, cultural institutions, and environments that will help you realize
Spend your senior year at KCAD, and you’ll study couture and innovative methods, sustainable
fashion, and create your own capstone collection to be shown at the annual fashion
At KCAD, you’ll not only develop strong design and communication skills; you’ll put
them to the test through collaborative projects with community organizations, such
as designing costumes for the Grand Rapids Ballet or working with Spectrum Health
to develop special compression garments for children with neuromuscular diseases.
Show off your styling skills while creating a digital portfolio of your brand as you
step into your career in the exciting fashion industry.
As a graduate of the Fashion Studies program, you’ll emerge with a dynamic skill set
and a comprehensive knowledge of the fashion industry that will allow you to consider
a wide variety of career pathways.
Possible careers include:
As a student in the Fashion Studies program, you’ll have access to faculty who have
worked in the industry, as well as well-appointed classroom spaces featuring industry
machines, cutting tools, and large work surfaces. You’ll also be able to leverage
The Dow Center FlexLab, KCAD’s state-of-the-art digital fabrication facility featuring 3D printers and scanners,
laser cutting and vinyl cutting machines, wide format printers, and more.
You’ll have abundant opportunities to interact with industry professionals who visit
the KCAD campus and West Michigan. Past visiting professionals include Council of
Fashion Designers of America CEO Steven Kolb, fashion designers Adam Lippes and Matt
Baldwin, Detroit Garment Group Director Karen Buscemi, fashion stylists Grace Kelly
and Lynn Serulla, costume designers Bernadine Vida and KCAD alumna Christy Juhnke,
and the Iris van Herpen design team.
As a graduate of the Pamella Roland DeVos School of Fashion, your comprehensive knowledge
of the fashion industry will enable you to consider a wide range of careers spanning
design, research, marketing, product development, media, and retail.