Fashion

What are the best fashion schools in the world?

Colleges from the United States, Japan and Israel are among the top.

Business of Fashion ranks Shenkar most influential school outside of New York or London, and places it 11th globally.Business of Fashion ranks Shenkar most influential school outside of New York or London, and places it 11th globally.Business of Fashion ranks Shenkar most influential school outside of New York or London, and places it 11th globally. (Photo: Shenkar)

You don’t need a degree to become a famous fashion designer, Jean Paul Gaultier being a case in point. But the nuanced skills acquired and the power and influence top fashion schools wield does help. That's why the Britain-based Business of Fashion just released its first-ever Global Fashion School Ranking.

Business of Fashion, a website for the creative industries, analyzed 24 of the world’s most prestigious fashion schools in 11 different countries – the United Kingdom, Japan, Israel and the U.S. among them.

In the poll, London-based Central Saint Martins – where the likes of John Galliano, Stella McCartney and the late Alexander McQueen studied – topped the undergraduate rankings. Tokyo’s Bunka Fashion College and London-based Kingston University ranked second and third respectively.

Danit Peleg is on the forefront of 3D printed fashion. Danit Peleg is on the forefront of 3D printed fashion. (Photo: Danit Peleg)

When famous designers like Nili Lotan, Alber Elbaz of Lanvin, millinist Tami Bar-Lev and Kobi Halperin of Elie Tahari are among your alumni, it’s not surprising that Business of Fashion ranked Israel’s Shenkar College of Engineering, Design and Art No. 5 for its influence on global fashion trends and rated the school 11 out of 21 overall for fashion institutions offering students a B.A. degree.

“Shenkar blends both the technical and conceptual in its curriculum. Graduates leave the college feeling equipped for a profession in the fashion industry,” the fashion website writes about the Tel Aviv-based school. Another website, Fashionista.com, recently listed Shenkar as the No. 9 best school in the world.

As the fashion industry continues to evolve with emerging technologies, new business models and shifting consumer values and behaviors, new career paths are emerging. Danit Peleg, who graduated from Shenkar this year, carved a niche for herself as a respected designer in the new 3D-printed fashion space after she devoted 2,000 hours for her final design project to create a five-piece collection utilizing a 3D printer, from the comfort of her home.

What makes Peleg's success so exciting is that 3D-printed fashion wasn't relevant in conversations about fashion just a few years ago. Proof that there are many new ways to participate in this exciting sector.

“Perhaps the most surprising outcome of our Global Fashion School Rankings was the outstanding feedback from students and alumni from schools off the beaten path, suggesting that prospective students may want to carefully consider a wider range of colleges when making decisions about higher education in fashion,” wrote the editors Imran Amed and Robin Mellery-Pratt in an op-ed.

Lindsay E. Brown is the managing editor of Eco-Chick, the web’s first ethical fashion, beauty and travel site for women. She has written for Whole Living Magazine, Edible, and Cottages & Gardens. Lindsay has been featured as a fashion and beauty expert on the Veria Living Network. Lindsay holds a BS in Global Business Studies and Marketing from Manhattan College, and received the 2012 Honors Award at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

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