If having an actual degree in Fashion Design isn’t all that essential to you, or if you already have one and you just want to brush up on your skills or learn something new, consider the programs listed below. I, for example, am not really looking to get into the “industry”, per se. I want to learn about production and draping and sustainable design, but landing an internship with Michael Kors is not on my life’s wish list. [But don’t hold me to that – I reserve the right to change my mind!] Not that I wouldn’t mind meeting – and impressing – a big name or two, but presumably you’ll have a chance to do that during these summer programs as well. After all, a summer course at FIT, Central St Martins, or ESMOD Paris will still place you right in the thick of some of the most fashionable and trend-setting cities in the world. 

An added bonus is that, regardless of where you go, you will likely meet and work with other students from all over the world. 

I am drawn to the idea of a short course or summer program in fashion because it is less of a time commitment and major disruption to your life. Also, perhaps more importantly, it is far more financially viable than your average full-time undergrad or grad program. The one caveat is that it will be more difficult to secure funding and scholarships for short-term or summer programs than it would be for a full-fledged college degree. 

Note: if you’re not an EU resident, I really can’t speak to your chances of getting any financial aid for programs abroad. If you are an EU resident, lucky you! Most of these programs seem to qualify for generous government assistance. 

I think in all cases you won’t need to apply or pay for a residence permit if you’re studying internationally, unless you extend your stay to longer than 90 days. 

In most cases you don’t have to have a degree, previous experience, or any other qualification to attend. Most of the tuition rates listed on the program’s sites have not yet been updated for 2016, so be aware that the tuition might ultimately be higher than what I’ve listed here. 

I didn’t include programs geared specifically towards high school students because, well, I’m not one, but maybe later I will compile a list specifically for pre-college programs. 

Please note that this list is not comprehensive and there well may be more great programs out there that didn’t turn up during my research. Please feel free to let me know if I missed anything! Also, if you’ve been lucky enough to attend any of the programs I would love to hear about your experiences! 

Istituto Europeo di Design

Summer and winter courses in various cities and countries throughout the world, with courses in Spain, Italy, and Brazil. The fashion courses take place in European cities such as Milan, Barcelona, and Florence. Courses are offered in both Spanish and English. 

Sample course offerings: 

>Milan – Fashion Marketing, Fashion Stylist, Fashion Design 

>Barcelona – Fashion Trending 

>Florence – Fashion Communication, Fashion Events & PR 

Most 4 week courses cost E2.600 (~$2900 USD right now)and take place in June. 

Housing costs are about E850-1.000; IED provides accommodation for summer students for the duration of the program. 

IED summer course cost breakdown: http://assets.ied.it/wp-content/blogs.dir/5/files/2015/05/15_SUMMER_Italy.pdf 

Course brochures from last summer:https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BytXvLO6nPdLODdSdDlLbXhHODQ/view 


Villa Favard in Firenze – home of the Polimoda library 

These courses take place at two different locations in Firenze (Florence to the uninitiated). Polimoda is offering an advanced booking promotion right now – if you book before February 27th they will take 10% off your tuition! 

No entrance exam is required – simply send in your CV and a letter of motivation explaining why you are interested in the program and what you hope to get out of it. 

Summer courses take place in July and last 4 weeks. They also offer shorter, 2-week “workshop” courses. 

Sample Course Offerings: 

>Brand Management, Drawing & Illustration, Fashion Styling, Fashion Writing 

>2 week workshops: Tailoring Knitwear and Crafting a Shoe, among others 

Cost is E3.750 (~$4200 USD) 

The 2-week workshops cost E2.500 

They do offer a few scholarships. You can learn more here:http://www.polimoda.com/en/admission/scholarship.html 


Istituto Marangoni

Istituto Marangoni offers several short courses throughout the year. Depending on your chosen area of study, you may find yourself in Milan, London, or Paris. As a prerequisite to taking these courses you must be “qualified” or have experience in the area of study. 

Sample course offerings: 

>3-week: Image & Styling, Fashion Business, Fashion Photography 

>2-week: Fashion Production, The Retail Experience 

You have two tuition options: the “full package” tuition which includes accommodations, and a tuition only option. The course fees break down as follows: 

3 Week course: E5.300 (Full), E3.800 (Tuition only) 

2 Week course: E4.000 (Full), E2.900 (Tuition only) 

While the website does list scholarships, it is unclear whether they are available to short course students. 

FDModa / LCI Barcelona

Summer courses take place in late June to early July. The school’s methods are based on the Feli teaching method, founded by Ms. Felicidad Duce Ripolles. 

Sample course offerings: 

>Pattern-making workshop, Digital Design for Fashion, Digital Textile Printing, Computer-Assisted Pattern-making 

Are you noticing a theme here too? Seems like this might be a good choice if you need to brush up on your CAD skills. 

I was unable to find information on tuition and fees for summer programs, but you can submit an information request if you want to learn more: http://en.lcibarcelona.com/contact-us.aspx 


A classroom at ESMOD Paris – images via http://www.esmod.com

Choose between a summer course in Fashion Design or Patternmaking, or take both as a combined course. Courses are available in both French and English and you will study at a beautiful campus in the 9th Arrondissement. The courses are open to pretty much anyone over 16 years of age. 


15 day course – E700 (~$780 USD) 

1 month course – E1400 (~$1560 USD) 

Both courses together cost E2200 (~$2455 USD) 

They also offer a Fashion Business summer course over 3 weeks in July that costs E1050, or ~$1170 USD. 

Note that while they do outline some lodging options on their site, I don’t believe that they will provide lodging for you. 

Brochure: http://www.esmod.com/sites/default/files/formations-courte-13-14w.pdf 

Fashion Business: http://www.esmod.com/en/content/fashion-business-summer-course 

Parsons Summer Intensives – New York

By Benoît Prieur (Agamitsudo) http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0 CC BY-SA 4.0 Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 truetrue (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0), CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons 

The Parsons Summer Intensives are 3-week, 3-credit programs that are basically open to anyone. (You must be at least 16 for the pre-college program and 19 – or 18 + 1 year of college experience – for the adult-level courses.) You will spend 5 days a week in the studio along with guest lectures, portfolio reviews, and more. Expect a demanding curriculum and workload, but they also encourage you to get to know your fellow classmates and explore all that NYC has to offer. 

The campus is in Greenwich Village and students have the option of living in the New School residence halls. 

2015 tuition was $3,047. Registration for 2016 opens in late fall. 

Parsons also offers a dual city summer program in cooperation with Central St. Martins in London, a summer intensive in Mumbai, and another summer intensive in Paris (see below). 

Extensive course list: http://www.newschool.edu/parsons/subpage.aspx?id=36417 

More info: http://www.newschool.edu/parsons/summer-ny/ 

Parsons Summer Intensives – Paris

By Ecoleparsonsaparis (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons 

The Paris branch of Parsons Summer Intensives program is also open to all, with pre-college and college/adult programs. The Parsons Paris building is a short walk from the Louvre, and classes take place throughout the city to encourage exploration. 

Courses are taught in English, and are designed to help you develop your portfolio before admission to undergrad or grad design programs. 

I could not find tuition information for this program, but I did learn that you are expected to furnish about $400 worth of supplies and materials for studio classes. The program does provide housing for registered students. 


Central St. Martins

Courses take place April-July and October-December, so they aren’t exclusively summer programs but I decided to throw them in here anyway. The focus of these courses is on portfolio preparation for entry to a Fashion Design program or to win an internship. I assume that this program is offered in cooperation with Parsons, but if you can offer any insight or clarification on this, please do get in touch with me! 

The cost for the Central St. Martins program is L3.850, or about $5,940 USD. 

Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la couture parisienne

Image Credit: Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale 

Summer classes focus on basic technique building and are offered independent of each other – meaning that you can take as many or as few as you like. You will receive a certificate of completion at the end of each course. 

Sample Course Offerings: 

>Draping for Beginners, From Drawing to Garment Creation 

Courses last about 2 weeks and occur on various dates throughout the summer. A 60 hour course costs E1440 (~$1630 USD). 

Students are responsible for securing their own accommodations. 


Pratt Institute

By Jonathan Bowen (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons 

The Pratt Institute in Brooklyn offers two 5-week Summer Credit Intensives for college students or adult learners. Students study at the Brooklyn campus with weekly field trips to Manhattan. 

Tuition is $4,149 per 3-credit course plus studio fees. 

Limited housing is available at the Brooklyn campus on a first-come, first-served basis. 

For more information: https://www.pratt.edu/academics/continuing-education-and-professional/pro-credit-programs/summer-credit-intensives/ 

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