Masters in Fashion Design Management at Cornell University

At its Ithaca campus in New York, Cornell University’s College of Human Ecology offers courses in fashion design, management, and fiber science. Additionally, Ivy League students have access to a wide range of courses in media, law, and advertising to complement their studies in fashion. Overall, according to our survey, Cornell students were among the most content with the student body. The quality of the marketing, business, and sustainability curricula was generally praised by students, and 89 percent of survey participants expressed satisfaction with the technical skills courses. The resources at their disposal were also highly regarded, with over 95% of respondents being satisfied overall. The fashion school, however, lacks the international reputation necessary to attract high levels of HR recruitment despite the university’s international standing. Only 52% of students thought the school’s recruiters were of high caliber, and 71% thought they were ready to enter the workforce after completing their studies.

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Our applicants come from various backgrounds and have varying ties to and experiences with the fashion industry. Our approach to teaching, learning, and preparing our students for an industry that is rapidly changing is influenced by the varied perspectives of our faculty and students.

All first-year and transfer applicants must submit a fashion design portfolio and design index. This entry will be taken into consideration with your other required application materials. Applications that do not include these materials won’t be taken into consideration.

Submit your Fashion Design Portfolio and Design Index via SlideRoom. Mailed materials will not be accepted, reviewed, or returned.

Deadline for Fashion Design Portfolio and Design Index You must submit your Fashion Design Portfolio and Design Index to SlideRoom by the deadline associated with your application status. Late submissions will not be considered.

The Fashion Design Portfolio and Design Index, which is required of all first-year and transfer fashion design applicants, consists of the following elements. Applicants must complete and submit both components. All work must be original and produced by the applicant. Submissions that are found to be strikingly similar to content published online or from other sources won’t be accepted.

  • a portfolio and
  • a Fashion Design Index. The Fashion Design Index is a set of questions that the faculty of Fashion Design and Management uses to learn more about your design process, aesthetic sense, and understanding of fashion.

*Applications seeking the Fashion Design Management option must adhere to different rules.

Make sure to carefully read the instructions and guidelines below to make sure you submit all necessary materials for assessment. Include pieces of work that most effectively demonstrate your originality, skill, and enthusiasm for design. As you consider the best strategies to showcase your creativity, design sense, and understanding of fashion, refer to the following frequently asked questions (FAQs).

Information on Undergraduate Admissions The College of Human Ecology (CHE) Admissions Office is the best place to get information on the admissions procedure.

Portfolio and Fashion Design Index Instructions

Review the following details thoroughly as you create your portfolio for fashion design.

  • Submissions must be your own work. Those found to have a significant similarity to work published online or from sources with known affiliations won’t be accepted.
  • Include no more than fifteen (15) examples of designs from the following categories to show your breadth of talent and enthusiasm for fashion. Your portfolio should contain two thirds “primary” category pieces. See formatting guidelines below.
Examples of primary and secondary work

Primary work Secondary Work
Fashion illustration; clothing or accessories you have designed and/or made; textile design projects; fashion sketch book pages; examples of wearable technology and computer aided design. Work from art classes including examples of ceramics, crafts, glasswork, graphics, leatherwork, metal, painting, photography, sculpture, and/or woodwork; garments sewn from commercial patterns; fashion blogging; costume design.


  • Include a brief description for each item that includes the title, the source of inspiration and the design’s goals, the materials used, the construction method, the completion date, and the item’s originality (for instance, an original design that uses a pattern that is readily available in the marketplace).
  • Submit (1) page per /item to SlideRoom.
  • Respond to the four “Fashion Design Index” questions in the following section and submit using SlideRoom.

Respond to the following (4) prompts via SlideRoom (use the Fashion Design Index form that is part of the Fashion Design Portfolio and Index 2023 program).

(1) Alber Elbaz, a fashion designer, once said: “Style is the only thing you can’t buy.” It’s not on a label, a price tag, or a shopping bag. It’s an emotion that is transmitted from our soul to the outside world. Share your thoughts on style in response to this quote. (maximum: 150 words).

(2) In no more than 150 words, respond succinctly to one of the following questions.

  • What major change in the fashion industry would you make if you could, and why?
  • Give an example of how fashion affects people’s health and wellbeing.
  • What do you think is the most significant social justice issue the fashion industry is currently dealing with, and why?

(3) Among all the locations, individuals, and media outlets that feature fashion, which has educated and influenced you the most, and why? (maximum: 150 words)

(4) Construction of Garments: Do you have any experience making clothing? If so, please explain where and when you acquired these abilities. If not, what about the procedure piques your interest? (maximum of 150 words)

Submit the required Fashion Design Portfolio and the required Fashion Design Index via SlideRoom.

No. All students majoring in fashion design are required to take courses at Cornell in fashion graphics and garment construction during the first two semesters. We recognize that not all students have the chance to partake in fashion-related experiences or coursework.

We are not scheduling faculty appointments at this time. You can email FSAD-DUS@cornell. edu with questions about the program and/or portfolio.

Black and white sketches work well for fashion illustrations. To give reviewers an idea of how you envision the finished garment(s), you might want to attach some sketches with written descriptions of fabrics or fabric swatches. The opinions of applicants regarding the design process, fabric choices, and color preferences are interesting to design faculty.

Take pictures of the design from the front and back on a mannequin or model. Display any close-up pictures of the intricate work you want to emphasize. Along with your photos, you could also include swatches of fabric from the designs with written descriptions. Make note of the source of the commercial pattern.

Create storyboards or collages based on fashion trends and colors to show how you can match your attire and accessories. You can also include pictures of your friends wearing the outfits you chose for them, along with a brief explanation of your decision-making process.

No. Your portfolio may contain a letter of recommendation from a designer you’ve collaborated with, but it cannot take the place of one from a teacher.

To learn more about your eligibility, get in touch with the College of Human Ecology Admissions Office at (607-255-5471). Adding more images to your portfolio and providing updates on your involvement in design-related projects and accolades could help your application. You can also email the College of Human Ecology Admissions Committee a statement of continued interest. Additional letters of recommendation are not helpful.

A great time to develop a fundamental understanding of fabric and machine handling is the summer before you matriculate at Cornell. Fashion design is a field of design where you can make the things you create with your own hands. Background work will improve the standard of your fashion design studios’ projects. Original sketch ideas, textile color and surface design, apparel pattern development, and student-constructed garment construction are all part of the major’s fashion design work. Enrolling students who require on-campus sewing instruction will be placed in the proper coursework during their first semester.

You can email FSAD-DUS@cornell. edu with specific questions about the design supplement.

Cornell Fashion Collective prepares for Spring Runway Show


Is it hard to get into Cornell fashion?

Yes, what you may have heard is true: Admission to Cornell is highly selective, with approximately 10% of applicants admitted each year Access, affordability, diversity, and inclusion are all very important to us.

Does Cornell have a good fashion design program?

The Hotel School in the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business is the least competitive with an acceptance rate of 30% The School of Human Ecology has a 23 % acceptance rate, the second-highest acceptance rate of all the schools at Cornell

What is the easiest program to get into at Cornell?

At its Ithaca campus in New York, Cornell University’s College of Human Ecology offers courses in fashion design, management, and fiber science.

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