When one thinks of the fashion industry, one might think of famous designers and celebrity fashion shows. Today, fashion is a $1.2 trillion global industry, employing 1.9 million people in the United States, creating a positive impact on regional economies across the country (JEC, 2015; US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017). Presently, 90% of apparel design and production has gone overseas or elsewhere in the world (Robinson, 2013). Manufacturing today requires “universal participation” (Bill, 2011); meaning garments designed in one country, made in fabric from a second country, assembled in a third country, then shipped back to the country of the original design, to be sold at retail in a matter of weeks. In the past, all one needed to know was some sewing skills, fabric knowledge and garment construction to begin a career in fashion. Today, a career in fashion requires a different set of skills, making fashion education more prevalent and crucial than ever before. The interest in a fashion career has grown over the last decades, requiring many schools once offering degrees in home economics to revisit their fashion courses, revamp their curriculum and rehire faculty with academic degrees, who are currently out in the fashion field. But do students know what actual skills are needed to transition from the classroom out into the field, or recognize good indicators of what a fashion program should offer? This study is designed to research, measure and analyze this phenomenon. This study is organized into five chapters. Chapter 1 introduces the topics of fashion education, the fashion industry, and specialized accreditation for fashion programs in the USA, including the research questions that form the foundation for this study. Chapter 2 researches the literature review of previous studies, NASAD, the only accreditation in the USA for all art and design programs and profiles of four colleges that offer fashion programs. Chapter 3 discusses methodology and the survey instrument used to collect data. Chapter 4 discusses the results of the survey and Chapter 5 presents conclusions and recommendations drawn from data findings.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Educational leadership, administration, and policy; Fashion designers -- Education (Higher); Fashion merchandising -- Education; Art schools -- Accreditation

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Green, Joseph D.;