Apparel Design

Undergraduate

  • BFA | 4-year program

    Placing high value on the importance of creative individuality, Apparel Design professors assign a broad range of studio projects aimed at helping students to develop distinctive voices as creative professionals. Visits to New York’s fashion district, along with required internships and competition opportunities, allow for important exposure to the industry.

  • Inspiring Community

    As a close-knit group of approximately 40 undergraduates, Apparel majors benefit from regular interaction with alumni and other visiting critics and design professionals. Each spring the best work created during the year is presented to the public in a professional runway show. For students this annual event is preceded by months of conceptual development, experimentation, meticulous assembly and precise fittings. The work shown in each year’s Collection show is juried by a panel of guest critics – professional designers who carefully review and discuss the work together, give students critical feedback and select the best garments for the runway show.

  • Learning Environment

    Apparel Design majors work in well-equipped studios on a single floor of the same building. The open studio environment, coupled with ongoing feedback from faculty mentors and a ready exchange of ideas with peers, fosters a collaborative and supportive environment for honing personal expression through the creation of one-of-a-kind works of wearable art.

  • Curriculum

    During sophomore year, students begin a series of technical classes that proceed from basic to advanced pattern drafting, draping and construction, and make use of computers as tools for designing and rendering apparel. Sophomores design and produce textiles-collaborative print projects and respond to the Re-Innovatives challenge to construct a wearable piece out of recycled materials other than fabric. Juniors focus on designing and making men’s or women’s tailored jackets, cut/sew knitwear projects and/or costumes designed for members of a local performing arts group.

    Foundation Studies

    • Fall
    • Drawing I
    • Design I
    • Spatial Dynamics I
    • Liberal Arts courses
    • Wintersession
    • Wintersession
    • Non-major studio elective
    • Spring
    • Drawing II
    • Design II
    • Spatial Dynamics II
    • Liberal Arts courses

    Sophomore

    • Fall
    • Sophomore Intro to Apparel Studio
    • Sophomore Design/Draw
    • Liberal Arts elective
    • Wintersession
    • Open elective
    • Spring
    • Sophomore Apparel Studio
    • Sophomore Design/Draw/CAD
    • Liberal Arts elective
     

    Junior

    • Fall
    • Junior Machine Knitwear Studio
    • Junior Cut and Sew Studio
    • Junior Design/Draw/CAD
    • Liberal Arts elective
    • Wintersession
    • Open elective
    • Spring
    • Junior Tailoring Studio
    • Junior Design/Draw/CAD
    • Liberal Arts elective 

    Senior

    • Fall
    • Senior collection development
    • Liberal Arts elective
    • Wintersession
    • Professional internship
    • Spring
    • Senior collection completion
    • Liberal Arts elective
     

  • Senior Thesis Project

    In the final year, seniors design and create a coat collection and intern at a design house in New York. Primary emphasis is placed on a senior thesis collection – a unified body of work that expresses a personal design sensibility and showcases professional-grade conceptual and technical skills.

  • Application Requirements

    1. application form + fee
    2. official academic transcripts
    3. test scores: SAT or ACT and TOEFL or IELTS if English is not your first language
    4. portfolio of work 12–20 examples
    5. drawings 2 RISD-assigned samples
    6. writing samples 2 RISD-assigned pieces
    7. optional: letters of recommendation 1–3 suggested

    All freshman applicants apply to RISD as opposed to a specific department and begin with a required year of Foundation Studies. Students select a major midway through the first year but don’t begin those programs until sophomore year.

    For more information or to begin the application process, visit the Apply page.