Placing high value on the importance of creative individuality, Apparel Design professors assign a broad range of studio projects intended to help students develop distinctive voices as creative professionals. Industry professionals provide sophomore, junior and senior students with valuable critique throughout the semester. Visits to New York’s fashion district, along with required internships and competition opportunities, allow for important exposure to the industry.
program equips students with the key technical, artistic and social attributes
to contribute to and positively impact creative industries. Graduates
are prepared to:
the key features of design thinking, including a strong working knowledge of
the various modes of researching and concept building, superior design sketching,
presentation and portfolio-building skills
design technologies and demonstrate proficiency in digital pattern cutting,
grading and CAD to a level required by Industry
design knowledge of sourcing, material analysis, tailoring and machine knitting
to initiate and develop the concept of a fashion collection
design practice to Industry standards through skills in pattern cutting, flat
pattern and 3D draping, garment construction and fitting
a design approach to master effective communication and presentation
methodologies, strategic planning and organizational skills
As a close-knit group of approximately 65 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.
Apparel Design majors work in well-equipped studios in a state-of-the-art, newly renovated 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.
Elise Petelier BFA 2013
Amanda Goss BFA 2012
Molly Ort BFA 2013
Hannah Soukup BFA 2013
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 a garment using exclusive Nicole Miller prints 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 as well as garments designed and created on the hand knitting machine.
In the final year, 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.
All freshman applicants apply to RISD as opposed to a specific department and begin with a required year of Experimental and 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.
Apparel DesignArchitectureCeramicsDigital + MediaExperimental and Foundation StudiesFilm/Animation/VideoFurniture DesignGlassGraphic DesignHistory of Art + Visual CultureHistory, Philosophy + the Social SciencesIllustrationIndustrial DesignInterior ArchitectureJewelry + MetalsmithingLandscape ArchitectureLiterary Arts + StudiesPaintingPhotographyPrintmakingSculptureTeaching + Learning in Art + DesignTextiles