Masters in Fashion Management: The Fashionista MBA

Masters in Fashion Management: The Fashionista MBA  main image

If you have a passion for fashion, there’s no need to despair if your design skills are lacking, as the fashion industry is a global business with roles in almost all sectors from finance to marketing and everything in-between. The global apparel industry is worth around US$1.3 trillion globally according to Euromonitor – and this isn’t even taking into account the footwear, jewelry and accessories industries.

The traditional fashion capitals of the world are those with the most famous annual fashion weeks: Paris, New York, London and Milan. However, there are jobs in fashion all over the world, particularly as the luxury fashion appetites of Chinese and Asian consumers increases.

For those with a business background who want to pursue a career in the fashion industry, an MBA or masters concentrated on fashion management can be a fantastic stepping-stone to the higher levels of a fashion career.

Whilst fashion management isn’t as traditional an MBA specialization as, say, accounting & finance or entrepreneurship, there are a select number of institutions that offer it as a concentration (often alongside luxury brand management). There are also a few offerings for masters in fashion and/or luxury management, for those who want a shorter, more focused program.

Fashion management MBAs

NYU Stern School of Business

NYU Stern School of Business (pictured) offers a specific Fashion & Luxury MBA, a one-year program aimed at those pursuing careers in the fashion and/or luxury industry. The curriculum has four key components designed to deepen your foundation in business and expand your knowledge of fashion and luxury: the business core, the fashion and luxury core, Stern Solutions (experiential learning) and elective courses.

The Paris School of Business also offer an MBA program with a luxury & fashion management concentration. Modules include Fashion visual Merchandising, The Cosmetics Industry and Fashion Business & Principles of Design, among others. The school also offers an MSc in Luxury & Fashion Management, with both programs taking advantage of their Paris location with visiting speakers from top fashion houses.

London College of Fashion (part of the University of the Arts London), one of the world’s top fashion schools, offers an Executive MBA (Fashion) for managers and entrepreneurs who want to develop their business skills with a focus on fashion. The course combines intensive face-to-face blocks in London with online learning, offering the flexibility to fit your studies around your career.

MBAs with a specialization in luxury management are also a good choice for aspiring fashion executives as the course will inevitably cover the fashion industry. Read our guide to luxury management masters and MBAs here, including schools such as HEC Paris and ESSEC Business School.

Fashion management masters

SDA Bocconi

If you would prefer a shorter, more fashion-focused program, then a masters in fashion management might be for you. Unlike an MBA with a specialization in fashion, a masters will focus entirely on the fashion industry, which may be more useful for students at the start of their career paths.

The University of East London offers an MA in International Fashion Business, which can be taken as either a full or part-time masters. The program has an ethos of experiential learning, including a trip to Paris, projects in marketing run by famous agencies, and guest speakers including representatives from Burberry and Paul Smith.

Polimoda is a globally renowned fashion school, located in Florence, Italy. Polimoda offers a number of postgraduate courses, notably the 9-month Fashion Brand Management Master. Students can enjoy field trips to trade fairs, fashion shows, companies and corporate museums are, as well as internship opportunities.

One of the top business schools in Europe, Milan’s SDA Bocconi School of Management (pictured) offers the MAFED – Master in Fashion, Experience & Design Management. The one-year program is aimed at students who want a managerial role in a fashion, luxury or design company, and includes three study tours to Paris, Madrid and New York.

This article was first published in April 2012 and updated in October 2019

Written by Julia Gilmore

Julia is a writer for TopMBA.com, publishing articles for business students and graduates across the world. A native Londoner, she holds an MSc in Marketing Strategy & Innovation from Cass Business School and a BA in Classical Studies & English from Newcastle University.

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