The shadow of a model wearing black high heels on a runway.

  • While NYU doesn’t offer a fashion degree program, there are many opportunities to learn about it and bolster your fashion-focused skills.
  • Fashion-focused courses are held all over NYU’s global network, from Paris to Shanghai.
  • Many of these classes focus on fashion’s cultural, historical, and/or business significance.

Are you interested in studying fashion? If so, NYU offers educational and stylish courses on a variety of related topics. Whether you want to learn more about sustainable materials or explore the history of clothing trends, you can follow your passion for fashion in numerous ways. While there are no fashion-specific degree programs, you can immerse yourself in unique learning opportunities across the globe. All in all, NYU’s fashion-forward classes, taught by experts in the field, offer an impactful way to embark on your fashionable journey.

Focus on the Future of Fashion in Shanghai

Professor Marcela Godoy’s Interactive Fashion course at NYU Shanghai invites students to merge fashion and technology. Professor Godoy believes that people have used clothes throughout history to express their identity and address complex issues related to class, race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality. In her class students explore how computational design, digital fabrication, and electronics contribute to this tradition through new, innovative wearables that explore the limits of the body.

A model standing in white gown fashioned with electronics.
Student design from Professor Marcela Godoy's Interactive Fashion course at NYU Shanghai. Photo by Ken Wu.
A model standing in reflective silver gown fashioned with tubes of liquid.
Student design from Professor Marcela Godoy's Interactive Fashion course at NYU Shanghai. Photo by Ken Wu.

“What makes this course unique is that it’s not a course only about fashion. Rather, students learn digital fabrication techniques and use electronics to propose the future of fashion,” explains Professor Godoy. “Also, they develop a critical understanding of sustainability, fashion, and other cultural issues.”

Jiachen “Johnny” Zhou, an Interactive Media Arts major, has always been interested in creating sustainable, functional wearable devices. He appreciated the course’s emphasis on the intersection of fashion theory and technology, especially through robotics and digital design. As a result, he dove deeper into his interests.

“I do think there is a more sustainable and interactive way to design the ordinary outfit,” says Johnny. “I wanted to learn how to integrate technology and untraditional materials into existing fashion. Going forward, this will change how we convey information or identity through the medium of clothes. The course provided me with a platform to practice and reflect on my approach to designing physical, wearable devices.”

Learn the Basics of Fashion Photography in Florence

Prior to taking Professor Alessandra Capodacqua’s Introduction to Fashion Photography class at NYU Florence, Francesca DiMiceli didn’t have any experience with the fashion industry. Francesca is a Photography and Imaging major at the NYU Tisch School of the Arts. After college, she hopes to work in the music industry, either in marketing or concert photography. However, spending a semester focusing on fashion photography allowed her to explore new techniques to use throughout her career.

A spotlighted model stands with their arms extended above their head and looks down.
Photography by Francesca DiMiceli, Photography and Imaging major at NYU Tisch School of the Arts
A model leans on the back of white chair looking up. Wallpaper is made of black and white newspaper clippings to match the dress the model is wearing.
Photography by Francesca DiMiceli, Photography and Imaging major at NYU Tisch School of the Arts

“I got to take photos in a studio setting and gained a better understanding of lighting and posing models,” says Francesca. “The biggest lesson I learned was how to make a model comfortable in front of the camera. Additionally, I learned how to make my photographs look as clean as possible. Ultimately, the class allowed me to get out of my comfort zone and learn a lot of new skills.”

Professor Capodacqua has a lifelong love of fashion, an interest she shared with her mother. In fact, she spent years working as a photographer in Italy’s electrifying fashion scene. Today, she brings that experience into the classroom. “My students combine this artistic medium with an exploration of cultural concepts related to fashion and self-expression,” she explains.

In addition to Professor Capodacqua’s class at NYU Florence, the course is also offered at NYU Paris. “When a student comes to study for a semester or a year in a new country, it means they’re exposed to a new culture, a new language, a new way of life,” says Professor Capodacqua. “It opens them to a new world, with all its difficulties and obstacles. So it represents an important growth opportunity, a change of perspective. And fashion photography fits into this framework.”

Here’s some insight into a few more of the many fashion-forward courses offered at NYU:

Fashion and Power (New York City and Paris)

This class, offered on NYU’s campus in New York City and at NYU Paris, examines fashion as a form of communication and culture. Students consider how one’s attire has been valued through history, popular culture, and media. Specifically, they focus on its relationship between visual self-presentation and power.

Students in the Fashion and Power class sitting in the auditorium at the NYU academic center in Paris.

West African Fashion: Concepts, History, and Utility (Accra)

Offered at NYU Accra, West African Fashion: Concepts, History, and Utility provides a window into how West Africa’s fashion industry incorporates African culture, spirituality, place, and the need for self-expression. The class interrogates the impact of conquest, the trans-Saharan trade, and other relevant contemporary factors, such as globalization and social media.

Global Fashion Industry (London, Florence, and Shanghai)

Aptly offered at NYU London, NYU Florence, and NYU Shanghai, Global Fashion Industry gives students a deep understanding of each city’s unique fashion scene. These courses examine various aspects of the industry, including history and theory. Additionally, they investigate critical concepts such as social identity, consumer culture, media, and globalization.

Next Gen Fashion (New York City)

Offered through NYU Stern School of Business, Next Gen Fashion focuses on the ins and outs of the fashion industry. First, students connect with industry experts and take advantage of New York City’s position at the center of this dynamic sector. Then, they combine the theory learned in the classroom with the reality of running world-renowned fashion businesses.

Kelly McHugh-Stewart is a Senior Writer and Strategist for NYU’s University Relations and Public Affairs Office of Marketing Communications, where she seeks out and enjoys telling stories that help people understand the world through a new lens. Kelly holds an MFA in Creative Writing from The New School and a BA in Journalism and Mass Communications from Kansas State University. Her reporting and personal essays have appeared in the New York Times, The Washington Post, Reader’s Digest, CNN Opinion, and Sports Illustrated, among others.