This is the preliminary (or launch) version of the 2020-21 VCU Bulletin. This edition includes all programs and courses approved by the publication deadline; however we may receive notification of additional program approvals after the launch. The final edition and full PDF version will include these updates and will be available in August prior to the beginning of the fall semester.

Christopher Fink
Assistant professor and chair

The fashion design curriculum offers technical and design courses that provide skills required in the fashion industry. Individual designs are presented in two-dimensional form, developed and perfected through techniques used in the fashion industry, and then executed in final and three-dimensional form in fabrics appropriate to the design. A fashion industry internship is required.

Learning outcomes

Upon completing this program, students will know and know how to do the following:

  • Utilize problem-solving skills: Apply investigative and research skills in the completion of studio projects
  • Implement industry-standard computer technology.
  • Demonstrate professional visual and oral presentation skills
  • Understand the global nature of the fashion industry

Degree requirements for Fashion, Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) with fashion design concentration

General Education requirements

CourseTitleHours
University Core Education Curriculum
UNIV 111 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry I [View Image]
Focused Inquiry I3
UNIV 112 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry II [View Image]
Focused Inquiry II3
UNIV 200Inquiry and the Craft of Argument3
Approved humanities/fine arts3
Approved natural/physical sciences3-4
Approved quantitative literacy3-4
Approved social/behavioral sciences3-4
Additional general education requirements
General education electives9
Total Hours30-33

Collateral requirements

CourseTitleHours
Art Foundation Program
ARTF 131Drawing Studio3
ARTF 132Surface Research3
ARTF 133Space Research3
ARTF 134Time Studio3
ARTF 139Project Studio2
Art history
ARTF 115
ARTF 116
Art History Survey
and Art History Survey
6
Select one from:3
Twenty-first Century Fashion
Art history elective
Additional requirements
ENGL 215Reading Literature (satisfies University Core humanities/fine arts)--
MATH 131Introduction to Contemporary Mathematics (satisfies University Core quantitative literacy)--
UNIV 101Introduction to the University1
Total Hours24

Major requirements

CourseTitleHours
FASH 201Construction Techniques3
FASH 202Draping3
FASH 203
FASH 204
Patternmaking I
and Patternmaking II
6
FASH 205
FASH 206
Fashion Drawing I
and Fashion Drawing II
6
FASH 290Textiles for the Fashion Industry3
FASH 301Design I Studio: Draping (taken for two semesters)6
FASH 302Design I Studio: Tailoring (taken for two semesters)6
FASH 303Design Theory and Illustration I3
FASH 304Design Theory and Illustration II3
FASH 319Contemporary Fashion3
FASH 345Computers for Fashion Design: Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator3
FASH 401Design II Studio (taken for two semesters)6
FASH 402Design II Studio (taken for two semesters)6
FASH 404Design Theory and Illustration II (Portfolio)4
Total Hours61

Open electives

CourseTitleHours
Select six open elective credits at the 300 level or higher6

The minimum total of credit hours required for this degree is 121.

What follows is a sample plan that meets the prescribed requirements within a four-year course of study at VCU. Please contact your adviser before beginning course work toward a degree.

Freshman year
Fall semesterHours
ARTF 115Art History Survey3
ARTF 131Drawing Studio3
ARTF 132Surface Research3
ARTF 139Project Studio1
MATH 131Introduction to Contemporary Mathematics (satisfies University Core quantitative literacy)3
UNIV 101Introduction to the University1
UNIV 111 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry I [View Image]
Focused Inquiry I3
 Term Hours: 17
Spring semester
ARTF 116Art History Survey3
ARTF 133Space Research3
ARTF 134Time Studio3
ARTF 139Project Studio1
UNIV 112 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry II [View Image]
Focused Inquiry II3
Approved social/behavioral sciences course (University Core)3
 Term Hours: 16
Sophomore year
Fall semester
FASH 201Construction Techniques3
FASH 203Patternmaking I3
FASH 205Fashion Drawing I3
FASH 290Textiles for the Fashion Industry3
General education elective3
 Term Hours: 15
Spring semester
FASH 202Draping3
FASH 204Patternmaking II3
FASH 206Fashion Drawing II3
FASH 345Computers for Fashion Design: Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator3
UNIV 200Inquiry and the Craft of Argument (No longer a requirement.)3
 Term Hours: 15
Junior year
Fall semester
ENGL 215Reading Literature (satisfies University Core humanities/fine arts)3
FASH 301Design I Studio: Draping3
FASH 302Design I Studio: Tailoring3
FASH 303Design Theory and Illustration I3
FASH 319Contemporary Fashion3
 Term Hours: 15
Spring semester
FASH 301Design I Studio: Draping3
FASH 302Design I Studio: Tailoring3
FASH 304Design Theory and Illustration II3
General Education elective3
Select FASH 320 or Art History elective3
 Term Hours: 15
Senior year
Fall semester
FASH 401Design II Studio3
FASH 402Design II Studio3
Approved natural/physical science (University Core)3
Open electives6
 Term Hours: 15
Spring semester
FASH 401Design II Studio3
FASH 402Design II Studio3
FASH 404Design Theory and Illustration II (Portfolio)4
General education elective3
 Term Hours: 13
 Total Hours: 121

The minimum total of credit hours required for this degree is 121.

FASH 120. Introduction to the Fashion Industry. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Enrollment is restricted to fashion merchandising majors. This is a survey of the apparel industry to guide students to an understanding of the factors contributing to, forming and shaping the fashion industry. Additionally, students are introduced to the art, business and craft in developing and marketing fashion product emphasizing the role of the designer and the various stages of production.

FASH 145. Computers for Fashion I. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 2 lecture and 2 laboratory hours. 3 credits. Laptop computer required. Basic computer skills required. This course introduces students to contemporary technology with emphasis on basic computer graphics software used in the fashion industry today.

FASH 201. Construction Techniques. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 1 lecture and 4 studio hours. 3 credits. The basic principles involved in garment construction with emphasis on professional design-room practices in sewing, pressing and finishing of garments. Knowledge of basic sewing is advisable.

FASH 202. Draping. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 1 lecture and 4 studio hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: FASH 201. Basic principles of three-dimensional patternmaking by draping muslin on a dress form. Student will be required to purchase the specified dress form.

FASH 203. Patternmaking I. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 1 lecture and 4 studio hours. 3 credits. Introduction of basic principles of patternmaking, developing various styles from master patterns and creating designs to be constructed in muslin. Students also will draft a set of master patterns and learn to "true" the pattern to produce production-ready patterns.

FASH 204. Patternmaking II. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 1 lecture and 4 studio hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: FASH 203. Development of intermediate skills for patternmaking, of increasing complexity to be constructed in muslin. Students will draft a set of master patterns.

FASH 205. Fashion Drawing I. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 1 lecture and 4 studio hours. 3 credits. Introduction to the fashion figure working from models and photographs. Covers flat drawing techniques and fashion design theory. Explores different media and the use of color.

FASH 206. Fashion Drawing II. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 1 lecture and 4 studio hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: FASH 205. Further development of drawing the fashion figure and expanded exploration of media and materials.

FASH 210. Visual Merchandising. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Theory and practical application of visual merchandising techniques in the fashion industry. Development of design concepts, fixturing, layout and presentation for retail, manufacturing and special events. Use of computer-aided design.

FASH 245. Computers for Fashion II. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 2 lecture and 2 laboratory hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: FASH 145. Laptop computer required. Assumes basic computer skills. This course introduces advanced skills in technology by utilizing graphic, illustration and desktop publishing software as they are used in the fashion industry.

FASH 250. Concepts of Fashion Merchandising Environment. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Basic research techniques and analysis skills for evaluating contemporary fashion and apparel topics.

FASH 260. Survey of Luxury Fashion. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: FASH 120. Enrollment is restricted to fashion design and merchandising majors. Provides an overview of the luxury fashion industry. The class includes the history of the luxury fashion industry, as well as covering the forecasting, development, branding, marketing, buying, selling and counterfeiting of luxury fashion products. Students explore the luxury fashion industry through lectures, assignments and face-to-face exposure to suppliers, manufacturers and retailers in the luxury sector.

FASH 290. Textiles for the Fashion Industry. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. This course is designed to develop an understanding of the factors which influence the tactile behaviors of fabrics during garment design, manufacture and wear. Apparel fiber construction, finish and properties both natural and man-made will be analyzed.

FASH 301. Design I Studio: Draping. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 1 lecture and 4 studio hours. 3 credits. May be repeated for a maximum of six credits. Prerequisites: FASH 202 and FASH 204. A course that focuses on draped methods of garment design, reflecting current fashion emphasis.

FASH 302. Design I Studio: Tailoring. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 1 lecture and 4 studio hours. 3 credits. May be repeated for a maximum of six credits. Prerequisites: FASH 202 and FASH 204. A course that focuses on tailored methods of garment design, reflecting current fashion emphasis.

FASH 303. Design Theory and Illustration I. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 6 studio hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: FASH 206. Enrollment is restricted to fashion design majors. Students will gain understanding of creative approaches to designing and illustrating garments, from concept to finished illustration.

FASH 304. Design Theory and Illustration II. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 6 studio hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: FASH 303. Enrollment is restricted to fashion design majors. A continuation and expansion of the skills and theory in the prerequisite course. Students will refine creative approaches to designing and illustrating garments, from concept to finished illustration.

FASH 319. Contemporary Fashion. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: UNIV 200 or HONR 200. An in-depth study of fashion beginning at the Industrial Revolution and continuing to the present from a historical and socioeconomic point of view. Hands-on examination of vintage garments and field trips to museum collections.

FASH 320. Twenty-first Century Fashion. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: UNIV 200. Enrollment restricted to fashion students or those in the School of the Arts. This course explores the history of fashion starting in the 1980s and continues into the New Millennium. It explores trends, designers and movements that affect fashion.

FASH 330. The Business of Design. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. This course introduces basic global economics and general design business concepts such as the free enterprise system, legal forms of business and financial considerations. It also surveys business and management practices such as planning, decision-making, communication, global ethics, marketing, human resources, finance and entrepreneurial skills needed to open a design business. Crosslisted as: IDES 330/GDES 330.

FASH 340. Portfolio Development. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: FASH 145 or FASH 345. Enrollment is restricted to fashion merchandising majors and fashion merchandising minors. In this course, students will explore their personal values and professional goals to develop resources, which will enhance their ability to creatively display their fashion merchandising and marketing skills in the pursuit of meaningful and fulfilling fashion careers.

FASH 341. Merchandise Planning and Control. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Theory and mathematical application of the major elements of retail buying and merchandising. Discussion covers planning and control of inventory, profit analysis, merchandise pricing and purchase negotiation.

FASH 342. Retail Buying Simulation. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: FASH 341 and INFO 162. Practical application of retail buying in relation to the calculations for a six-month buying plan for a department within a department store. The simulation includes projection of sales, stock levels, markdowns, purchases, gross margins, markup, etc.

FASH 343. Fashion Forecasting. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Using basic principles to identify, track and analyze current trends, students will develop a fashion forecast. Demographic, economic, social and historical forces of behavior will be evaluated.

FASH 345. Computers for Fashion Design: Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 2 lecture and 2 laboratory hours. 3 credits. Laptop computer and basic computer skills required. Students will learn to conceptualize fashion design while gaining an understanding of graphic and illustration software through the utilization of the computer as a drawing and communication tool.

FASH 346. Fashion Website Development. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: FASH 145, FASH 245 or FASH 345. Enrollment is restricted to fashion merchandising and fashion design majors and fashion merchandising minors. A high-energy, fast-paced simulation, this course examines the fundamental concepts of fashion business website development, primarily related to fashion, branding and e-commerce. The class is a group simulation and includes planning, building, designing, executing, marketing, branding and maintaining a successful fashion e-commerce website. Groups work collaboratively, creatively and analytically to build the website from the ground up for a fictional clothing company, including product pages, look books and social media campaigns.

FASH 350. Fashion Promotion. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: junior standing. Through lecture and field experience, students are exposed to technical and creative aspects of fashion promotion and public relations. A variety of media are utilized. Students may be required to spend time outside the classroom on promotional activities.

FASH 360. Merchandising Luxury Fashion. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: FASH 120 and FASH 341. Enrollment is restricted to fashion merchandising majors and fashion merchandising minors. This course is an exploration of the merchandising of the luxury fashion sector, which includes the forecasting, product development, branding, marketing, buying, selling and counterfeiting of luxury products. Students explore the luxury fashion industry through lectures, assignments and face-to-face exposure to suppliers, manufacturers and retailers in the luxury sector.

FASH 370. Design History: 20th and 21st Centuries. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: ARTF 105-106. Study of the major theories and styles on communication arts, fashion and interior environments of the 20th and 21st centuries. Contemporary analysis of cultural conditions and the manner in which designers respond to those conditions. Crosslisted as: GDES 370/IDES 370.

FASH 380. Fashion Branding. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Students will understand the concept of fashion branding and the processes necessary to successfully develop or redevelop a fashion brand.

FASH 390. Historic and Ethnic Textiles. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: FASH 290 or IDES 446 or permission of instructor. An examination of the history of textile design and production around the world. Crosslisted as: INTL 390.

FASH 391. Fashion Workshop. 1-3 Hours.

Semester course; variable hours. 1-3 credits. May be repeated for a maximum total of 6 credits. A topical workshop offered in various areas of fashion not included in the regular curriculum. See the Schedule of Classes for specific topics to be offered each semester.

FASH 392. Exploring Textile Applications. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Corequisite: FASH 290. Enrollment is restricted to fashion merchandising and design majors and fashion merchandising minors. This course uses a tactile, exploratory, hands-on approach and dives into textiles and textile applications as they are used within the fashion industry. This workshop is designed to be an in-depth, lab-based supplement to the prerequisite. Students work collaboratively and independently with a wide range of textile materials to gain a deeper understanding of the technical properties and physical characteristics, such as hand and drape, of the raw materials, construction techniques and finishing applications most commonly used in the fashion industry.

FASH 401. Design II Studio. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 1 lecture and 4 studio hours. 3 credits. May be repeated. Prerequisites: completion of all sophomore studio courses and permission of instructor. A series of upper-level design classes for the advanced or skilled student, reflecting current topics in the fashion industry. See the Schedule of Classes for specific topics to be offered each semester.

FASH 402. Design II Studio. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 1 lecture and 4 studio hours. 3 credits. May be repeated. Enrollment is restricted to fashion design junior- and senior-level students who have completed all sophomore studio courses. A series of upper-level design classes for the advanced or skilled student, reflecting current topics in the fashion industry. See the Schedule of Classes for specific topics to be offered each semester.

FASH 403. Design Theory and Illustration I. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 1 lecture and 4 studio hours. 3 credits. May be repeated. Prerequisite: completion of all Department of Fashion sophomore studio courses. A series of design theory and illustration topics that address current fashion and support the Department of Fashion design courses. See the Schedule of Classes for specific topics to be offered each semester.

FASH 404. Design Theory and Illustration II (Portfolio). 4 Hours.

Semester course; 2 lecture and 4 studio hours. 4 credits. Enrollment is restricted to students who have completed all departmental sophomore and junior studio courses. Advanced design theory and illustration course that teaches students to develop senior portfolios of original design work, including other tools and presentation skills with mock interviews necessary in order to obtain jobs in the field of fashion design.

FASH 405. Middle of Broad Studio. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 6 studio hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: ARTF 131, ARTF 132, ARTF 133 and ARTF 134. Students will work in an interdisciplinary design environment on community-based design projects. The course is a designated service-learning course.

FASH 440. Line Development Studio. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: FASH 341 (for merchandising concentration); permission of the instructor (for fashion design concentration). Enrollment is restricted to fashion design and fashion merchandising majors and minors. Students will learn the fundamentals of producing a line of apparel from the design concept to the consumer. Students will collaborate and work on teams with emphasis placed on market research, specification sheets, costing, sourcing, production and sales, which will yield a three-dimensional item/object. Additionally, the course requires an online promotional component.

FASH 442. Advanced Show Production. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. A practical application of the production, planning and execution of a professionally staged and choreographed fashion show featuring the Department of Fashion Design and Merchandising students’ juried work.

FASH 443. Supervision and Management. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. The study of advanced leadership skills as they relate to the fashion industry. Topics include team building, negotiations, time and stress management, and communications. Emphasis placed on leadership and supervision skills across cultures.

FASH 445. Fashion Entrepreneurship. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: FASH 341 and FASH 342. Studies operational functions as related to the objective and decision-making procedures inherent in successful small-business retailing. Quantitative strategies will be applied as students develop a model plan for a retail business.

FASH 450. Line Development. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Enrollment restricted to fashion majors. Students will learn the fundamentals of producing a line of apparel, accessories or home fashions from conception to consumer. Emphasis will be placed on market research, specification sheets, costing, sourcing, production and sales.

FASH 451. Importing and Exporting Fashion. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Enrollment restricted to fashion majors. An overview and introduction to import/export theory, government regulations and global sourcing. Students will gain insight into the dynamics and cultures of the international fashion marketplace.

FASH 490. Fashion Seminar. 1 Hour.

Short course (5 weeks); 3 lecture hours. 1 credit. A professional seminar for senior fashion majors. Lectures will cover career opportunities and job preparation.

FASH 491. Studio Topics in Design. 1-3 Hours.

Semester course; 2-6 studio hours. 1-3 credits. May be repeated with a different topic for a maximum of six credits. Prerequisites: FASH 301 and FASH 302. An in-depth study of a selected topic in fashion not included in the curriculum. See the Schedule of Classes for specific topics to be offered each semester.

FASH 492. Independent Study in the Fashion Industry. 1-3 Hours.

Semester course; 1-3 credits. May be repeated. Prerequisite: junior or senior standing as a major in fashion design or fashion merchandising. Learning experiences should be designed with the supervising faculty member in the form of a contract between student and instructor; approval of department chair necessary prior to registration. This course will be limited to those students who have demonstrated intense commitment to a particular area of study within the fashion industry.

FASH 493. Fashion Internship. 1-6 Hours.

Semester course; variable hours. 1-6 credits. Repeatable in combinations for a maximum of 6 credits. Open to junior- and senior-level fashion majors only. An on-the-job practicum in which students apply the formal classroom and studio training they have received in their option (design, merchandising).