What's different about Mount Mary's Fashion Design Program?

What's different about Mount Mary's Fashion Design Program?

Mount Mary University’s fashion bachelor’s degree program was the first in the nation to start a four-year fashion degree program. When you're a fashion design student, you work directly with experienced faculty who have connections with prominent brands such as Harley-Davidson, Fashion Angels, Kohl's, Jockey, Lands' End. With small class sizes, you get the attention and mentorship all fashion greats deserve.

Our notable fashion design alumnae include Donna Ricco '81, who designed a dress worn by First Lady Michelle Obama on “The View;” Karen Davidson '81, who started the branded line of Harley-Davidson MOTORCLOTHES and Eliza Audley '91, who designed athletic apparel worn by professional tennis player Lisa Raymond and by other tennis stars during the 2012 London Olympics.

Student Fashion Show

Each year Fashion Design and Merchandise Management majors collaborate to plan, produce and manage a professional caliber fashion show featuring student modeling the work of design students. This show, is a part of a larger celebration of the School of Arts and Design which showcases work of all the School departments with an exhibit of art and design student achievement. Branded as CREO, this annual tradition offers many learning opportunities and draws over 1000 guests.

 Experience Fashion in New York City and Paris

Experience Fashion in New York City and Paris

Each year fashion students travel to either New York City or Paris for a behind-the-scenes look at the fashion industry and to explore social justice issues related to fashion and textiles. Destinations alternate each year. These unique study experiences typically occur during winter break.

In New York City visit textile and apparel museums, fabric fairs, forecasting services, design studios, apparel show rooms and influential shopping districts.

In Paris take classes in apparel and accessory design and trend analysis through a partnership between Mount Mary faculty and the Paris American Academy. Also meet European designers, couture drapers, accessory designers, costume historians and trend forecasters, as well as help with a runway fashion show.

Fashion Archive

Our Fashion Archives with over 10,000 items showcases 20th century designers, which students and faculty regularly access for design inspiration, technical analysis and historical research.

Ranging from the 18th century to present day, the Archive exhibits an array of women's couture and ready-to-wear garments from notable women with Wisconsin ties to famous designers such as Chanel, Patou, Adrian, Irene, Charles James, Madame Gres, and Karl Lagerfeld.

Fashion Archive

Alumnae in action

Donna Ricco '81 sold her first dress to a small boutique and turned her NYC apartment into a studio. It was only a matter of time before her designs were carried by practically every major store in every city across the United States.

Learn more about Mount Mary's Fashion Design Degree

Mount Mary University’s fashion design major blends the excitement of change, challenges of new technology and skill in design and manufacturing to create innovate and functional solutions. Courses cover topics such as sewing techniques, pattern construction, fashion drawing, textiles and computer graphics. With small class sizes, you get the most of your education because you're surrounded by a close-knit group of women who design and help you every step of the way.

Through projects and internships, you'll have opportunity to work with prominent fashion brands in Milwaukee and Wisconsin including Harley-Davidson, Fashion Angels, Kohl’s, Jockey and Lands’ End.

Latest Industry Technology in the Classroom & Labs

As a fashion design major, you’ll have access to industry technology throughout your entire four years, including on evenings and weekends, at Mount Mary. The fashion labs are equipped with:

  • Wacom’s most advanced CINTIQ 22HD Pen Display, an interactive pen display
  • The latest fashion design software: Opitex patternmaking software for pattern drafting, grading and marker making, and Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator

Entrepreneurship Minor

The entrepreneurship minor is designed for non-business majors who wish to learn how to start a business in their chosen field. The minor is helpful if you want to start your own fashion design business. The minor requires a minimum of 18 credits. Consult the Undergraduate Bulletin (PDF) for more details on requirements and courses for this minor.

Fashion Certificate Requirements

Post-baccalaureate certificates are available in fashion design and fashion merchandise management. Certificate programs are open to women who already hold a bachelor’s degree. You will work directly with the fashion program chairperson to design a certificate curriculum that matches your experience and meet your long-term career goals. Learn more about fashion post-baccalaureate certificate requirements.


The School of Arts and Sciences at Mount Mary is rich with talented faculty who care about their students.


Mount Mary offers a four-year Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Design degree. The curriculum focuses on apparel construction, trend forecasting, conceptual design, fashion illustration and technical drawing, patternmaking, and business principles of the fashion industry. As part of the program, you will design and create a collection of ready-to-wear apparel.

A minimum of 75 credits is required in fashion design. All fashion majors are required to complete an internship and the university’s core curriculum requirements. Complete degree requirements and a listing of courses are available in the Undergraduate Bulletin (PDF).

Some academic programs require a GPA higher than what is required for general admission to Mount Mary University. Contact your admission counselor for more information.

Mount Mary fashion program graduates have found exciting and challenging positions in creative design, technical design and product development with companies such as:

  • Bon Ton stores
  • Discovery World Center for Public Innovation
  • Donna Ricco
  • Fashion Angels Enterprises
  • Florence Eiseman
  • Harley-Davidson Motor Co.
  • Jockey International
  • Kohl’s Department Stores
  • Land’s End
  • Reliable of Milwaukee
  • Target Corporation


Get fashion industry experience during college

All fashion majors are required to complete an internship.

All students interested in completing an internship must fill out the Internship Agreement/Request Form to submit to the Registrar before registering for the internship.

Mount Mary fashion program graduates have found exciting and challenging positions in creative design, technical design and product development with companies such as:

Experiences outside the classroom for fashion design majors involve student, clubs and organizations on campus, as well as several networking and career-related activities. Contact the department for more information on these opportunities, (414) 930-3243.

Networking & Career-Related Activities

Fashion design students have many opportunities to show off their skills and designs. Students also have competed in regional, national and international competitions such as the International Textiles and Apparel Association annual conference, Fashion Group International - Chicago. Students have won an impressive array of awards and been featured in professional publications.

Additionally, you can participate in workshops by internationally known designers or clothing companies who visit campus. In the summer, you can volunteer to help with Fashion Academy for high school students.

CREO Student-Designer Fashion Show

Latin for "to make, create, produce," CREO is an annual celebration of creativity that showcases student work from Mount Mary fine art, fashion, graphic design, art therapy and interior design programs. CREO is forward-thinking and ever-developing. It's an opportunity for a cross-generational audience to experience a cross-disciplinary slice of Milwaukee's creative talent.

Fashion students design and construct clothing and coordinate all aspects of a live fashion show. The event attracts hundreds of visitors and fashion enthusiasts each year. Awards for outstanding designs in a variety of categories are given to student designers each year—with prizes ranging from cash to products from manufacturers and retailers. A professional jury selects the award recipients.

Fashion Association

The student Fashion Association promotes networking to create professional contacts and friendships among members. The group’s activities include rising money through closet sales, fundraisers to support middle and high school students to pursue fashion, notable speakers and a variety of social and service events. Past social activities have included craft making, bake sales, internship discussions and costume contests.

Contact any fashion faculty member to learn more about this club.

Contact us to hear from your Admission Counselor: