The capital cities of the fashion world are, for the most part, predictable: London, New York, Tokyo, etc. The Midwest is not usually represented on the list.

But Columbia, through Stephens College, has staked a spot among these big cities on the first Business of Fashion fashion school rankings. BoF, a well-respected online news site for the fashion industry, named Stephens the 13th best fashion school in the world.

In the rankings, Stephens is the fourth-highest rated school in the U.S., and the six other American schools on the list are all in the eastern time zone. Three are in New York; two are in Philadelphia. BoF also named Stephens first in long-term value and fifth in learning experience.

Stephens’ recognition comes on the heels of their acceptance, this summer, into the Council of Fashion Designers of America. The school was the first women’s college to be affiliated with the group, and their relationship opens doors to the council’s network of industry leaders.

“Things like this are going to increase our opportunities for recognition, especially in areas that may not think of Missouri as a fashion Mecca,” said Janese Silvey, a story specialist at Stephens. “When the CFDA comes and fashion professionals come and visit, they walk away amazed. They can’t believe this is happening in mid-Missouri.”

Stephens offers three different fashion programs for students: communication, design and marketing. “Even though we’re known for design,” Silvey said, “we have a lot of really strong fashion programs on the back end of the industry.” She added that the diversity helps Stephens appeal to industry professionals.

“The company in which we find ourselves in this list is truly staggering,” said Monica McMurry, dean of the School of Design. “We know we have a strong, industry-focused fashion program here at Stephens, and it’s wonderful to be acknowledged and recognized by such a prestigious entity.”

Stephens’ fashion programs enroll 133 students. The school has also landed on’s list of the top 50 fashion schools in the world.






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