The Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Antwerp offers a broad spectrum of undergraduate and postgraduate courses in applied fine arts and design. Its fashion programme entered the international spotlight following the breakthrough of the Antwerp Six designers in the 1980s. Admission is competitive and applicants must prove a basic proficiency in spoken and written Dutch to be accepted to the course. Fashion students mix with peers in other programmes and are required to take weekly classes in life drawing, art history, art philosophy and research methods. Both undergraduate and graduate students ranked the schools course offerings in digital innovation, business, marketing, and sustainability poorly. Other noted areas for improvement included the provision and use of technology and careers services. According to alumni and student comments, the school challenges students to think independently and achieve growth without being over guided.
"It's a very intense and personal programme. The teachers and the programme are quite specific and you need to be able to find how you fit in, but it's very rewarding. The experience is really moulded to you and you start to learn so much about who you are as a designer."
"I cannot imagine that I would have learned the things I learned here anywhere else. Sometimes we feel left alone, but we grow so much when we achieve the results by ourselves. We are taught to solve problems on our own and to be independent designers with strong personalities."
"Freedom of design and creation. Very hard working speed. Tight schedule. Yet the best environment to develop the skills and talents."
"Might not have the best facilities or business courses but it is truly an amazing school, extremely creative, pushes the students to the best of their abilities. Very inspiring environment and amazing people. Also extremely demanding, teaches you hard work, discipline, independence, organisational skills and to stand up for your work."
"It's a tough school, you have to figure out a lot on your own, but that is in fact what makes you a stronger student/designer. Teachers are not always there to be nice and sometimes it will make you question why you actually chose to study there - so motivation is key."
"First and foremost, The Academy provides a space to develop creatively very freely. Very little is handed to you, but expectations are very high. In my experience, you are pushed enormously, which makes you very self-sufficient, engaged. Initiative is crucial. I feel that it makes you really question what you want from your work and how you want to develop it."
Full Undergraduate, Fashion Ranking
The Business of Fashion's global fashion school rankings aim to provide an objective assessment of the top undergraduate and graduate fashion programmes around the world.