College for Creative Studies

When celebrities walk the red carpet, no one ever asks Where’d you get those shoes? Who designed that bag? Nice wallet — who’s it by? The real question is, how are you going to change all that?

Fewer than a half dozen schools in the United States focus on accessories design and only one in the Midwest: College for Creative Studies. The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Accessories Design at CCS gives you head-to-toe preparation in accessories design — from your first bright idea through design and handwork to product manufacturing and distribution. You’ll learn how to predict trends, market your designs and manage a fashion brand from handbags and small leather goods to footwear and accessories hardware.

Developed in collaboration with Detroit-based company Shinola, offers unparalleled opportunities for real-world experience, including sponsored project studios and access to industry experts.

What sets CCS apart?

The CCS Fashion Accessories Design program is the first and only of its kind in the Midwest. The curriculum will prepare graduates to excel in all aspects of fashion accessories design from initial concept and design to final product manufacturing and distribution. In addition to a strong focus on creativity and design excellence, the program will cover topics such as trend forecasting and market research, fabrication techniques from handwork to large-scale manufacturing, supply chain management, branding, marketing, and merchandising.

The CCS Fashion Accessories Design program is supported by an Advisory Council that represents a broad cross-section of the fashion accessories industry and leading brands, whose members include Ashley Olsen, Dualstar Entertainment Group; Francesca Amfitheatrof,Designer; Linda Dresner, LINDA DRESNER; Catherine Forbes, The Forbes Company / Somerset Collection; Jen Guarino, Shinola; Tom Kartsotis, Shinola; Sara Kozlowski, Council of Fashion Designers of America; Richard Lambertson, Shinola; Lauren Bush Lauren, Feed Projects and Lauren Pierce Atelier; Trish O'Callaghan, Shinola; Lisa Smilor, Council of Fashion Designers of America; John Varvatos, Nicole Eisenberg, Community Leader.

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Accessories Design -  Areas of Study

Leather goods
Accessories hardware (i.e., buckles, hooks, appliques, etc.)

Representative Career Choices
Handbag Designer
Footwear Designer
Leather Goods Designer
Soft Goods Designer
Lead Patternmaker
Trend Forecaster
Trend Analyst
Product Researcher
Product Merchandiser
Color and Materials Specialist

Course Leader

Aki Choklat brings a wealth of experience in both industry and education to lead CCS’s Fashion Accessories Design program. He has held numerous positions with top-tier, international fashion labels, such as designing a capsule footwear collection for London-based menswear Diverso and consulted with numerous brands, such as Finnish footwear heritage brand Lahtiset. In addition, he directs his own London-based label of shoes, handbags and accessories, including the first bag collection to allow wireless communication between the bag and smartphones via a Near Field Communication microscopic tag. He helped establish and lead the footwear and accessories master program at Polimoda, Italy’s leading fashion school with Ferruccio Ferragamo at the helm, and has taught at the London College of Fashion and De Montfort University. Choklat is also a celebrated author of many design books, one of which - “Footwear Design” - is considered the authority on shoe design.

Life in Detriot 

Detroit is building its reputation as a global center for innovation, and CCS is right in the middle of it. Located in the heart of Detroit's Innovation District, CCS students have the ability to engage in the creative community that encompasses campus. It seems that every day CCS learns about our alumni involved in starting new galleries, art programs, collectives, businesses and initiatives.

Creative entrepreneurship is not only welcomed in Detroit, it's fostered. There are more than 50 programs within our city that were developed to nurture startups. These programs offer assistance to new business owners as they navigate the sometimes intimidating world of business ownership.

The community of artists and designers in Detroit is growing at a historically rapid rate. There are many factors driving this momentum including affordable living and studio spaces, diverse cultural events, an increase in employment opportunities for creatives and a tight-knit community of established artists that offers support, advice and insight into our multifaceted city.

Detroit is building its reputation as a hotbed for aspiring artists and designers. The College for Creative Studies (CCS) is right in the middle of all of this. Located in midtown Detroit, CCS students have the ability to engage in the creative community that literally encompasses the campus. It seems like every day CCS is learning about new galleries, art programs, collectives and initiatives that our alumni are starting.