Fashion is becoming increasingly digital.

The fashion industry needs communication managers that...

  • master digital trends.
  • are aware of the long-term socio-cultural processes that shape fashion.
  • understand how fashion's ethical dimension and major sustainability challenges impact society.

Would you like to acquire...

  • communication skills as applied specifically to the fashion industry?
  • the cutting edge tools to interact in a digital business environment?
  • the cultural sensitivity to communicate in a globalized market?

Be part of the first international Master of Science in Digital Fashion Communication that is being developed as a Double Degree by USI – ­Università della Svizzera italiana in collaboration with Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris, France).

Why should you do this Master?

  1. MSc in Digital Fashion Communication is a specialization for the present & future: MSc in Digital Fashion Communication is the first digital fashion communication master of its kind in the world. It has been created to fill the existing digital skills gap in fashion business education and to meet the increasing demand for highly trained digital fashion marketers. Don’t take our word for it, look at the numbers.

  2. Study fashion in-depth: In this master, fashion is taken seriously and students are given the opportunity to deepen their understanding of the long-term socio-cultural processes that shape fashion and drive its impact on society. Several courses in the master focus on this key aspect: linking fashion with culture and heritage.

  3. USI is a world-renowned centre of digital communication research: With its Institute of Communication Technologies, USI is at the forefront of the digital communication revolution, researching its impact onto specific sectors like Education, Tourism, and Cultural Heritage.

  4. Employability records: Among the reasons why MSc in Digital Fashion Communication is being launched, is the fact that fashion companies are among the top employers of USI grads. In this master, students will be constantly put in contact with industry professionals through guest lectures, company visits, internship opportunities, and study tours to France, Spain and Italy.

  5. Be part of a Double Master's Degree: Students will spend three semesters (I, II, and IV) at USI, Switzerland’s most international university, and a semester (III) abroad in Paris (France) at Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. Students will also have the opportunity to stay in Paris for their fourth semester. Such an international experience will give them the edge of having direct contact with the French, Italian and Swiss cultures. The French and Italian cultures that created fashion as-we-know-it, and the Swiss culture that promotes and embodies excellence and innovation.

  6. Ticino, a fashion hub: Ticino is the canton or territorial district in which Lugano is located. Since the 1980s, Ticino has been attracting a large number of international fashion groups because of its strategic position between Milan, one of the fashion capitals of the world, and Zürich, the Swiss innovation centre. There are currently more than 70 fashion companies established in Ticino.

What is Digital Fashion Communication?

Digital fashion communication is the intersection of fashion and information & communication technologies (ICTs). It is the aspect of communication sciences that studies how fashion is communicated in the digital or online environment, in connection with the traditional – and still highly relevant – offline media channels.

Industry professionals, media players and consumers use digital communication and marketing on a daily basis. As a result, consumer’s tastes (what they consider IN or OUT) and people's customs are increasingly being influenced by company-driven and user-generated online contents.

Want a more concrete definition? Everything or anything that has to do with websites, mobile apps, digital marketing, e-Commerce, SEO, usability, web analytics, augmented and virtual reality, social media, digital tools in the physical shops... in the fashion domain.

We’re talking here about the communication of the future... for fashion.

Why is it so important?

Digital fashion communication studies are needed in a society in which fashion and e-Commerce are in increasing demand, and there is only a limited number of professionals that have the knowledge and skills necessary to successfully interact in this dynamic digital environment.

  • Online shopping is trending! According to the NetComm Suisse Observatory's Swiss e-Commerce & Digital Consumer Behavior 2017 Report produced by ContactLab, “clothing and fashion items” was the top product category for Swiss shoppers in 2017 with consumers spending on average 654 CHF over the course of the year. Yet this is not just a Swiss thing but also a European and global phenomenon.
  • Fashion companies are going digital. According to The State of Fashion 2018 Report by McKinsey and the Business of Fashion, 60% of fashion executives say that they will invest in omnichannel integration, e-Commerce and digital marketing in 2018.
  • Digital Fashion Communication professionals are in demand. In a recent interview (July 2017) Monica Valseschini, VP of human resources at VF International, which owns the iconic brands Vans, The North Face and Timberland and is established in Ticino, Switzerland, stated that: “As we expand our investment in the digital area, we are also coherently investing in talent acquisition into this field.” This is not the only company doing so. We analyzed the digital fashion jobs posted on LinkedIn for EU and Switzerland in the period from January to March 2017 and saw that there were over 1’427 open positions in 18 countries across Europe. Check out the latest results of our ongoing digital fashion competences research.

Structure & Content

The MSc in Digital Fashion Communication (DFC) aims at preparing select students to pursue their careers in the fashion industry as specialists in digital communication.

The master is a Double Master's Degree that is being developed by USI - Università della Svizzera italiana in collaboration with Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne and is entirely given in English. This two-year programme (120 ECTS) is taught by renowned faculty from both institutions as well as by a large number of guest lecturers and professionals of the sector who will share their experiences.

Semester in Paris 1

In their third semester, students will live and study full-time in English at the prestigious Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. This semester will be a full immersion in the world of fashion. Students will deepen their understanding of the long-term socio-cultural processes that shape fashion and drive its impact on society. They will be exposed to the fashion industry through lectures, company visits, and by experiencing Paris Fashion Week, among other activities.

Students will have the possibility to remain in Paris also for the fourth semester.

During their period of choice (one semester or one year) at Paris, students have the opportunity to take elective courses, complete their required internship, and/or work on their master thesis.

Internship and Master Thesis

In addition to providing students with the knowledge necessary to excel in their future careers, this master requires students to apply that knowledge and gain hands-on experience through two main activities: an internship and a master thesis.


During the last year of the master, students are required to complete a two to four month internship (9 ECTS) in a company of their choice. Thanks to the mobility aspect this master, students will have the opportunity to create an international network of contacts that will help them in finding the internship opportunity they desire.

Master Thesis

During the 4th and last semester, students will be researching and writing their master thesis (18 ECTS) on a topic of their choice in the digital fashion communication domain.

The University Library of the Lugano Campus offers our students a rich collection of specialist literature available both online and offline. The Institute of Communication Technologies offers eye-tracking technologies and other useful tools for digital communication research.

More detailed information will be provided once enrolled in the master.

Study Tours

Mobility is an important part of the learning experience offered by this master. Students are not only required to study in two different locations and live two diverse cultures but are also encouraged to move and meet new realities in the fashion industry through a set of study tours (3 ECTS) that will be organised along the whole duration of the programme.

The Study Tours are field trips, which will serve as foundational insights into the fashion and luxury industry. Students will prepare for the Study Tours by acquiring the necessary background knowledge about the industry and its history, with a focus on the district or districts to be visited.

Destinations will be some of Switzerland, Italy, Spain and France's fashion historical districts and industry hubs. The tours will include visits to factories, ateliers, museums, company headquarters, as wells as case history presentations delivered by managers and industry experts.

Travel and subsistence costs of Study Tours will have to be covered by students.


The MSc in Digital Fashion Communication is taught by a highly specialized and international faculty from Università della Svizzera italiana and Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, as well as visiting professors from ISEM Fashion Business School and other institutions.

Career Prospects

Graduating from this Master gives students:

  • a strong foundation in communication skills as applied specifically to the fashion industry: communication design and strategy, branding, content development, information management and retrieval.
  • an in-depth understanding of the creation of fashion: the social history of fashion and culture, sustainability, and the fashion industry from a global perspective.
  • the cutting edge tools to effectively and profitably interact in a digital business environment: usability and web analytics, digital marketing, social media communication, e-Commerce and cybersecurity.

An addition to this, students will acquire the cultural sensitivity needed to effectively communicate in a globalized market, by experiencing the French, Italian and Swiss culture in their day to day activities. They also have the opportunity to learn or strengthen their knowledge of the Italian and French languages, which are of great importance in the fashion world.

Professional opportunities for graduates are related to omnichannel communication management and strategy for the fashion industry in any type of company, from small start-ups to large international corporations. Graduates are prepared to work in functions like digital and social media marketing, brand development, data and e-Commerce management, advertising and PR support, and CSR coordination.

Even if the master focuses on fashion communication, graduates might work in related experience-economy industries, like luxury and tourism.


Academic Requirements

The formal requirement for admission to the MSc in Digital Fashion Communication is a Bachelor's degree in Social Sciences, Communication Sciences, Business Administration, Fashion, Art, Literature, Tourism, or in similar domains, granted by a recognized university.

To ensure the optimal ratio between learners and the faculty, the places offered are limited; therefore the selection can be subject to interviews and can be effected on the basis of the academic results.

Candidates with a Bachelor's degree from a University of Applied sciences may be admitted with a study debt of 30-60 extra ECTS to be earned:

  • with Bachelor's courses at USI which can be attended during the Master studies (please note that bachelor's course at USI are taught in Italian)
  • with Bachelor's courses at another recognised University prior to starting the Master studies. The university and list of courses to attend have to be agreed with the Director of the Master.

Language Requirements

Admission to English-language graduate-level (Master) programmes at USI requires a good command of the English idiom. Non-English native speakers applying for such programmes, or whose previous degree was obtained in another language, are required to provide an internationally acknowledged language certificate equal to the B2 level, as defined by the Common European Framework of Reference for language learning (CEFR), or equivalent (e.g. TOEFL, IELTS, etc.).

The B2 level on the CEFR corresponds to the following scores in internationally acknowledge exams:

TOEFL Computer-based: 183
Internet-based: 65
Paper-based: 513
Cambridge English FCE (First Certificate English)
TOEIC Listening & Reading: 785
Speaking: 150
Writing: 160

Students admitted under the above-mentioned condition (with the exception of the Master in Cognitive Psychology in Health Communication) must achieve a C1 competence in English within the maximum time required to obtain the Master's degree.

The level can be certified either by attending a language course offered at USI during the Fall and Spring semester, and by taking the final exam, or by providing an internationally acknowledged language certificate*.

*The C1 level on the CEFR corresponds to the following scores in internationally acknowledge exams:

TOEFL Internet-based: 100
Cambridge English CAE (Advanced certificate), grade C or above
BEC (Business English), grade C or above
TOEIC Listening & Reading: 945
Speaking: 180
Writing: 180

Italian and French

The MSc in Digital Fashion Communication is taught completely in English. But since Lugano is located in the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland, students might be interested in acquiring the basics in Italian, in order to be able to get around in everyday life, or in preparation for their semester (or year) in Paris, would also like to learn or better their French.

USI offers courses in French, English, Italian and German free of charge for Bachelor/Master students, PhD students, and academic and administrative staff.

For students, these courses are not part of the curriculum but are intended to improve their command of a language.

Fees and grants

Tuition fees for the Master's degrees amount to CHF 4,000 per semester. Applicants whose official residence was in Switzerland (including Liechtenstein and Campione d'Italia, under certain conditions) at the time of the final high school exam (Maturità) pay a reduced semester fee of CHF 2,000.

Tuition fees are payable at the beginning of each term, by the deadline indicated on the invoice; fee payment is an essential condition for matriculating or renewing one's enrolment.


For the academic year 2017/2018, the Foundation for the Lugano Faculties of the Università della Svizzera italiana will award a total of 60 one-off study grants of the amount of CHF 4'000 each. The merit-based grants are given to the students admitted to the first year of a USI Master programme starting in September 2017.

Other study grants are available.

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Last updated January 31, 2019
This course is Campus based
Start Date
4 semesters
16,000 CHF
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April 30 2018 for students who need a visa; June 30, 2018 for other students.
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