Fashion Design BA(Hons)
Create original, responsible and inspiring fashion, making your unique footprint on the industry. On this innovative fashion design course, you’ll work in a supportive studio environment with experienced professionals who’ll nurture your growth towards becoming a future-facing designer.
|Course Duration||3/4 years|
You’ll hone your creative edge to cultivate your own design perspective. Working on both simulated and live briefs, you’ll learn how to effectively articulate your ideas. By challenging the status quo, you’ll develop innovative fashion concepts to remain at the forefront of an ever-changing global industry.
Raise your awareness through learning that’s driven by the environmental, ethical and moral challenges of our time.
- Take your place at the forefront of the industry, with access to resources from industrial, specialist sewing and knit machines, screen printing and a natural dye garden, to ultrasonic welding machines.
- Learn to use the latest digital design technologies, including CLO 3D.
- Thrive by working together on collaborative, challenge-based projects.
- Work on live briefs with leading brands like Fred Perry, Lou Dalton, O'Neill and New York-based Ryan Roche.
The Integrated Foundation Year pathway for this course is new for entry year 2022 and subject to validation.
As we follow the roadmap out of the pandemic, for the academic year 2021/22, the University expects to be able to deliver courses as they were designed. However, the institution must comply with any public health measures that are imposed by Government and may need to vary its delivery at short notice. Examples of amendments we have previously made to modules to comply with government guidance can be found here.
What our students do
Fashion & Textiles Institute hosts ‘Black cultural conversations’ guest lecture series
Students stun judges at Graduate Fashion Week
Collaboration Explores the Future of Retail
Outstanding Award for Fashion Design
Fashion Duo Featured in Vogue
What our graduates do
Our graduates have gone on to work with names like Calvin Klein, Margaret Howell, Victoria Beckham, Acne Studios, Burberry, Iris van Herpen, palmer//harding, Jigsaw, Whistles, H&M and Adidas.
In 2018 the course was presented with the British Fashion Council’s Outstanding Portfolio Award for our graduate portfolio presentations.
What you'll learn
Reflecting professional life from day one, this practical fashion degree teaches technical and creative design skills across womenswear and menswear – helping you stand out in the industry as you create original, responsible and inspiring fashion proposals. You'll gain a working knowledge of core fashion design skills such as research, analysis, translation, drawing, pattern cutting and construction, as well as innovation skills like risk-taking and experimenting with new technologies like CLO3D and ultrasonic construction techniques.
If you choose the Integrated Foundation Year pathway, you'll study five core modules in your foundation year. These are all designed to help you explore the foundational elements of your subject. You'll gain relevant technical skills, learn to experiment and take risks, develop an understanding of professional practice, have opportunities to work across disciplines and collaborate with other students on live project briefs.
By the time you progress into year one of your degree, you'll have a deeper knowledge of your subject, a clear understanding of your strengths, and develop a practical and technical skillset and the confidence to excel in your chosen subject.
You'll begin your foundation year by working collaboratively with others to explore themes of the future. You'll take risks, experiment through play and be supported to break through barriers.
You'll take subject-specific workshops and develop essential technical and practical skills in your area of study. You'll also enhance your analytical and organisational abilities.
You'll work with your peer group to think beyond discipline by addressing a societal or global issue. You'll then showcase your work to your peers and deliver and accompanying evaluation of your process.
You'll enhance your creative and practical skills in your subject specialism by responding to typical industry briefs, underpinned by focused research and experiments. You'll also gain industry insights through guest lectures and workshops.
You'll develop your unique identity in your specialism through the production of a self-initiated body of work. Your final project will be the bridge to your next year, fully supported by evaluative reviews and critical analysis of the work you have created.
The Integrated Foundation Year pathway for this course is new for entry year 2022 and subject to validation.
You'll develop your practice in our professionally equipped fashion studios. Supported by the academic and technical course teams, you'll learn essential skills like concept development, 2D and 3D design, fashion illustration and colour and material development. You'll also learn technical skills like pattern cutting and garment construction. While studying the theories surrounding fashion and writing, you'll explore cultural, historical and ethical issues.
In this module, you'll begin to acquire core skills in research within the context of a fashion design brief. You'll become familiar with methods of research and the fashion vocabulary, and explore traditional mark making in the form of drawing, while also developing digital communication skills.
Cut and Construct
This module will help you to grow core garment production techniques. In-depth analysis of specific techniques and processes will inform your knowledge of the pattern/construction process and their application in the fashion industry.
Through design project briefs, you'll build upon the techniques explored in previous modules to enhance your production and research skills, and your own emerging design voice. You'll engage with concepts of risk-taking, play and curiosity to develop original and progressive design ideas in both 2D and 3D formats.
Themes in Culture
This module helps you to contextualise your design and production skills. You'll work on developing appropriate research, presentation, and communication skills to enable you to effectively articulate your ideas.
With a focus on professional practice, this year will see you begin to shape your identity as a fashion designer, as you develop a confident personal perspective. Through live and simulated industry briefs, you'll apply your skills to areas like brand and market awareness, sustainability, ethical and moral issues, and ideas presentation. You'll be introduced to digital and screen printing, machine knitting, advanced cutting techniques, tailoring and advanced CAD/digital design solutions. You can also choose to take on a self-directed industrial placement during the summer break. Students have undertaken work experience with brands like Maison Margiela, Dior, Christopher Kane, Mary Katrantzou, JW Anderson and palmer//harding.
You will research, interrogate and form a defensible viewpoint of the contemporary fashion industry based on up-to-date design practices, futurology and ethical considerations. Alongside this philosophical investigation, you will also learn how clothing brands are formulated. Working as part of a group, you will experience team dynamics and be encouraged to present your ideas in open forums, where you'll discuss, negotiate and defend them.
Fashion Industry Practice
In this module, you'll gain a "Real World" experience, working on live projects or those simulating industry working practices and timescales. You will explore the synergies and tensions that take place between the creative and professional contexts of the fashion industry and develop skills to creatively direct a brand-specific clothing collection and present design ideas to be carried through into garment realisation.
Following introductory workshops in advanced garment production techniques such as knit, print and advanced cutting, you will harness these new skills to enhance your own fashion design voice. You'll produce innovative and progressive new ideas for clothing in both 2D and 3D, while being encouraged to embrace the unexpected and reject the obvious.
Theories of Culture
This module delves deeper into the historical, social, cultural and global contexts in which contemporary fashion design practice occurs. It introduces theoretical perspectives in order to develop your ability to discuss your own and others' practice in an academic framework.
In the final year of your Fashion Design degree, you'll develop a graduate collection by intensively researching, developing and exploring 2D and 3D concepts. Alongside this, you will produce a dissertation, portfolio and look book to help launch your career. There will be opportunities to promote yourself by participating in industry live competition briefs set by the British Fashion Council and the Graduate Fashion Foundation.
You'll develop and collate the concept, market/customer, colour, materials research, and so on, that you will use to inform your pre- and graduate collections. Research will be meaningful and also explore the ethical and sustainability considerations of your chosen fashion message.
You will investigate, develop and present a pre-collection which fully integrates your research materials. This process will allow you to make informed decisions about areas of strength and weakness within your research before committing to a final decision on your graduate collection.
In this module, you will complete a dissertation on an agreed subject relating to your individual interests and practice. You will reflect on personal research strengths and practice and engage in considered debate and detailed discussion of the chosen topic.
In this module, you will complete your graduate fashion collection, based on preparation completed in previous Year Three modules. This will culminate in the delivery of an assigned number of fully realised garments collated as coherent outfits, ready for presentation at a fashion show or equivalent.
This module will support you in developing a range of self-promotional materials relevant to your individual ambitions following graduation. Industry guests and careers/employability specialists will share advice and guidance regarding interviews, placements, contacting potential employers, and postgraduate study.
The modules above are those being studied by our students, or proposed new ones. Programme structures and modules can change as part of our curriculum enhancement and review processes. If a certain module is important to you, please discuss it with the Course Leader.
From module information to course aims and assessment criteria, discover the full course details.
We are making changes to our curriculum framework for courses starting in 2022. Modest amendments to our course module structure will provide you with new opportunities to collaborate and co-create with students from across disciplines during your studies.
This course page will be updated when these changes have been finalised and applicants will be notified.
How you'll learn
Working with our team of highly experienced academic and technical teams, you will collaborate with colleagues and students from different courses, learn from industry guest lecturers, take on live projects with brands and develop your own practice to an industry standard. Regular learning comes through tutorials, both one-to-one and in groups, lectures, seminars, workshops and technical demonstrations. You will also have the chance to study abroad for a term through our Erasmus+ and Study Abroad partnerships.*
* Due to ongoing restrictions on travel caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and changes to the UK's study abroad programme due to Brexit, we cannot guarantee study exchanges as a part of this course.
How you'll spend your time
|Year||Timetabled teaching and learning activity||Guided independent study|
|Digitally enhanced learning||Digitally enhanced learning|
How you'll be assessed
The above percentages relate to 2019/2020 data.
- Foundation year assessments are 100% coursework based
- Continuous assessment of visual, verbal and written assignments.
- Final-year dissertation and two final-year exhibitions.
On top of working for iconic designers like Alexander McQueen, our tutors and support staff provide detailed knowledge in areas like styling subculture, business entrepreneurship, ethics, sustainability, and running their own labels.
Some members of staff only teach on specific modules, and your course might not feature every member shown here.
John studied fashion design, specialising in womenswear, at Central Saint Martins College of Art...
Claire studied Textiles at Buckinghamshire before undertaking a Masters degree at the Royal College...
Sarah E.Braddock Clarke studied Textile Design at Winchester School of Art, University of...
After graduating from Central St Martins with a first class hons degree in Fashion Design in 1993,...
In 2005 I graduated from ArtEZ Institute of the Arts’ BA Fashion Design in Arnhem, the Netherlands...
I went to Bunka Technical College in Tokyo for my degree in Fashion Studies. I joined fashion...
I grew up near Helston in Cornwall and after leaving school spent 30 years working in the garment...
I work as a senior technician within the Fashion & Textiles Institute. I specialise in printed...
Julie Ripley studied history of modern art, design and film at Northumbria University, where she...
Dr Kate Strasdin
I joined Falmouth University in 2009 as an associate lecturer teaching histories and theories to...
Jill Weeks is the senior technician for garment construction on the Performance Sportswear Design...
- Cutting tables.
- Fitting stands.
- Industrial flatbed machines.
- Digital design solutions like clo3D, Gerber and Adobe.
- Digital and traditional printing equipment.
- Laser cutting equipment.
- Silicon taping equipment.
- Ultrasonic construction machines.
- Industrial overlockers.
- Blind-stitching machines.
- Knitting machines.
- Publication/portfolio production facilities.
- Online access to WGSN and LS:N Global.
How to apply
Apply via UCAS
Ready to join us? You can apply for September 2022 through UCAS Apply and Track. You'll need to reference the University code (F33) and course codes below.
- BA(Hons) 3 year course code: W232
- Integrated Foundation Year BA(Hons) 4 year course code: FY13
We consider all applications on their own individual merit and potential. We invite all applicants to an interview day or audition to give them the opportunity to demonstrate this along with what inspires and motivates them in their field. Applicants will also be able to show their portfolio or give a performance depending on the course. We welcome applications from all subject backgrounds, whether you’ve specialised in STEM, the arts or humanities.
As a guide our typical offer at undergraduate level is 104 – 120 UCAS Tariff points, primarily from Level 3 qualifications such as but not limited to A-levels, a BTEC/UAL Extended Diploma or a Foundation Diploma.
For applicants whose first language is English we require you to have or be working towards GCSE English Language Grade 4 (C), or equivalent.
If English is not your first language you will need to meet the same standard which is equivalent to the IELTS Academic 6.0 overall score, with at least 5.5 in Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening. We accept a range of in country equivalencies and approved tests.
If you need a student visa to study in the UK, you'll need to take a recognised language test that is approved and vouched for by the University. You can read our English Language Requirements for more information.
UK applications: 26 January 2022 (for equal consideration)
Late applications will be considered if there are places available.
International fee payers can apply throughout the year. But we recommend applying as early as possible, to make time for visa and travel arrangements.
What we're looking for
We want someone who:
- Is interested in contemporary fashion.
- Has problem solving and development skills.
- Shows an understanding of design context.
- Is interested in developing 3D communication skills.
- Has analytical and communication skills.
- Can draw or illustrate and document development.
- Shows original and critical thinking, and visual research skills.
Fees, costs & funding
Tuition fees are set annually and are subject to review each year. The University may therefore raise tuition fees in the second or subsequent years of a course, in line with inflation and/or the maximum permitted by law or Government policy. Students will be notified of any changes as soon as possible.
Typical course costs
£200-£400 - Recurring annual costs
£100-£400 - One-off costs for the course duration (compulsory trips, final portfolios or shows, etc)
£1,350 - Optional study visits and placements for the course duration
If you need to bring equipment or materials with you, these will be outlined in your Welcome Letter.
Additional typical course costs for Integrated Foundation Year pathway
- £250 for materials
- A laptop/desktop computer
- Adobe Creative Suite
In order to participate in our digitally enhanced learning approach, you'll need to have a personal laptop/desktop computer. Depending on your specialism, you may need a specific type of computer. You can find out more about the type of machine you'll need on your course specialism page. If you're unsure about what you might need, please contact our course advisors.
The figures above don't include accommodation and living costs
For information about funding available, please visit our undergraduate funding page
Ask a student
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