The course offers opportunities for work experience or mentoring that helps you make industry contacts, build your CV and prepare you for work across the fashion industry. Our collaboration with industry partners including Hearst Magazines UK sets our programme apart. You can apply for an internship with one of their fashion-led brands to learn more about how contemporary fashion is communicated, in print and online. Previous fashion students have interned at ELLE,Esquire and ELLE Ukraine, as well as fashion houses including Hussain Chalayan. Alternatively, as future fashion designers you might identify and approach a mentor within the fashion industry, or create a professional or industry-facing project around your own emerging brand or label.
This insight is further developed through live competitions and industry-set briefs which have included a speculative futures design project set by award-winning creative agency The District, a fashion editorial brief set by ELLE, and a fashion branding and communication project set by entrepreneurial fashion brand Sosandar.In addition our programme of Visiting Lecturers has included innovative professionals working across fashion design, high street fashion design, production and branding, and fashion communication, illustration and media.
Our MA Fashion: Design programme is aimed at future fashion designers, but can also prepare you for roles across the fashion industry including pattern-cutting, garment technology, fashion business, fashion and brand management, retail buying and management, product development, visual merchandising, styling, textile design fashion illustration, fashion communications and media.
Study Block 1 invites you to build your knowledge of the essential skills necessary for fashion design. After a diagnostic induction, in the modules:
Design 1: Diagnosis & Exploration - 40 credits
After a diagnostic introduction, in the module Design 1: Diagnosis & Exploration you will go on to respond to a series of individual and collaborative briefs to design and create a variety of both 2D hand-made and digitally-generated and fabricated 3D outcomes that strengthen your knowledge of fundamental design principles and processes.
Projects are supported by workshops including pattern-cutting, draping, induction into our 3D prototyping lab, and photography and styling. You will develop your confidence and skills in fashion graphics and illustration through regular workshops in relevant industry-standard software.
Lectures and study visits shared with our BA Fashion: Branding & Creative Communication students introduce students to historical and contemporary case studies in critical fashion practice, and you will explore the changing nature of the fashion ‘image’ and its important position in the world of fashion in digital and post-digital culture. Previous exhibition visits have included Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion at the Victoria & Albert Museum; T-Shirt: Cult – Culture – Subversion at the Fashion & Textiles Museum, and Fear & Loveat London’s new Design Museum—as well as an exclusive curator’s tour of Molly Goddard’s What I Like at the NOW Gallery, organised as part of our partnership with Hearst Magazines UK.
Research Practice - 20 credits
In this module you will learn alongside artists, designers and visual communicators from across our MA programmes. You will develop advanced research skills and methods, understand the importance of primary and secondary research, analysis of objects, images and texts, develop your critical thinking, and build confidence with academic study skills and conventions needed for successful study at postgraduate level.
You will go on to apply these skills to research projects that explore the theoretical landscape of contemporary creative practice. You will examine case studies from a variety of different disciplines that make use of current critical methodologies—including archives and collections, design activism, institutional critique, collaboration, participation and co-design, material and object studies, culture jamming, hacking and disruptive design, and identity, ethnography and auto-ethnography as the dynamic research tools through which concepts are created, analysed and critiqued.
Study Block 2 looks ahead, and is designed to prepare you for your future in professional practice.
Design 2: Concept & Development - 40 credits
In Design 2: Concept & Development you will apply your expertise to self-initiated projects that focus your expert skills, research, idea generation and concept development.
Throughout the term you will be guided through the process of generating ideas and strong concept treatments, primary and secondary research, draping and experimenting with fabrics and trims as you construct and sew the toiles for a pre-collection that will map the future focus for your final collection (to be fully realised in Semester 3).
Alongside this preparatory work, you will also be encouraged to respond to industry and live projects to build your portfolio, demonstrate breadth of skills and creative ideas, and your ability to work to a set brief, as well as begin to build a public profile for your personal brand and find public recognition for your design.
Creative Futures - 20 credits
Your position as an emerging designer will be strengthened through Creative Futures, in which you will work with other MA students to explore design in a social context, exploring the critical, technological, environmental, geopolitical and ethical issues that impact on contemporary creative practice—and the ways in which artists and designers today are responding to the challenges we face today, while speculating about what tomorrow may bring.
As part of this module you will have the opportunity apply for an internship (including competitive internships offered by our partner Hearst Magazines UK). Alternatively, you will identify and approach an industry mentor, or design and develop a professional or industry-facing project around your own emerging practice. By building on your engagement with the contemporary professional practice of your discipline and the exploratory projects you have completed, you will have the confidence to develop a proposal for your final MA project to be realised in Semester 3.
Independent Major Project - 60 credits
In the final semester of the programme, you will focus on your final collection. In the module Independent Major Project you will design, realise and exhibit an enquiry-based final collection that is the culmination of the practical, theoretical and professional learning throughout the year.
You will refine your designs and toiles, deepen your concept through further research, and research your fabrics, trims, accessories and prints. You will also consider your customer and audience, work on branding, fashion graphics and communication. You will lead the project, and work independently on the development of the project—but you will be supported throughout the journey, will regular group seminars, 1:1 tutorials, and support from our fashion garment technician to create your final collection.
As well as producing the final garments, you will be supported by our staff team to work on launching your collection, label or personal brand, devising an appropriate marketing or promotional campaign, online presence, and visual brand identity ready to launch you as a new fashion designer in relevant international contexts.
The MA culminates in a group show where you will all consider the professional and public presentation of your final projects, working together to design and promote a public event that celebrates the end of your postgraduate studies—and marks your next step in an exciting creative future.
Previous collections have explored topics such as the shape-shifting Kitsune fox, body-positivity, the molecular structure of Botox, sustainable fabrics, zero-waste pattern-cutting, the feminine power of the Slavic goddesses, and the crystalline interior of a cracked geode.