Fashion Design

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How to Apply

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A fast-paced, dynamic and demanding course for determined and ambitious individuals who want a career in fashion.

  • A reputation for producing highly individual, award-winning designers and practitioners
  • Member of the British Fashion Council Colleges Council and Graduate Fashion Week
  • Unique partnership with the world famous Fashion Museum – students have special access to an unrivalled collection of fashion

"The most special thing I will take from my studies is the relentless time and support given by the tutors and their continued mentoring as I begin my career."
– Chloe Jones, Fashion Design, graduated 2012

Why study Fashion Design?

The course offers a comprehensive design education for dedicated and ambitious individuals looking for a specialist career in the fashion industry. Our philosophy is to develop students as individuals to become innovative and creative designers with a design aesthetic relevant to the contemporary fashion industry. There is an emphasis on ideas, creativity, and developing your own personal design philosophy underpinned with strong pattern cutting and product development skills. We aim to take the fear out of the ‘technical’ side of fashion by combining the ‘technical’ and ‘design’ into one creative endeavour. We look for highly motivated students with a strong creative focus and a clear determination to enter the highly competitive world of fashion.

Course structure

Fashion is a dynamic and challenging discipline that is an expression of what people feel and think. It is about evolution and change through design, influenced by cultural, social, historical, economic and political change. To this end you’ll cover all aspects of the design process, from research and design development, drawing and illustration, colour and fabric development, historical and cultural studies, as well as the ability to translate ideas from 2D to 3D.

We foster active, experiential learning; encouraging you to become a critically engaged, independent thinker.

Modules

  • Year 1 
    This level covers the core fundamentals of fashion design disciplines including 2D and 3D practice, CAD, construction, design, drawing, illustration, pattern cutting, ideas research and trend research as well as fabric sourcing and development, the relationship between fabric and design. You will develop two-dimensional presentation skills and drawing in sketch books to inspire and inform your three- dimensional work and will use the Fashion Museum as a key resource for research. Tailoring is also covered at this level.
    We’ll introduce you to fashion history and context.
  • Year 2
    In your second year you will be encouraged to develop a more personal design style and to develop ideas through research, design development, and design translation using drape and modelling on the stand. You will develop your drawing and illustration skills and learn to communicate your ideas and design process within a fashion portfolio, as well as participate in a live project brief offering the chance to be selected for a paid internship in San Francisco. You will also undertake an external brief.
  • Year 3
    At this level you will develop a more strategic perspective and negotiate a body of work that reflects your personal practice as a designer, drawing together your academic experiences and personal interests to develop a highly professional contemporary fashion collection. You will work as a designer in industry working with external companies or collaborating with other disciplines as necessary. As part of professional contexts you will enter national design competitions, develop a strong fashion portfolio and self promotional materials, as well as greater knowledge of business and roles within fashion to help you develop an employment strategy.
    Collections are selected to showcase at Graduate Fashion Week in London, attended by industry and press from the UK and overseas, whilst all collections are showcased at a fashion show in Bath.
    At this level you will also undertake a written thesis.

Course assessment

Continuous assessment: 84% main study modules, 16% historical and critical studies.  There are no written exams.

Study Abroad

Students usually undertake work placements and internships in London, though students and graduates have also undertaken internships overseas in San Francisco, Paris, Germany, and New York. Internships are encouraged during the summer breaks between 1st and 2nd year and 2nd and 3rd Year.

Field trips

We organise visits to Trade Fares nationally and internationally as well as visit a manufacturing unit in the UK . Please note, you will have to pay for these study visits.

Work placements, industry links and internships

Live projects are incorporated into the course, currently these are with Old Navy in San Francisco and Hobbs in the UK. Previous projects have been set by companies such as Jaeger, Nicole Farhi, Karen Millen and Griffin menswear.

You’ll be expected to undertake a work placement or internship during the summer vacations, however these are not assessed and can be undertaken nationally or internationally (finance permitting). Work placements have been undertaken at Erdem, Issa, Adidas, Nicole Farhi, Alexander McQueen, Karen Millen, Griffin, Pentland Group, New Look, Matthew Williamson, Tom Ford, Betty Jackson, Whistles, Stella McCartney, Chloe, Boudicca, Vivienne Westwood, Roland Mouret, Warehouse, Ted Baker, River Island, and Twenty8Twelve.

Our partnership with the Fashion Museum introduces you to an unrivalled archive of fashion as well as termly facilitated sessions with museum staff and an internationally respected fashion journalist/writer.

Competitions/awards

You have the opportunity to enter national and international design competitions including those set through the British Fashion Council and to present your collection in the university fashion show. You may also be selected to show at Graduate Fashion Week in London.

In 2012 Chloe Jones, and in 2014 Grace Weller, won both the the overall Womenswear and Gold Awards at Graduate Fashion Week, following in the footsteps of previous winners Christopher Bailey, Matthew Williamson and Stella McCartney.

Stephanie Kitchen won the national design competition Fashion Awareness Direct, showcasing her outfits at the start of London Fashion Week 2013. Stephanie also won the 2013 Textiles Institute award for her final collection as showcased at the Foreign Office in London.

A number of students have been selected to intern for Old Navy in San Francisco with two students offered full time employment on graduating currently living and working in San Francisco.

Teaching methods

Tutorials: The most individual form of teaching you will receive outside of one-to-one help in the studio.
Lectures: Lecturers may be members of the course academic team, or visiting specialists.

Group Discussion/Seminars: These provide a platform to debate and examine implications, influences, and demands of a project as well as issues of interest and ensure you are well informed. Active participation in an exchange of ideas is important to help you develop articulate, and confident attitudes to your work.

Practical Demonstrations: A specialist will demonstrate techniques, skills, equipment and a variety of technical procedures that you will need to know to successfully complete modules.

Group Criticisms: Completed projects are usually evaluated as group criticisms. This gives you opportunity to analyse and evaluate your work in a group context and learn to explain your ideas coherently. You should learn to evaluate criticism, how to accept it, and how to give it.

Application method

All full time applications are through UCAS

International students should visit our international pages for more information about our entry requirements, fees and scholarships, and student support.

Course enquiries

For more information please contact enquiries@bathspa.ac.uk.

Typical offer range for UK / EU applicants

We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry to our undergraduate programmes. The main ones are listed below:

  • A Level - Grades BCC including Grade B in Textiles or Art & Design related subjects preferred.
  • Applicants will be invited to interview and will be required to submit a high quality portfolio
  • BTEC- Extended Diploma grades Distinction, Merit. Merit (DMM) in a related subject in addition to other qualifications or evidence of experience in Art.
  • International Baccalaureate - A minimum of 27 points and HL Art subject at grade 6 will be required in addition to evidence of further experience in Art & Design.
  • Access to HE courses - Typical offers for applicants with Access to HE will be the Access to HE Diploma or Access to HE Certificate (60 credits, 45 of which must be Level 3, including 30 at merit or higher).

English Language Requirements for International and EU Applicants

IELTS 6.0 - for visa nationals, with a minimum score of IELTS 5.5 in each element.

We recommend that applicants undertake a pre-degree foundation diploma in Art and Design in addition to the qualifications listed above.

All applicants will be sent an application project and selection for interview will be based on this submission. Following portfolio submission successful applicants will be invited for interview at the Fashion Department 4 The Circus. An offer of a place will be made following a successful portfolio review and interview.

Career opportunities

Graduates have been employed at Zara (Spain), Chinti & Parker, Osman, Peter Pilotto, Old Navy (San Francisco), Erdem, Berghaus, Issa, Toast, Dune, Mulberry, Roland Mouret, Boudicca, Coast, Karen Millen, Giles Deacon, Gieves and Hawkes, Esprit (Cologne), French Connection, Sharon Wauchob (Paris), Joseph, Zara (Spain) and Nicole Farhi. Other graduates have progressed to study Masters’ Degrees, or set up their own businesses.

Careers could include:

  • in-house designer
  • freelance designer
  • design consultancy
  • creative pattern cutter
  • freelance pattern cutter
  • designing/pattern cutting for manufacturers
  • forecasting
  • styling
  • buying
  • product developer
  • technical designer

What students say...

A graduate from Bath Spa University was featured in Italian Vogue’s graduate talent supplement in 2011, 2012, 2014 and two students were featured in the 2016 publication. This annual supplement by Italian Vogue showcases the top talents graduating internationally.

Grace Weller won the prestigious Womenswear and Gold Awards at Graduate Fashion Week 2014, following in the footsteps of previous winners including Christopher Bailey, Stella McCartney, and Mathew Williamson. Grace also won the British Fashion Council Colleges Council Scholarship for MA and studied at Central St Martins, she is now a designer with Alberta Ferretti in Italy.

Chloe Jones won the same two awards, Womenswear and Gold, at Graduate Fashion Week in 2012 after working at Matthew Williamson, LK Bennet and Tom Ford Chloe is now a Designer at River Island responsible for RI Studio, Limited Collection Black, and Outerwear.

Stephanie Kitchen won the national design competition set by Fashion Awareness Direct, showcasing her outfits at the start of London Fashion Week 2013. Stephanie also won the 2013 Textiles Institute award for her final collection as showcased at the Foreign Office in London. Stephanie worked as a sportswear designer before joining the menswear design team at Zara in Spain.

Chloe Jones, Fashion Design, graduated 2012:

“After graduating I did a placement within the industry working as a Design Assistant. As well as designing my own ranges, I learnt a huge amount about other areas of the company from sampling and production through to the buying of the product. I was also recently invited to show my work at Vauxhall Fashion Scout’s ‘Graduate Showcase’ during London Fashion Week 2012. This was amazing exposure and an incredible chance to meet some really influential people within the industry.

When I graduated from Bath Spa, I felt like I had all the necessary tools and knowledge to enter industry, and was as prepared as I could be for the next step in my career. The course encourages creativity and exploration whilst highlighting the importance of technical skills. However, the most special thing I will take from my studies is the relentless time and support given by the tutors and their continued mentoring as I begin my career.”

Petulia Galvin, Fashion Design, Year 2:

“The fashion design course is both challenging and fast paced, but ultimately very rewarding. It has made me question my own work in a way that I never have before, it pushes you to become not only creatively intellectual but
technically advanced as well, in the form of flat pattern cutting, sewing skills and drape lessons. I think that it is very beneficial having tutors from an industry background as they make you work to a much more professional, forward
thinking standard. Working in such a close-knit and exciting environment, and being able to interact with tutors on a daily basis who have such strong and legitimate opinions really opens your eyes to a new and exciting way of working and really pushes you to fulfil your full potential as a designer. Now in my second year, it is so gratifying to see how much my design work and drawing skills have progressed since I started the course, and I am excited for what the future entails.”