BA (Hons) Fashion Design – Bath Spa University

Fashion Design

BA (Hons)

Undergraduate degree - single honours

Key facts

Award
BA (Hons) Fashion Design
School/s
Bath School of Design
Campus or location
Sion Hill and Locksbrook
Course length
Three years full time, or four years full time with professional placement year.
UCAS codes
Institution Code: B20
Course Code: W233; or W234; or W235
Campus Code: A,BSU

Entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry to our undergraduate programmes. The main ones are listed under 'Typical offers' in the main column below. For combined courses, please check both subjects. If your qualification is not listed, please email admissions@bathspa.ac.uk with your specific details.

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 access to an unrivalled collection of fashion.

Due to Covid-19, we have made some changes to teaching and learning for the 2020-21 academic year: we have blended high-quality virtual engagement with in-person teaching on campus when possible. Blended learning will continue to some extent in the 2021-22 academic year and we will continue to keep the situation under review in light of ongoing Government guidance. If you’re planning on joining us in September 2021 we will communicate with you about specific details of how your course is taught nearer the time.


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 by 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.


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Study options

Integrated Foundation Year (UCAS codes: W235)

The preliminary and intensive Integrated Foundation in Art and Design is designed to develop your ideas, skills and confidence in readiness for progressing to year one of your degree programme.

Professional Placement Year (UCAS codes: W234)

This year provides you with the opportunity to identify, apply for, and secure professional experience, normally comprising one to three placements over a minimum of nine months. Successful completion of this module will demonstrate your ability to secure and sustain graduate-level employment.

By completing the module, you'll be entitled to the addition of 'with Professional Placement Year' to your degree title.

Before your Professional Placement Year, you'll work to secure your placement, constructing a development plan with your module leader and your placement coordinator from our Careers and Employability team.

On your return to University for your final year, you'll submit your Placement Portfolio, detailing your development on your placement, for assessment.

“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

What you'll learn

Overview

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.

Course structure

Year one
This level covers the core fundamentals of fashion design disciplines including 2D and 3D practice; design, drawing, fashion illustration, CAD, construction, pattern cutting, ideas research and trend research as well as fabric sourcing and development; the relationship between fabric and design. You’ll develop two-dimensional presentation skills investigating ideas through drawing within a sketchbook to inform your three- dimensional work and may 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 two
In your second year you’ll 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’ll develop your drawing and fashion 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’ll also undertake an external brief.

Year three
At this level you’ll 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’ll work as a designer in industry working with external companies or collaborating with other disciplines as necessary. As part of professional contexts you’ll 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.

Students will have a presence at Graduate Fashion Week in London that is attended by industry and press from the UK and overseas, as well as showcasing work in Bath at the Bath School of Design degree show.

At this level you’ll also undertake a written thesis.

How will I be assessed?

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

How will I be taught?

Tutorials
The most individual form of teaching you’ll 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 to ensure that you're 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’ll need to know to successfully complete modules.

Group criticisms
Completed projects are usually evaluated as group criticisms. This gives you the 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.

Course modules

This course offers or includes the following modules. The modules you take will depend on your pathway or course combination (if applicable) as well as any optional or open modules chosen. Please check the programme document (below the main image on this page) for more information.

Modules for the integrated Foundation year option are listed on the Integrated Foundation Year for Art and Design page.

Year one (Level 4) modules

  • Research for Design Development
  • Presentation and Illustration
  • Introduction to Fabrications
  • Introduction to Visual and Material Culture: Design
  • Introduction to Form, Construction and Cut
  • Design through Cut

Year two (Level 5) modules

  • Introduction to Tailoring and Live Brief
  • Introduction to Tailoring
  • Fashion Portfolio
  • Fashion Design: Contemporary Issues and Practice
  • Period Fashion for Design Innovation
  • Professional Placement Year

Year three (Level 6) modules

  • Visual and Material Culture: Final Study
  • Portfolio Projects and Capsule Collection
  • Portfolio Projects and Capsule Collection
  • Design Realisation
  • Fashion Portfolio and Self-Promotion

Opportunities

Study abroad

You’ll have the opportunity to study in a wide range of locations around the world. Our students have completed exchange programmes in a variety of countries including Spain, Sweden and the USA.

Fieldwork

We organise visits to Trade Fairs nationally and internationally as well as visit a manufacturing unit in the UK. Please note that you’ll have to pay for these study visits.

Work placements, industry links and internships

Live projects are incorporated into the course. Previous projects have been set by companies such as Hobbs, Old Navy, 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 aren't 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.

Careers

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 Master's 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

Competitions and awards

You have the opportunity to enter national and international design competitions including those set through the British Fashion Council and the Graduate Fashion Foundation.

Students have won the overall Womenswear and Gold Awards at Graduate Fashion Week, along with the national design competition, Fashion Awareness Direct, showcasing outfits at the start of London Fashion Week and the Textiles Institute award for a 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.

Facilities and resources

Where the subject is taught

You'll be taught at, and have access to, a variety of facilities including:

Resources

Fashion Design students benefit from access to great resources including:

  • Individual studio space
  • Machinery and specialist equipment
  • Mannequin
  • Printing facilities
  • Access to specialist art and design workshops including embroidery, digital embroidery, screen printing, digital print, laser cutting, vinyl cutting, 3D print, and plastics.

Locksbrook campus

Locksbrook Campus is truly a unique and inspirational space, providing a state-of-the-art learning environment for you to flourish. Located next to the River Avon in Bath city centre, the open-plan building has technical workshops surrounded by open, flexible studio spaces, as well as large, open social areas.

Fees

Please note: Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland are no longer eligible for the UK (Home) fee status. Please refer to the international student rate.

UK students full time

2021/22 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 £9,250
Year 2 Published Jan 2022
Year 3 Published Jan 2023

2022/23 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 Published Jan 2022
Year 2 Published Jan 2023
Year 3 Published Jan 2024

2023/24 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 Published Jan 2023
Year 2 Published Jan 2024
Year 3 Published Jan 2025

International students full time

2021/22 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 £15,530
Year 2 Published Jan 2022
Year 3 Published Jan 2023

2022/23 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 Published Jan 2022
Year 2 Published Jan 2023
Year 3 Published Jan 2024

2023/24 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 Published Jan 2023
Year 2 Published Jan 2024
Year 3 Published Jan 2025

All students full time - with professional placement year

During the placement year, the fee is reduced to 20% of the full time fee. Otherwise, fees are the same as for full time study. This applies to UK, EU and International students.

Fashion Show Contribution

The UG Fashion Design has a Fashion Show Contribution of £200, payable during each of the three years of study.

The integrated Foundation Fashion Design has a Fashion Show Contribution of £150, payable during each of the four years of study.

Interested in applying?

What we look for in potential students

We're looking for highly motivated students with a strong creative focus and a clear determination to enter into the highly competitive world of fashion. 

All suitable candidates who meet, or are on track to meet, the entry requirements will be asked to submit a portfolio online; further guidance will be provided to applicants when they're asked to submit their portfolio.

Typical offers

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

  • A Level - grades BCC-CCC including a Grade C in textiles or Art and Design related subjects.
  • BTEC - Extended Diploma grades from Distinction, Merit, Merit (DMM) to Merit, Merit, Merit (MMM) in a related subject, or evidence of experience in Textiles or Art and Design.
  • International Baccalaureate - a minimum of 27 points are required in addition to a HL Art subject at grade 6.
  • 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) together with evidence of experience in Art and Design.

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.

Course enquiries

For further information about the programme or entry requirements, please email us at admissions@bathspa.ac.uk.

How do I apply?

Ready to apply? Click the 'apply now' button in the centre of this page.

Need more guidance? Head to our how to apply pages.

Portfolio guidance

All applicants who meet, or are on track to meet the entry requirements, will be asked to upload a portfolio online. Offers of a place will be made based on this portfolio submission alongside your personal attributes derived from your personal statement and reference. All applicants must be able to demonstrate an interest in fashion design.

In the portfolio we're expecting to see evidence of a range of creative experience, specifically for fashion, showing a good grasp of drawing, shape, colour and fabric. You'll demonstrate the ability to think around a subject brief and investigate less predictable avenues of research.

We're looking for individuality and evidence from the portfolio that you've engaged with your project briefs. We'd also like to see the progression of your initial ideas into a final design outcome; the process is just as important as the outcome.

Three year course
With placement year

Locksbrook Campus image credits: Chris Wakefield, Crescent Photography

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