Applying to study with us in September 2021?
Our BA (Hons) Fashion Design course provides a comprehensive design education for independently-minded fashion thinkers and makers who are looking to influence change within the fashion industry.
From future forecasting, concept and design development, creative pattern cutting through to leading compelling marketing campaigns, Fashion is one of the largest employers in the UK's creative industries - offering endless opportunities to those forward-thinking individuals who seek to challenge the assumptions of design, take creative risk and communicate their individual style through their work.
From innovative pattern-cutting to styling a magazine cover, fashion is one of the largest employers of all the UK’s creative industries – offering endless opportunities to those with ambition and an appetite to influence change.
A spirit of independence runs through our vibrant fashion programme, and we develop talented, innovative and versatile individuals.
You’ll learn traditional techniques, and how to combine these with new methodologies – such as Optitex, a 3D virtual prototyping and fashion design software, and our digital Fab Lab – to become a creative and confident fashion practitioner.
The industry-standard resources in our studios provide the tools for you to realise your ideas and develop design specialisms in menswear, womenswear, lingerie, knitwear and technical routes.
We’ll help you to develop your presentation and marketing skills, creating a design portfolio and collaborating with photographers, graphic designers and filmmakers to style the lookbook for your final collection.
You’ll develop skills in all areas within fashion, working on projects which challenge conventions of the dress as you refine your styling skills.
We’ll encourage you to collaborate across the college – and with the fashion industry – developing your attitude to the pattern, print, knit and decoration.
We’ll support you in enhancing your unique fashion specialism, by collaborating and experimenting – making the most of opportunities to work with different subject areas and develop your professional network.
Looking at fashion attitudes in popular culture and music, you’ll gain insight into fashion movements and how they have evolved and influenced.
You’ll establish your individual identity as a designer, and learn the technical and creative skills to realise your ideas through pattern-cutting – both digitally and using traditional methods.
You’ll be taught to design, cut and manufacture quality one-off garments and collections with high levels of craftsmanship, supported by a team of experienced professionals who provide guidance throughout your studies.
Through industry-led briefs, you will gain an understanding of the crucial relationship between design, creativity, sustainability, project management and communication skills, along with an insight into factors that impact design, development and production.
We want to inspire you to reach your creative potential, throughout the programme and beyond.
What will I achieve?
You’ll learn to innovate through creative pattern-cutting, using both digital and traditional methods, and you’ll hone the creative design and technical skills relevant to the ever-changing landscape of the fashion industry.
Throughout the degree programme, you’ll develop your unique fashion identity through experimentation, design and drawing, giving you the skills to graduate with a professional portfolio – and enter this vibrant industry as a confident fashion practitioner.
Thinking & making
Study with us and you’ll expand your critical approach alongside developing skills in research and analysis. Our academically robust and intellectually stimulating degree programmes are delivered by our team of academics, technical demonstrators and invited experts who together deliver excellence in learning, teaching and assessment. Our programmes encourage diversity in thinking and making - from practical applications through to reflective, analytical writing.
We provide a dynamic, stimulating learning environment from which to test new models of practice while investing in the rich relationship between practice and theory - based on the potential in material and visual exploration, collaborative working, cross-fertilisation of ideas, and the exploration of histories and contemporary contexts.
Opportunities for studying abroad are available at our partner institutions.
BA (Hons) Fashion — Highlights:​
Engage and collaborate with our extensive professional network, including Missoni, Cope and Vale, J.W. Anderson, Mary Katrantzou, Pentland Brands, Marks and Spencer, Denza, Paul Smith, All Saints, Finisterre, British Alpaca Fashion, Hiut Denim and more.
Refine your design and construction skills for a range of outcomes, including menswear, womenswear, sportswear and knitwear. Choose from different specialisms including Fashion Design Menswear, Fashion Design Womenswear, Performance Sportswear Design, Knitwear Design and Fashion Design with Marketing and Promotion.
Learn to problem-solve and innovate in function and design, while learning about new developments in materials and technologies, anatomy and human factors.
Secure an internship and develop your professional skills and network while you’re still studying.
Develop the skills to work across a wide spectrum of careers in fashion, as a designer, consultant, buyer, stylist, or illustrator, amongst many other roles.
Unit 1: Method & Materials
Unit 2: Encountering Place
Unit 3: Exploring Subject
Unit 4: Platforms of Exhcange
Unit 1: Speculative Strategies
Unit 2: Global Challenges
Unit 3: Ideas & Audience
Unit 4: Emergent Practice
Unit 1: Research & Development
Unit 2: Publication
Unit 3: Positioning Practice
Unit 4: Final Project
Module details listed above are indicative content only.
All modules listed are compulsory.
Careers & alumni
You will have the chance to develop your professional skills through internships and visits to entrepreneurs and companies, as well as through specialist industry speakers and through our staff team, who are all experienced fashion practitioners.
Students on this programme can engage with industry events in London, Paris, Munich, New York, and Berlin – providing excellent opportunities for networking.
You will be encouraged to take up opportunities for work experience; former students have taken placements with J.W. Anderson, Mary Katrantzou, Jonathan Saunders, Alexander McQueen, Gareth Pugh, Lulu Guinness and at London Fashion Week.
Students also have the opportunity to showcase their work at Graduate Fashion Week in London.
Our strong international connections allow our students to take a semester of study with one of our partner institutions within Europe and North America, and in turn, we welcome overseas students from those institutions to join us in our design studios, creating an exciting cultural exchange.
Creative Pattern Cutters
‘Careers & Enterprise in the Curriculum’ at Plymouth College of Art
Professional practice is embedded within all of our programmes. Throughout your studies, you will have the opportunity to develop the key professional, transferable skills for employability in the creative industries and potentially work in partnership with other sectors locally, regionally, nationally or internationally.
From writing and making the most of your CV to gaining industry experience, the acquisition of professional skills has been written into the programmes of study by our staff teams, who have ‘real world’ experience. They are also supported by our Industry Liaison Groups, who help inform the development of the higher education curriculum.
Our students say
Laura Blastock, BA (Hons) Fashion:
"I’ve really, really enjoyed my time here. The facilities that I’ve experienced have been really good – screen-printing, woodwork, ceramics, the tufting gun. I’m able to practise with these resources, learn the skills, and incorporate that into my work.
“I’ve also really enjoyed having lots of tutor time. I think it’s really important that you get a lot of one-on-one tutor time. I have friends in London and sometimes they only get an hour a month.
“And the new Fashion space that we have is really good too. It’s helped us worked with other year groups, and that’s really helpful. Working together you get new ideas and we also get to work alongside the BA (Hons) Fashion Media and Marketing students who give us loads of helpful pointers.”
Emma Hodgkiss, BA (Hons) Fashion:
“The ideas for this menswear collection came out of my interest in the hidden substructures and cultural values associated with garments. For instance, I discovered that in Buddhist cultures various kinds of discarded and damaged cloth are venerated. To recreate the authenticity of the influence, I experimented with Japanese cutting, screen printing and laser cutting.
"I love finding different ways of making garments personal to the customers and having a story to tell. During my degree, I’ve gained a wide range of skills including Photoshop, Illustrator, researching, design development, garment production and understanding of construction. I’ve also developed skills in different screen printing techniques and manipulation of fabric.
"I have a strong interest in research and development, from understanding what the modern man wants from his clothing to the design development of the final garments, so I hope to carry on designing menswear. I feel I can contribute something new to the fashion industry.”
Sherry Pritchet, BA (Hons) Fashion:
“This year my work has been about creating my business and about selling work. I’m designing men and women’s streetwear with a twist. There’s definitely a market for it – I’ve already got customers through word of mouth and social networking. I’ve been selling direct to the public and am planning a pop-up shop. I knew I didn’t want to go towards couture.
"I did A levels before applying here to the FD Fashion course and am now finishing the top-up year for my BA. The course has given me the drive to do it, and the Fashion Show is a lot of work but does the garments justice, and I can be involved in styling the models.”
Jess Vincent, BA (Hons) Fashion:
"The course encourages you to do exactly what you want. My designs are traditional and use earthy colours but I’ve made dissolvable fabric – it feels papery, you stitch on to it then put it in water and the material dissolves. I’m also knitting garments for my collection and making yarn out of embroidery thread. We’re encouraged to aim high. They believe in us so we believe in ourselves. I’ve got an internship at J W Anderson in London for the whole of the summer, but right now I’m making eight garments for the end of year show."
Our Fashion Studio is a large, light space with panoramic views and is comprehensively equipped with industry-standard technologies.
We encourage cross-disciplinary working, so you’ll be able to expand your skills by exploring our professional textile print studios, as well as workshops for jewellery and other making skills.
Our digital Fab Lab houses the latest laser cutting and 3D printing technologies, giving your design ideas scope for diverse outcomes. You’ll also have the opportunity to use global trend forecasting tools WGSN and The Future Laboratory.
Through national and international trips, expert industry speakers, and collaborations for specialist brands such as Finisterre and Hiut Denim, you’ll develop your market awareness and refine your design and construction skills.
Through our Careers & Enterprise office, you’ll be supported by a dedicated team who are purely focused on developing creative opportunities. And this doesn’t stop when you graduate – we want to keep in contact and help support you through the first two years of your career.
Facilities at the college include:
Animation, Film and Photography Studios
Our students make full use of our industry-standard dedicated studio spaces – including our infinity cove, green screen, and specialist sound studio (with Foley pit and vocal recording booth) – plus our stop-motion suite, our darkrooms, and plenty of individual edit suites, all up-to-date with the latest industry-standard software.
With north-facing windows, a ‘methods and process’ area, individual studio space and a specialist life-drawing studio, our impressive, open-plan, triple-height Drawing Studio is a huge space, perfect for many different activities and specialisms.
Our ‘fabrication laboratory’ is kitted-out with the latest in digital design technologies – from 3D printers to 3D scanners, a vinyl cutter, CNC milling machine, CNC router and laser cutter. It adds a whole new level of opportunity for students across all creative walks of life.
This large professional studio offers a real-life fashion experience in a fabulous space with sea views. Specialist industrial and domestic sewing machines, a range of knitting machines and a wide stock of fabrics and knitting yarns sit alongside a media and marketing Mac suite, a fully operational CAD cutting facility, and a library of designer garments to inspire.
Jewellery Design Studio
Housed in our fantastic Craft, Design and Fabrication Workshops, this stunning space provides everything for contemporary and traditional techniques in jewellery design, including benches supplied with gas and oxygen, in-house metal casting resources, hand and machine-forming tools, facilities for vitreous enamelling, and a separate chemical room for etching, anodising and patternation. We also have larger metalwork equipment for welding, brazing, cutting and grinding.
Digital Print Bureau and Equipment Resource Centre
Our Digital Print Bureau offers affordable and quick print services for all our students who are looking for anything from large-format or solvent printing, to photo printing, scanning or vinyl cutting, and a wide range of finishing services. Our highly experienced Equipment Resource Centre staff can advise you on which of our 6,000 pieces of industry-standard kit – from underwater cameras to traditional large format cameras and all free to hire – will best meet your needs.
With views out to sea and 35 metres of print tables to encourage experimentation, our Printed Textile Design Studios also boast a fantastic Mimaki fabric printer, digital embroidery resources, industrial sewing machines, sublimation printers, a dye lab, heat presses, a tufting gun and a Mac suite. It’s got to be one of the best-printed textile workshops in the UK.
Woods and Plastics Workshop
Alongside the latest in new technology, we value the long-standing traditions of making in wood and plastics – and have developed an excellently-resourced workshop that is open to all our students. It boasts a wide range of kit, including an impressive CNC router, plenty of saws and lathes, and strip-heaters, as well as greenwood-working facilities.