About this course
BA (Hons) Fashion at Northumbria offers you the opportunity to explore craftsmanship, aesthetics and the encapsulation of the body through a range of materials, pattern cutting, manufacturing processes, constructed knitwear and printed fashion fabrics. This four-year sandwich course has an established reputation for producing directional designers with the creative vision and the commercial realism to begin a career within the Fashion sector.
You will learn how to challenge the conventions of contemporary fashion through design research and critical reflection, set against the study of traditional values of high craftsmanship that underpin garment-making such as haute couture and tailoring.
We’ll help you to identify a personal fashion design philosophy through drawing and illustration, developing artisan craft skills, pattern cutting and constructing knitted fabrics and textiles. All this will be supported by contextual fashion studies and critical thinking to enable you to situate your own practice in the context of past and current design practice.
Northumbria was ranked 16th in the Complete University Guide 2017 for Art and Design.
Learn from the best
You will learn from award-winning, research-active academic staff that bring a wealth of professional experience from the world of fashion to Northumbria. Our academic staff have worked as successful designers globally for some of the world’s biggest brands including Vivienne Tam, Vivienne Westwood, Tommy Hilfiger, Abercrombie & Fitch and Nigel Cabourn. You will be taught by industry experts, developing the essential skills you need to succeed in your future career from inspiring, exciting and innovative staff.
Research-active staff act as consultants and provide supportive critiques, questioning the reasoning and aesthetic judgement behind your work, to support you in developing your practice through self-reflection.
Alumni and industry collaborators support the course at every level through professional association, live projects, internships, visiting lecturers and competitive portfolio briefs. We have recently collaborated with Urban Outfitters, All Saints, Old Navy, Joseph, Dunhill and Mulberry.
Teaching and Assessment
Learning and teaching centres around hands-on craft activities and the exploration of technical skills, materials and processes that enables you to display evidence of your creative thinking. Studio activities and the specialist workshop environment are integral to this process in all levels of your study, encouraging individual intellectual freedom and supported through a staff and peer collaborative community.
98% of students said that overall they were satisfied with the quality of this course.
We aim to nurture innovative designers through project-based teaching and learning strategies, integrating design practice, knowledge, intellectual and transferable skills.
Assessment principles on the Fashion course are planned to support your progression and use a wide range of projects and tasks which are reinforced through both formative and summative assessment.
A studio-based and workshop-based learning environment is at the core of this course and you’ll find that the technical facilities at Northumbria are excellent. You’ll have access to a specialist Mac laboratory as well as several mobile laboratories that deliver IT facilities for creative working. The machine room is equipped to industry standards and you can use digitally-enabled textile printing, pattern-making and embroidery. Everything is supported by skilled technical staff who will help you make the best use of all the facilities that are available.
Technology is embedded throughout the course with tools such as the ‘Blackboard’ eLearning Portal and electronic reading lists that will guide your preparation for seminars and independent research. Electronic Submission and Feedback (eSAF) will facilitate feedback on your project work, while Turnitin will reinforce a critical approach to research and the development of your own ideas.
Throughout your studies you’ll undertake enquiry-based learning that involves self-initiated research, independent judgement and critical self-awareness. You’ll become an active participant in your learning as you tackle real-life challenges, integrating design practice with research, academic and intellectual skills. You’ll be supported by research-active staff who have industrial experience in the United Kingdom, America and Southern Asia, and who will act as consultants and provide supportive critiques.
The research-rich approach will be continually reinforced as the course advances through different levels, with each level exploring increasingly advanced aspects of contemporary fashion culture, innovation and industrial challenge. In your first year you will be introduced to research methodologies, which are applied in various contexts during your second and third years. The culmination of the third year is a major enquiry-based, self-initiated project that evidences your ability to apply processes, aesthetics, function and materials.
Give your career an edge
Your time at Northumbria will be crucial in developing your professional identity. Your creative projects, some set by external collaborators, will enable you to build and curate a portfolio of your own work. This portfolio will be a central element in applications for work placements and employment.
You may also have the opportunity to join a field trip to Paris, London or New York to experience fashion in a different culture and to enhance your knowledge from an international perspective. Study Abroad is also an option.
You will be supported through preparatory exercises for job applications and with interview techniques. In addition, Northumbria University’s Careers Service offers support to all students with regards to employment.
In your final year, you will have the opportunity to show your final project at a key industry-facing national showcase for graduate talent in this discipline. This will help you establish contacts and employment opportunities by mixing directly with invited employers and alumni.
Recent graduates have progressed into a wide range of levels across the fashion industry at Designer level at, Richard Nicoll, Lanvin, Christopher Kane, Burberry, Eley Kishimoto, Ralph Lauren and River Island. This success can be attributed to our partnerships with industry to create a learning experience that is both inspiring and relevant.
You can also undertake further study at postgraduate level with a course such as our Design MA. If you decide to start up your own business, it’s good to know that the combined turnover of our graduates’ start-up companies is higher than that of any other UK university.
Whatever you decide to do, you’ll have strong employability as a result of having acquired the characteristics of a Northumbria graduate. These include critical reflection and self-learning, collaboration and curiosity, and the ability to apply your knowledge to solve problems in ways that are sustainable and ethical.
Follow this years students on Instagram @NorthumbriaFashion16 to see images like the below and keep up to date with how the collections are coming togther.