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BA (Hons)
3 years (full-time)

This award winning course, based within Manchester School of Art, focuses on contemporary fashion design (womenswear and menswear) and encourages students to be innovative and creative whilst developing an understanding of the needs of the fashion industry. You are taught how to develop concepts and ideas through in-depth research processes and experimentation, learning how to design original and innovative fashion solutions and present fashion concepts through established and new media. The course has strong links with industry offering opportunity for external showcasing of work and participation in competitions, as well as national and international industry projects.

Creative Skillset

This course is accredited by Creative Skillset. Creative Skillset empowers the Creative Industries to develop skills and talent.

Graduate Success

  • Hannah Wallace scooped the Gold Award at this year's Graduate Fashion Week, plus the Creative Catwalk Award and the Best of GFW. In addition, Hannah Sykes received the Fashion Innovation Award.
  • Last year, graduate Nicci James took the £5,000 Gold Award at the 2014 NingBo International Fashion Design Grand Prix in China.
  • Final Year student Camilla Grimes has received the £1,000 Creative Catwalk Award at Graduate Fashion Week 2014
  • 2013 graduate Amy Davidson won the Mulberry Accessories Award at Graduate Fashion Week 
  • 2012 graduate Jousianne Propp won the British Fashion Council Mulberry competition and the Karen Millen Portfolio award and Stuart Peters Visionary Knitwear award at Graduate Fashion Week
  • 2011 graduate Toni Stott won a national competition to show her collection at Who's Next in Paris in February 2012.
  • 2010 graduate Rebecca Thomson was awarded the £20,000 River Island gold award at Graduate Fashion Week. Having completed her MA at the RCA she is now setting up her own label.

Course Content

This course has an excellent reputation for producing fashion graduates who are employed for their creativity, originality, versatility, and professional skills. This is achieved by the development of individual creative abilities and you will be encouraged to develop your own personal design philosophy and identity.

You will gain an understanding of the fashion design process and how it operates within the fashion industry. Your market awareness will be developed further as you will have the opportunity to work on industry live projects and collaborate with students from Textiles in Practice.

The course very much focuses on research, the development of ideas, and design and garment construction methodology. Individuality and creativity are at the core of the briefs set, and you will learn how to develop and challenge concepts and ideas, which you will apply to your design work. Innovation and originality are encouraged.

Practical skills are taught throughout the course in tutorials and workshops, using traditional and state-of-the-art equipment.

Year 1

In the first year, you will be introduced to the context of fashion and the role of the fashion designer. You will learn to develop innovative and original concepts and improve your design skills, learning how to cut patterns and how to make and style outfits. Workshops and tutorials take place throughout the year to develop your practical skills. You will also study the historical and cultural context for fashion.


The unit introduces the fundamentals of the design and make process for fashion and also provides an opportunity to exhibit, disseminate and reflect on the outcomes. A series of textile and 3D workshops support an experimental design and make project. The unit will focus on learning through making and explore a range of approaches to generating and presenting fashion. Students participate in a live event, experiencing the broader issues relating to the production and presentation of fashion through dissemination and articulation of their design ideas.

Research and Design

The unit contains a series of projects that provide you with an initial insight into fashion research methodology. It is a practical unit that introduces different fashion design processes and methods. As part of this unit you will be expected to undertake and develop relevant research strategies appropriate to contemporary fashion design practice, generating ideas and concepts in response to set briefs and translating research into two and three-dimensional outcomes.

Unit X

This unit provides an opportunity to explore collaborative and interdisciplinary art and design practice by undertaking work alongside students from Design/Art programmes within Manchester School of Art. The unit covers set project(s) which encourage collaborative, interdisciplinary practice and shared experience. You will engage in lectures and talks from key research staff and students, tutorial group meetings and presentations. The set projects will vary from year to year and are designed to be responsive to creative opportunities.

Contextualising Practice 1

You are allocated to one of four pathways addressing programme-based clusters of cognate practice areas. Lectures, seminars, guest speakers, visits around cultural contexts and professional issues.

Contextualising Practice with Language 1

You are allocated to one of four pathways addressing programme-based clusters of cognate practice areas. The unit includes lectures, seminars, guest speakers, visits around cultural contexts and professional issues.

Year 2

During the second year you will further expand your design skills, developing a more professional approach to practice but also experimenting, testing out ideas and developing your own interests and specialisms such as menswear, knit or print. You will also start to tailor your outcomes to your own individual practice through both live industry projects and  self-written briefs. You will also have the opportunity to undertake work experience during the second year.


This unit focuses on research approaches and processes for developing a professional fashion design practice. Experimentation and innovation will be encouraged within a professional context.


This self-directed unit facilitates the development and dissemination of a personal design philosophy. You will explore interests and themes, which will help to establish concepts, contexts and methods for their maturing design practice

Unit X

This unit explores collaborative and interdisciplinary art and design practice.  You will have the opportunity to engage in a range of external facing learning opportunities which will encourage collaborative, interdisciplinary practice and shared experience; this may take the form of spending time outside of the university and working within the creative community and the public domain.

Contextualising Practice 2

Delivery of critical, historical and professional issues to enhance your development within practice-based clusters. Delivery to clusters of cognate practice areas. Content consists of selected thematic options in critical and historical areas plus cluster-wide professional and employability issues, facilitating and enhancing the development of both studio-based work and identity as a practitioner.

Contextualising Practice with Language 2

Delivery of critical and historical issues to enhance the student's development within practice-based clusters.  Content consists of selected thematic options in critical and historical areas facilitating and enhancing the development of both studio-based work and identity as a practitioner. Modes of delivery include lectures, seminars, tutorials, guest speakers, visits and placements.

Year 3

The final year is self-directed, students develop their studies in line with their own design philosophy and career expectations. Through extensive original research students establish their own design practice and in response produce 2 dimensional, 3 dimensional and digital fashion outcomes alongside related reflective and critical writing.


You will distill through practice your personal design direction, context, research methods and processes and  develop and produce individual fashion outcomes.

Unit X

On the third year Unit X, there is a student authored final project leading to a showcase of finished work. The unit includes a brief generated by the student, which leads to the presentation of a significant body of final work. Collaborative and interdisciplinary work can be incorporated into the project in relation to the professional context and ambition of the student.

Contextualising Practice 3

Programme of research and critical analysis of cultural and professional issues related to a student's individual practice interests.

Contextualising Practice with a Language 3

Programme of research and critical analysis of cultural and professional issues related to a your individual practice interests. A negotiated project focused around an individually defined area appropriate to your aims and ambitions.


Continuous formative and summative assessment with feedback and discussion on completion of all units. The programme ends with a School of Art exhibition.

You can find further details about the curriculum in the Programme Specification Document


School of Art contribute to Fashion & Freedom

Cavan headed to San Francisco to join Levi's

Contest recognises emerging talent from all over the world

Hollings and Manchester School of Art students among 17 finalists


Graduates of this course have diverse careers in fashion with some working freelance or starting their own companies. Most go on to work as designers for companies such as River Island, Gieves & Hawkes, Roland Mouret, Dolce & Gabbana, Dorothy Perkins, Top Shop, Donna Karan, Abercrombie and Fitch, Reebok and Rodier Paris.

Making an Application

How to Apply

Apply through UCAS.

We will ask you to provide a Digital Portfolio to support your application.

If you meet our criteria we will invite you to an Interview and ask you to show us a Portfolio of your work.

You will be notified of our decision through UCAS.

Entry Requirements

UCAS Tariff Points/Grades Required

280 at A2 or equivalent (such as BTEC National Extended Diploma DMM at Level 3 or Advanced Diploma). If applying using Foundation Diploma in Art and Design a minimum of a Merit is required depending on other level 3 qualifications. A Level General Studies is not accepted

Learn more about MMU's Foundation Diploma in Art and Design.

Specific GCSE Requirements

GCSE Grade C or above (or acceptable alternative) in English Language

Non Tariffed Qualifications

A relevant Level 3 Access to HE Diploma with 30 Level 3 credits at merit or above will be considered for entry to this course.

International Baccalaureate26 Points

International Students

A minimum IELTS score of 6 with no element below 5.5 is required.

Check our MMU International site for further information if you are applying with non-UK qualifications.

Fees 2016 Entry

UK and EU full-time student fees: £9,000. Non-EU full-time international student fees: £12,650.

See Money Matters for further information and advice.