Introduction to Fashion Design
Salford School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology
In a nutshell
Fashion is a fast-paced and exciting industry to be in, but where do you start? Studying a Fashion Design degree at the University of Salford will encompass opportunities to apply research, design and construction skills that will help you realise your best ideas across womenswear, menswear, or non-binary fashion. You’ll have access to purpose-built open access studios, state of the art technology and Industry-standard equipment. Alongside developing industry-ready design and technical skills you’ll have the opportunity for work experience and our students have previously gained valuable experience working leading Fashion brands including Alexander McQueen, Adam Lippes, Christopher Kane, Iris van Herpen, Jonathan Saunders, Markus Lupfer, Aitor Throup, Anna Sui, Vera Wang, and Viktor & Rolf.
In year one you’ll learn to apply research, design and construction skills, you’ll work on live briefs and studio-based projects. In your second year, you’ll have the opportunity for work experience to gain an essential understanding and knowledge of how brands and design studios work. In your final year, you’ll develop your own collection alongside opportunities to show your work in outfacing environments. We have previously shown work at both London and New York Fashion Weeks. We also provide a range of study visits for you to experience other fashion hubs around the world, previous trips have included London, Milan, Paris, Antwerp, New York Tokyo and China.
The fashion industry is one giant, global community, and we will help you begin this networking journey. Our open-access studios have an atelier atmosphere, where we allow you to work alongside other year groups, sharing a professional space where you’ll see how other students work and create their ideas. Beyond graduation, you’ll become part of our alumni network where job opportunities can become available and share good practice.
Throughout the course, we invite industry to work with students whether through live projects, industry presentations or networking events. Previous contributors to our technical and professional development activities have included Maxmara, Levis and Fred Perry.
Our academics are all experienced designers and educators, and you’ll be supported by a team of highly skilled technical demonstrators who will guide and support your journey as a designer. With us you’ll gain valuable entrepreneurial skills and professional experience essential to your realising your potential as a future Fashion Designer.
Located in the heart of Greater Manchester at our fantastic New Adelphi campus you’ll be studying within one of the most vibrant and dynamic centres for UK and Global Fashion. You’ll be surrounded by upcoming and well-known brands, designers and a host of independent and commercial studios, your journey with us will be an opportunity to establish your own identity and vision as a designer.
As part of our award-winning Fashion Design degree course, you’ll gain the necessary skills and knowledge to be part of this exciting global fashion network, leaving the course with confident and strong design voices, be resilient and have a diverse understanding of how you can impact the future of the industry.
Collectively we aim to produce graduates with confident and strong design voices, with soul, diversity, and resilience. Take a look at some of the work our final students have produced on this course.
What's more, overall satisfaction with this course is 98% (University of Salford analysis of unpublished NSS 2020 data).
- Explore your individual talents and creativity through the application of the professional design process
- Study on a course awarded Best Programme for Undergraduate Fashion Design in the UK by The Business of Fashion in 2019, as well as ranked 11th in The Guardian's 2020 university league table for Fashion and Textiles courses
- Be transformed into a flexible, resourceful, and creative practitioner with well-developed transferrable skills.
- Get invaluable insight into what it’s like to work in the fashion industry through live briefs and work placements.
Our supportive course enquiries team can help you with any general questions you may have. You can also explore all of our Fashion courses. You can also find out more about our Fashion Design with Foundation Year course.
This is for you if...
You want to study on a fashion design course that’s well-established, has great graduate prospects and is highly ranked in the United Kingdom.
You want to be able to come up with and present fashion designs to a professional standard.
You want to study in an environment that will develop your personal talent and unlock your full potential.
All about the course
Ready to lay the foundations for a career in the fashion world? Our fashion design degree will take you from learning the fundamentals in your first year, through to bringing it all together in a major project in your final year.
Year one is all about introducing you not only to the fundamentals of fashion design and giving you the opportunity to develop your skills in a hands-on project-based environment but realising the impact of risk taking and experimentation. You’ll learn to illustrate, design, cut patterns and construct garments. As well as this, you’ll also look at the perspectives and contexts surrounding fashion design. By the end of your first year, you’ll be able to communicate your ideas to a professional standard and have the technical skills to make them a reality.
In your second year, the focus of your learning turns to the fashion industry. You’ll undertake a live project, working with a fashion house or label. This will give you chance to put what you’ve learned so far into practice in a real-world scenario, as well as give you first-hand experience of working with fashion design professionals. You’ll develop your understanding of markets and design trends through research, analysis and practical projects.
At the end of year two, you’ll undertake a work placement to develop your awareness and understanding of the fashion industry. Work placements offer the opportunity for regional, national or international experience in fashion-related organisations.
Your third year on our bachelor’s degree in fashion designing provides the opportunity to personalise your studies to align with your interests and career goals. All your hard work will be put into practice in your final project. You’ll have the freedom to take your project in any direction you wish, and your work from this final module will be exhibited at a fashion show in Manchester. A number of our students will also be selected to take part in the prestigious annual Graduate Fashion Week event in London, where they will exhibit work alongside their peers and competitors.
What is fashion design like at University of Salford? Find out by looking at the full course breakdown below.
This module introduces the basic skills and knowledge required as part of the fashion design process. It aims to provide the essential foundation upon which your understanding and awareness of the conceptual processes are underpinned by your technical and creative responses. It also aims to generate a sense of confidence and encourage you to think and explore in an open and expansive manner, allowing you a period of exploration within which more personal and creative responses can be generated via 2D and 3D solutions.
Fashion: Industry Practice Part 1
This module is delivered through a series of lectures, seminars, supervision sessions and practical workshops involving the development and research of fashion thinking via short exercises and focused projects. The sessions also incorporate individual and group tutorials to discuss student development and encourage an exchange of ideas and approaches to learning. Students have a series of lectures which will introduce them to topics surrounding the fashion industry. Typically, students will produce a book as a summary of everything they have learned in the lectures written along with visuals. Continuous formative feedback will be available in the form of tutor and peer-led group and individual crits. Students will give a presentation both visual and verbal.
Exploring Creative Contexts: Fashion
The module is taught through a variety of complementary teaching methods and formats including lectures, tutorials and projects. These various methods and formats will use our virtual learning environment (VLE) to encourage your participation in research, study skills and interpretation of teaching material. The two assessed components encourage you to explore, consider and reflect on a range of perspectives in the field of creative practice, especially in the context of your own practice. Sessions focus on issues affecting visual culture in relation to fashion and visual culture. Connected visits may be arranged.
Introduction to Pattern Cutting and Construction Techniques
A skill based module taught mainly in the workshop/studio through a series of demonstrations and lectures. You will be introduced to materials, workshop machinery and studio equipment through a series of demonstration and exercises. Assessment will be through a project that will typically include a body of work demonstrating understanding and application of techniques, materials and practical skills. Typically, this would be in the form of a project file built throughout the module.
This module is created to challenge you to engage with diverse approaches to fashion communication. The learning is achieved through workshops including practical drawing for fashion and the use of computer software appropriate to the fashion industry.
3D Approaches to Research
In the three-dimensional module you will gain an understanding of research concepts and methodologies for fashion design. You will demonstrate awareness of design principles that could lead to innovative three-dimensional fashion outcomes. You will build on your skills in creative pattern cutting methods and production techniques.
Fashion: Industry Practice Part 2
In semester two, this module also features a mentoring experience where you are partnered with final year students according to your interest in either design or styling. You will work closely with them as they develop their final major project. The final year students will complete an evaluation form that assesses the experience with you, and at the same time you will maintain and submit a visual/written journal/blog as part of your experience and overall project work.
Fashion Design 1
This fashion design 1 module aims to provide you with the opportunity to develop your understanding of fashion design and give you a solid foundation of knowledge for future modules. You will develop the technical skills necessary for the effective realisation of concepts within this discipline this will include research, design development, garment construction, fashion illustration and Computer Aided Design (CAD). The module deals with professional strategies and approaches that are necessary to gain practical yet creative outcomes important to the understanding of design and its application.
Responding to Creative Contexts: Fashion
The module is taught through a variety of complementary teaching methods and formats, including lectures, tutorials and projects. These various methods and formats will use the VLE to encourage you to participate in research, study skills and interpretation of teaching material. Connected visits may be arranged. Sessions focus on issues affecting visual culture in relation to design and visual culture and on an appreciation of contextual influences. In addition, you will be challenged to develop an informed view of the programme’s disciplines, the relationships between these disciplines, and the wider relationships that can be made to other forms of visual, creative and cultural expression. The assessed component challenges you to investigate and test your position in relation to creative and cultural communities, relevant to your practice.
Fashion Design 2
In the Fashion design 2 module you will gain experience in producing an edited or abridged collection of garments that captures and communicates the key themes and influences representative of their design direction. An understanding of marketing, trend and business issues will give you direction in the design, sampling and production of a collection. Enhanced and improved pattern cutting/production skills enable you to design more effectively and creatively in order to meet the needs of different markets Throughout this module you will be entering a more personal journey and initiating your personal direction in preparation for your final year.
Placements within industry not only add to your knowledge and appreciation of your chosen discipline but can also enhance future employment prospects. This module encourages a liaison between you and the industry – allowing you to apply and develop your knowledge and skills gained on the course while gaining an understanding of the relevant working procedures of industry and the professional activities of design. You will be supported to identify a placement that supports your chosen design field and future career aspirations.
This research-based module is a project that promotes and develops a systematic and critical enquiry into the professional and industrial aspects of the fashion business and evaluate its key facets in a professional, coherent and comprehensive way. You will be encouraged to identify a fashion company and after developing a creative and analytical research, you will have the opportunity to apply an individual and contemporary design solution.
Design and Research for an External Brief
This first design module is a project that encourages you to be aware and appreciate the 'reality' of the fashion industry and prepare you to engage in a professional way, within the constraints of an external brief.
This module intends to enhance your creative research skills, and subsequent design development into final realisation of garments. Here you will be asked to respond to several shorter projects whilst adopting experiential approaches to your design process, this module challenges you to think and act quickly, whilst developing a professional and cohesive body of work.
This module aims to challenge you to reflect critically on your personal skills and to exploit your individual creativity in promoting your own work. You will use the experiences and approaches to specialised research as a platform for your Final Major Project work.
Negotiated Major Project
Negotiated Studies as the final major project, is designed to allow you to synthesise your experiences on the course through the definition, negotiation and implementation of a self-directed programme of design investigation, research and development, leading to the presentation of a major design project. You are encouraged to identify an issue or set of issues around which to focus your design investigation. The primary responsibility for the implementation of the project lies with you, and you will be assessed on your capacity to undertake a detailed examination of the territory you have identified. Effectively, this negotiated study provides a framework through which you are able to demonstrate a capacity to practice your understanding of the particular contextual circumstances in which you operate.
Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.
What will I be doing?
As part of this undergraduate degree in fashion design, your timetable will include a breakdown of your scheduled lessons with timeslots for you to explore your independent research interests. Your classes will be based at our New Adelphi building.
As part of this course, you’ll be encouraged to create drawings, produce photography and compile visual and written notebooks in order to document your design process and the progress of your learning.
An important aspect of this course is having the freedom to find your own path in your studies, however there will be tutor guidance and support available to you throughout. You’ll learn how to research effectively using the internet and university library resources.
Finally, you’ll work on workshop and studio projects where you’ll learn and develop technical skills that are essential for fashion design.
Assessments are an important part of your academic journey, giving you the chance to put the skills and knowledge you’ve learned into practice.
Throughout your fashion design course at University of Salford, you’ll be assessed through a variety of different methods including coursework, presentations and your dissertation. The grades from formal assessments count towards your module mark.
Be part of a creative, supportive community
All our Fashion courses are delivered by the Salford School of Arts, Media, and Creative Technology. Our focus is to ensure that you have the skills you need to pursue your dreams, and we encourage our students, past and present, to collaborate with each other and achieve great things.
Each year - through the Create Awards – our School rewards the incredible achievements and successes of our final year and postgraduate students.
Whatever you choose to study with us, you’ll be mentored and supported by experts. And once you graduate, it won’t end there. You’ll join a thriving alumni network across Greater Manchester and beyond, meaning you’ll be supported professionally and personally whenever you need it.
This fashion design degree is based at our £55 million New Adelphi building, the home of design and creativity on campus.
When you study with us, you’ll learn from our experienced tutors and demonstrators, who’ll teach you how to use our design facilities, including specialist industrial machinery for fashion production. These include:
Studio space – dedicated areas for each course, giving you room to think and create.
MarkerSpace workshop - create digital rapid prototypes using 3D printers, CNC machines, laser cutters and more.
Photography studios - industry standard photographic studios, which you can use in conjunction with darkrooms and digital printing facilities.
Workshops – from print to textiles, wood to metal, our range of workshops allow you to take your ideas from page to reality and work in a variety of media.
Mac suites - equipped with the industry-standard software you’ll need during your studies and in the world of work.
Take a 360 tour of our New Adelphi building.
What about after uni?
Your career options with a fashion design degree span everything from working as a designer, pattern cutter, stylist, through to becoming a buyer, visual merchandiser, illustrator or work within the retailer and management sector, to name just a few roles.
Recent graduates have gone on to work for renowned companies including Adidas, John Lewis, Levi’s, Max Mara, New Balance, Puma, River Island, H&M and many more. We’ve also had graduates go on to set up their own businesses using the skills they’ve gained on this fashion design degree.
Graduates showing strong academic and research skills can pursue a further postgraduate path through our Postgraduate programmes on a full-time or part-time basis subject to a satisfactory proposal.
Students have the opportunity to meet and collaborate with a wide range of industry professionals. The valuable knowledge and experience that visiting speakers bring ensures that you are kept informed of the current changes and demands within the fashion industry.
You’ll benefit from hearing a professional perspective which complements your learning and development while providing inspiration and an acute awareness of the fashion world.
Our visiting industry consultants and speakers are a valuable asset to the course and help us to maintain our contemporary outlook. Recent guests have included the iconic fashion designer Romeo Gigli, the H&M design team, Emma Davidson director of Denza International, design teams from Max Mara Fashion Group, Lee Lapthorne, creative director of Doll & On-Off. These guest speakers were invited as part of a lecture series, workshop or live project
What you need to know
Ready to apply for this fashion design course? First and foremost, you’ll have to submit a personal statement and meet our entry requirements. A personal statement is a personal summary (360 to 500 words) of your academic, professional/life experience and future goals.
We’ll want to see your personality and understand:
- what motivates you and what you’ve learnt on your current academic journey;
- why you want to work in the fashion industry and your experience of fashion design so far; and
- why this fashion design course at University of Salford is right for your future goals.
In addition to this, we’d also like to see examples of your previous work in a well-presented portfolio. We want to know who inspires you, which brands and designers do you admire, and why? Your portfolio can take the form of sketches or images of your textile creations. We don’t expect you to be an expert - as you’ll learn new creative and technical skills on this course - but we’d like to see that you have some experience in a relevant area. and that you can demonstrate a clear design process.
When reviewing your portfolio, we’ll be looking for examples of drawing and colour usage, design/idea development, sketchbooks and notebooks, photographs, as well as 2D and 3D work. At this stage in your career, we would much rather see experimental and playful drawing and developmental work than all finished work showing a final solution.
We don’t need to see all the work you have produced - around 20-30 samples in your main portfolio would be ideal as well as some sketchbooks. Any offers will be conditional upon our subject team having the opportunity to review your portfolio, and we look forward to viewing your work.
For some applicants, you may also be asked to take part in an informal group seminar discussion or interview– either live or on camera – to demonstrate your skills.
Once you’ve made your application to study with us, we’ll contact you and let you know the next steps.
English language requirements
International applicants will be required to show a proficiency in English. An IELTS score of 6.0, with no element below 5.5, is proof of this.
English Language at grade C/level 4 or above (or equivalent) is required. Maths at grade C/4 or above (or equivalent) is preferred but not essential.
You must fulfil our GCSE entry requirements as well as one of the requirements listed below
UCAS tariff points
112 points including Art & Design
112 points including an A2 in an art and design subject at grade C
BTEC National Diploma
DMM including Art & Design
BTEC Higher National Diploma
Applicants may be considered for entry into year two
Applicants may be considered for entry into year three
Access to HE
Pass Level 3 Access to HE Diploma with 112 points (relevant subjects)
112 points including an art and design subject
Irish Leaving Certificate
112 points including an art and design subject
31 points including an art and design subject
Pass in Diploma with at least 73% overall (relevant subject)
Foundation Diploma in Art and Design
Distinction = 112 UCAS points - if you have a Pass (80 points) or Merit (96 points), you must have additional qualifications to a total of 112 points.
Salford Alternative Entry Scheme (SAES)
We welcome applications from students who may not meet the stated entry criteria but who can demonstrate their ability to pursue the course successfully. Once we have received your application we will assess it and recommend it for SAES if you are an eligible candidate.
There are two different routes through the Salford Alternative Entry Scheme and applicants will be directed to the one appropriate for their course. Assessment will either be through a review of prior learning or through a formal test.
|Type of study||Year||Fees|
|Full-time home||2021/22||£9,250per year|
|Full-time international||2021/22||£15,600per year|
|Full-time home||2022/23||£9,250per year|
|Full-time international||2022/23||£15900per year|
Students should expect to pay their studio levy each year. In addition, in year three of study, students will also incur a cost to participate in shows.
- First year costs: £150
- Second year costs: £150
- Third year costs: £400
For optional trips, you should expect to pay from £350 to £1,200. Costs are approximated based on the current academic year.
You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.
Scholarships for international students
If you are a high-achieving international student, you may be eligible for one of our scholarships.
We have a range of scholarships available for students applying for courses in 2020-2021 and 2021-2022. Our Global Gold Excellence Scholarship is worth £3,500 and our Global Silver Excellence Scholarship is worth £3,000 - both are available for students studying in our 2021/22 intakes.
We also offer the Salford International Excellence Scholarship which offers up to £5,000 discount on tuition fees. As this is a prestigious award we have a limited number of these scholarships available.
See the full range of our International Scholarships.
All Set? Let's Apply?
Course ID W225
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