Our distinctiveness lies in Leeds Arts University being one of only a few independent art schools in the UK; our students experience studying in a creative ‘community’, where collaboration and inter-disciplinary working is encouraged, with the excellent facilities on campus, and the technical support offered in the workshops. Leeds is widely regarded as the fashion retail capital of the North, from vintage boutiques to Harvey Nichols and hundreds of smaller independent stores. The ultra-stylish Victoria Quarter is home to Vivienne Westwood, Mulberry and Paul Smith, and two new flagship development shopping centres, Victoria Gate and Trinity, have recently opened, further reinforcing this position.

At course level, our distinctiveness lies in our focus on employability; we are constantly building our visiting professional network and are engaged with many live projects, work experience and competitions. Employer engagement is integral to the discipline, and is proven in the number of students securing graduate positions immediately upon completion of the course, or shortly after.

The BA (Hons) Fashion Design course integrates industry with the artisan. Supported through award winning facilities, our highly trained, professional academic team will teach you up-to-date industry methods and innovative approaches alongside traditional techniques. You will engage with the entire fashion process, from the formation and expression of your initial ideas through to your graduate collection, emerging as a highly credible and accomplished designer/maker.

This course will develop your awareness of contemporary fashion design, and inspire you to discover your own identity as a fashion practitioner. It will open your eyes to a realm of inspiration and possibilities, through awareness and application of the synthesis between theory and practice, sustainable and ethical methods, and cross-disciplinary collaborative opportunities. Trips to art galleries and fashion exhibitions, and residential visits will expand your contextual awareness and design thinking.

Throughout the course, you will take a directional approach to womenswear and menswear design, learning to translate concepts into industry standard garments using both block-based and creative pattern cutting methods and garment construction techniques, including tailoring. As you progress into your final year, you will select the methods and principles that best suit your practice.

Our established connections with the fashion industry on an international scale allow you to learn how the fashion industry works through talks from visiting professionals and work experience opportunities. Live projects and prestigious competitions will give you the opportunity to showcase your work on a global platform, giving you greater leverage to find your position as a future fashion creative in this exciting, ever-evolving industry.

We will offer 1:1 support to help you develop your transferable skills, with portfolio surgeries supporting you through the process of building a professional and innovative portfolio, in preparation for your career in fashion.

Technical workshops in pattern cutting, garment construction, and CAD, will help you to develop your practical skills, and tutorials offer the opportunity to discuss your progress with your tutors.

* Course starts in 2018 subject to approval

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course details

What You'll Study

Year One — You will be introduced to the process of fashion concept development, colour awareness and application, material use and behaviour, fashion illustration, portfolio presentation, digital applications through Adobe Creative Suite, pattern-drafting and garment production. Previous opportunities have included the prestigious Confucius Institute competition, collaborative opportunities, and a London residential offer.

Year Two — You will further develop your work process and presentation skills, and continue to engage with live projects and competitions, to expand your external contacts and enhance your professionalism and confidence.

The Menswear module synthesises traditional tailoring techniques with contemporary design for the directional menswear sector. Tailoring workshops along with a series of introductory lectures, covering the historical and contemporary context of men’s tailoring will initiate a body of design work and the realisation of a piece of men’s tailored outerwear.

The Fashion Design Practice module will further develop your understanding of how trends inform the fashion design process, the development
of range-planning and the realisation of design through pattern cutting and garment manufacture, preparing you for your final year graduate collection.

Opportunities such as a residential visit will give you an insight into the workings of the fashion world and provide inspiration that will help inform your work. In previous years this has been to a European fashion destination.

Year Three — The self-directed final year takes a holistic approach to your practice through a major body of research that is supported by reflective and critical writing, and culminates in the realisation of your graduate collection, which reflects your individual philosophy and career aspirations as a fashion designer/maker. Live projects will further enhance your portfolio in preparation for employment. You will also be involved in the logistical planning and promotion of the graduate fashion shows.

Work Experience

Recent work experience positions which students from our fashion department have secured incude: Alexander McQueen (Paris), Vivienne Westwood, ASOS, Patta (Amsterdam), Tom Ford, Christian Dior Couture (Paris), KTZ, Aitor Throup, Marques’ Almeida Peter Pilotto, London Fashion Week, River Island, and Max Mara.


Students from our fashion department have had many prize-winning entries put into production that have led to offers of employment and exposure in national media.

Recent accolades include:

  • An all-expenses paid two week trip to Beijing for first year winners of the Business Confucius Institute Competition 2016
  • Winner of the Hawes and Curtis Design competition 2015
  • Finalist of The Golden Shears Tailoring Competition 2017
  • Finalist of the Northern Youth Fashion Show 2016
  • Finalist of the Joe Brown’s Design Competition 2016
  • Finalist of the Graduate Fashion Week Vivienne Westwood Ethical Award 2016
  • Finalist of the Graduate Fashion Week Fashion Photography Award 2016
  • Finalist of the Graduate Fashion Week New Media Award 2016

Destination Careers

Careers are diverse and include positions such as: fashion designer, fashion buyer, garment technologist or pattern cutter. Some students choose to take on freelance work after graduation, or set up their own company; the University’s ‘Creatives in Residence’ scheme provides a platform for selected recent graduates to realise their ambitions and develop a practice within a secure environment that offsets those initial difficulties of launching new ideas, products and practices.

Entry Requirements

We’re looking for students with the best potential to succeed - irrespective of their background. That’s why we welcome a wide range of qualifications and experience.

Click here to view our entry requirements

Portfolio Guide

Sketchbook/developmental work that demonstrates the processes that you have explored, leading up to the final outcomes in a well-presented, cohesive portfolio, will be essential first impressions at your interview.

At this stage in your career we would much rather see experimental and playful drawing and design developmental work rather than necessarily all finished work showing a final solution. We would like to see a personal and well-presented portfolio; there is no need for heavy card and plastic sleeves. We do not need to see all the work you have produced - around 20-30 samples in your main portfolio would be ideal.

The following guidance is intended as a general check-list, but this is open to your individual interpretation, as it is important that you show your unique creative identity through your work.

As a general rule, we would expect to see examples of:

  • drawing; ‘thinking through drawing’ and illustrative examples
  • colour and material considerations and application
  • a critical approach to the developmental stages of your work, through sketches and annotations
  • design/concept development
  • photographs of 2D and 3D work
  • extended critical writing through a critical diary, essay, or similar

We also run a range of daytime and evening portfolio development courses specialising in preparation for further and higher art and design education. For more information on current courses please click here.

Interview Guide

When you arrive at reception you will be met by a member of the course team who will take you to the studio where you will be asked to lay out your work.

You will be given a brief written exercise (it is not a test) that you can do whilst you are waiting for your interview.

Whilst you have been doing this the course staff will have been looking at your work. You will then have a 15 minute personal interview with two members of staff. Since we interview several students in one half day session, you should be prepared to be in the University for up to three hours.

If you have had to travel long distances and have a train pre-booked, please let us know in advance and we will try to arrange the timing of your interview so you can get away in time.


This is identified from one or more of the following:

The ability to generate and develop a range of creative ideas in response to briefs.

  • Portfolio
  • Sketchbooks
  • Photos of examples of practical work

To be able to engage with experimentation in the use of a variety of media and materials.

  • Portfolio
  • Sketchbooks
  • Photos of examples of practical work

Enthusiasm for studying at a specialist art and design University.

  • Personal statement
  • Interview

Contact Hours & Teaching/Learning Methods

Undergraduate degree programmes at Leeds Arts University are delivered and supported through a range of teaching and learning strategies. Programmes are made up of modules, these are elements of study that are taught and assessed separately. Each module carries a clearly identified credit value, the accumulation of which will allow you to progress to the next level of the programme. 100 hours of learning are expected for every ten credits of the programme. Each level (year) of the programme is made up of 120 credits and therefore requires 1200 hours of learning. This equates to 40 hours of study per week throughout the academic year.

For every 100 hours of learning, approximately 25 hours are delivered as taught or supported sessions and remaining hours are allocated for studio/workshop access and independent learning. Individual programmes have their own learning cultures based on their specific use of the teaching and learning methods listed here. These methods feature differently depending on the programme, level, aims of module, content of the sessions and progress through an academic year.

For further information see our Undergraduate teaching & learning at Leeds Arts University document.

Tuition Fees and Other Costs

Terms & Conditions

Our Terms & Conditions are here.

International Opportunities / Visiting and exchange students

We are delighted to welcome undergraduate visiting and exchange students from Europe and around the world who would like to spend a semester or a full academic year taking credits from our exciting range of courses. You will be fully integrated into the academic and social life of the University during a period of full-time supervised study and your credits transferred back to your home institution.

You can join us through programmes such as Erasmus+, individual university partnerships or as an independent applicant. Please see here for more information and how to apply.

Leeds Arts University students interested in spending some time overseas can find information on the international opportunities available during your course here.

Questions? Contact international@leeds-art.ac.uk

3 Years
Study Mode
Full Time
Institution Name
Leeds Arts University
Institution Code
Awarded by
Leeds Arts University

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