The Textiles, Fashion and Costume pathway encompasses students who are interested in textiles, fashion and costume.

What ties these three areas together is the design and manipulation of fabric, from textile designers who create and enhance fabrics, to fashion and costume designers who manipulate them into garments. 

After a month in the pathway, students specialise in either textiles, fashion or costume. To enable students to make an informed decision, the initial projects are diagnostic, encouraging exploration of colour, pattern, form and structure, using both two-dimensional and three-dimensional approaches. Life drawing and colour theory are both embedded within this period. 

Throughout the year teaching takes the form of tutorials in students’ studio spaces, group critiques and a range of practical workshops. Students are encouraged to approach their projects from a problem-solving perspective, whether that be an aesthetic, conceptual or technical problem. Teaching is designed to develop students’ ability to gather wide-ranging research, to develop it through a drawing and making, and refine it into varied and interesting outcomes. Students are challenged to consider the context of their work, to explore handcraft processes alongside digital methods, commercial and industrial design alongside bespoke, craft-led approaches. 

A vibrant studio culture encourages students to share and discuss ideas, to debate issues and support each other throughout the year. With the three areas intermingled within the studio, the students develop an understanding not just of their own area but how it fits into the wider context of textiles, fashion and costume. 



Textile design is about the colour, texture, pattern, detail, embellishment, surface, structure, construction and tactility of materials and fibres, developed in both two- and three-dimensions. Construction of fabrics may involve knit, weave, lace, macramé, felt and other constructed textile processes. These fabrics may then be developed through printing, dyeing, stitching, embellishing and other surface treatments.   

What is Textiles?

Contemporary textiles is a vast area of practice and can be approached in a number of ways. Processes used include: weaving, felting, knitting, crocheting, embellishing fabric or paper with print, embroidery or manipulating it by crumpling, pleating, cutting, tearing, burning and a multitude of other techniques. These approaches can exist in various contexts such as: 

Surface Design - decorative designs for a wide range of surfaces such as: printed textiles for fashion and interiors, ceramic and glass-ware, wallpaper and wrapping, decorative floor coverings. 

Constructed Textiles - the design and production of woven, knitted, or non-woven textiles for fashion, interiors, industry etc. 

Mixed Media Textiles - working with a variety of processes, materials and products to produce textiles for a range of outcomes such as: one-off craft pieces, textiles for fashion and interiors etc. 

Applied Textiles - one-off textile craft products or work intended for a gallery context. 

What courses could you study at degree level?

Applied Textiles, Constructed Textiles (Weave & Knit), Embroidery, Fashion Fabrics and Accessories, Mixed-Media Textiles, Surface Design (Printed & Embellished), Textile Design, Textiles for Fashion, Textiles for Interiors.

What careers could studying Textiles lead to?

There is a huge range of careers that textiles graduates are equipped to pursue, such as designers, designer makers, trend analysts, researchers, buyers, stylists, illustrators. These careers could involve working in-house for a design company, freelancing or setting up your own business as an artist or designer.

What interests should you have to work in Textiles?

You can learn the techniques of stitch, knit, print and dye but you must have an enthusiasm for some or all of the following: pattern, texture, tactility, colour, material, surface, fibre and format (image and composition).



Fashion design is about the shape, form, structure and construction of a garment develop, enhance or exaggerate the silhouette. Material qualities, such as the pattern, colour, texture and tactility all play their part. 

What is Fashion?

Fashion design, in simple terms, is the design and construction of clothing and accessories. A variety of factors influence fashion design including forecasted trends and cultural and social factors of the time. The designer must develop an understanding of three-dimensional form and how it relates to the body. Skills include pattern cutting, photography, styling, illustration, corsetry and tailoring. There are various specialisms within the fashion industry, which are detailed below in the ‘careers’ section. 

What courses could you study at degree level?

Accessories Design (Millinery, Footwear, Leather goods), Bespoke Tailoring, Clothing Design & Technology, Fashion Contour, Fashion Design, Fashion Knitwear, Fashion Technology.

What careers could studying Fashion lead to?

Fashion designer or maker of: Womenswear, Menswear, Knitwear, Lingerie, Childrenswear, Accessories, Footwear; Fashion Marketing; Styling; Promotion; Buying; Sourcing or Merchandising; Garment Technologist; Pattern Cutter; Colour Analyst; Trend Forecaster.

Graduates from fashion courses also work in all levels of the international fashion industry, as designers, stylists, consultants, freelancers, journalists, illustrators, retailers, buyers, merchandisers and other fashion business-related roles. 

What interests should you have to work in Fashion?

You can learn the techniques of pattern cutting, fashion illustration etc, but you must come to this area with a strong passion for the subject. You will have an interest in contemporary and historical clothing, an eye for shape, form, silhouette and materials, in addition to some of the concerns listed in relation to the textiles discipline. An ability or preparedness to think and work three-dimensionally on and around the body is essential.



Costume is about performance, character, the audience and the environment in which the costume is situated. Narrative, literature, history, music and dance may all play a part. Costumes are seen on television, in films, at the theatre and in street performances like carnivals. Costume design involves exploration of both fashion and textiles concerns, including shape, form, structure, construction, colour, texture, detail and tactility.  

What is Costume?

Every garment worn in theatrical productions, films and television programmes is a costume. Before the actor speaks or moves the costume has already spoken for him, conveying information about the character. Costumes are often set among props and furniture, sound and light, as part of a visual representation of an invented world. Skills include costume design, illustration, historical pattern cutting and construction, tailoring, corsetry and frames, millinery, surface and textile decoration and print and dye.

What courses could you study at degree level?

Costume Construction, Costume Design, Costume for Performance, Costume Interpretation, Theatre Design.

What careers could studying Costume lead to?

Costume designer/maker for television, film, theatre, performance or dance productions, costume props maker, costume supervisor, wardrobe mistress, costume consultants, buyers. 

What interests should you have to work in Costume?

You can learn all the necessary skills, such as illustration, character analysis, garment construction, but the one main thing you must possess is a passion for television, film, theatre and other live performance. You will also be interested character, narrative, literature, music, dance. You will be interested in historical and contemporary clothing, and have a preparedness to work with form, colour, texture and space.