The BA (Hons) Fashion Design course is a three year, full time course that embraces the diversity of 21st century fashion practice. It is focused on the development of the practice-based skills, contextual knowledge, professional attitudes and intellectual abilities which are necessary to succeed as a professional fashion practitioner.

Throughout the course we will teach you how to be an inspired fashion thinker, and to realise your concepts through both industry standard pattern-cutting and garment construction techniques, and innovative approaches to pattern cutting as an integral part of the design process. The course will encourage you to become a commercially active, technically aware, culturally sensitive, and independent fashion practitioner.

Our focus on employability will help prepare you for a range of careers within the broader fashion industry, through live industry projects and competitions. Our networks will open up exciting opportunities for you to showcase your work on a range of fashion platforms.


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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 for design, pattern-drafting and garment production.

Year Two — You will develop your work process and presentation skills, and engage with live projects and competitions to expand and enhance your professionalism. The Menswear module combines traditional tailoring techniques with contemporary design, and includes tailoring workshops and lectures covering the historical and contemporary context of men’s tailoring, resulting in the production 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. External opportunities which have included work experience and European residentials will give you an insight into the workings of the fashion world and provide inspiration that will help inform your work.

Year Three — This self-directed final year takes a holistic approach to your practice through a body of work 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.

Work Experience

Work experience covers a broad range of activities and students are encouraged to undertake work placements during their time at University. As well as guidance from the course team our Careers, Employability and Enterprise team offer support that enhances employability skills and underpins engagement with industry. In the past students have secured placements with: 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, Max Mara.


Our students have won numerous awards and competitions and have received exposure in national media. Recent successes include:

  • Winner of the Graduate Fashion Week Boohoo Social Media Award 2018
  • Winner of the Graduate Fashion Week Styling and Creative Direction Award 2018
  • Winner of the Graduate Fashion Week Fatface Graphic T-Shirt Competition 2018
  • Two finalists of the Graduate Fashion Week Considered Design Award 2018
  • Finalist of the Graduate Fashion Week Lectra Iconic Re-Design Award (in association with Vivienne Westwood) 2018
  • Winner of the Hawes & Curtis Shirt Design Competition 2018
  • Finalist of the Re-Dress Design Award 2018
  • Runner-up of the i-D Diversity Now! Competition 2017
  • Finalist of The Golden Shears Tailoring Competition 2017
  • 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
  • Student work featured in Vogue Italia 2017
  • Students featured in Drapers/GFW ‘Stars of Tomorrow’ feature 2017

Course Specification

Destination Careers

Careers include positions such as fashion designer, fashion buyer, garment technologist or pattern cutter. Some students choose to take on freelance work, or set up their own company; the University’s ‘Creatives in Residence’ scheme allows selected recent graduates to realise their ambitions and develop a practice within a secure environment for a set period after graduation.

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 innovative developmental work rather than all finished work. 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

Tuition Fees

Our current fees are listed here

Other Costs

Further costs of study are related largely to the costs of materials and depend very much on how individual students choose to respond to University briefs. The costs below are the result of asking our students to state how much they spend during the year and creating an average, as such they are indicative only.  

Equipment & Materials

  • Level 4 (First Year) Pattern making and sewing materials starter pack £92 (will be used throughout the three years of the course). A general art box is needed throughout the course and will be personal to the student’s focus. Students will need specific materials for fashion illustration workshops (initial outlay £20). Module Related Costs - £170 (approximately)
  • Level 5 (Second Year) Module Related Costs - £200 (approximately)
  • Level 6 (Third Year) Module Related Costs - £440 (this is only a guideline, as costs of some level 3 modules are entirely dependent upon individual students’ direction).


Level 4 students are taken on a 3 day Residential, usually to London, and usually in November. The cost is approximately £160 for travel and accommodation plus individual spending money.

Level 5 students experience an overseas trip, usually to a European destination, and usually for a 4-5 day duration. The cost of the trip is approximately £320 plus individual spending money (an average guideline amount of £160).

Terms & Conditions and Key Information

Our Terms & Conditions are here.

If you would like to download the Key Information on this course click 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

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

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"We will open your eyes to a realm of possibilities within fashion, and help you master the skills needed to produce beautiful, crafted products."
Sam Hudson-Miles, Course Leader
BA (Hons) Fashion Design