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BA (Hons) Fashion Design

Course Duration

3 years; full-time
4 years; full-time Extended BA route
6 years; part-time
7 years; part-time Extended BA route


Course: W290
Institution: P65

Our BA (Hons) Fashion Design course provides a comprehensive design education for independently-minded fashion thinkers and makers who are looking to influence change within the fashion industry.

From future forecasting, concept and design development, creative pattern cutting through to leading compelling marketing campaigns, Fashion is one of the largest employers in the UK’s creative industries - offering endless opportunities to those forward-thinking individuals who seek to challenge the assumptions of design, take creative risks and communicate their individual style through their work.

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A spirit of independence runs through our vibrant fashion programme; we empower and prepare young creatives to become future fashion thinkers, makers and versatile designers. By combining traditional craft techniques with digital technologies you will transform your concepts from two-dimensional fabrics into three-dimensional forms. You will learn ways of thinking that will inform your personal design philosophies and lead you towards an individualised specialism.

From cutting-room floor to international runways, BA (Hons) Fashion students discuss their journey to industry.

Our Fashion Studio is a large, light space with panoramic views and it is comprehensively equipped with industry-standard technologies but your experience at PCA is not just limited to the Fashion Studio. We encourage cross-disciplinary and collaborative working where you can expand your skills by exploring our professional textile print studios, workshops for jewellery and ceramics and our Fab Lab, which houses the latest laser cutting, 3D printing and design technology.

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'Strigae', Will Shanahan and Alice Holmes

You will have the freedom to hone your signature aesthetic without the confines of a house style. The programme covers all aspects of the design process, from trend analysis, research and design development, drawing and illustration, colour and fabric development, historical and cultural studies, translation of ideas from 2D to 3D through to presentation, marketing and business development. You will use global trend forecasting tools WGSN and The Future Laboratory and learn software such as Adobe Creative Suite and Gerber Accumark for CAD pattern cutting. You’ll learn to cut and manufacture quality one-off garments and collections with high levels of craftsmanship, and we’ll provide the tools for you to realise your ideas, and develop design specialisms in menswear, womenswear, lingerie, knitwear, performance, sportswear, and other technical routes.

You’ll investigate sustainable design and ethical manufacturing, acquiring a deep appreciation for every step of the commercial supply chain. You will become industry ready and develop entrepreneurial activity through collaborative projects with the Makers HQ, a visionary Plymouth College of Art initiative and community interest company, created to provide cut, make and trim services to the fashion industry, with a strong focus on achieving ethical and local British manufacture.

Through expert industry speakers, live briefs and collaborations with brands like Finisterre and Hiut Denim you’ll develop market awareness, project management and communication skills, along with insight into factors that impact design, development and production. You will engage with industry events in London, Paris, New York and Berlin, as well as having the chance to showcase your work at Graduate Fashion Week. Through our extensive professional network our students have secured placements with Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood, Christopher Raeburn, Mary Katrantzou, Missoni, J.W. Anderson, Gareth Pugh and Lulu Guinness.

As part of Plymouth College of Art’s unique interdisciplinary community you’ll also develop your textile surface pattern and print, digital media and production skills. From presentation and marketing to designing a portfolio - you’ll collaborate with photographers, graphic designers and filmmakers throughout the college and in industry, culminating in a final collection and professional lookbook that launches you into the forefront of industry.

“I am impressed by the flexibility and encouragement that the Fashion programme offers students to explore their personal creativity. It is a real strength that students are empowered to explore the varied specialities within fashion design, without being limited. It allows them to make decisions, grow in confidence and understand their own opinion and taste level, learning to adapt to different markets and customers – a vital skillset in industry.”
Becky French, Accessories Designer, Marwood

Although many of our students do come in with top grades and high UCAS points, these aren’t necessarily essential for entry. We typically ask for a minimum of 112 UCAS points, but we understand that talented artists, designers and makers can have a wide range of relevant strengths and skills beyond formal qualifications. We’re just as interested in exploring your portfolio and discussing your creative experiences as we are in seeing your grades.

We recognise the value of a variety of qualifications and relevant experience and welcome applications from students who have followed less traditional routes. We also accept a range of international qualifications and will look at each application individually.

For more information please consult our How to Apply page and the UCAS Tariff Table.