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Guide to studying Fashion

Consider a Fashion degree if you love to design, create, and are prepared to work hard to make something special.

Student looking at colour dress


  1. What's Fashion?

  2. Why study Fashion?

  3. What jobs can you get as a Fashion graduate?

  4. What do graduates do and earn?
  5. What qualifications do you need?

  6. What degrees can you study?

  7. How will you be assessed?

  8. What are the postgraduate opportunities?

What's Fashion?

Fashion is the study of popular styles and the global fashion industry. It covers clothing, footwear, accessories, makeup, body piercing, furniture and more. Degree courses look at the design, manufacturing and marketing of items for a range of different sectors, and the impact they make across the world.

Courses aren't just about creating the next celebrity trend. You could study costume design, textiles, styling, buying, journalism and a whole variety of other areas.

Why study Fashion?

Through a Fashion degree course, you'll be thinking analytically about clothes, studying fashion history and following trends with an eager eye.

A career in the area could see you playing a huge part in the multi-billion international industry, one which arguably almost everyone depends on. You'll need to be hardworking and creative, but it can be very rewarding seeing your projects come to life.

During your degree, you'll learn about all the steps in the fashion design process, from concepts to catwalks. You'll develop a host of technical skills such as illustration, pattern cutting and trend forecasting. 

As might be expected, very limited time in a Fashion course is spent being taught in a classroom. You'll have a lot of permitted creative freedom, where you'll be working independently on your own creations. You may even get to learn from or work alongside respected industry professionals.

Degree courses often include the opportunity to spend time studying abroad or working in a placement. This gives you the chance to experience Fashion first-hand in a new environment while gaining a deeper understanding of the professional world.

As well as specific techniques, you'll improve your transferable skills such as communication, marketing and PR. These can be very useful if you decide to go down a different career route after graduating.

What jobs can you get as a Fashion graduate?

Fashion degrees teach transferable skills such as presentation, research and communication, as well as how to be creative with raw materials and how to succeed in a competitive environment.

Particular job roles, as well as fashion designer, include retail buyer, manager, merchandiser, textile technologist, fashion journalist and PR manager.

Numerous companies offer graduate schemes in this subject, including BHS.

What do graduates do and earn?

In the infographic below, the first table shows what graduates of Fashion have gone on to do in the months after their graduation.

The second table shows the average salaries of undergraduate Fashion students entering employment. The three skill levels – high, medium and low – reflect the UK's Standard Occupational Classification's major groups 1–3, 4–6 and 7–9 respectively.

Source: HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey 2017/18

What qualifications do you need? 

Grade requirements depend on the university. You may need an A Level (or equivalent) in an art-related subject. Often a portfolio of work or an art foundation qualification is required; some undergraduate courses include a foundation year.

Always confirm the entry requirements for the particular university/course you're interested in.

What degrees can you study?

  • BA Fashion Marketing
  • BA Fashion with Journalism
  • BA Fashion Technology
  • BA Fashion

How will you be assessed?

Teaching methods include studio work, one-to-one and group tutorials, lectures, practical skills, workshops and store visits. Assessment methods include criticals, portfolio reviews, essays, projects and presentations.

What are the postgraduate opportunities?

Examples of taught MAs and research degrees at postgraduate level include straight MAs in Fashion, as well as master's courses in Creative Patterns, Creative Entrepreneurship, Textiles, Knitwear, Menswear, Fashion Management and Marketing, and Fashion Media Production.

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