Teaching is predominantly practical, utilising methods such as demonstrations, studio workshops, group lectures, seminars and individual tutorials.
Assessment is largely coursework-based, with a small percentage of certain modules ‘exam’ or presentation-based. This will usually include a digital presentation of images of work where you will develop communication and professional practice skills.
The programme typically involves an average of 12 timetabled hours over two to three days per week during term time. This is a full-time programme and you will be expected to dedicate approximately 15-20 hours per week to self-directed study to carry out research and assignment work outside of timetabled hours. This can be undertaken at home or in College study areas and studios on specific days. Technician guidance will be available at designated times.
You will extend your practical skills in pattern cutting, garment making, use of industrial sewing machines and digital and screen printing. Your skills in Computer Aided Design (CAD) based digital presentation and visual communication will be enhanced alongside problem solving skills through the design process. Your skills in independent thinking and planning will be applied through completion of a professional and complex final collection project which may involve outsourcing and working with other professionals, as negotiated with lecturing staff. You will work as part of a group within the studio environment and during the planning and realisation of a final exhibition and fashion show in London. You will also collaborate with students and practitioners in other disciplines, including photographers and graphic designers to create paper based and digital promotional materials, and hair and beauty students as part of the fashion show.
Graduates of this programme have progressed to a wide range of internships or employment in industry roles such as fashion designer, textile designer, independent designer maker, pattern cutter, fashion illustrator and digital print designer. Others have progressed to further study, including teacher training and Masters level programmes.
You will be provided with a list of basic sewing and art equipment required for the programme as well as key reading material prior to enrolment.
A materials fee is payable for each year of the programme to cover the supply of basic materials, including calico, threads, pattern paper, printing inks and dyes. This fee is currently set at £70 per year. An additional fee for trips, currently set at £30 per year, is also payable for each year of the programme to cover admission fees for external visits organised by the College. This will enable the College to obtain group discounts where available and ensure that students can visit key exhibitions and shows during the year. Please note that this fee will not cover your travel costs.
You will need to budget for the purchase of fabrics and other materials to carry out your project work. The scale of this cost may be significant as you will create a substantial body of work, but it will depend greatly on the nature of your work and your choice of style and materials. You will be encouraged to budget carefully, use recycled materials, seek sponsorship and conduct fundraising activities. As a guide, the College estimates a minimum cost of £450 across the year, although some students will spend more than this whilst others will spend less.
At the end of the year you will present your work as part of a group exhibition. This forms part of a module of study and you will be encouraged to work with your colleagues on the programme to raise funds to stage the exhibition and suggest possible venues. In recent years, students have exhibited at the New Designers show in London and this has provided an exciting opportunity to exhibit to thousands of visitors, including members of the industry. The cost of exhibiting at this event has been approximately £200 per student, although successful fundraising will significantly reduce the cost to students.
The College will also seek to organise a group visit to the Première Vision show in Paris. This will be an optional trip. Subject to a minimum number of students signing up, you should budget for a cost of approximately £250 if you wish to attend this event.
The programme is taught at our campus in Tonbridge, which offers close links to London and the south coast. You will benefit from a supportive environment, an excellent ratio of staff to students and guidance and tutorial support from specialist lecturers with industry experience. The purpose-designed and modern fashion and textile studios include access to professional equipment. Workshops from visiting speakers, fashion designers, textile agents, illustrators and fashion promotion specialists support core teaching and ensure the programme is relevant to the industry. In previous years, students have worked with local companies including Talullah & Hope; London design offices of high street chains such as Monsoon & Accessorize and Phase Eight; and independent designers, freelance artists and makers including Tatty Devine and Ptolemy Man.
The programme is suitable for students with a Foundation Degree or HND qualification in fashion, textiles or a related discipline who wish to extend their skills and achieve a full degree. Skills in either pattern cutting and garment making or an area of practical textile specialism, as well as ideas for the direction of a final year collection, are relevant for students joining this programme.
Students will take part in trips to exhibitions and London museums and agencies, as well as international competitions and the College’s end of year fashion show. In addition, students will have the opportunity to visit the Première Vision show in Paris in the second year.