Contemporary Fashion Foundation Degree FdA

This course is validated by: Lancaster University

Course Information

  • Course Code: IA2540B11
  • Fees: View fees and financial support information
  • UCAS Code: W230
  • Validated by: Lancaster University
  • Study Mode: Full time and Part time
  • This course is recruiting in: 2016/17, 2017/18, 2018/19

This creative and intensive Contemporary Fashion (Foundation Degree) programme will develop your ability to transform initial ideas and concepts in to innovative fashion garments. Modules are delivered by experts from a range of design disciplines as well as fashion specialists. Some of the exciting topics covered on the programme include: Trend analysis/interpretation, historical/contextual influences, drawing and fashion illustration, pattern drafting, fabric manipulation and garment construction.

As you progress on the course you will specialise in your chosen area of interest, developing your expertise and gaining experience by working on live project briefs and with employers. You are encouraged to undertake a range of work based learning opportunities consisting of national/international competitions, live briefs, and industry placements.You will learn how to utilise social media and create an online portfolio whilst gaining valuable business skills about how to operate as an independent practitioner or employee. 

The programme is delivered over two years full-time and progresses directly onto the one year BA (Hons) Contemporary Fashion (Top Up) programme. You'll be based within the School of Art & Society where we focus on creativity and innovation integrated with professional business practice as well as market awareness. The Foundation Degree provides undergraduates with creative and technical skills whilst increasing industry and commerciality awareness offering the best opportunities for employment security.

What will I study?

You'll develop your understanding of fashion trends, pattern-making, manufacture and research methods. You will learn how to utilise Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator in your work and be encouraged to experiment with a variety of illustrative, print making and fabric manipulation techniques to develop your portfolio presentation. You will also be encouraged to (and given support with) entering live competitions and industry briefs as well as securing potential industry placements. Throughout the programme you'll produce a range of creative samples and designs in response to a variety of exhibitions, visits and workshops.

You'll study modules that form part of a foundation degree tailored to your specialist area: Reflective Practitioner, Research Methods, Work-Based Learning and core Business Skills. Students are encouraged to undertake a work placement in industry as part of a Work-based Learning module that is integrated in to the course. Recent students have worked at Ted Baker, Deni Deni for Topshop Boutique, Wild Things children's wear, Emmerdale costume department  and bridal studios and design studios for major high street retailers. Whatever your work-based learning choice, you can be sure that you will not only gain experience in a specific area but also learn about the bigger systems that operate within a large company. 

The Business Skills module recognises that there is a real need for graduates with skills in business and an understanding of how businesses operate. If you leave and decide to embark on an independent career, this module will ensure you have an excellent grasp of how to promote yourself and thrive as a new business.

Modules include:

  • Contextual Studies
  • Drawing/Fashion Illustration
  • Reflective Practitioner (CV and E-Portfolio development, Career and Personal development)
  • Digital Design (Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator)
  • Materials & Techniques : Image and Colour (Print making, Surface Pattern)
  • Materials & Techniques : Fabric Manipulation
  • 3D Construction & Visualisation (Pattern Drafting, Garment Construction)
  • Research Methods
  • Critical Studies
  • Business Skills (Enterprise principles and applications)
  • Advanced Materials Techniques
  • Specialist Project (Collaborative/ Independent project management)
  • Work-Based Learning
  • Research Project
  • Final Major Project

Download the Programme Specification for FdA Contemporary Fashion. The Programme Specification will give you further information about the course structure, learning outcomes and detailed information about the assessment you can expect during the course. 

Entry Requirements

You'll need 120 UCAS tariff points. All applicants must show that they have a good level of spoken or written English, and if English is not your first language you'll need to demonstrate the ability to study in English. Please check the International section of the website for details. Applicants who do not meet the standard entry criteria but have relevant work / life experience will be considered on an individual basis and may be invited to interview. All applicants will have to interview successfully and must show a portfolio of work. Students progress from sixth form courses, FE courses as well as those who may have been out of formal education for some time.

Please note: For 2017 entry the UCAS Tariff is changing and the UCAS points required to enter this programme will be different from 2016. For those joining this programme in September 2017, you will need to have 48 UCAS Tariff points. All other entry criteria (as specified above) remain in place.

If you require more information on the UCAS tariff for 2017 entry please visit:

If you are an International Student from outside of the EU it is a requirement for you to have a Tier 4 Visa in order to study with us. In order for you to undertake this particular programme of study, you will also need to demonstrate that you have a good level of written and spoken English and will require a UK VI Academic IELTS score of 5.5. Please note: the fees for International Students from outside of the EU, for this particular programme are £9,250 per year. Fees are subject to change in subsequent years.

How will I be assessed?

The course is module based and each of the 14 modules is achieved on successful completion of one or more assignments. Assessment includes self and peer assessment (critiques) and assessment by subject tutor, course teams and external examiners. Assessment methods range from academic and reflective essays, individual and group presentations, to the formal submission of your studio practice through portfolio and sketchbooks. 

Formative and summative assessments enable lecturers or tutors to monitor the learning that has/is taking place. Summative assessment is not always noticeable by the student as it is a continuous process; lecturers or assessors may observe participation and responses to class discussions and group work, a student’s response to question and answer sessions, participation in workshop practical and engagement with demonstrations. Each module is formally assessed through, for example, examination, open-book test, individual and group presentation, essay, observation of practice, assessment of course work e.g. art portfolio, written report, reflective practice and portfolios of evidence.

Students receive both formal and informal feedback. Formal feedback is through assessments, is usually in writing and given within 3 weeks following the submission date. However, some lecturers will provide group feedback, for example, following an examination they may choose to work through the exam paper in a tutorial. It should be noted that feedback is part of the ongoing learning cycle which is not limited to written feedback. Other forms of feedback include one-to-one meetings with a personal tutor, dissertation and project supervision meetings, a lecturer responding to learner questions or responses during topic or situation discussions.

Teaching and Learning

The learning environment and facilities include lecture theatres, classrooms, technology suites, laboratories and workshops, library and skills labs, art and photography studios, small group and quiet zones. Learning methods will vary according to the programme of study but will include lectures and group tutorials. In addition, seminars, field trips, work placements, role play or scenario activities, laboratory and workshop practical, demonstrations, guest lectures, discussions and debates all contribute to the learning experience to support the acquisition of subject specific skills and knowledge and the development of transferable and employment related skills.

What can I do next?

There are excellent and diverse career opportunities available in this sector from careers in design studios to working as an independent designer/design maker/maker in women’s wear children's, men's wear, accessories designer, costume designer, garment technologist, pattern cutter, pattern drafter, sample machinist, fashion illustrator, stylist, merchandiser and fashion marketing.  The Fashion industry is wide ranging and the course caters for different areas within this industry. Many graduates however choose to top-up their degrees to a full BA (Hons) Contemporary Fashion (Top Up) through studying an additional year at University Centre at Blackburn College. You will need a commendation in your Foundation Degree in order to progress to this level.

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"The courses are continuing to encourage the innovative and creative approach to the design process and can be seen in the work of the students. This can only continue to develop as the course continues to become established. I would congratulate the staff team on the work they have done and the standard of achievement their students have reached. I also thank them for the preparation of work and their hospitality during my visits."

External Examiners Report 2014/15
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