Fashion Design Innovation BA

Year of entry

2024 course information

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UCAS code
Start date
September 2023
Delivery type
On campus
3 years full time
Work placement
Study abroad
Typical A-level offer
ABB (specific subject requirements)
Typical Access to Leeds offer
BBC at A Level and a Pass in the Access to Leeds module.
Full entry requirements

Course overview

Fashion Design

At the University of Leeds we approach Fashion Design differently. We believe that the best designers develop their creative skills by critical engagement with ‘big ideas’ and ‘big problems’ and by developing strong research and analysis skills. For all our students and staff, creativity has a clear context and we love pushing ideas, skills and knowledge to their limit.

By studying Fashion Design Innovation in the School of Design you will be intellectually and creatively challenged. Making, reading and writing combine to enable you to become a critical creative practitioner/thinker. Research and an understanding of contemporary and historical discourse underpin your creative practice - your final year dissertation is as important as your final year project. On this course you'll have the freedom to express your creativity in diverse ways, by exploring innovative fashion and textile design solutions that respond to the needs of contemporary consumers.

Working in our well-equipped studios and purpose-built facilities, you’ll develop your understanding of the fashion design process, combining the latest digital technologies with traditional manual skills, in line with industrial standards. You’ll develop creative and practical skills that enable you to develop beautiful, responsibly produced, and innovative fashion and textile products.

Issues of sustainability, diversity, inclusion and employability are embedded throughout the course. You can also tailor your course via a range of exciting options. Our live briefs, guest speakers and optional ‘Year in Industry’ also equip you with key skills to enter the world of the creative industries.

There is an opportunity to choose optional modules from within the School of Design throughout your course. However, you can also pick from many options from across the university called Discovery modules; popular subject choices include business management and sustainability.

All students are offered the opportunity to participate in the Study Abroad scheme during the second or third year. You could also undertake a placement year during this time through our Year in Industry - this is an ideal chance to experience the reality of the fashion and textiles industry.

Specialist facilities and support

Take a virtual tour of our facilities.

The School of Design offers excellent facilities and technical support for developing your creative skills. We have dedicated practice studios, workshops and specialist facilities: 3D Art & Design Studio; 2D Art & Design studios; Fashion Design studios; Knit and Weave studio; Graphic and Visual Communication studio; Photography and Film studio; Digital print studio; Laser cut studio; traditional printing studio; Design workshop; 3D workshop with 3D printing; computer clusters.

The School also provides a range of other support to enhance the student experience and prepare students for the workplace: essential learning materials; essential studio and workshop materials; dedicated software (Adobe CC; PointCarre, Solid Works, Cinema 4D, Lectra, etc); cameras and video recorder on loan; free entry to Inside/Out lecture series; compulsory field trips part of assessment; part of curriculum subscriptions (eg LSN, Special journals and periodicals); costs of Degree Show (infrastructure, course catalogue and exhibition set-up); external promotion (eg New Designer, AD&D, Graduate Fashion Week); Yorkshire Fashion Archive and Membership to the ASBCI (Fashion Design Innovation and Fashion Marketing students); and Visiting Speakers, who are well known figures from industry or other institutions around the world.

Course details

In your first year you’ll be introduced to key issues in the history, culture and technologies related to fashion design. You’ll develop research and analysis skills and write reflective essays in response to contemporary and historical design perspectives.

You’ll gain foundational knowledge and skills in the key areas of visual research and design development, garment construction and basic structured and printed textiles. You’ll gain an understanding of diverse market sectors and learn how to find and research the key information you need to create high-quality fashion products for retail.

In the second year you will start to develop specialisms in either structured or printed textiles in your studio practice, and will have opportunities to apply these skills in your design and practical work, gaining hands-on experience of working to industrial standards. Critically you will also learn about more advanced ways of conducting research in the fashion design area.

All of this will prepare you for your final year, in which you’ll apply all the practical and academic skills you’ve learned. This will culminate in several large practical projects, for exhibition at our degree show exhibition and in your professional design portfolio. Simultaneously, you will produce an independent dissertation words exploring a fashion/textiles topic of your choice.

Throughout the course, you’ll also have the opportunity to choose optional modules in the School of Design in a range of related subjects Discovery modules from across the university include popular subject choices such as business management and sustainability.

The School of Design also offers all our students the opportunity to take part in the Study Abroad scheme or our very successful placement year (Year in Industry) between Level 2 and Level 3; for many students the placement year is a great opportunity to experience the reality of the fashion and textiles industry.

Course structure

The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.

Year 1 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Integrated Practice: Research and Design 20
Integrated Practice: Construction 20
Introduction to Textiles for Fashion 20
Digital Fashion 20
Design History, Design Futures 20

Year 1 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

DESN1633 Colour in the Design process, DESN1689 Fashion Branding and DESN1383 The Fashion Industry are the recommended modules for level 1.

Module Name Credits
Colour in the Design Process 10
Fashion Branding 20
The Fashion Industry 20
Introduction to Photography (Digital) 10

Year 2 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Integrated Experimentation: Research and Design 20
Integrated Experimentation: Realisation 20
Strategic Fashion Management 20
Research Methods 20

Year 2 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

DESN2175 Design for Sustainability and DESN2657 20th Century Fashion History are the recommended optional modules for Level 2.

Module Name Credits
20th Century Fashion History 20
Design for Sustainability 20
Photography (Digital) 10
Colour: Art and Science 10
Introduction to consumer behaviour and neuromarketing 20

Year 3 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Fashion and Textile Innovation 20
Integrated Portfolio: Research and Analysis 20
Integrated Portfolio: Design & Content 20
Independent Study Dissertation 40

Year 3 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

DESN3582 Fashion Styling and Photography and DESN3835 Collaborative Marketing are the recommended optional modules for level 3/4.

Module Name Credits
Fashion Styling and Photography 20
Collaborative Marketing and Promotion 20
Time and the Image in Contemporary Art 20
Brand Communications 20
Contemporary Advertising 20

Discovery modules

Throughout your degree you will benefit from a range of opportunities to expand your intellectual horizons outside or within your subject area.

This course gives you the opportunity to choose from a range of discovery modules. They’re a great way to tailor your study around your interests or career aspirations and help you stand out from the crowd when you graduate. Find out more about discovery modules on our Broadening webpages.

Learning and teaching

On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.


Creative practical work is assessed using visual presentations, portfolios and journals. Written exams, essays and other written responses to assignment briefs may also form part of the assessment. Methods of assessment will vary depending on the modules you choose.

Entry requirements

A-level: ABB including art/design subject or media. Excluding General Studies and Critical Thinking.

If you don’t have an art or design-related subject but you are taking Media Studies A-level, we may also consider your application based on a high grade at GCSE in Art/Design and a portfolio of recent and relevant work.

GCSE: 5/6 A-C (or 4+) including English.

Alternative qualification

Access to HE Diploma

Pass diploma with 60 credits overall, including at least 45 credits at level 3, of which 30 credits must be at Distinction and 15 credits at Merit or higher. An interview and a piece of written work may be required.


DDM including Art/Design

Cambridge Pre-U

M1, M1, M2 including M1 art/design or media.

International Baccalaureate

34 points overall with 16 at Higher Level including 5 in Visual Arts and 4 in English.

Irish Leaving Certificate (higher Level)

H2, H2, H2, H3, H3, H3 including art/design or media.

Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

BB in Advanced Highers and AABBB in Highers OR B in Advanced Highers and AAABB in Highers OR AABBBB in Highers.

Other Qualifications

Art Foundation course: Whilst we welcome applications from students who have completed an Art Foundation course it is not a requirement for entry and doesn’t usually count towards entry requirements.

In exceptional cases, we may make you an offer conditional on achieving an Art Foundation qualification: we may consider your application if you’re taking a validated Art Foundation course and have ABB or above at A-level not including Art or Design.

Extended Project Qualification: If you’re taking the EPQ, we may make you an alternative offer in addition to the standard offer. In this case that would be BBB, plus EPQ grade A.

Read more about UK and Republic of Ireland accepted qualifications or contact the School’s Undergraduate Admissions Team.

Alternative entry

We’re committed to identifying the best possible applicants, regardless of personal circumstances or background.

Access to Leeds is an alternative admissions scheme which accepts applications from individuals who might be from low income households, in the first generation of their immediate family to apply to higher education, or have had their studies disrupted.

Find out more about Access to Leeds and alternative admissions.

Typical Access to Leeds offer: BBC at A Level and pass Access to Leeds.

Arts and Humanities with Foundation Year

If you would like to study arts, humanities, and cultures at university, but don't currently meet the typical entry requirements for direct entry to a degree, you might be eligible to apply for the Arts and Humanities with Foundation Year course.


We also accept a wide variety of international qualifications, please visit our international equivalencies page to find out more about entry requirements for your region.

International Foundation Year

International students who do not meet the academic requirements for undergraduate study may be able to study the University of Leeds International Foundation Year. This gives you the opportunity to study on campus, be taught by University of Leeds academics and progress onto a wide range of Leeds undergraduate courses. Find out more about International Foundation Year programmes.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.0 overall, with no less than 5.5 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English
If you're an international student and you don't meet the English language requirements for this programme, you may be able to study our undergraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.


UK: £9,250 (per year)

International: £24,000 (per year)

Tuition fees for UK undergraduate students starting in 2023/24 and 2024/25
Tuition fees for UK full-time undergraduate students are set by the UK Government and will remain capped at £9,250 for 2023/24 and 2024/25. The fee may increase in future years of your course in line with inflation only as a consequence of future changes in Government legislation and as permitted by law.

Tuition fees for international undergraduate students starting in 2023/24 and 2024/25
Tuition fees for international students for 2023/24 and 2024/25 are available on individual course pages.

Tuition fees for a study abroad or work placement year
If you take a study abroad or work placement year, you’ll pay a reduced tuition fee during this period. For more information, see Study abroad and work placement tuition fees and loans.

Read more about paying fees and charges.

We expect that you will have to pay for the printing and production of visual and written coursework. Toile fabrics are provided at wholesale costs, but in final year you may wish to use a particular fabric. We encourage you to find sponsorship if possible.

There are optional study trips abroad which will involve an additional cost: details will be provided as these are arranged.

Additional cost information

There are additional costs of study that students need to cover. We estimate that these additional costs could be as described below, but this amount may vary depending on how you decide to respond to university briefs and the range of materials and techniques you decide to adopt.

Equipment and material costs

Students need to cover the cost of printing their work during the course, including specialist print workshop costs. Students also need to cover costs of copying and supplying their own basic materials (eg pens, pencils, cutting tools, paper, ruler, etc.) and more course specific materials (eg sketchbooks, specialist papers, specialist fabrics, sculpting materials, specialist tools, etc.), as well as print portfolios.

The approximate cost of these items in recent years has been:

• Level 1 – £100 - £170
• Level 2 – £100 - £150
• Level 3 – £200 - £600

Computers and digital equipment

To ensure you can make the most of your studies at Leeds, you’ll need to make sure your laptop meets the system requirements for your course.

Our course requires the development of work using Adobe Creative and other relevant software. We also use a blended learning model where you’ll need to access course materials and video conference using a computer or mobile device (eg laptop, tablet, smartphone). Costs for a laptop will vary depending on the exact specification. You should expect to pay between £500 - £2,500. You might also consider buying an external drive to back-up your work on a regular basis, which may incur another additional £50 - £150. Alternatively you can choose to store your work using cloud storage or your personal M:Drive, provided by the University.

If you’re buying a new laptop for your studies, then we recommend that you wait until you’re registered as a student so that you take advantage of discounts given to university students (eg Apple, Adobe Creative, etc.). Delaying purchasing also allows you to find out from your programme leader what you need and what you do not need. In case you cannot afford a laptop, you may be eligible for further support from our Financial Assistance Fund.

You’ll also have access to further digital equipment in our studios and using our loan scheme. But, you may decide to purchase your own equipment (from Year 1 or as your studies progress) which will result in additional costs. Examples are: Drawing tablet (£50 - £500); Digital camera (£200 - £1500); etc.

Study and field trips

The School of Design pays for all compulsory field trips that are part of the curriculum and/or assessment. There may also be opportunity for optional study trips and the need for individual field-based projects / trips. Costs will depend on the project / courses undertaken, and on the nature and location of each trip, and can therefore range between £100 and £750.

Degree show, extra exhibitions, and competitions costs

Your Degree Show will require extra production costs, which will vary according to individual projects. If you’re given the opportunity to showcase your work outside the School of Design, this will require additional production costs, as well as travelling, accommodation and subsistence costs.

You might also have opportunities to submit to competitions and may want to subscribe to online networks, which may cost up to an additional £100 per year.

Reading materials

You’ll have access to a good supply of books, academic journals, periodicals, etc., that are available in the University libraries. You’ll also have online access to an extensive range of reading resources. You might decide, however, to purchase required books that are recommended on your course.

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more about additional costs.

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There is help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government. Find out more in our Undergraduate funding overview.

Clothworkers’ Scholarships

Affordability route

The School of Design offers a limited number of Clothworkers’ Affordability Scholarships. The Affordability Scholarships provide students with £3,000 a year, for 3 years, towards their study. An additional sum of £2,000 is also awarded at the start of the programme for the purchase of a laptop.

The scholarships do not have to be paid back and are in addition to the financial support you can receive from the government (such as the tuition fee loan or maintenance loan).

Undergraduate means-tested scholarships are available to selected UK students from low-income households, who also meet the eligibility criteria and are entering Leeds as full-time, level one undergraduates in the academic year 2023/24.

Applications for the scholarship open mid-February and the deadline is end of May. Please check back in February for further details on how to apply, or visit the Personal Circumstances Scholarship webpage.

Academic achievement route

All UK fee paying students who apply to this programme are considered for a Clothworkers’ Academic Achievement Scholarship. The Scholarships provide students with £2,000 a year, for 3 years, towards their study and are based on academic achievement.

There is no separate application process and the decision will be based on applicant’s equal weightage to GCSE (or equivalent) results and Predicted A-level (or equivalent) results.

The announcement for the academic achievement Clothworkers’ Scholarship will be made by 15 March 2023.


Apply to this course through UCAS. Check the deadline for applications on the UCAS website.

Read our guidance about applying.

Documents and information you’ll need

If you don’t have an A-level in a related art or design subject, you’ll need to submit a portfolio of recent and relevant art/design work. Please email at least six images of recent work to at the time of your application to UCAS – the email subject line should include your name and UCAS ID number.

International students apply through UCAS in the same way as UK students. Our network of international representatives can help you with your application. If you’re unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Admissions policy

University of Leeds Taught Admissions Policy 2024

This course is taught by

School of Design

Contact us

School of Design Undergraduate Admissions


Career opportunities

Your professional and practical skills are central to the degree, and they will prepare you for an exciting career in the fashion industry. If you take an industrial placement year, you’ll also have valuable experience for your CV. Because Leeds offers you the chance to study academic modules that put your practice into context, you’ll also develop a range of transferable skills that appeal to all kinds of employers.

You’ll become a confident communicator with excellent presentation skills, as well as being an analytical problem-solver with strong research skills. You’ll have great visual, critical and commercial awareness, as well as an in-depth understanding of consumer profiles and trends in a fast-changing market.

Graduates have pursued a wide range of careers in the fashion industry including; design, pattern cutting, garment technology, buying, trend forecasting, PR and journalism. They’ve gone to work for companies including Abercrombie & Fitch, BMB Menswear, Esprit, George, New Look, Next, River Island, Ted Baker, Tommy Hilfiger, Warehouse, French Connection, H&M, Karen Millen, Dunhill International, Christopher Kane, Amanda Wakeley, Betty Jackson and Paul Smith.

Find out more about how we prepare you for your future career.

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

Leeds for Life is our unique approach to helping you make the most of University by supporting your academic and personal development. Find out more at the Leeds for Life website.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more about Careers support.

Study abroad and work placements

Study abroad

On this course you have the opportunity to apply to spend time abroad, usually as an extra academic year. We have over 300 University partners worldwide and popular destinations for our students include Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Africa and Latin America. 

Find out more at the Study Abroad website.

Work placement

Our Year in Industry is an opportunity available to all Fashion Design Innovation students. It’s great for your personal and professional development, and some students have even been offered permanent roles at the company where they completed their placement.

A Year in Industry is not only a fantastic opportunity to gain experience of working in your chosen industry or field of expertise before you graduate, but it is also a chance for you to put the knowledge and skills you have gained during the first two years of your degree into practice. You can spend a year immersing yourself with one organisation or try a multitude of placements to explore different organisations and career paths.

Whilst on placement you could be in a fast-paced creative agency, or a high end fashion design company, an international retailer, a product manufacturer or an art practitioner developing their latest exhibition. Whatever option you decide to do you’ll be expanding your skillset, creating your professional network and developing your professionalism all of which will help you to secure graduate employment in the future.

Students have worked in designing, buying, pattern cutting, PR, visual merchandising and other roles for companies like ASOS, Amanda Wakeley, Monsoon, Christopher Kane, WGSN, Mark Jacobs, River Island, Alexander McQueen and French Connection.

Read more about our Year in Industry in the School of Design

Alumni profile: Laurence Moreton Burt

The elements which really struck me about the course when I was applying was that there was a balance of academic and creative study.
Find out more about Laurence Moreton Burt's time at Leeds