Fashion Design Innovation BA

Year of entry

2025 course information

Open Days 2024

Register your interest for our October Open Days. Register here

UCAS code
Start date
September 2024
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

By studying BA Fashion Design Innovation at the University of Leeds, you’ll investigate, understand and address future fashion challenges. You’ll develop your understanding of fashion and textile design, combining the latest digital technologies with practical skills and applications to create innovative design solutions for both virtual and physical environments.

You’ll balance research-led activities and contextual studies with creative practice and focuses on social, ethical and sustainable fashion design thinking to lead innovation. You’ll be equipped with a broad range of resilient skills that allow you to become an agent for social change and graduate with the ability to positively impact the fashion industry.

You’ll examine the relationships between sustainable design and your own virtual and physical making, developing an understanding of diverse market sectors. Fashion and textiles are central to the School’s research activities, furthering your understanding of advanced research methods to explore the material innovations and technological developments required to build a better fashion industry. Core and specialist modules build key skills for your future career in fashion design and a variety of associated fields.

Scholarships for 2024 Entry

The Clothworkers' Company are managing three scholarships for UK students to support textiles by funding technical education, skills development and innovative design.

Specialist facilities

Take a virtual tour of our facilities.

The School of Design offers excellent facilities and technical support for developing your creative skills. We have a range of dedicated spaces where you can work independently. We also have a number of practical workshop studios and specialist facilities: sculpture programme studio, 2D programme studio, fashion design studio, knit and weave studio, photography studio, digital print workshop, laser cutting and 3D print workshop, printmaking workshop, XLab for Immersive Technologies and 3D workshop.

We provide access to a team of excellent technicians across the full range of skills who can help you to realise your work to reach its potential.

The School also provides a range of other support to enhance the student experience and prepare students for the workplace: free dedicated software, a wide range of technical induction programmes, free access to LinkedIn Learning , free cameras and video recorder on loan, supporting a Degree Show, external promotion, Yorkshire Fashion Archive and Membership to the ASBCI (Fashion Design Innovation, Sustainable Fashion and Fashion Marketing students), visiting speakers from industry or other institutions around the world.

Course details

We highly value research activities and contextual studies as integral to contemporary creative practice. We believe that this means you’ll graduate with the flexibility, adaptability and resilience that employers are looking for.

Throughout the course, you’ll have the opportunity to choose optional modules in a range of related subjects such as strategic fashion management, material explorations for fashion, consumer psychology and neuro-marketing. Discovery modules from across the University include popular subject choices such as business management and sustainability.

We also offer you the opportunity to take part in the Study Abroad scheme or our successful placement year (Year in Industry) between Levels 2 and Level 3; for many students the placement year is a great opportunity to experience the reality of the fashion and textiles industry.

Year 1

Your first year is exploratory and experimental. You’ll build a foundation of digital and practical design knowledge and skills, learning about approaches that are changing the way we produce and think about fashion. You’ll explore the fashion and textile industries, examining where change is needed and how we can adapt to meet these challenges. As you progress, you’ll be introduced to key issues in the history, culture and technology related to fashion and textiles and you’ll develop skills in visual communication, research and analysis, critical thinking and academic writing. You’ll develop your own creative design work and have the opportunity to co-create with fellow classmates, building your understanding of the cooperative negotiation needed within design practice.

Year 2

In your second year, you’ll build on the experience gained at Level 1, extending your knowledge and creative development. You’ll learn how to apply a range of different research methods to explore the role design plays in our lives, developing your understanding of designing for positive change. You’ll utilise specialist software and practical hands-on skills to address industry-focused fashion design projects that require speculative problem solving, considering future impacts and solutions for a range of contexts.

Year 3

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 independent projects that draw on both research and practice skills.

Throughout the course, you’ll also have the opportunity to choose optional modules in the School of Design in a range of related subjects, such as strategic fashion management, material explorations for fashion, and consumer psychology and neuro-marketing. 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 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.

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

Most courses consist of compulsory and optional modules. There may be some optional modules omitted below. This is because they are currently being refreshed to make sure students have the best possible experience. Before you enter each year, full details of all modules for that year will be provided.

For more information and a list of typical modules available on this course, please read BA Fashion Design Innovation in the course catalogue.

Year 1
Compulsory modules

Design Studies: Foundation (20 credits) - This module provides opportunities to develop the foundational skills of scholarly research, academic writing and critical thinking. You’ll be immersed in key issues and debates informing the changing values and future of design and consider how these have been influenced by social and historical forces. It will equip you with the skills to read and understand academic texts and apply theoretical ideas to your own design practice. You’ll also be introduced to research methods for finding and analysing texts and images.

You’ll develop your awareness of the complexity of challenges that design and society faces and your ability to analyse the relevance of and make connections between the contexts, issues and subject fields that will shape your future studies and professional careers.

Creative Challenges and Communication (20 credits) - This module involves a range of rapid and team-led design jams as you are taught a variety of design thinking skills that are both broad and discipline-specific. Being able to visually communicate design solutions in a range of formats is fundamental to this module – principles of type choice, layout and image usage are taught.

Fashion Essentials: Design, Materials and Production (40 credits) - This module builds a foundation of digital and practical knowledge and skills in the key areas of fashion design development, garment construction and textiles for fashion. You’ll explore practices and processes in the fashion and textile industries and examine where change is needed, developing your creativity through research and practical projects incorporating individual and group work. You’ll learn about digital approaches that are changing the way we design, produce, and think about fashion. You'll engage with problems such as waste reduction and fashion surplus, exploring how the industry is adapting to meet these challenges, and enabling you to propose potential design-focused solutions.  

You must take one module (20 credits) in a defined area of study. These may include modules in areas such as:

  • Fashion Industry

  • Sustainable Fashion

  • Creative Thinking

  • Fashion Branding

  • Fashion Materials

Optional modules

(20 credits each)

  • Photography

  • Information Design

  • Colour and the Design Process

  • Design for Change

Year 2
Compulsory modules

Design Studies: Exploration (20 credits) - This module will develop your research and analysis skills and show you how these can be used to tackle the complex challenges faced by society today. You'll learn how to apply a range of different research methods to explore the role design plays in our lives. This module will equip you with an understanding of how you can use design research to create positive change in the world and the confidence to put this knowledge into practice.

Design for Interaction and Experience (20 credits) - This module teaches skills in planning and designing post digital experiences. Team-based demonstrations introduce you to the potential of emerging technologies that may shape the future of design. You will engage with new media theories that help contextualise your work. Practical principles of designing for physical interaction (such as designing installations or digital experiences) are introduced and you learn how best to present your creative responses using a range of techniques.

Fashion Experimentation: Challenges and Transformations (40 credits) - In this module you’ll research, experiment and challenge current thinking and practices in fashion. You’ll learn about the materials innovations and technology research that’s informing fashion and textile futures and advance your digital and practical skills from Level 1. Extending your knowledge and creative development through a series of design projects, you'll utilise specialist software and practical hands-on skills to address industry-focused briefs that require speculative problem-solving, thinking forward to future impacts and solutions encompassing local to global perspectives.

You must take one module (20 credits) in a defined area of study. These may include modules in areas such as:

  • Strategic Fashion Management

  • Consumer Behaviour and Neuromarketing

  • Fashion History

  • Advanced Materials for Fashion

Optional modules

(20 credits each)

  • Photography 2

  • Colour Art and Science

  • Towards the Future: Skills in Context

  • Future Skills for Employability

  • Design for Sustainability

  • Marketing, Creativity and Innovation

Year 3
Compulsory modules

Major Research Project (40 credits) - In your final year, you’ll carry out an academic research project, building on the research and analytical skills developed throughout your studies. You’ll select from a range of project types, enabling you to focus on a subject of specific interest, developing the skills required for your future career.

Fashion Design Contexts: Self Directed Project (40 credits) - This module consolidates and builds on knowledge gained at Levels 1 and 2 of the course, encouraging focused and autonomous enquiry to formulate innovative fashion design solutions for a virtual or physical context of your choice. You’ll take ownership of the entire process, developing a negotiated brief that identifies your key design objectives and encompasses each stage of the design process, from research and concept development through to final outcomes.

Fashion Design Innovation (20 credits) - The premise of this module is to develop fashion that is socially, ethically and environmentally responsible, creating innovative design solutions around these key principles in digital and/or physical form. A key focus of this module is how your work will bring benefits to society. You can elect to collaborate with a community-focused group, not for profit organisation, or charity, or respond to an external competition brief, to develop a responsive project addressing real world needs.

Optional modules

(20 credits each)

  • Advertising

  • Advanced Information Design

  • Branding

  • Collaborative Marketing

  • Fashion Styling

  • University of Leeds Discovery Module

Learning and teaching

Creative problem solving and design thinking methods are central to our teaching in the School of Design. Your learning will be enhanced by a range of contemporary teaching methods which encourage active learning and are underpinned by inclusive and authentic learning activities, including team working, creative sprints and industry facing scenarios.

We follow a campus-based blended learning approach, you’ll have a range of resources in the virtual learning environment which are accessible at all times, including videos and pre-work to help you prepare. You’ll attend lectures designed to invite engagement and participation, seminars which enable you to delve deeper into key topics, workshops to learn and practise design making and critiques and tutorials to discuss work in progress.

Collaboration with staff and your peers is the foundation of our teaching and learning, giving students input into their learning journey. Some of your core modules will be studied with your classmates from other design disciplines, so you will benefit from our community of learners, encountering diverse perspectives and exchanging your ideas with global industry practices in mind. Your module tutors have dedicated office hours, which means there is always the opportunity to ask questions.

A typical week in your first year may include eight to 12 hours of in-person and online study, one to three hours of specific workshop and studio activities, regular personal tutor sessions and private study. You’ll also have the ongoing support of your Academic Personal Tutor.

Private study is important at university and a potentially significant change from the way you have been taught previously. This is time where you can reflect and critique materials from taught session, including further reading, writing, designing and making. You’ll be guided through this process by your tutors to help you develop your knowledge and research skills. The ability to work independently is a key skill for your development as a creative professional and thinker.

There is an active visiting speaker programme, formed of industry and academic experts, including School of Design alumni.

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.


You’ll be assessed through a variety of methods, these include visual 2D and 3D responses, portfolios of text and image, blogs, short videos, presentations as well as more traditional essays, reports and occasional exams. Some of your assessments will be based upon collaboration with your peers. This collaboration could be in the development of artefacts, proposals and/or various forms of visual and textual communication in response to problem-based issues.

The nature of assessment will change as you progress through your course:

  • at Level 1 assessments focus on your understanding and acquisition of new knowledge and practical, digital, academic and professional skills

  • at Level 2 assessments focus more on establishing how well you understand, analyse and apply this new knowledge and new skills in relation to real-world, local and global settings

  • in your final year study becomes more self-directed with forms of assessment often being negotiated and agreed with tutors

Throughout each year of study, it’s to be expected that you’ll find that assessments are progressively more challenging. To support you as you navigate assessment at the different levels of study, we provide formative as well as summative assessment. Formative assessment gives staff an opportunity to give you feedback on personal progress, in good time before a summative deadline. Given the range of assessment types in any one level of study, formative assessment and feedback enables you to reflect upon your personal progress and establish which forms of assessment allow you to play to your strengths.

Authentic assessment means relevant assessment, in terms of contemporary contexts and relevant to your personal interests and your future aspirations. The authenticity of assessment is an important consideration in how we design assignments and project briefs. This means that we think carefully about the relevance of assessment outcomes; not only in academic terms but also in terms of your chosen career path, skill development needs and the future of work in your chosen discipline. Where appropriate, there will be an element of choice in your assessment. Some projects will allow you to choose the focus and format of your submission.

Dialogic teaching methods emphasise in-class discussion and support staff / student debate. This approach to teaching and learning enables staff to hear all student voices. In turn, for some modules, this in-class dynamic may facilitate and inform the co-production of assessment tasks. Co-production of assessment tasks means that staff and students work together to devise fair and inclusive assessment; both formative and summative. This allows staff to consider the requirements of a module alongside opportunities to allow students to harness their strengths.

While remaining considerate of module and course learning outcomes, where relevant and beneficial, we strive to adopt a flexible approach to assessment design. This flexibility allows us to respond to student voice, maintain an agility that allows us to react to global, social and cultural change and respond swiftly to opportunities to devise projects with our industrial partners. We aim for all assessment to be relevant, meaningful and engaging.

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. Excluding Art Foundation Diploma; please see Other Qualifications section.

Cambridge Pre-U

M1, M1, M2 including 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.

Welsh Baccalaureate

Please note that we don't currently accept the Welsh Baccalaureate.

Other Qualifications

UAL Extended Diploma: Distinction in the UAL Extended Diploma (or High Merit where available).

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 a contextual 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 contextual admissions.

Arts and Humanities with Foundation Year

This course is designed for students whose backgrounds mean they are less likely to attend university (also known as widening participation backgrounds) and who do not currently meet admissions criteria for direct entry to a degree.

The course will give you the opportunity to be taught by academic staff and provides intensive support to enable your development of academic skills and knowledge. On successful completion of your foundation year, you will progress to your chosen degree course. Find out more about the Arts and Humanities with Foundation Year


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: £26,500 (per year)

Tuition fees for UK undergraduate students starting in 2024/25
Tuition fees for UK full-time undergraduate students are set by the UK Government and will be £9,250 for students starting in 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 UK undergraduate students starting in 2025/26
Tuition fees for UK full-time undergraduate students starting in 2025/26 have not yet been confirmed by the UK government. When the fee is available we will update individual course pages.

Tuition fees for international undergraduate students starting in 2024/25 and 2025/26
Tuition fees for international students for 2024/25 are available on individual course pages. Fees for students starting in 2025/26 will be available from September 2024.

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) and more course specific materials (eg sketchbooks, specialist papers, specialist fabrics, sculpting materials, specialist tools), 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.

Some of our courses require the development of work using industry standard specialist software. As/if required by your course, the School will provide this to you when you arrive. 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 £1500 -2,500.

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. Delaying purchasing also allows you to find out from your course leader what you need. Depending on your circumstances you can benefit from a laptop loan or further support from our Financial Assistance Fund.

You’ll also have access to further digital equipment in our studios and using our loan scheme. You may decide to purchase your own equipment (from Year 1 or as your studies progress) which will result in additional costs. Examples include a drawing tablet (£50 - £500) and digital camera (£200 - £1500).

There may be additional costs related to your course or course 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.

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 on our living costs and budgeting page.

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 2024/25.

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.


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 have not studied art/design at A-level (or equivalent), we may also consider your application based on a high grade at GCSE along with a portfolio of relevant work. Please contact us for more information on portfolio submission.

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 Admissions Policy 2025

This course is taught by

School of Design

Contact us

School of Design Undergraduate Admissions


Career opportunities

Flexibility, resilience and transferable skills are desirable attributes for creative industry professionals. In the School of Design, as well as providing you with research led, industry informed subject-specific knowledge, we aim to equip you with the best possible skills for a variety of careers. Design thinking, combined with excellent research and criticality skills are increasingly valued across a wide range of sectors; therefore, your degree from the University of Leeds opens opportunities across disciplines and multiple industries, as well as in your course-related specialism.

Your professional understanding and practical skills are central to the degree, and combined with your research expertise they will prepare you for an exciting career in the fashion industry. 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 the key drivers of the fashion industry in the 21st century.

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 chosen to work for companies including Abercrombie & Fitch, New Look, Next, River Island, Ted Baker, Tommy Hilfiger, Warehouse, French Connection, H&M, Christopher Kane, Hobbs, Mint Velvet, Victoria Beckham, Marks and Spencer, Oliver Bonas, Whistles, Superdry, Urban Outfitters and Paul Smith.

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 placements

Practical work experience can help you decide on your career and improve your employability. On this course you have the option to apply to take a placement year module with organisations across the public, private and voluntary sectors in the UK, or overseas.

Find out more about work experience on the Careers website.

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 a fantastic opportunity to gain experience of working in your chosen industry or field of expertise before you graduate and a chance for you to put the knowledge and skills you have gained during the first two years of study 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.

While 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.