The University of Southampton
Winchester School of ArtPostgraduate study

MA Fashion Design

Experiment, explore and discover your own creative identity while developing essential fashion design skills. You’ll benefit from our tutors’ extensive industry experience and contacts, equipping you for success in the competitive world of fashion.

Book your placeVisit us at our Postgraduate Open Day on 22 November

Introducing your course

The MA Fashion Design programme gives you the freedom to pursue your creative ambitions through experimental practice, personal research and critical evaluation. Working in purpose-built studios, you’ll cover core topics such as sketchbook development, visual research, sustainability and design, construction techniques and materials, CAD (computer-aided design) and fashion portfolio skills. We focus on a combination of hand making skills and techniques alongside the use of cutting-edge technologies; our superb facilities include bespoke pattern-cutting tables and industry-standard machines, traditional print and textile facilities as well as the latest technical and 3D printing technology. You’ll learn from tutors with years of professional fashion design experience and strong industry connections. They will work closely with you to help you develop your individual strengths and to enhance your employability. You’ll benefit from professional skills workshops, exposure to industry through live briefs and guest lectures, and the opportunity to showcase your work in Winchester and London. The teaching team’s extensive contacts can also facilitate internship opportunities with leading fashion companies.

Fashion Design

Overview

We welcome students from a range of backgrounds, including recent graduates and those with some professional experience who are looking to advance their career. You’ll study with talented students from around the world, developing a global network of friendships and professional contacts that will be invaluable as your career progresses. Co-location with MA Textile Design students creates a stimulating studio environment in which students share ideas and draw inspiration from one another’s work.

As you’d expect from a Russell Group university masters degree, there is a strong emphasis on research within the course. We encourage you to underpin your studio work with an understanding of ideas and contemporary issues in fashion and society – for example, past students have investigated the idea of sustainably produced wedding dresses, the issue of modesty and clothing, and zero waste in fashion. 

In addition, you’ll be able to attend lectures and conferences run by the School’s renowned research and special interest groups, such as the Winchester Luxury Research Group, In The Loop and the Fashion and Sustainability Forum.

Click here to download the full Programme Specification.

Programme Structure

This is a one-year, full-time masters degree, with two taught semesters followed by a period of independent studio work for your final project in the third semester. 

Studio practice 

In the first semester we’ll set project briefs for you to work on in the studio. These will give you experience of different ways of working and encourage you to experiment with ideas and materials while building your practical skills

In semester two you’ll have the freedom to explore your own ideas for your final project, building on your personal interests and the skills and knowledge you have gained in the first semester. You’ll write a project proposal, research your ideas and experiment with fabrics and techniques, with the aim of producing a set of toiles (calico prototypes) of your final project collection. You’ll also work in a group to plan and run an interim exhibition

You’ll spend the final months of the course working on your pieces in readiness for a professional photoshoot and major exhibition on campus, which you’ll help to organise.

Throughout the year you’ll have access to workshops covering a range of skills and techniques, from primary research to developing a sketchbook and CAD (computer aided design) to creating mood boards and a professional portfolio.  

Professional and academic skills

The course also includes two Professional and Academic Skills modules. These cover the design-related research approaches that you’ll use during the year, and the professional skills that will help you to progress when you graduate. Workshops tailored to the specifics of the fashion industry will help you develop your portfolio, CV writing and interview skills. We see the MA as a bridge between student and working life, encouraging a professional approach to studio work. Tutors’ industry experience means they are well placed to help you plan your next steps.

Optional module 

In semester two you’ll choose an optional module from a wide range, enabling you to pursue an interest in an area that complements your design studies. Topics range from the conceptual (for example looking at visual and digital cultures), to the business-focused (such as marketing and entrepreneurship).

Outstanding facilities 

We offer dedicated studio space and unrivalled facilities to support your studies. These include:

  • industry-standard design software.
  • a bespoke pattern-cutting room, industrial sewing machines, multi-thread overlockers for woven and knitted fabrics, professional dress stands for menswear and womenswear, as well as a fusible press and vacuum presses.
  • traditional and digital printing facilities including a Mimaki digital printer, heat-transfer for printing, 3D scanners and printers.
  • large flat bed printers and laser cutter.
  • the WSA library, which houses comprehensive collections of fashion books, journals and magazines as well as a wide range of other arts-related materials.

Dedicated librarians and technical staff will help you get the most out of these resources.

Industry-experienced academics

You’ll be taught by staff with impressive industry credentials who bring to the course a wealth of professional experience and invaluable contact networks. In addition, their specialist knowledge of sustainability in fashion, a critical issue in today’s fashion industry, will inform your learning.

  • Programme leader Delia Crowe has nearly 20 years’ experience working as a womenswear designer for many well-known British high street brands. This has included extensive worldwide travel and the building and sustaining of close working relationships with practitioners and factories in many countries, including China and India. She organises and chairs the School’s annual Fashion and Sustainability Forum; research interests include taking the long view on sustainability, guilt vs responsibility and our throwaway culture.
  • MA coordinator Reem Alasadi has presented her womenswear collections in London and Tokyo and specialises in highly innovative design, specialising in artisanship and hand-crafted excellence. She brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise in retail, design, visual marketing and merchandising to the course. She also has considerable expertise in sustainable and ethical design, and has led many workshops in non-waste design. 

Industry links and employability 

You’ll have plenty of exposure to industry during the year as well as numerous opportunities to put your skills into practice and gain valuable experience

  • Take part in live industry projects – Winchester School of Art alumnus Justin Thornton, founder of Preen by Thornton Bregazzi, recently set a live brief and offered internships to students with the most impressive portfolios.
  • Arrange an internship – tutors are happy to consult their contact books in order to help you apply for work experience opportunities. Recent students have worked with Thomas Tait, Samson Soboye, Bolangaro Trevor, Bruce Oldfield and Xiao Li.
  • Hear from industry speakers – we invite external professionals and industry influencers to share their insights into contemporary fashion design. Recent speakers include Paul Alger, Director of UK Fashion and Textile Association, and Adam Jones, ex Kenzo and Dior designer with his own couture label.
  • Gain experience by working on externally facing events – students from the School’s fashion, textile and marketing courses recently teamed up to work on a catwalk show in Southampton for International Women’s Day.
  • Showcase your work and make industry connections at major fashion events – we were among a small selection of UK fashion design masters courses to be invited to show work at the London Fashion Week Tomorrow’s Talent event.
  • Enhance your professional profile – a professional photo shoot and video showcases the students’ collections; the best collection pieces are selected for an annual lookbook to help you promote your work.
  • Hear from industry experts at the annual Fashion and Sustainability Forum – this year’s guest speakers included broadcaster, fashion commentator and activist Caryn Franklin, The Ethical Fashion Forum and Orsola de Castro, founder of sustainability movement Fashion Revolution.

Key Facts

Learn from academics with professional fashion design experience and extensive industry contacts.

Explore creative ideas in the studio, underpinned by robust research and critical thinking skills, and learn essential practical techniques.

Industry links enhance your learning through guest lectures, live project briefs and internship opportunities.

Be part of a community of artists on the dedicated Winchester School of Art campus, less than an hour from London’s fashion scene.

Superb studio space and unrivalled facilities, including traditional and high-tech digital equipment and industry-standard software.

A personalised approach to teaching; tutors offer tailored support to help you achieve your creative and career-related aspirations.

Specialist expertise in the area of sustainability in fashion, a key issue in today’s industry.

Entry Requirements

Typical entry requirements

Selection process

The admissions policy for the MA Fashion Design is based on students having a good honours degree in a relevant subject (2.2 or above) or an equivalent standard in other qualifications approved by the University.

MA Fashion Design at Winchester School of Art is both practice and theory based. It is important that you demonstrate your artistic ability in a portfolio, as this will be the determining factor for entry. Your portfolio should include evidence of the processes behind final work (e.g. drawing and sketches; try to include observational drawings and Computer Aided Design (CAD) work), examples of practical work (including toiles/muslins and final garments or outfits), and images of your final work (e.g. catwalk/runway show, ‘look-book’ or photo-shoot). Please include a variety of projects in your portfolio. Your portfolio should not exceed ten megabytes in size.

If you would like the opportunity to discuss any details of the course in more detail, please email Pgapply.FBL@southampton.ac.uk

If you have professional experience, or credit through prior learning at another institution, you may be eligible to use this experience against some of the programme requirements for period of study. You will need to present evidence that you have met the learning outcomes of the programme. Full details can be found in the University’s Policy on the Recognition of Prior Learning .

English language requirements

International and EU students applying for this course are required to have a minimum IELTS score of 6.0 overall with 5.5 in each component or equivalent, prior to starting the programme. For a full list of English language tests accepted please see here

The University also runs a number of English language courses to prepare students for study, details can also be found here for more information about the WSA pre-sessionals.

This page contains specific entry requirements for this course. Find out about equivalent entry requirements and qualifications for your country.

Modules

Typical course content

You will work in a creative environment in which students from other programmes will be studying. You will work on projects set by your discipline and be taught by staff specific to your programme. The work which you produce will be manifested through media appropriate to your discipline and you will experience workshops specific to your programme.

Year 1

All Core and Compulsory modules must be taken.
You should choose option modules totalling 10 ECTS/20 CATS in Semester 2. All option modules are offered subject to availability and timetabling constraints.

Please note: This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if s/he takes full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided. More detailed information can be found in the programme handbook (or other appropriate guide or website).

Fees & funding

Tuition fees

Fees for postgraduate taught courses vary across the University. All fees are listed for UK, EU and international full-time and part-time students alphabetically by course name.

View the full list of course fees

Funding

Scholarships, bursaries, sponsorships or grants may be available to support you through your course. Funding opportunities available to you are linked to your subject area and/or your country of origin. These can be from the University of Southampton or other sources.

Explore funding opportunities

Costs associated with this course

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

There will also be further costs for the following, not purchasable from the University:

TypeDescription
EquipmentApproved calculators: The University approved models are Casio FX-570 and Casio FX-85GT Plus. These may be purchased from any source and no longer need to carry the University logo.
StationeryYou will be expected to provide your own day-to-day stationery items, e.g. pens, pencils, notebooks, etc). Any specialist stationery items will be specified under the Additional Costs tab of the relevant module profile.
BooksWhere a module specifies core texts these should generally be available on the reserve list in the library. However due to demand, students may prefer to buy their own copies. These can be purchased from any source. Some modules suggest reading texts as optional background reading. The library may hold copies of such texts, or alternatively you may wish to purchase your own copies. Although not essential reading, you may benefit from the additional reading materials for the module.
EquipmentArt equipment and materials: Drawing paper, painting materials, sketchbooks Students on the Studio programmes will be required to purchase Sketchbooks the cost of which will vary.
EquipmentArt equipment and materials: Fabric, thread, wool Students taking the Studio based Fashion Design and Textile Design Programme will be required to purchase their own materials, the cost of which will vary. A student can choose the quality.
EquipmentDesign equipment and materials: Standard construction/modelling materials will be provided where appropriate, unless otherwise specified in a module profile. For customisation of designs/models calling for material other than standard construction/ modelling materials, students will bear the costs of such alternatives.
Printing and copyingWritten coursework: In most cases, written coursework such as essays, projects and dissertations is submitted online and by hard copy. The costs of printing a hard copy for submission of such coursework will be the responsibility of the student. The cost of photocopying will also be the responsibility of the student. https://www.southampton.ac.uk/isolutions/students/printing
Printing and copyingPortfolio: Printing for the collation of a student’s portfolio will be the responsibility of the student.
OtherOptional visits (e.g. museums, galleries): Some modules may include optional visits to a museum, galleries, or industry. You will normally be expected to cover the cost of travel, admission and food unless otherwise specified in the module profile.
OtherParking costs: Free parking is not normally available on campus to students.
TravelThe Student’s Union provide a mini free bus service which runs every 2 hours between the Winchester Campus and the Highfield Campus. Students are responsible for all other daily travel expenses.

In some cases you'll be able to choose modules (which may have different costs associated with that module) which will change the overall cost of a programme to you. Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at www.calendar.soton.ac.uk.

Career Opportunities

We produce creative, technically accomplished graduates with a professional approach, who are sought after by top employers. You will be able to choose from a range of fashion roles, including fashion designer, costume designer, pattern cutter, illustrator, fashion/photographic stylist, trend forecaster, fashion buyer, visual merchandiser, social media, blogger or fashion editor. This degree is also excellent preparation if you are interested in taking your studies to PhD level.

Past students have gone on to jobs as fashion designers and design teachers all over the world. Others have started their own labels; one former student who has established a label in Hong Kong recently brought her collection to the Pure trade show in London.

Many students have been successful in applying for internships, for example at Gareth Pugh, Roksanda Ilincic, Jasper Garvida for Ethologie and Thomas Tait. Two students who undertook internships at notjustalabel.com now have their own labels in Hong Kong and New Delhi.

Learning & Assessment

Study locations

Winchester campus

Winchester campus

Winchester School of Art is set in pleasant, green surroundings close ...Find out more

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MA Fashion Design
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Sustainability Forum 2017 - Poster
Sustainability Forum 2017 - Poster
Sustainability Forum 2017 - Poster
Sustainability Forum 2017 - Poster

Sustainability for the Future - Sustainability Forum 2017

The rapidly changing nature of the global fashion industry presents challenges to the entire world: people, the environment, the design process; and through development and production: to the consumer phase and product end of life. Of course, sustainability is not a new issue – from the consumer boom of the post war period, through the ‘greed is good’ attitudes of the 1980s to a growing awareness of the issue, there is an increasing need for sustainable practices.

Designers can play a vital role in shaping the future. Built-in-obsolescence is the opposite of good design. Good design will:

>>> Innovate - designers work with yarn/ fabric producers, technologists, suppliers and buyers

>>> Educate - all parts of the manufacturing process, including the consumer. Change our throwaway (‘kleenex’) culture.

>>> Transparency of the supply chain. Cradle to cradle, closed-loop circular economies

>>> Create less need - encourage a ‘buy less, care more’ mentality. Denim, leather, even t-shirts – become worn and loved, increasingly precious. Can that translate into other products?

Sustainability should be normalised, not fashionable. We cannot afford to let this issue go out of fashion.

 

#WSA_sustainabilityforum #WSA_mafashion

 

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