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Fashion BA(Hons): After you graduate

Careers and progression

We have an established reputation for producing graduates with a full understanding of the design process and a strong creative style. Recruitment agents visit the University before the final show and exhibition to offer jobs to our students prior to graduation.

Our students are placed as designers at: Abercrombie & Fitch, Adidas, Autograph M&S, Alexander McQueen, All Saints, Anglo Accessories, American Eagle, Arcadia (BHS), ASOS, Attica, Aquascutum, Aubin & Wills, Bally, Bamford, Beyond, Boden, Burberry, COS, Country Road, Debenhams, Diesel Press Office, Dirk Bikkenberg, Dewhirst, Elena Miro, Envy, Firetrap, Hand & Lock, H&M, Helmut Lang, Hobbs, Hugo Boss, Jack Wills, Jaeger, John Lewis, John Smedley, Karen Millen, Kilgour, Markus Lupfer, Massimo Dutti, Matches, MaxMara, Meadham Kirchoff, Mother of Pearl, Mulberry, Net-a-Porter, Orla Kiely, Pentland Group, puma, Reiss Menswear, Religion, River Island, Rowan, Satyen Kumar, Selected Homme, Simone Rocha, Sibling, Stella McCartney, Studio M, Superdry, Sweaty Betty, Sophie Hulme, Tesco, Tiffany Rose, Tom Ford, Topman, Topshop, Twenty 8 Twelve, Warehouse, William Tempest, Wolf & Badger, Wonderland, and Zara.

Past graduates who have successfully set up their own labels include John Richmond, Gharani Strok, Song & Kelly, Basso & Brooke, Poltock and Walsh, Felipe Oliveira Baptista (now design director of Lacoste) and award-winner Sophie Hulme. Other renowned alumni include Glenda Bailey, editor of Harper's Bazaar US; and the University has awarded alumnus Caryn Franklin MBE an honorary doctorate.

Graduate news

Two of our Fashion BA(Hons) graduates have featured in the news recently. Read about:

  • Akosua Afriyie-Kum whose handbag company, AAKS, has featured on the Guardian website; and
  • Josh Read, who has won the LVMH Graduate Prize, receiving a year's contract Dior in Paris and features on the Essential Surrey website.

What our graduates say

Check out what our graduates have gone on to do and how studying at Kingston helped them achieve their goals.

Victoria Riches

Name: Victoria Riches
Course: Fashion BA(Hons), 2012
Current role and company: Womenswear assistant designer, Old Navy, San Francisco

Why did you choose Kingston?

Industry connections, challenging, disciplined, high calibre of teaching, near to London.

What did you gain from your experience at Kingston and how has this prepared you for your career?

Great technical skills, confidence, understanding of commercial and conceptual design. The course puts a strong emphasis on how important it is to be employable. After graduating, I felt equipped for the design industry, however starting my new job has been another steep learning curve. As a fashion design course, I feel like Kingston prepared me as much as I could have been for my career.

If you had any advice for prospective students, what would it be?

Be prepared to make sacrifices for the course: time management is crucial, and your social life will get significantly smaller! Enjoy being pushed out of your comfort zone, take advice from your tutors, even when it's hard to hear sometimes! A thick skin also helps. Make the most of having three amazing years of creative exploration, and pushing your boundaries!

 

Philippa Jenkins

Name: Philippa Jenkins
Course: Fashion BA(Hons), 2009
Current role and company:
Knitwear designer for John Smedley

Why did you choose Kingston?

I chose Kingston for Fashion BA(Hons), because it has strong links with the industry and has a great success rate of students getting jobs after graduation. Additionally at the start university, I wasn't sure if I wanted to focus on knitwear solely so this course gave me the option to learn it alongside woven design. This provided more opportunities when I graduated in regards to a job.

What did you gain from your experience at Kingston and how has this prepared you for your career?

I gained a lot from studying at Kingston and really felt I grew as a designer. The tutors are very supportive and have great contact with the industry. The most experience I felt I received was when we got to work with companies and designers like Brooks Brothers, John Smedley and Richard Nicoll. These projects lead me to get work experience in New York with Brooks Brothers for two months, and then to get my job at John Smedley after graduating.

If you had any advice for prospective students, what would it be?

The most important advice I can give any prospective students, would be get as much work experience as possible when you are studying in your summers off. This provides the opportunity to understand what kind of job you would like to do at the end of your three years, it will also build your confidence in these environments. Having work experience under your belt as well as a good degree will give you a better opportunity when you graduate.

 

Marisa Firman

Name: Marisa Firman
Year of Graduation: 1990
Current job: Design director, Womenswear, Calvin Klein 
Location: New York

Marisa has built an exciting career and works for one of the most prestigious names in fashion. She loves her job and feels the fashion course at Kingston is a great launch pad for any aspiring designer. 

"I knew I wanted to get into the fashion industry and Kingston was reputed to have a very strong course. It was also known to foster relationships which strengthened work experience and employment opportunities. The University's proximity to London was another key factor as fashion students need to attend exhibitions, stores, museums and galleries.

"The course was extremely challenging, competitive and fun, which is a good indication of what the industry is like. There was a good balance of both highly creative and very commercial projects often set by people from the fashion industry making the challenges more convincing.  The student fashion show before graduation was the most exciting and testing time, while the field trips were a highlight of the course – we travelled to Paris to attend fashion shows and exhibitions and I also assisted at a fabric show in Milan. 

"After graduating I moved to New York. I worked for a few small companies and then landed a job as a designer at A/X Armani Exchange. Following that I moved into jeanswear, becoming Senior Designer at cK Calvin Klein Jeans, I then went to the cK Calvin Klein bridge line – meaning it bridges the gap between luxury and ready-to-wear clothing – and was soon promoted to Design Director of Womenswear. The collection I design consists of about 250 pieces each season compiled of wovens, knits and sweaters.

"I enjoy my work immensely. Although my position is senior I am still very hands-on and work creatively with my design team putting together colours, fabrics and ideas. I travel extensively to London, Paris, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore and LA to attend fittings, meetings, market research or sometimes just vintage clothing shopping. This is definitely one of the inspiring and enjoyable highlights of my job. I also get to work with very interesting and talented people – such as renowned fashion stylists – putting together looks for our international advertising campaigns. Seeing our hard work finally come together is extremely satisfying.

"Kingston gave me a solid grounding in all aspects of what I do in my day-to-day work. The course is very well-rounded and the practical skills that you learn are invaluable. It strengthened my drawing ability, which is vital when communicating your designs to a tailor. Presentation skills, pattern-making and understanding garment construction are also all key.  Being able to sketch and make an interesting presentation is imperative to getting your foot in the door at most design companies.

"Many fashion companies are very aware of Kingston graduates and I have employed its students, knowing that to get through the course they have to be dedicated and hard-working, as well as strong designers with a commercial mind-set.

"Fashion is a demanding industry, the hours can be long and the deadlines tight, but the work can be creative and fun. There can also be a lot of international travel and good financial rewards. If fashion is your creative outlet then Kingston is one of the best places to study."

 

Helen Storey

Name: Helen Storey
Course: Fashion BA(Hons)

Helen was nominated for British Designer of the Year in 1990 and 1991. She set up The Helen Storey Foundation in 1997 to promote creativity, innovation and science through the arts, as well as new models for teaching and learning. Helen trained at Valentino and Lancetti in Rome before launching her own fashion label in 1984. She exported to 24 countries selling to 150 shops worldwide and her celebrity clients included Cher, Madonna and Liz Hurley. She was awarded Most Innovative Designer and Best Designer Exporter in 1990.

Helen is currently Professor and Senior Researcher at The London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London; Visiting Professor, Material Chemistry, The University of Sheffield; Visiting Professor, Humanities, King's College London; and Visiting Professor, Textiles, Heriot-Watt University, Scotland.

"Without a doubt, my years at Kingston and, in particular, the push, belief and nurture I received from Richard Nott, defined the designer I am today. Perhaps even more than this – at a time when I had no idea if I was good at anything, he saw something in me that I had long felt was a rampant over-sensitivity towards the world. He transformed that into something that still feeds me today. Gratitude doesn't come close."

 

John Richmond

Name: John Richmond
Course: Fashion BA(Hons)

John has emerged as one of the most important and creative fashion designers in the world. After completing his studies at Kingston, he created a collection under his own name and became a leading exponent of the British avant-garde. His talent lies in fusing innovative style with master tailoring and his collections have achieved global distribution. His edgy designs are often inspired by rock 'n' roll, and have gained him a cult following.

"You were expected to work unbelievably hard, which I enjoyed. The competition was fierce; the tutors were passionate, tough and encouraging. The friends I made and the special moments we had, I'll never forget. I loved every minute – so many good parties!"

 

Examples of recent graduate destinations

Download a list of our graduate destinations (PDF).

Types of jobs

  • Assistant accessory designer
  • Assistant designer
  • Design consultant
  • Fashion stylist
  • Purchasing manager
  • Shoe designer
  • Studio manager
  • Teaching assistant in fashion
  • Freelance trend forecaster

Employers

  • Topshop
  • Abercrombie and Fitch
  • Religion
  • MaxMara
  • Boden
  • Arvico Textiles Ltd
  • Belle group China
  • Miroglio
  • Studio M

In addition to building expertise in your own discipline, our courses will also help you to develop key transferable skills that you'll need for professional life or further study once you graduate. 

As well as a range of careers and employability activities at Kingston, we also offer you the chance to apply and develop your skills in live contexts as an integral part of your course. Opportunities include:

  • placements;
  • working or studying abroad;
  • volunteering;
  • peer mentoring roles; and
  • internship opportunities within and outside the University.

In your final year, you'll get the opportunity to complete a major 'capstone' project where you can apply the knowledge and skills you have acquired to a range of real issues in different contexts. This is a great way to learn and is a valuable bridge to employment or further research at masters level.

Courses available after you graduate

If you decide that you would like to go on to postgraduate study after your undergraduate course, we offer a 10 per cent discount on our postgraduate course tuition fees to our alumni. Here are some courses that might interest you:

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This course is taught at Knights Park

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