Posted Thursday 12 March 2020
Kingston School of Art's globally acclaimed Fashion BA(Hons) course has been ranked in the top 25 fashion schools by influential website Fashionista in their annual worldwide poll. Kingston's course is one of only three representatives from the UK on the list, and one of only ten European fashion schools to have made the grade.
The Fashionista ranking, first established in 2010, is drawn from extensive data analysis and interviews with thousands of students and alumni. The methodology includes looking at successful alumni and the overall cost of study while the interviews provide insight into quality of the academic expertise, the practical and business training on offer, resources, technology, social life, career counselling and financial support.
The rankings were released as Kingston University's Head of Fashion Elinor Renfrew announced she is taking a sabbatical from her role to write a 3rd edition of her book, following a remarkably successful 15 years heading up the fashion department. "To be one of three UK courses in Fashionista's top 25 in the world is a great honour," she said. "It carries weight within the industry globally and makes people take notice of the great work happening at Kingston School of Art. This can be seen in our end of year shows, like last year's catwalk at the House of Lords and our strong representation at Graduate Fashion Week."
course as one of the best in the world. "We create a professional atmosphere which is backed up by the volume of live projects we have with top industry players," she explained. "Big brands brief the students, interview them and then select interns - it's a very real experience for our students that stands them in good stead for the future. Students have won internships at Chanel, Burberry, Ralph Lauren, Givenchy and Dior over the last few years and we work with high street brands like H&M, Zara and ASOS."Associate Professor Renfrew praised the multi-talented alumni and students for establishing the
As for the secret to the course's success over the last 15 years, Associate Professor Renfrew attributes it to the dedication of both the students and staff, who share their experience of working at the cutting edge of the fashion industry. "The tutors are very dedicated, never resting on their laurels - we always strive to be better," she said. "When I first arrived at Kingston I saw the opportunity was there to make a real impact by working on an international scale with major brands. We are now creating sought after students who use their diverse range of skills to go on to have long careers in the industry in a wide array of different roles."
The future of fashion at Kingston University looks to be healthier than ever with the introduction of a new Fashion Promotion and Communications BA (Hons) course sitting within the school of Creative and Cultural Industries. The newly introduced year out option enables students to study abroad on an Erasmus exchange at top institutions in Europe and gain valuable internships abroad.
"Our students have a pride in coming to Kingston, we've created a community and have a strong links with both our foundation course and our MA course," Associate Professor Renfrew concluded. "Our students win awards for their designs including the British Fashion Council, Creative Skillset and Pitti Filati in Florence . They are very good team players, who work hard and learn about the importance of their roles within a company."
As well as these collective achievements, individuals have also shone, signposting some of the future stars of the industry. Hannah Creak was recently judged to be joint winner of the British Library Staff award and was shortlisted for the British Library BFC Charles Jeffrey competition. "It was an amazing experience to present my collection, inspired by the library, to the judges," she said. "My For Rent project was inspired by the industrial revolution. The concept is looking at sustainable models for clothes. I created a rental model that attempts to change the way people think about clothing, I'm suggesting that a sharing item could be an alternative to garment ownership."
Hannah has taken advantage of the opportunities that have come her way, spending six months of her Erasmus year in Amsterdam interning at sustainable Dutch brand Studio Frowijn. She also studied at Universität der Künste in Berlin before returning to Kingston where she is now readying her final collection. "The tutors are amazing, they come from industry backgrounds with the wealth of experience that brings," the 21 year old from Nottingham said. "They push you really hard to do the best you can do, which has definitely helped me. Open briefs are also a great experience - you work directly with the industry - we're encouraged to integrate with the industry, we learn to think about how we would design for other brands, not just ourselves."
Alumni from the fashion course have gone on to hold senior positions in global fashion companies including Burberry, Calvin Klein, Paul Smith, All Saints, Alexander McQueen, Banana republic, Club Monaco, Margiela and Saint Laurent. Entrepreneurial graduates achieving success with their own labels include Sophie Hulme, Joshua Kane, Charli Cohen and Amy Powney, Design Director for Mother of Pearl.
The course is ranked no 1 in London for Fashion in The Guardian University Guide league table 2020 and was one of a handful of worldwide institutions to have been awarded the optimum four badges of excellence by the Business of Fashion. The degree has also been awarded the Creative Skillset Tick (Fashion Design category), which recognises outstanding courses and their contribution to the creative industries.