Fashion MA

Why choose this course?

We were ranked No. 1 in London and 6th in the UK for fashion in the Guardian University League Tables 2020.

The Fashion MA at Kingston University is a unique and innovative course combining the creative thinking of the Design School core beliefs with a very solid and 'creative' fashion industry focus.

With a heritage and specialism in womenswear, menswear, knitwear, digital or fashion artefact outcomes, the course combines industry standards with a creative and contemporary approach to fashion design developing a holistic and exciting approach to fashion design and beyond.

Our broad design community and positioning as a progressive and highly-rated design institution means that Fashion can actively collaborate and share ideas with others across the Design School.

Key features

The craft and skill of fashion is paramount and is developed through pioneering projects with industry practitioners from our team.

Within the curriculum the modules give you the unique opportunity to expand your current design thinking and methodology, experiment and transform your medium, and work in dynamic teams to exchange and create ideas.

The design team have diverse and relevant industry experience as well as the academic skills and experience needed to help nurture fashion design talent.

Guest speakers from our well-established industry links and partnerships are invited to talk directly to the students, sharing their knowledge, insight and experience, adding texture and depth to the students' understanding of the fashion machine..

Students have access to the wealth of high-tech workshops and facilities available at Kingston School of Art.

View the application portfolio advice.

Mode Duration Attendance Start date
Full time 1 year 2 days a week September 2020
Full time 2 years including professional placement 2 days a week, plus placement year September 2020
Part time 2 years 1 day a week September 2020
Location Kingston School of Art, Knights Park

Reasons to choose Kingston University

  • In Kingston's broad design community, you can connect and interact with designers from a wide set of disciplines. There is a wealth of high-tech workshops and facilities.
  • Kingston has well-established industry links and partnerships, enabling you work on live projects with collaborative partners, such as Raeburn.
  • There is the opportunity for work placements at prestigious design houses. Previous placements include Craig Green, Erdem, Eudon Choi, Martine Rose, JW Anderson, Proenza Schoeler, Haider Ackerman, Alexander McQueen, Preen, Per Gotesson, Mother of Pearl, Roland Mouret, Palmer/Harding, David Koma, Osman London, Orla Kiely, Clio Peppiatt, Emilia Wickstead, Roksanda, Studio Nicholson, Berthold, The Row, COS, Hugo Boss, Paul Smith, Gareth Pugh, Aitor Throup, Di Mainstone at Eye Beam New York, Aquascutum London, Sibling London, Clemency London, Holly Fulton, Philips Design, Tatty Devine, Wright Design, WGSN and Kei Kagami.

Fashion Show 2019

Our MA Fashion students showcase their work at the end-of-year show.

Fashion Show 2018

Our MA Fashion students showcase their work at the end-of-year show.

Examples of student work

What you will study

The fashion-based modules will encourage you to think creatively and will challenge you to apply your ideas and concepts to a series of briefs, some of which will arrive directly from industry sources and practitioners. The outcomes are non-prescriptive and should be driven by your ambitions and approach to fashion.

You will identify design narratives to inspire extensive research culminating in exciting, considered and forward-thinking design developments, challenging you to create new responses for fashion design. Addressing the contemporary culture of fashion, you will engage within important areas of development – social politics, economics, environments, sciences and technology futures – creating a clearer understanding of fashion context.

Modules

Optional placement year

The Fashion MA course consists of three Teaching Blocks. In Teaching Blocks 1 and 2 you will take two 30 credit modules. In Teaching Block 3 you will take one 60 credit module.

Core modules - Teaching Block 1

Designing Research

30 credits

The aim of the module is to give you understanding of the design research tools and methods that are available to you, to inform and support the development of your practical study, and to provide the basis of your further study on your course. Practical research methods are explored, with an emphasis on the development of creative and evidence-based approaches to experimentation, and critical reflection on practical design work.

Fashion Context I

30 credits

This module enables you to develop a contemporary fashion portfolio at masters level. A series of fashion context briefs are provided to engage you in practical fashion skills, working towards a spectrum of physically fabricated and digitally generated outcomes. Project briefs are devised to interrogate fashion developments and trends, and engage you in exploring and debating the role of the body and its clothing in fashion futures. During the research phase of this module you will identify key themes to inform the next stage of your practice in the Fashion Context II module.

You will participate in specialist workshops and inductions provided to enhance your skills. These workshops will include such subjects as pattern cutting, draping, 3D workshop inductions, computing and communications. Guest lecturers will bring an industry perspective to the projects which will be supported by workshop sessions.

Core modules - Teaching Block 2

Fashion Context II

30 credits

Building on the curriculum of Fashion Context I, this module enables you to develop and refine your fashion portfolio, and to enhance your skills set. A series of fashion context briefs are provided to engage you in practical fashion skills, working towards a spectrum of physically fabricated and digitally generated outcomes.

You will engage with a series of industry and academic thought leaders, to articulate your fashion practice and to build a professional network around your practice. You are encouraged to network and create professional relationships to better inform your practice, be this via workshop participation, brief mentorship schemes, work experience or networking events.

Creative Futures

30 credits

This module is based on the assumption that the best jobs/careers in the creative industries do not exist – they are invented from individual creative ambitions. The module explores how this can be approached in practical terms. The programme of study encourages you to develop a personal and critical approach to your future career, and how this can inform the development of your individual major project for the Major Project.

Core modules - Teaching Block 3

Major Project

60 credits

The Major Project is the capstone module of the MA and most significant piece of work that students deliver on a Master's programme. The capstone project enables students to synthesise and apply the knowledge and skills they have acquired throughout the course and it provides them with the opportunity to craft their own approach to the field through critical-theoretical and/or creative, practice-based research. The Major Project can accommodate research projects developed through a range of academic and professional contexts depending on the motivation and interests of the student. It can be presented either as a dissertation or as a portfolio comprising a chose medium or media with a critical commentary. The Major Project can also provide a platform from which students can launch the next stage of their careers. Based on ideas of material thinking and creative practice the taught elements of the module provide students with a strong understanding of different aspects of contemporary practice of value to both academic and professional environments.

Work placement scheme

Many postgraduate courses at Kingston University allow students to do a 12-month work placement as part of their course. The responsibility for finding the work placement is with the student; we cannot guarantee the work placement, just the opportunity to undertake it. As the work placement is an assessed part of the course, it is covered by a student's Tier 4 visa.

Find out more about the postgraduate work placement scheme.

Optional modules

Professional Placement

120 credits

The Professional Placement module is a core module for those students following a masters programme that incorporates professional placement learning, following completion of 120 credits. It provides you with the opportunity to apply your knowledge and skills to an appropriate working environment, and to develop and enhance key employability skills and subject-specific professional skills in your chosen subject. You may wish to use the placement experience as a platform for your subsequent major project module, and would be expected to use it to help inform your decisions about future careers.

The information above reflects the currently intended course structure and module details. Updates may be made on an annual basis and revised details will be published through Programme Specifications ahead of each academic year. The regulations governing this course are available on our website. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this may not be offered.

Entry requirements

Typical offer

In order to apply, you'll need:

  • A good first degree in fashion design or a related subject, product design, graphic design or fine art.
  • A portfolio, which we'll discuss at interview. Interviews can take place locally or online.

Fashion MA portfolio information for applicants

A good portfolio for an application to MA Fashion at Kingston School of Art should include:

  • Evidence of research. This is fundamental to the design process and there should be strong evidence that you can gather interesting visual research that develops the concept and narrative of your design work.
  • Evidence of process. Process work is evidence of how the final outcomes of a project are arrived at. This could and should include evidence of research work, sketchbook work, 3D work, design drawing. How you think and work as a designer is communicated with this work.
  • 3D work. The MA Fashion course at Kingston School of Art believes in thinking through making. This means that ideas and designs are explored through, and developed by, making in 3D. It also means that what you make can inform the design work, rather than the 3D work being a reaction to drawn ideas.
  • Design drawing and thinking. How do you communicate your ideas during the process of the project. These are your ‘every day' design drawings that you produce as part of a design project.
  • Evidence of considered use of colour and fabrics. How do you develop a palette of fabrics and colours for a project?
  • Technical drawings of clothes.
  • Examples of illustrations exploring different styles and use of different techniques.

For help in preparing your portfolio see our short courses:

Teaching and assessment

Guided independent study

When not attending timetabled sessions, you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. This typically involves reading and analysing articles, regulations, policy document and key texts, documenting individual projects, preparing coursework assignments and completing your PEDRs, etc.

Your independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities including online resources, the library and CANVAS, the University's online virtual learning platform.

Support for postgraduate students

At Kingston University, we know that postgraduate students have particular needs and therefore we have a range of support available to help you during your time here.

Your workload

40–50% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity.

  • Scheduled teaching and learning: 270 hours
  • Guided independent study: 1,200 hours

Contact hours may vary depending on your modules.

How you will be assessed

Assessment typically comprises 100% practical coursework (eg portfolios, fashion artefacts such as toiles and fully realised garments, reports and self-assessment).

You'll be assessed via:

  • design projects realised in 2D and 3D outcomes;
  • written submissions supporting your studio practice;
  • presentations to staff, your peers and creative stakeholders;
  • a major project mastering your practice.

The approximate percentage for how you will be assessed on this course is as follows:

  • 100% coursework

Feedback summary

We aim to provide feedback on assessments within 20 working days.

Class sizes

To give you an indication of class sizes, this course normally enrols 45 students and group sizes are normally 10–12. However this can vary by module and academic year.

Fees for this course

Home and European Union 2020/21

  • MA full time £10,200
  • MA part time £5,610

Overseas (not EU) 2020/21

  • MA full time £17,600
  • MA part time £9,680

Fees for the optional placement year

If you choose to take a placement as part of this course, you will be invoiced for the placement fee in Year 2. Find out more about the postgraduate work placement scheme and the costs for the placement year.


Additional costs

For this course you will be:

  • involved in processes of making as means of exploration, experimentation, and understanding your practice by using a diverse range of media and materials; and
  • required to produce physical artefacts for assessment.

Part of your tuition fee covers:

  • access to library resources;
  • access to desktop computers;
  • basic course materials available for technical inductions;
  • technical workshop facilities and support; and
  • the use of equipment available from loans rooms.

However, over and above this you may incur extra costs associated with your studies, which you will need to plan for. In order to help you budget, the information below indicates what activities and materials are not covered by your tuition fees:

  • Personal laptops.
  • Personal copies of books.
  • Optional study visits and field trips.
  • Printing costs.
  • Your own chosen art materials, fabrics etc.
  • Costs of participating at external shows and exhibitions.

Funding and bursaries

Kingston University offers a range of postgraduate scholarships, including:

If you are an international student, find out more about scholarships and bursaries.

We also offer the following discounts for Kingston University alumni:

Who teaches this course?

This course is delivered by Kingston School of Art, which has its roots in the studio-based approach of Britain's art school system (the original School of Art was founded in the 1890s).

Today, for most courses, learning still takes place in our specialist studios, each subject area having its own fully-equipped studio, where you take part in classes, tutorials and critical reviews with fellow students. This strong studio culture also ensures regular interaction between students and tutors.

For non-studio-based courses, learning takes place in classroom-based seminars, tutorials and lectures, alongside site visits to museums, galleries, auction houses and other creative professional environments.

Postgraduate students may also contribute to the teaching of seminars under the supervision of the module leader.

Our students are encouraged to engage closely with the diverse businesses that make London one of the most important centres for the creative industries. Our industry connections mean we provide unique study opportunities, such as:

  • the chance to have your work seen by eminent members of your profession;
  • 'live' projects, site visits and placements in prestigious companies or institutions; and
  • project work and workshops with visiting lecturers and industry specialists.

Our excellent reputation means that industry leaders regularly visit our student shows to see the best of the new talent.

Facilities

There is a wide range of facilities at our Knights Park campus, where this course is based. The Fashion department has dedicated workshops of both digital and analogue machines to enable the production of high quality work. The Fashion archive houses an eclectic collection of historical and contemporary garments that you can use for reference and inspiration.

Kingston School of Art's workshops and studios are open for creative exploration and offer you plenty of opportunities to collaborate on projects and share ideas, whether you are studying or researching. Building on this open approach, there are many adaptable studio and workshop spaces, alongside active breakout spaces.

At the heart of Knights Park campus are new, professional-standard workshop facilities, which include:

  • 3D workshop, with ceramics, concrete, resin-casting, plastics, metalwork, woodwork and a bronze-casting foundry, as well as a Big Build space for Architecture, set design and large scale model making
  • Animation and post production studios
  • Digital Media workshop
  • Fashion (knitting and sewing workshops), with digital and analogue facilities, plus a working dress archive which includes pieces from 1750 to the present day
  • HackSpace (for collaborative, creative, solutions-focussed projects)
  • Letterpress and printmaking workshop, with digital and analogue facilities, to experiment creatively
  • Moving Image workshop, with studios, editing suite, and industry-standard equipment
  • Photography workshop, including studios, colour, and black and white darkrooms, processing facilities

All our facilities are open access, meaning you can use them whenever you want, and irrespective of what degree you're studying.

The University also has its own on-site galleries, including:

  • Dorich House - the former studio home of the sculptor Dora Gordine and her husband the Hon. Richard Hare, a scholar of Russian art and literature. Now Grade II listed, the building was completed in 1936, to Gordine's design, and is an exceptional example of a modern studio house created by and for a female artist.
  • Stanley Picker Gallery - one of the leading examples of a university gallery in the UK. Its public activities are dedicated to the research, commissioning and presentation of innovative new practice across the fields of art, design and architecture for general, academic and specialist audiences.
  • project spaces at Knights Park campus, which you can book for the exhibition of large-scale work.

Resources in London

Kingston is just a 30 minute train journey away from central London. Here you can access world-famous museums and galleries.

After you graduate

Many of our recent graduates are setting up their own businesses internationally (China, Brazil, Korea), freelancing across the creative industries, and gaining positions in world leading design houses. Employers of recent Kingston MA Fashion graduates include- Craig Green, Urban Outfitters, AllSaints, French Connection, Victoria Beckham, Karl Lagerfeld, Sonia Rykiel, McQ Alexander McQueen, Tommy Hilfiger, Matthew Williamson.

Recent graduates have also gone on to work as lecturers at Middlesex University, De Montford University, Bucks New University.

We encourage design research practice during our Fashion MA programme and several of our students go on to develop their postgraduate practice at MPhil and PhD level.

Work placements and student competitions

Since the course started in 2008 our students have carried out internships at prestigious companies such as Aitor Throup, Alexander McQueen, Aquascutum London, Berthold, Clemency London, Clio Peppiatt, COS, Craig Green, David Koma, Di Mainstone at Eye Beam New York, Emilia Wickstead, Erdem, Eudon Choi, Gareth Pugh, Haider Ackerman, Holly Fulton, Hugo Boss, JW Anderson, Kei Kagami, Martine Rose, Mother of Pearl, Orla Kiely, Osman London, Palmer/Harding, Paul Smith, Philips Design, Preen, Per Gotesson, Proenza Schoeler, Roksanda, Roland Mouret, Sibling London, Studio Nicholson, Tatty Devine, The Row, WGSN and Wright Design.

2019 saw MA Fashion student Camilla Ceccardi shortlisted for the ‘URBN Design Day 2019', resulting in her being offered a design position at Urban Outfitters, USA.

2017 saw MA Fashion student Dardana Djantio Etchike win the international ZARA/Inditex ‘Shape the Invisible' competition with a prize of 20,000 Euros.

Hanbyeol Lee (Baylee), a Fashion MA student, worked as a fashion design intern at Craig Green, a menswear designer with accolades such as British menswear designer at the Fashion Awards 2016 and more. This was her integrated work placement as part of the two-year postgraduate course.

What our students and graduates say

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.

Helen Storey

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!

John Richmond

This Fashion MA programme and year taught me a lot about myself, my priorities and what I am capable of. I can say I am proud of the work I created with the help of my tutors, who give great advice for going further in the world of fashion.

The focus on creating a strong portfolio makes me feel ready to apply for the various positions I am interested in.

I learned what it means to be a fashion designer and feel my design method and language evolved with every term to the next level.

This postgraduate course delivers and helps you to become the person you are meant to be. I am ready for the next bigger steps.

Student feedback

The Fashion MA course at Kingston School of Art has inarguably been my most creatively successful academic experience in London. I have been taught by experienced and dedicated tutors who always provided a perfect balance between guiding me in the right direction and letting me maintain creative control over my creations, resulting in a challenging yet fruitful and enjoyable experience.

The portfolio of work I have built on this course is the best one I have produced so far. Additionally, the fashion department pays close attention to finetuning each student's portfolio to fit the industry requirements and provides a lot of assistance with regards to placement and job search, which I found particularly helpful for international students.

The help has definitely made me feel more prepared for what comes after this course.

Overall, I am having a lovely time here.

Student feedback

The MA Fashion tutors will push you forward according to your design style and stimulate your infinite potential in the learning process.

The course will cover many different directions, which will be very helpful for your future career development. At the same time, it also provides many resources to help students realise their ideas.

Student feedback

The course is very intense and the structure is well constructed. My speciality has improved tremendously, but also my mental world had been bigger and more interesting.

The best thing about the course is the tutors. They are very professional and kept pushing me forward and inspired me a lot.

And I benefited from the lectures and from the successful designers and the experts working in fashion industry. I got lots of useful advice and ideas about my future career from them.

Student feedback

Links with business and industry

Students from our Fashion MA worked on live projects with industry. In 2019, London-based design studio Raeburn provided the brief; Christopher Raeburn has established his eponymous brand with sustainable and intelligent fashion design for a global audience. The RÆMADE ethos in particular has pioneered the reworking of surplus fabrics and garments to create distinctive and functional pieces.

Alongside this, a highly collaborative spirit informs luxurious, handcrafted and award-winning products with integrity and purpose. This innovative approach, with an unusual balance of high concept, accessibility and wearability, is applied to menswear, womenswear, luggage and accessories.

With its RÆBURN Lab in the heart of east London, RÆBURN is stocked in the best stores globally and receives media coverage worldwide.

Work placements and internships

Students on the course have interned and been placed at a variety of prestigious design houses. Recent highlights include:

  • Craig Green (Menswear Design Internship) – MA student Hanbyeol Lee has secured a paid placement with the company after a successful design internship. Roxy Shi has also secured a placement at Craig Green;
  • J.W. Anderson (Product Development Internship) – Students Charlotte Victoria Nichols and Andrea Lopa were placed in the product development department;
  • Cos (Womenswear Pattern Cutting Internship) – Paid pattern cutting placement for Haeun Jun;
  • Hugo Boss (Womenswear Design Internship) – Paid placement for Ardelle Fawehinmi based in Germany;
  • Paul Smith (Menswear Design Internship) – Student Yoon J Joo was placed with the menswear team;
  • Per Gotesson – Student Yusun Lee was invited to stay on part time as a pattern cutter, as well as working at design company Martine Rose;
  • Mother of Pearl (Womenswear Design Internship) (Sustainable Womenswear Label) – Yubing Han.

Research areas

Kingston School of Art has a well-established research culture that encourages activity across a wide range of visual, spatial and material practice and culture. This rich spectrum includes practitioners, theorists and historians engaged in the creative and performing arts, curating, design, architecture, fashion, film, and town planning.

Our aim is to foster a stimulating environment that encourages an exchange of ideas within and across the disciplines. Support from the public sector includes the Department of Trade and Industry, the Arts Council, and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

There is also the option to study research-specific fashion and body themes through our Fashion MA by Research, MPhil in Fashion and PhD in Fashion.