Sustainable Fashion: Business and Practices MA

Why choose this course?

The programme sets out to affect systemic change in the fashion industry by offering alternatives to the mainstream fashion system. It focuses on developing a deep understanding of the multi-dimensionality of sustainability as it relates to fashion. Sustainable solutions are embedded in all coursework, using fashion as a medium to affect social change, resulting in innovative and ethical solutions, transformational systems, and organisations.

Based on critical thinking and problem solving, the program offers the opportunity to plot a new future for the fashion industry that challenges existing practices with practical and inspirational alternatives. Project work adheres to the four pillars of sustainability: economic, environmental, social, and cultural as an alternative to fashions unsustainable footprint.

This is a practice-based MA offering a multitude of tangible outcomes that make a positive contribution to society, culture, and ecology. Students can choose their area of focus with either a practice, business, or a systems-design outcome. The creative freedom offered by the program results in a variety of degree outputs, from websites and apps, services, new systems and models, exhibitions, installations, and product development, all based on design futuring. This is the business of design as a problem-solving tool, not a means to produce more stuff.

Subject to approval.

Mode Duration Attendance Start date
Full time 1 year 2 or 3 days a week September 2022

*Subject to approval.

Location Kingston Business School and Kingston School of Art, Knights Park

2021/22 entry

If you are planning to join this course in the academic year 2021/22 (i.e. between August 2021 and July 2022), please view the information about changes to courses for 2021/22 due to Covid-19.

 

Continuing students

Students who are continuing their studies with Kingston University in 2021/22 should refer to their Course Handbook for information about specific changes that have been, or may be, made to their course or modules being delivered in 2021/22. Course Handbooks are located within the Canvas Course page.

Reasons to choose Kingston University

  • This course learning environment employs a creative and collaborative ethos.
  • It focuses on the tangible application of ideas into practice.
  • You will be able to tailor your project work based on your individual motivations.

What you will study

Students will study the human and environmental impacts of the mainstream fashion system throughout the entirety of the value chain. The programme will offer sustainable methodologies for the development of fashion businesses, services and practices. It will provide students with the knowledge and skills required to effect positive change through creative problem solving, and equip them with the management, business and creative decision-making skills to develop their own career path.

Please note that this is an indicative list of modules and is not intended as a definitive list. Those listed here may also be a mixture of core and optional modules.

Modules

Core modules for Teaching Block 1

The System of Fashion 1: Fashions impact

30 credits

This module addresses the diversity of impacts and challenges within the fashion system, giving students an in-depth understanding of the problems that perpetuate the unsustainability of the fashion industry from an ethical as well an environmental perspective. It connects the dots between appropriation, marginalisation, practice, and process by giving voice to alternative systems, people, and places. Lectures, presentations, and site visits will provide insight into the challenges the fashion system engenders, acting as a baseline for the exploration and identification of individual values to inform future work.

Sustainable and Ethical Practices

30 credits

This is a live project with direct interaction with an external stakeholder, intended to have a tangible outcome and based on human-centric design solutions for an under-represented group. Adaptive and universal design is used to tackle societal bias and stereotyping by presenting and sharing other stories, experiences, and histories. This is socially-centred design, with the objective of encouraging critical discourse about the culture of fashion inclusion and exclusion, diversity, and representation.

Core modules for Teaching Block 2

Design for Social Impact

30 credits

This module focuses on universal design in a broad context, with students working with either a local or global community in the development a collaborative response to a set of objectives and problems. This is an opportunity to revaluate the hierarchies embedded within the fashion system in the development of projects, skills, strategies, and trainings to support employability and integration into the greater community or industry. This is not a project ‘for' them, but ‘with' them, intended to develop products and skills and provide a focus for the community outside of their experience and history, offering new possible futures.

The System of Fashion 2: Design, Business and Operational Responses

30 credits

This module reviews the various business types and operational strategies that act as an alternative to business-as-usual profit only businesses. Content evaluates sustainable businesses that positively impact people, planet, or both, with a particular focus on the role that technology plays in the sustainability of business, product and operations. Lectures, workshops, and site visits provide insight into the breadth of creative responses to the fashion industry's challenges, by sharing concrete examples of designers, brands, agencies, and technologies disrupting the system effectively.

Core modules for Teaching Block 3

Capstone Project

60 credits

The capstone project offers students the opportunity to challenge the status quo through their personal practice, impacting social, cultural, environmental, and ethical norms across a myriad of expressions and outputs, by encouraging them to push boundaries with radical outputs with transformational potential. Outcomes must be implementable and can include business or brand development, products, services, systems, strategies, websites, apps, communication vehicles, magazines, websites, film, e-zines and exhibitions without restriction, as long as they affect positive change in some aspect of the fashion industry.

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 2:1 or above honours degree in a fashion or business-related undergraduate course including, but not limited to, fashion design, fashion buying, international business, retail, communication, product design or marketing.
  • A 300-word personal statement will be required as part of the submission criteria, that highlights your motivation for application.
  • Evidence of 3-to-5 examples of creative exploration that demonstrate forms of creative thinking via projects that show concern for social and environmental sustainability.  Examples can be in the form of writing (articles or essays that you've written); a website or app that you've built; a video, blog or social media account; products that you've made (i.e. garments, furniture, graphic design). You should include your development process, including notes, sketches, wire frames and prototypes that led to the final outcome. The selection of work should represent you and reflect your own interests, values and approach to problem solving and should be saved with all images combined into one PDF file not larger than 10MB in size.

English language requirements

All non-UK applicants must meet our English language requirement, which is Academic IELTS of 6.5 overall, with no element below 5.5. Make sure you read our full guidance about English language requirements, which includes details of other qualifications we consider.

Applicants who do not meet the English language requirements could be eligible to join our pre-sessional English language course.

Applicants from recognised majority English speaking countries (MESCs) do not need to meet these requirements.

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 documents 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

15–25% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity.

  • Scheduled teaching and learning: 360 hours
  • Guided independent study: 1,440 hours
  • Contact hours may vary depending on your modules.

How you will be assessed

Assessment typically comprises exams (eg test or exam), practical (eg presentations, performance) and coursework (eg essays, reports, self-assessment, portfolios, dissertation). 

The approximate percentage for how you will be assessed on this course is as follows, though depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose.

  • 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 20 students and group sizes are normally 10–12. However, this can vary by module and academic year.

Who teaches this course?

This course will be taught by leading academics and practitioners in sustainable and ethical fashion, business and technology.

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
  • 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.

Fees for this course

2022/23 fees for this course

Home 2022/23

  • MA full time £10,640

International 2022/23

  • MA full time £18,200

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:

Additional costs

Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs that are not covered by tuition fees which students will need to consider when planning their studies. Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, access to shared IT equipment and other support services. Accommodation and living costs are not included in our fees. 

Where a course has additional expenses, we make every effort to highlight them. These may include optional field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering), security checks such as DBS, uniforms, specialist clothing or professional memberships.

Textbooks

Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. You may prefer to buy your own copy of key textbooks, this can cost between £50 and £250 per year.

Computer equipment

There are open-access networked computers available across the University, plus laptops available to loan. You may find it useful to have your own PC, laptop or tablet which you can use around campus and in halls of residences. Free Wi-Fi is available on each of the campuses. You may wish to purchase your own computer, which can cost £100 to £3,000 depending on your course requirements.

Photocopying and printing

In the majority of cases written coursework can be submitted online. There may be instances when you will be required to submit work in a printed format. Printing, binding and photocopying costs are not included in your tuition fees, this may cost up to £100 per year.

Travel

Travel costs are not included in your tuition fees but we do have a free intersite bus service which links the campuses, Surbiton train station, Kingston upon Thames train station, Norbiton train station and halls of residence.

Facilities

You'll use our studio spaces and facilities to experiment and explore new ways to push the boundaries of projects and open discourse across disciplines. As a Fashion student, you'll have access to our working dress archive, the Benenden Fashion Archive, which features pieces dating from 1750 to present day.

Collaborative and multi-disciplinary teamwork is actively encouraged between students, across faculty courses, international institutions and with industry.

Throughout the course, you'll be encouraged to explore and develop expertise in current design approaches, techniques, media, and application including branding, editorial, interactive design, packaging and 3D design, advertising, information design, digital moving image, sustainable and experiential design.

After you graduate

The Sustainable Fashion Business and Practices curriculum helps to prepare students for a multitude of sustainably-focused undertakings and employment opportunities. These range from brand development, products, systems, models, and services, communication vehicles, not limited to medium, and expressed both physically as well as digitally through to websites, blogs, aps, magazines, e-zines, exhibitions, installations and more. This course will address the gap between intent and the in-depth knowledge required for diverse application.

The curriculum prepares students for a rapidly shifting industry where the old models of career development no longer apply, impacted as they have been by the fourth industrial revolution, climate change, the global pandemic and a myriad of social and cultural movements that have shifted our collective value systems. Students may choose to set up their own international business or freelance across the creative and production industries.

Students are trained to develop their own work profiles as independent practitioners and advisors as well as to integrate into the brand and corporate world across markets, with sustainability an increasing focus for all entities, allowing students the flexibility to enter into non-fashion specific roles.

We encourage research practice during the MA programme, with the potential to develop postgraduate practice at MPhil and PhD level.

Links with business and industry

This course incorporates live briefs with sector partners that encompass for-profit brands, social enterprises, not for profits and governmental and non-governmental agencies such as the Design Council, Ethical Fashion Initiative, Fashion Revolution, and ReDress in pursuit of social and environmental sustainability. A characteristic of the programme is a shared connection with other like-minded individuals and organisations that share values and purpose, whether between peers, faculty, guest lecturers, or external organisations.

Research areas

  • Sustainability (economic, environmental, social & cultural) including CSR.
  • Textile and production innovation.
  • Fashion systems including supply & value chain.
  • Innovation & technology in fashion services.

Changes to courses for 2021/22 due to Covid-19

Course information (changes for 2021/22 entry)

Composition of the course

The experience of delivering courses in 2020/21 under the various Covid-19 restrictions has enabled us to better prepare and plan the delivery of our courses in 2021/22. We are confident the course can be delivered as planned and, therefore, we do not anticipate having to make any further changes to the course, i.e. number of modules or credits in a year, in response to issues arising from the pandemic. However, if this becomes necessary, the changes will be highlighted to students via email before enrolment.

Unless government advice instructs otherwise, Study Abroad programmes will take place in 2021/22. The safety of all our students is paramount, therefore, as per normal practice, all Study Abroad activities must also be approved by the University's insurers to ensure that students are adequately protected during their period abroad. We will provide updates as the pandemic situation stabilises and/or further government advice is released.

Changes can be made to courses as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area and in response to feedback from students and other key stakeholders. Any such changes made to the composition of the course will be highlighted to students by email before enrolment.

Modules

The experience of delivering courses in 2020/21 under the various Covid-19 restrictions has enabled us to better prepare and plan the delivery of our courses in 2021/22. We are confident the course can be delivered as planned and, therefore, we do not anticipate having to make any further changes to module titles and summaries or to the availability of modules in response to issues arising from the pandemic.

Changes can be made to modules as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area and to provide a high quality student experience. Any such changes made to module titles, module summaries and/or availability of modules will be highlighted to students by email before enrolment.

Length of course

We expect to deliver the course within the planned timescales to enable successful students to progress through and graduate from the course without delay.

In exceptional circumstances the sequence of learning and teaching activities may be changed in 2021/22, e.g. moving those modules which can be delivered more effectively to the first teaching block and moving back those – such as practical modules and placements – which may be more difficult to deliver due to some ongoing restrictions.

In some cases, it may be necessary to delay placement modules which may then impact the length of the course. In these circumstances the University will guide students through the appropriate options available to ensure students are able to make informed choices.

Entry requirements (changes for 2021/22 entry)

We have not changed entry requirements as a direct result of the pandemic.

Entry requirements for international students

We have not changed entry requirements for international students as a direct result of the pandemic.

Teaching (changes for 2021/22 entry)

Changes to the way the course will be delivered

As we transition from the pandemic restrictions, we expect to steadily increase the proportion of on-campus teaching. We will continue to provide a proportion of online learning, as experience has shown that this enriches and supports the student learning experience.

If the pandemic affects teaching and learning activities in 2021/22 more than we currently anticipate, the proportion of online learning will increase. However, unless a lockdown is enforced, we will ensure that all courses provide a reasonable percentage of their teaching and learning activities on campus.

Should your circumstances prevent your attendance at on-campus sessions, you should still be able to engage with your course remotely in a way that allows you to progress. Where this is not possible, for example on courses with high practical content, your course team will be able to advise you on the options available to you.

Changes to teaching in the event of a further lockdown or adjustments in government advice

The University will continue to closely monitor government announcements and advice in relation to the pandemic and, where required, will take any necessary action in order to comply with such advice.

In the event that a further lockdown is enforced in 2021/22 the University will aim to deliver the course fully online once more. The majority of our courses are prepared to be delivered fully online if the situation requires it. Where the quality of the student experience may be compromised, or the course is unable to be delivered fully online, the University may need to suspend the delivery of that course until a time that it can be delivered. Students will be supported in these situations to ensure they are able to make the right choices for their particular circumstances.

Changes to the overall breakdown of scheduled teaching hours, placements and guided independent study hours for Year 1

Changes to the overall breakdown of scheduled learning and teaching hours, placements and guided independent study hours were not and will not be made as a direct result of the pandemic.

‘Scheduled learning and teaching' includes teaching delivered online, either live or recorded/on demand.

Timetable

Your individualised timetable for teaching block 1 (i.e. up to December 2021) should be available by the end of August. Timetables for teaching block 2 (i.e. from January 2022) will not be available until the autumn. We make every effort to ensure timetables are as student-friendly as possible.

In 2020/21 it was agreed that scheduled learning and teaching could take place on any day of the week between 9am and 9pm, to maximise the time available for teaching in order to accommodate smaller group sizes and social distancing. This meant we sometimes had to use Wednesday afternoons and enrichment week for additional teaching slots. If we need to accommodate smaller group sizes and social distancing in 2021/22 we expect to adopt a similar approach. Timetables for part-time students will depend on the modules selected.

Assessment (changes for 2021/22 entry)

The experience of delivering courses in 2020/21 under the various Covid-19 restrictions has enabled us to better prepare and plan the delivery of our courses in 2021/22. We are confident the course can be delivered as planned and, therefore, do not anticipate having to make any further changes to the course, i.e. to the overall methods of assessments, in response to issues arising from the pandemic. However, if this becomes necessary, the changes will be highlighted to students via email before enrolment.

Changes are made to modules, including how they are assessed, as part of normal enhancement processes to keep our modules up to date with current developments in that subject area and in response to feedback received from students and other key stakeholders. Any changes to the overall methods of assessment for Year 1 of the course will be highlighted to students by email before enrolment.

If social distancing or lockdown restrictions are in place in 2021/22, online alternative options to formal on-campus examinations, including practical examinations, will be made available to students where possible.

Staff (changes for 2021/22 entry)

No changes are expected to the general level of experience or status of staff involved in delivering the course.

Staff are engaged in Continuous Professional Development activities to develop their teaching expertise, as part of the normal enhancement processes, to ensure that course teams have the required breadth of expertise.

Fees, funding and additional costs (changes for 2021/22 entry)

Tuition fees

There will be no changes to published tuition fees for 2021/22.

Additional costs (e.g. field trips, materials, equipment, etc.)

As we transition from the pandemic restrictions, we expect to be able to increase student access to on-campus facilities. Students will therefore have access to University computers and library facilities.

If, due to an increase in social distancing requirements or the enforcing of a lockdown, it becomes necessary to significantly increase the proportion of teaching delivered online, students will need a personal laptop or computer and access to the internet to participate in online teaching and learning activities. Students who are able to travel will have access to computers on campus, however, it should be noted that access to on-campus facilities might be restricted if social distancing requirements are enforced.

The University is committed to supporting students who are unable to access suitable technology to ensure equity of access in a blended delivery mode.

Funding

There will be no changes to any existing University funding arrangements for 2021/22. Currently there are no indications from the UK government that there will be any changes to government funding arrangements.

Fees and funding for international students

There will be no changes to published tuition fees or funding arrangements specifically relating to international students for 2021/22.

Work placements and field trips (changes for 2021/22 entry)

We are anticipating that placements (including work and clinical placements) and field trips included as part of the course will go ahead in 2021/22. However, to ensure students gain maximum value from placement activities, it may be necessary to reschedule them to later in the year, when any impacts from the pandemic restrictions are minimised.

Any proposed changes to placements or field trips would go through the University's agreed processes where the impact of the change will be carefully considered.

In the interests of the health and wellbeing of our students, all placement arrangements must be approved by the University's insurers and the appropriate risk assessments made before students are sent on a placement.

Courses which require placements or field trips to be completed in order to pass relevant modules will have contingency plans in place in the event that a placement or field trip cannot be completed due to another lockdown or more stringent social distancing measures.

Award, qualification and accreditation (changes for 2021/22 entry)

Qualification

No changes will be made to the qualification awarded, e.g. BSc (Hons), MSc, etc., as a direct result of the pandemic.

Changes can be made to courses, including the qualification awarded (although very rare), as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area. Any changes made to the qualification awarded for the course will be highlighted to students by email before enrolment.

Accreditation

The experience of delivering courses in 2020/21 under the various Covid-19 restrictions has enabled us to better prepare and plan the delivery of our courses in 2021/22. We are confident the course can be delivered as planned and in accordance with any professional body requirements. We do not anticipate making any further changes to courses in response to any issues arising from the pandemic and which would put at risk any professional body accreditation status.

Additional (changes for 2021/22 entry)

International students should maintain awareness of the UK government's and their home country's government's advice on possible travel restrictions. The University will closely monitor advice and guidance published by the UK government and assess its impact on our international students. Appropriate advice and guidance will be provided as and when required.