UCA is home to one of the largest fashion schools in the country, encompassing all aspects of the global fashion industry from the design, cut and make of garments, to fashion marketing, management and retail, right through to fashion promotion and journalism.
We are a school steeped in tradition, boasting such alumni as Zandra Rhodes and Karen Millen; but we are also a school of the future, anticipating industry trends, exploring the very latest technology and developing highly individual, employable, skilled and creative practitioners capable of working within all levels of the fashion industry.
The courses within the school have an international reputation for nurturing world– class talent and advancing the role of creativity, innovation and business enterprise within the subject discipline. Students enjoy a total immersion in the subject of fashion. Our creative community pursues a philosophy and a shared vision that is student centred; an inclusive and stimulating learning environment that nurtures creativity and critical thinking in order to develop essential problem solving skills to shape the realisation of extraordinary and well-informed contemporary outcomes that are appropriate for professional and commercial purposes. This exciting school provides students with the opportunity to learn about the depth and breadth of subject specialisms within fashion, studying together, learning from each other, collaborating across the discipline and exploring how the different elements of the fashion world intersect, push boundaries to inform the new.
Industry alignment underpins the culture of the school and we enjoy close links with a wealth of professional contacts, range of global fashion brands, companies, guest speakers and an established working relationship through a variety of projects with the fashion industry. This is partnered with the course team’s engagement in research, scholarly activity and external consultancy which enables the courses within the school to maintain the best practices within teaching and learning that are relevant to current industry contexts. In this way we ensure that our curriculum is up to date at all times and that students are taught the skills and techniques that fashion industry need.
Our industry connections are further strengthened by our alumni, who create a network spanning the fashion houses of New York to the studios of companies such as Marc Jacobs in Paris. Students benefit from this through visiting lectures and through the plethora of work placement opportunities available to them. In recent years we have placed students at Viktor & Rolf, Donna Karen, Max Mara, Burberry, Balenciaga, Chanel, Ann Demeulemeester , ASOS, Topshop, Vogue, Elle, GQ, The Times, BBH, WGSN to name just a few.
In our studios and workshops students are exposed to the very latest technologies and techniques that they will encounter in the world of work. For instance, our campuses boast specialist state-of-the-art equipment such as a Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) Gerber Suite and digital textile printing. Unlike many of our competitors we have high equipment to student ratio, ensuring that students have good access to the facilities that make us stand out.
But we haven’t lost sight of our artisanal heritage – students are still taught traditional skills such as creative pattern cutting, garment construction, as well as image making through drawing, illustration, silk screen printing and computer aided design. In our vibrant studio environments students combine these skills with the very latest technologies to provide a unique and contemporary approach. Innovation is encouraged and ensures that UCA students standout through their successful achievements year after year in national competitions such as Graduate Fashion Week.
This strong focus on creativity, skills, innovation and professionalism also reaps rewards for UCA students in terms of employability. The feedback we hear from the industry is that UCA students have a strong technical edge over other graduates. Our students are able to hit the ground running as menswear or womenswear designers, brand and product developers, design studio managers, fashion illustrators, fashion textile designers, creative pattern cutters, garment technologists, production managers, trend forecasters, stylists, fashion buyers, fashion and visual merchandisers, public relations consultants, journalists, retail and brand managers or marketers, and in the years that follow many go on to become leaders in their field.
Head of School - Fashion