Isobel Reid, BA (Hons) Fashion Atelier, UCA Rochester

Fashion Atelier BA (Hons)

Fashion Atelier BA (Hons)

Course overview

If you're looking to work at the highest level of the fashion industry and want to create bespoke, hand-crafted fashion, our BA (Hons) Fashion Atelier degree will help you achieve your ambitions.

UCA's School of Fashion has an international reputation for producing talented graduates, and this course, taught at our Rochester campus, will give you the specialist skills to create extraordinary fashion pieces.

You’ll learn draping, creative pattern-cutting, machine and hand-sewing techniques and the specific creative skills and expertise needed for bespoke tailoring, couture-inspired fashion and contemporary design for the modern wardrobe.

In our fashion department you'll find the industry-standard facilities you need to expand your skills and explore your craft, and get support from a team of highly skilled staff and visiting practitioners who will help you develop a range of tangible and transferable skills with real industry value.

As well as practical learning, you'll have the opportunity to undertake a work placement that strengthens your CV and prepares you for your career after graduation.

Apply now through Clearing
Length of study 3 years full-time
Campus Rochester
Entry requirements 112 UCAS tariff points
Course entry options Sept 2021
UCAS institution code C93
UCAS code W237

Please note

This course will be taught at UCA Rochester until Summer 2023, after which your final year of study will be taught at UCA Epsom.

Course details

Course details

The first year introduces and develops core Atelier skills through the concept of design realisation. You'll learn specialist techniques in draping and creative pattern cutting, as well as production and finishing techniques through increasingly complex outcomes.

A Question of Angles and Curves
Your first unit is an introduction through critical analysis and review to the concept of transferring 2-dimensional cloth into 3-dimensional garments utilising geometric shapes. The investigation of basic shapes: squares, circles and triangles will enable you to explore creativity through a clear, simple and edited format. Scale, construction, repetition and fabric will all transform the geometric element into creative garment outcomes. At the initial starting point, design realisation through both 2-D flat cutting and 3-D stand work will introduce you to the concept of creative draping and cutting as the main design vehicle, as opposed to designing on paper.

Form and Silhouette
Understanding the relationship between the fit, the hang and the balance of the finished garment relates to the successful alignment of the correct pattern shape to the correct body shape with the correct fabric selection. In order for you to successfully align all these elements, you will be taught the essential technical disciplines as well as the creative principles. In this unit you will be expected to start to explore in a creative and analytical way, the way in which dart manipulation can enhance both the silhouette and the 3-dimensional form of a garment, (long top or dress). This is in conjunction with the understanding of style lines within a garment.

Sleeves and Collars
The shoulder line and the armhole are vital focus areas for silhouette and creative cut. In this unit you'll explore the range of developments within the sleeve area of creative cut, with in-depth focus on both the set of the armhole and the shaping of the sleeve itself. Collars and cuffs will also feature as an area of focus, where pattern drafting and modeling techniques will be taught and applied to a range of styles. This unit is also about teamwork and you will work in small groups to produce and promote your skills across a range of final garments.

Contour and Structure
Contour and structure are key aspects in the successful creation of an evening dress, through an understanding of construction methods in relation to the silhouette. Occasion wear dresses for events such as a reception, party, through to a full gala ball gown or red carpet award dress, requires two very specific creative cutting areas of expertise and a specialist series of techniques. In this unit we will focus on the fitted and strapless boned bodice.

Fashion History and Theory
This unit will establish a foundation for the evaluation and discussion of fashion, dress and textiles, which underpins practice in the your main pathway. It will draw on seminal works and the latest academic research to explore the historical, cultural, social and economic significance of sartorial fashion. In so doing you will gain an understanding of fashion in a variety of contexts, both historically and theoretically.

You'll build on your skills and truly develop your specialist practice in your second year through a focus on bespoke tailoring and couture-inspired 'soft' sewing for contemporary fashion. You'll further develop your draping, pattern construction, fabric manipulation and handcraft sewing and finishing techniques, as well as advanced design communication skills.

The Tailoring Atelier: Craft and Heritage
This unit focuses on developing your ability to use informed research, applied to cut, fit, balance and attention to detail in order to achieve contemporary tailored garments that reference a precision and demonstrate an understanding of tradition. Through the realisation of tailored garments, you will therefore learn to understand and work with the influence and implications of heritage to inform craft skills which have evolved over centuries.

Professional Preparation: Industry Placement
This unit aims to prepare you for both your third year and your future career. You will select one of the following options:

Option 1: Industry Placement: this option enables you to undertake a five-week self-initiated work placement that is relevant to your potential career direction and contributes to the fulfilment of the course aims and objectives.

Option 2: Industry case study: this option offers the opportunity to study an aspect of the industry that you have identified as an area of interest. Through the method of case study research you will undertake fieldwork into a self-selected topic or question.

The Flou Atelier
The French haute couture workrooms use the term 'le flou', meaning softly sewn garments with a fluid handle to them. This unit focuses on the 'soft sewing' where traditionally crepe de chine, georgette, mousseline, lace and other fragile/unstructured fabrics are used. Specialist draping, fabric manipulation and finishing techniques will play a key role in this unit.

Developing Research and Critical Enquiry
This unit provides space to consider the research and inquiry options available to you in the final year, and evaluate your future direction. Through exploration of a subject area related to either broader contextual issues, or a concern within the industry you aspire to work in, you will develop appropriate research skills applicable to your final year of study.

Design Concepts & Contexts
This unit introduces you to a range of cultural and critical theories and design contexts and concepts that are vital for developing a broader contextual understanding that underpin your main pathway and future contextual studies units. The unit will explore significant movements and moments in the history of design and the arts in order to help students develop a widening appreciation of the aesthetic forces, which shape culture and potentially your own work.

Study Abroad (optional)
This optional unit will allow you to spend a period of time in an overseas educational institution.

In your third year, you'll refine your creative and technical skills in the production of a final collection and professional portfolio, allowing you to showcase the breadth of your skills and express your individuality. You'll have the opportunity to present your work through our own Atelier graduate show, as well as high-profile events such as Graduate Fashion Week.

Atelier Signature
This unit will provide you with the opportunity to verify, articulate and manifest your understanding of atelier practice skills developed in stages one and two. Through in depth research, design and the practical application and craft of draping and creatively cutting defined silhouettes, production and finishing skills, you will express your technical and creative learning through the creation of a signature collection. This is an extended unit, encompassing both terms one and two, which will allow you to fully concentrate on the interrogation and realisation of ideas from first prototypes to finished garments, produced to the highest standards. Above all, this unit is aimed at helping you to engineer your exit profile and in doing so prepare you for your future career.

Professional Portfolio
Good portfolio skills are as essential in the realm of day to day Atelier practice as they are in the pursuit of acquiring work as a creative professional. In this unit you will prepare a final exit portfolio, (comprised of a series of distinct, professionally produced bound books) which you will take with you as you launch your professional career.

This unit consists of a substantial period of sustained, individually negotiated research on a subject that is likely to be related to the contextual and/ or theoretical concerns of your discipline or chosen area of practice, towards the provision of structured written argument.

This course offers the opportunity to study abroad for part of your second year. To find out more about studying abroad as part of your course please see the Study Abroad section:

Tuition fees
The course fees per year for 2021 entry are:

  • UK students - £9,250 
  • EU students - £9,250 (see fee discount information)
  • International students - £16,950 (standard fee)
  • International students - £16,270 (full early payment fee) 

Additional course costs
In addition to the tuition fees please see the additional course costs for 2021 entry. 

Further information
Find out more about our course fees and any financial support you may be entitled to:

These fees are correct for the stated academic year only. Costs may increase each year during a student’s period of continued registration on course in line with inflation (subject to any maximum regulated tuition fee limit). Any adjustment for continuing students will be at or below the RPI-X forecast rate.

Course specifications

Please note, syllabus content indicated is provided as a guide. The content of the course may be subject to change in line with our Student Terms and Conditions for example, as required by external professional bodies or to improve the quality of the course.


This course has large pattern cutting studio used for both tutorials, seminar and personal working; an additional studio space for personal and group working; dedicated studios for third year students to work on their final collections and sewing workshop and samples room with dedicated technical assistance.


Fashion Atelier studio, UCA Rochester


Fashion Atelier studio, UCA Rochester


Fashion Atelier studio, UCA Rochester


Fashion Atelier studio, UCA Rochester

Course connections

Course connections

Our Fashion Atelier course at UCA has strong links with the industry, with students collaborating on projects for fashion companies including Ted Baker and Hardy Amies, and participating in high-profile competitions with organisations such as the British Fashion Council.

Our industry links are particularly valuable for the placement module in Year 2, which offers you the chance to gain authentic industry experience. We enjoy particularly close connections with companies such as:

  • Comme des Garçons
  • Marc Jacobs
  • Ann Demeulemeester
  • Aquascutum
  • Max Mara
  • Alexander McQueen
  • Hussein Chalayan
  • Céline
  • Haider Ackerman.

These companies also regularly employ graduates from our Fashion Atelier course.

Our graduates secure a variety of design roles, including:

  • Savile Row apprentices
  • Creative pattern cutters for high-end brands
  • Freelance or in-house design and pattern cutters
  • Production managers
  • Studio managers.

A number of our graduates have secured rewarding roles in industry areas such as:

  • Fashion design
  • Creative pattern cutting
  • Pattern technologist
  • Design consultant
  • Studio manager
  • Production manager
  • Sample maker – freelance or in-house for high-end brands
  • Savile Row apprentice.

You may also like to consider further study at postgraduate level.

Explore our Gradshow

Visit our 2021 grad show site to see the incredible work created by our graduating students

Visit the 2021 Gradshow
Hannah Cooper
Hannah Cooper

"I chose to study Fashion Atelier at UCA because of its combination of couture skills, pattern cutting and garment production. I enjoyed the challenge of making beautifully finished garments, whilst focusing on minute details and high quality work"

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

The standard entry requirements* for this course are:

One of the following:

  • 112 new UCAS tariff points, see accepted qualifications
  • Pass at Foundation Diploma in Art & Design (Level 3 or 4)
  • Distinction, Merit, Merit at BTEC Extended Diploma / BTEC National Extended Diploma
  • Merit at UAL Extended Diploma
  • 112 new UCAS tariff points from an accredited Access to Higher Education Diploma in appropriate subject
  • 27-30 total points in the International Baccalaureate Diploma with at least 15 IB points at Higher level, see more information about IB entry requirements.

And four GCSE passes at grade A*-C and/or grade 4-9 including English (or Functional Skills English/Key Skills Communication Level 2).

Other relevant and equivalent Level 3 UK and international qualifications are considered on an individual basis, and we encourage students from diverse educational backgrounds to apply.

*We occasionally make offers which are lower than the standard entry criteria, to students who have faced difficulties that have affected their performance and who were expected to achieve higher results. We consider the strength of our applicants’ portfolios, as well as their grades -  in these cases, a strong portfolio is especially important.

To view the equivalent entry requirements for your country please select it in the list below.

Don't meet the international entry requirements or English language requirements?

You may be able to enter the course through the following entry courses:

Pre-sessional English courses in the UK or China

UCA International Foundation courses

The UCA International College

For this course, you’ll be required to submit an online portfolio via your UCA Applicant Portal. Ensure that your portfolio is well presented and logically organised, with material evidence that demonstrates your ability to develop a project or idea – ideally it should also include an exploration of drawing techniques, and experimentation with colour and different types of media. Further information on how to compile and upload your portfolio will be provided once you have applied. If you receive an offer, you’ll be invited to attend an Offer Holder Webinar where you can meet the course team and learn more about the course.

More portfolio advice

Apply now

UK applications

International & EU applications

Due to visa requirements, this course is not available to students that require a Tier 4 (General) visa.
If you have another category of visa please contact us: to find out if you are eligible to study.

If you're interested in joining Year 3 of this course, please contact our International Admissions Team on +44 (0) 1252 892838 or

When to apply:

We are still accepting applications for 2021 entry - get your application in now.
If applying directly to us, you can apply throughout the year but we recommend you apply as early as possible so you have time to arrange accommodation and visas.

For more information visit our how to apply pages

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