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.
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.
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:
Fees and additional course costs
The course fees per year for 2021 entry are:
- UK students - £9,250
- International and EU students - £16,950 (standard fee)
- International and EU 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.
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.
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
- Max Mara
- Alexander McQueen
- Hussein Chalayan
- Haider Ackerman.
These companies also regularly employ graduates from our Fashion Atelier course.