Fashion Atelier

BA (Hons)

2018 entry

Our unique Fashion Atelier course enjoys an international reputation for producing talented, ambitious and dedicated graduates. As the only course of its kind, our Fashion Atelier course is a very practical degree that develops and refines the skills required for the design studio and atelier workshop.

Providing an innovative approach to experimentation and realisation, with a clear focus and depth of learning on specialist industry technical and creative skills for the industry, the course is based on the traditions of craftsmanship, combined with a forward-thinking approach to design and innovation.

Our School of Fashion has been ranked in the top 20 by The Guardian's 2017 university league table.

Have a question? Just ask us

Length of study:

Three years full-time


September 2018


UCA Rochester

UCAS code:


UCAS institution code:


UCAS campus code:


Course overview:

During this degree, you’ll learn the specialist technical and creative skills needed for handcraft tailoring, couture-inspired fashion and contemporary design for the modern wardrobe. These include specialist draping techniques, creative pattern cutting, bespoke tailoring and three-dimensional realisation, as well as design communication skills such as illustration and computer aided design.

You’ll have access to spacious dedicated design, pattern cutting and production studios with specialist industry-standard facilities. Our team of highly skilled staff and visiting practitioners will offer you a wealth of knowledge and experience in order for you to develop a range of tangible and transferable skills that have real industry value.

With a work placement in the second year, you’ll also have the chance to gain invaluable industry experience – further strengthening your CV and skill set for your post-graduation career.

Open Days

Register for an Open Day to find out more about this course in person.

Course content - 2018 entry

The first year of our course centres on experimentation and encourages a culture of enquiry and analysis. Combined with developing essential technical and creative practices such as research and design communication, draping on the stand and fabric manipulation, pattern cutting, production methods and finishing techniques, you'll gain an appreciation of a broad range of essential atelier skills. This is a very practical course and throughout your first year you'll progressively build your skills through a range of dynamic projects.

Please note, syllabus content indicated is provided as a guide. The content of the course may be subject to change.

Course modules

  • 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 apposed 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.

  • The Dress

    Occasion wear dresses for events such as for 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 dress unit we will focus on the fitted and strapless boned bodice.

  • History and Theory

    This unit will develop your knowledge and understanding of the academic discourse surrounding fashion and textiles and their skills in research. It extends competence in formal essay writing and will introduce you to a range of academic literature to develop your skills in critical evaluation and textual analysis.

This is the highly specialised and developmental year where you'll learn advanced competencies and further develop in-depth techniques, blending traditional handcraft and production skills with contemporary design and innovation. This will encourage you to investigate further theories and taught methodologies, whilst gaining new skills and approaches to product realisation.

Please note, syllabus content indicated is provided as a guide. The content of the course may be subject to change.

Course modules

  • 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 fulfillment 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.

  • Modernism and Postmodernism

    After a year of looking at fashion specifically, this unit is devoted to the investigation of a broader spectrum of cultural production. This ensures a thorough understanding of the connection between fashion and culture and the relevance of clothes to modern life.

  • Study Abroad (optional)

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

In Year 3 you'll consolidate your acquired knowledge and understanding, preparing you for a very individual interpretation of your professional practice in your chosen career pathway as you develop and express your personal signature style.

Please note, syllabus content indicated is provided as a guide. The content of the course may be subject to change.

Course modules

  • Atelier Signature

    Provides you with the opportunity to verify, articulate and demonstrate your understanding of atelier practice skills developed in Years One and Two. Through the practical application and craft of draping and creatively cutting defined silhouettes, production and finishing skills will express your technical and creative learning. This is an extended unit, which will allow you to fully concentrate on the interrogation and realisation of ideas from first prototypes to finished production garments, to the highest standards. The Atelier Signature collection and range will be publicly displayed at a salon presentation/show to the client or through an exhibition.

  • 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'll prepare your final exit portfolio to take with you as you launch your professional career.

  • Option 1: Research for Industry

    Provides you with an opportunity to critically reflect on and evaluate your practice, and offers a space to conduct more in-depth research into the specific sector of the industry you aspire to work in.

  • Option 2: Thesis

    You'll undertake a substantial period of individually-devised research on a subject related to the contextual and/or theoretical concerns of your discipline or professional aspirations. This will be applied and presented within a structured written dissertation that conforms to academic conventions.

Please note, syllabus content indicated is provided as a guide. The content of the course may be subject to change.

Course modules

Course leader

International study

Find out more about studying in the UK, or studying part of your course abroad at one of our partner institutions (study abroad option not available on all courses).

Course connections

On this course, you'll be exposed to a world of opportunities

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
  • Ade 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.

How to apply - 2018 entry

I am a UK or EU citizen ...

I am not a UK or EU citizen ...

Entry requirements - 2018 entry:

As a leading creative arts university, we want to attract the best and most creative minds in the country – so we take a balanced approach to candidate assessment, taking both individual portfolios and exam results into account. 

That’s why your portfolio is an especially important part of your application to study with us – and we can help. Our academics can offer you expert advice on how to showcase your creative work and build a portfolio that will make your application stand out. More advice on how to create an exceptional portfolio is also available here.

Entry requirements

Along with your portfolio, the standard entry requirements* for this course are:

One of the following:

  • 112 new UCAS tariff points (equivalent to 280 old UCAS tariff points), see accepted qualifications
  • Pass at Foundation Diploma in Art & Design (Level 3 or 4)
  • Distinction, Merit, Merit at BTEC 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.

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.

Your portfolio

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.

More portfolio advice

Fees & finance

Uncover all the costs involved, as well as the grants, loans and other financial support you may be entitled to.

Student regulations

Find out more about the operation of our courses, student conduct, assessments and examinations.

Get in touch

My Courses


Course level

Course title