If you want to learn the ins and outs of the art and business of fashion, what better place to do it than one of the fashion capitals of the world? London’s colleges, universities, and fashion degrees are some of the most highly respected worldwide, and many of Britain’s most celebrated fashion designers studied here at some point.
London not only offers an inspiring and cosmopolitan location, but also schools that excel in the business and creative side of fashion, taught by some of the most respected names in the business. The best fashion schools also have strong links with industry, giving you that all-important step up on your career ladder. If you’re looking for fashion degrees in London, we’ve compiled this list of some of the best on offer to help you narrow down your search.
BA Fashion Communication – Central Saint Martins
Central Saint Martins is one of the most respected institutes for the arts in the UK and worldwide. It has also developed strong ties to industry over the years, with famous alumni including Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney, John Galliano, Phoebe Philo, Christopher Kane, Hussein Chalayan, Giambattista Valli, Paul Smith, Riccardo Tisci, Sarah Burton, David Koma, Mary Katrantzou, Jimmy Choo, Molly Goddard, and Kim Jones. The school also collaborates with external professionals and sponsors including L’Oreal Professionel, Dazed & Confused, Diadora, Grazia, Pringle of Scotland, British Museum, and Museum of London.
Saint Martins offers eight undergraduate programmes and three postgraduate courses in fashion. This means you can choose a specialism that best meets your interests and skills. The Fashion Communication degrees at Central Saint Martins get great reviews in particular. This degree offers three different pathways: Fashion History and Theory, Fashion Journalism, and Fashion Communication and Promotion. The school is particularly strong on the artistic side, and is known for driving creativity and innovative thinking in its students.
The BA Fashion Communication: Fashion Communication and Promotion focuses on the creative promotion of fashion through a variety of different media including branding, trends, styling, photography, graphics, and digital platforms. The program includes collaborative projects with industry professionals, and the opportunity to do a work placement after two years of study.
BA Fashion Buying and Merchandising – London College of Fashion
The London College of Fashion has a holistic approach to fashion education, and offers the widest selection of fashion degrees and course options of any school on this list. Some of the more niche courses on offer include bag and accessory design, footwear, and bespoke tailoring. The programs are rated as highly practical and hands-on, with a lot of self-directed study.
The school has an excellent reputation worldwide, and names Jimmy Choo, Jonathan Anderson, William Tempest, and Alek Wek as some of its famous alumni.
While any of the courses run by the London College of Fashion offer a great introduction to the fashion industry, the BA in Fashion Buying and Merchandising is an excellent option for those who are more interested in the commercial aspect of fashion.
The course teaches essential skills for understanding the global fashion market and the future of fashion including trend research, design and product development, garment sourcing, and sales analysis. There’s also the opportunity to take a professional work placement.
BA Fashion Design – University of Westminster
The University of Westminster boasts an impressive list of fashion alumni that includes Christopher Bailey and Vivienne Westwood. Some of the world’s top fashion houses also recruit from the school including Givenchy, Louis Vuitton, Versace, Alexander McQueen, Kenzo, Burberry, Celine, Max Mara, JW Anderson, and Tom Ford.
The BA Fashion Design course at the University of Westminster was the first in the world to show on the official London Fashion Week schedule. This is down to the innovative course planning of Professor Andrew Groves, who restructured the course to align with the international fashion calendar. It’s clear that this is a university with its finger on the pulse of the fashion business and a commitment for its students to succeed in their careers, not just at school.
During the course, students are encouraged to develop their own design philosophy, as well as developing the skills necessary to excel in the international fashion industry.
The first year of the program covers 2D and 3D design, pattern cutting, research, trend analysis. The second year includes and eight-week internship scheduled to coincide with Paris Fashion Week, and third year students develop an A/W runway collection with the opportunity to show at London Fashion Week.
BA Fashion – Kingston University
Kingston University may not have an alumni list that’s as impressive as some of the more prestigious fashion colleges, but it has strong industry links with major names in the fashion business. Graduates have gone on to work senior-level positions at brands including Armani, Burberry, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Donna Karan, Givenchy, Lacoste, Massimo Dutti, Max Mara, Missoni and Paul Smith, as well as mass brands like Topshop, Abercrombie & Fitch, Brooks Brothers, ASOS and H&M.
If you want a solid grounding in both creative and business aspects of working in the fashion industry, the BA in Fashion at Kingston University is a great option. It’s ranked no.1 fashion degree in London by The Guardian University Guide league table 2020, and has been awarded four badges of excellence by the Business of Fashion.
The program encourages students to develop their own signature style including sketching, 2D and 3D design, knitwear, and digital print. The course includes fashion styling, photography, pattern cutting, draping, knitting, and sewing techniques. You also have the opportunity to participate in sponsored projects and international competitions. At the end of year two, there’s the chance to study and work abroad for a year. The final year involves creating your own collection, and exhibiting at Graduate Fashion Week in London.
BA Fashion Marketing – University of East London
The University of East London offers three courses in fashion, designed to be as practical and industry-focused as possible. The school has great connections with industry, and students have the opportunity to undertake a work placement sandwich year at companies including Gareth Pugh, Erdem, Vivienne Westwood and River Island. The school’s fashion and textile courses were ranked 4th in London in the 2018 Guardian University Guide.
The BA Fashion Marketing course teaches students how to retail, brand, and merchandise fashion including sales techniques, and taking a fashion product from initial concept right through to retailing in a high street store.
Students have the opportunity to take a year-long work placement at a leading fashion retailer such as Marks and Spencer, Diesel, Anthropologie, Ralph Lauren, and Urban Outfitters.