Learn the full range of fashion styling and communication skills, from research and ideas creation through to photography and illustration, casting, and live model styling
We’ll encourage you to take risks and experiment with ideas and materials through individual and group projects
Uniquely, we consider how you can also help to change the fashion industry, and explore some of the current debates around ethical practices, sustainability, racism and gender equality.
Helping fashion tell a story
On this degree in Fashion Styling and Communication, you will learn to use fashion as a powerful way of telling stories, so that clothing and accessories become more than just objects. The purpose of a fashion marketing campaign today is not simply to sell clothes; it often needs to promote a philosophy, concept or aspirational lifestyle. Styling - particularly visual imagery - is key to this process.
30 years ago, 'fashion stylist' wasn't a recognised career, but with the rise of digital and social media, this has changed. Fashion styling is now firmly in the mainstream, and today, many companies and individuals use fashion stylists to help them develop visual identities and branded concepts - from fashion labels and e-commerce stores, to digital and printed media, as well as influencers and celebrities.
The key areas
On this degree, you'll learn to create, distribute and manage content about fashion for brands, companies and individuals. This content could take many forms, including images and videos, text, or experiences.
You'll learn a full range of styling and communication skills, including:
Concept and market research, including brand identity, competitor analysis and consumer identification
Fashion drawing and illustration
Creative still-life and live-model styling
Creating digital media and CAD
You will get plenty of time to experiment - with different materials, different modes and styles of communication, and with various methods of presentation.
We'll also ensure you cover the essential foundational knowledge such as understanding the design process, the history of image-making and fashion, and how fashion is shaped by its contemporary culture.
You'll also have opportunities to collaborate with students from our BA (Hons) Photography programme.
Fashion as a force for good
Uniquely, our course also explores the need for change in the fashion industry and encourages you to be an innovator and pioneer. We'll consider some of the industry's current dilemmas, including the sustainability of materials, working conditions in factories, and the problems of 'fast fashion'.
There's also an optional module in the second year called Social Design which helps you understand how design can have a positive impact on people, their communities and the environment. It will get you thinking about how you can use fashion as a force for good.
Building experience and boosting your CV
Throughout this course, and especially in your second year, you will be learning to apply skills in professional situations. In year two, there are core modules which take you through the fundamental industry process of responding to briefs from clients. You'll learn to:
research and develop ideas
produce and present concepts and proposals that meet the commercial aims of the brief, and
create work that reflects industry standards but also encapsulates originality and awareness of social, environmental or other relevant issues
You'll become adept at independent thinking and multi-project management, as well as using your creative skills to solve commercial or social challenges.
Work placements and internships
We offer you plenty of opportunities to take work placements or internships. We'll help you find the right opportunity to match your career aspirations and interests and during your time in the workplace, one of our tutors will also visit you to monitor your progress.
Our students have gained work experience at Alexander McQueen, Cos, Erdem, French Connection, Hobbs, HUUB, River Island, George at Asda, Julian MacDonald, Monsoon, Preen, Temperley, Tommy Hilfiger and Victoria Beckham.
In the final year of this course, we've built in specific modules that encourage you to explore potential careers paths and further study. You will develop a future career plan as well as a personal development plan, to help you work towards your personal and professional goals. You will also build and format a substantial portfolio of project work and use this as part of a professional marketing package, linked to your individual career plan.
All Art and Design, Film, Photography and Music courses are based at our Markeaton Street site where industry-standard, purpose built studios and labs provide a modern and creative space for our students. Markeaton Street encompasses Chandos Pole Street which is home to our Fashion and Textiles courses and Britannia Mill is home to Fine Art, Illustration and Interior Design studio spaces. Our Theatre students learn from professionals at the professional producing and learning Derby Theatre in the heart of Derby city centre.
Markeaton Street is a 15 minute walk from Kedleston Road, and is serviced by regular site shuttle buses.
Fashion and Textiles centre
Our Chandos Pole Street building contains new specialist facilities for Fashion and Textiles. These include light and airy studio spaces as well industry-standard equipment and design facilities.
This is a practical course so a significant proportion of your learning and assessment will be project-based. You will be given a wide variety of briefs which set out a problem, situation and context, and you will need to respond to these with creative and considered solutions. This may involve animation, illustration, live performance, photography and video. Some projects will be devised by tutors while others will be set by external parties, such as employers.
In your final year, you'll really get the chance to show how you've developed, by completing an extended fashion communication and styling project of your choice. This will be a substantial body of authentic work which demonstrates your unique voice. For this, you will need to work with professionalism, independence and initiative, while demonstrating commitment to your practice. It's therefore great preparation for your next step, whether that's life in the commercial world or postgraduate study.
You will also learn through more traditional methods such as:
Lectures and seminars
How you are assessed
We'll assess you in a variety of ways, including through:
Project work and portfolios
Industry projects and competitions
Written essays and reflective pieces
Every year students from the School of Arts celebrate their time at University by showcasing their work at an end of year Degree Show at Markeaton Street and across the City of Derby. The Show usually runs throughout June. It is a fantastic opportunity for potential employers, friends, family, industry and members of the public to see exciting creations by the next generation of artists, designers, creators and makers from Derby. The Show takes the form of:
Your personal academic tutor will work with you to help you get the most out of your time at university. Having someone to talk to about your academic progress, your university experience and your professional aspirations is hugely valuable. We want you to feel challenged in your studies, stretched but confident to achieve your academic and professional goals.
These are the typical qualification requirements for September 2023 entry.
What we're looking for
GCSE Maths and English are preferred, however if you don't have these qualifications you will be able to undertake Maths and English at Level 2 as part of your course of study
Access to HE
Pass Access to HE Diploma with 60 credits: 45 at Level 3 and 15 at Level 2
Offers will be made initially based on your application, including predicted grades and/or grades you have already achieved. You may be given the opportunity, within your offer letter, to submit a portfolio. If you submit a strong portfolio we will make you an unconditional offer, to reflect the quality of your work and your potential.
This degree prepares you for a career in fashion styling or fashion communication. Fashion stylists can work in many different areas including print and digital media, e-commerce, still life or product photography, catwalks, blogging or social media.
You would also have the skills and knowledge to make a great fashion journalist, media commentator, fashion researcher, fashion show producer or art director.
Banks Mill Studios
We also provide support for graduates starting out in the creative industries in the form of Banks Mill, an innovative space for creative and digital industries located in a landmark building within the heart of Derby city centre.
Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will usually be available on the website 24 hours after enrolment on to your course.
Additional costs and optional extras
We’re committed to providing you with an outstanding learning experience. Our expert teaching, excellent facilities and great employability prepare you for your future career. As part of our commitment to you we aim to keep any additional study costs to a minimum. However, there are occasions where students may incur some additional costs.
The information provided on this page is correct at the time of publication but course content, costs and other individual course details do change from time to time and are updated as often as possible, so please do check these pages again when making your final decision to apply for a course. Any updated course details will also be confirmed to you at application, enrolment and in your offer letter.
Included in your fees
Additional access to wider University Arts' facilities including equipment loan store and other facilities, such as digital print workshops or video editing
Basic materials such as fabrics and other fashion related construction materials are provided for set coursework tasks in Year 1 and 2
Participation in University Degree Show plus a Graduate Catwalk show with professional models and VIP Reception provided
Participation in London Graduate Fashion Week, access to specialist equipment in the fashion studio and related areas such as printmaking workshops and relevant textile workshop areas
Please note: Our courses are refreshed and updated on a regular basis. If you are thinking about transferring onto this course (into the second year for example), you should contact the programme leader for the relevant course information as modules may vary from those shown on this page.