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Five reasons to study fashion

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Do you love fashion? Do you dream of becoming the next top fashion designer, stylist, or fashion journalist? Good news, here at the University of Sunderland we offer two distinctive courses that will provide you with the key skills you’ll need for a successful career in fashion: BA (Hons) Fashion Design and Promotion and BA (Hons) Fashion Journalism. Both courses are hands-on with plenty of practical work and offer work experience opportunities through our strong industry links.

Need more persuasion? Here are five reasons to study fashion at Sunderland:

A student adjusting a garment on a mannequin, surrounded by other garments and designs, in a fashion studio

1. Study a different kind of course

Many fashion design courses focus on garment design and ultimately, a runway show. We do things a little differently – after listening to what employers told us they were looking for in fashion graduates, we designed our Fashion Design and Promotion course to be 50% design and garment construction, and 50% marketing and promotion. You’ll gain the skills you need to design and construct garments, including pattern making, cutting, sewing, fabric printing, and craftmanship, while also learning valuable marketing skills such as analysing trends, visual merchandising, how to create promotional materials, graphic design, styling, and photography. This combination will give you a thorough understanding of the fashion industry, so you'll be well prepared to work across the sector.

Our Fashion Journalism BA is also distinctive, being the only fashion journalism course in the country to be accredited by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) (find out more about the benefits of studying an NCTJ-accredited course). This industry-recognised qualification will equip you with essential fashion journalism skills such as runway reporting, editorial styling, studio and street style photoshoots, podcasting, social media, and beauty journalism, enabling you to become a writer for magazines, supplements, and newspapers, covering fashion shows and interviewing designers. This course will also prepare you to work as a stylist for celebrities, for a fashion house, or for a fashion publication.

2. Learn from and work alongside industry experts

You’ll be taught by a range of experts with relevant insight into the industry, who will keep you up to date with the latest developments. You’ll also benefit from regular guest lectures and live projects, delivered by top industry professionals. Internationally recognised makeup artist and cosmetics entrepreneur, Linda Mason, took on the role of visiting professor in 2020, while fashion designer Gareth Pugh opened our online degree show in 2020. Audrey Milligan Reilly, Creative Director for Womenswear at Lululemon (and previously Creative Director of Nike) has worked with Fashion Design and Promotion students on a sportswear project, while Maggie Mattioni, freelance designer for M&S and CLO-3D expert has worked with final year students on their portfolio development.

Guest lecturers that have joined our Fashion Journalism students include Madeleine Bowden, stylist for Jessie J and Nicole Scherzinger; Louise Gannon, celebrity interviewer for Elle and Mail on Sunday; Alessia Lawrence, digital stylist for Burberry; and Laura Kingston, editor of High Life North magazine.

In 2022, fashion students were joined by two high profile industry professionals: John McClean, Creative Director of Abercrombie and Fitch, and Alec Maxwell, Digital Creative Director at British Vogue. John, who started his fashion career here in the North East, delivered a talk online from his home in Hollywood, California. Alec, who is also founder of the acclaimed digital platform KLOSS FILMS, joined students on campus for a workshop and lecture, sharing his advice on setting up a fashion video shoot, and how to stand out from the crowd in the competitive world of fashion.

3. Benefit from smaller class sizes and more support

Both of our fashion courses are made up of smaller class sizes, meaning you’ll get far more one-to-one support from tutors than you might do elsewhere. Staff are always on hand to offer guidance and develop your skills, and this nurturing environment is the perfect place to bring out the best in your creativity and talent. Fashion Design and Promotion graduate Adam King says, “I chose to study at the University of Sunderland because I believe that talent is grown from the individual and their support system and surroundings, which isn’t necessarily the case with the bigger-named universities.”

4. Gain valuable experience

If you study Fashion Journalism, you’ll undertake a work placement module in your final year. Recent student placements at fashion publications include Elle, Grazia, ASOS, Harper's Bazaar and Fabulous (the Sun on Sunday’s magazine). You’ll also get practical experience of researching, pitching and writing, contributing as part of the Fashion North editorial team.

Fashion Design and Promotion offers you the chance to work on a series of live projects and competitions, and in your second year you will participate in our annual fashion show. You'll also get work placement opportunities. In your final year, your Final Major Project will focus on your specialism in your chosen pathway: fashion design or fashion promotion and marketing. Previous students’ projects have included the creation and production of a full fashion line, developing a brand identity and look book, producing a fashion publication, and creating and delivering a fashion event.

5. Open the door to exciting career opportunities 

Our fashion graduates have progressed into a wide range of career paths, including:

  • Junior Designer for Abercrombie and Fitch, Ohio USA
  • Graphic and Communications Assistant for TopMan, London
  • Homeware and Interiors Designer for Matalan, Lancashire
  • Assistant Designer for Jonathan Saunders, London
  • Assistant menswear designer for River Island, London
  • SEO Assistant for Size?, Manchester
  • Stylist at activewear and accessories brand, Gymshark
  • Copywriter at Harrods
  • Copywriter at The Fragrance Shop
  • Beauty coordinator, Dare magazine, Superdrug
  • Fashion assistant, You magazine, Mail on Sunday
  • Writer, Grazia
  • Writer, Elle
  • PR assistant, Victoria Beckham fashion label

Where will your fashion degree take you?

Further information

To learn even more about our fashion courses, check out our course pages: 

Or join us at our next Open Day to meet your lecturers and see our facilities for yourself.

Published: 22 February 2023