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Five reasons to study fashion

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Love fashion? Dream of working in fashion design, fashion promotion or fashion journalism? Good news – here at the University of Sunderland we offer two distinctive courses that 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, offer work experience opportunities and have strong industry links, meaning you’ll be getting an all-round understanding of the industry and can work well across the sector; employers compliment us on our ‘industry-ready’ graduates.

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

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

1. Do things differently

Many fashion design degrees around the UK focus on garment design and ultimately, a catwalk show. We decided to do things a little differently; focusing on what employers told us they were looking for within the fashion and design industry, we designed our BA (Hons) Fashion Design and Promotion course to be 50% design and garment construction, and 50% marketing and promotion. Our modules range from graphic design, print, magazine design, marketing, branding, visual merchandising and buying, and this combination means our graduates are well equipped to enter industries such as interiors, graphics, styling, journalism, marketing as well as, of course, fashion.

Our Fashion Journalism BA is the only fashion journalism course in the country to be accredited by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ), and you’ll have the opportunity to earn your NCTJ Diploma in Journalism while you study (find out more about the benefits of studying an NCTJ-accredited course). This industry-recognised qualification will equip you to become a writer for magazines, supplements and newspapers, covering the fashion shows and interviewing designers (you could also work as a general features or news writer if you choose not to go down the fashion route). This course will also prepare you to work as a stylist; either for celebrities; for a fashion house; or for a fashion publication.

2. 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.

BA (Hons) Fashion Journalism is led by Carole Watson, who has worked as a journalist and editor for magazines and national newspapers for 25 years, including roles as Deputy Editor of Grazia and Head of Features at the Daily Mirror. She is also a member of the media law examinations board for the (NCTJ). Over on the BA (Hons) Fashion Design and Promotion course, Jayne Smith and Naomi Austin have a wealth of experience between them. Naomi has worked as a successful men’s and boy's sportswear designer for high profile companies including Reebok, Hi-Tec, Matalan, Umbro, and Marks and Spencer, and in 2018 published her first, fully illustrated book, ‘The Call of the Sea’. Jayne has worked in several universities and delivers specialist teaching input in garment assembly and pattern cutting. She has published a book about this discipline: ‘Guide to Basic Garment Assembly for the Fashion Industry’. Her research interest focuses on sustainable textiles, fashion and zero waste, which is key, as fashion sustainability is at the heart of the course.

You’ll also regularly be joined by current industry professionals for guest lectures and live projects. Internationally recognised makeup artist and cosmetics entrepreneur, Linda Mason, took on the role of visiting professor during our 2020 Creative Industries Week, 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 over Microsoft Teams from his home in Hollywood, California. Alec, who is also founder of the acclaimed digital platform KLOSS FILMS, joined student on campus for a workshop and lecture, advising how to set up a fashion video shoot, and how to stand out from the crowd in the competitive world of fashion. Read more about Alec's visit.

Alec Maxwell delivering a talk to a group of design students and staff

Alec Maxwell delivering a talk to a group of design students and staff

3. Join a close-knit community

Both courses are made up of small 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, develop your skills and bring out the best in your creativity and talent. Our students agree – BA (Hons) Fashion Journalism has 100% Overall Satisfaction according to the National Student Survey 2021.

This nurturing environment is also the perfect place to develop strong friendships; as BA (Hons) Fashion Journalism graduate, Caitlyn McAdam, says, “I cannot begin to describe how much I love the girls on my course, they are some of the nicest girls I have ever met!”. You can hear more from Caitlyn through her university experience video.  

4. Gain valuable experience

On the BA (Hons) Fashion Journalism course, you will 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. You may also choose to work with the teams at Spark online magazine, SR-News website, Northern Lights website and SportsByte.

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 in 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? In Manchester
  • Stylist at activewear and accessories brand, Gymshark
  • Copywriter Harrods
  • Copywriter The Fragrance Shop
  • Beauty coordinator, Dare magazine, Superdrug
  • Fashion assistant, You magazine, Mail on Sunday
  • Celebrity stylist, X Factor
  • Writer, Grazia
  • Writer, Elle
  • PR assistant, Victoria Beckham fashion label

Further information

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

You can also sign up for one of our Open Days or see our facilities through our Virtual Open Day.

Published: 24 March 2022