Fashion Design and Promotion with Integrated Foundation Year BA (Hons)

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Course starts: 14 September 2020Apply now

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This is a four-year version of our popular BA (Hons) Fashion Design and Promotion course, with an integrated foundation year. Explore every aspect of the Fashion Industry. Get to grips with the latest trends. Graduate and join a growing and exciting industry.

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Explore every aspect of the Fashion Industry: develop concepts, create designs, construct garments, understand retail concepts, and plan and manage events. You will establish your own brand; from creating your own branding and marketing to graphic design and visual merchandising.

The fashion industry embraces every personality type and skill set you can imagine! Whether you’re good with numbers, a great organiser, a creative designer or a studious researcher who can put great looks together, there are as many job roles as there are personalities.

You can be confident that you’ll be nurtured, supported and developed throughout the course.

Fashion industry employers compliment us on how ‘industry-ready’ our students are. This is because they gain a good all round understanding of the way the industry operates, enabling them to complement many types of professional teams.

You will build core skills in fashion design, illustration, graphics, branding and promotion and will gain additional experience in photography and styling for editorial communication.

We also support you to find a work placement, which will give you the chance to see what the fashion world is about.

Why us?

  • You’ll have access to a large range of industry standard equipment and resources, well-equipped workshops and state-of-the-art digital design suites
  • In your second year you will organise your own fundraiser event and Fashion Show, working as part of a team and being responsible for location, scheduling and promotion
  • In your final year you will have the opportunity to exhibit in our Degree Show, gaining exposure throughout the city and to industry professionals
  • Our graduates have gone on to work for high profile companies including Abercrombie and Fitch, River Island, Urban Outfitters, Debenhams, Top Man, All Saints
  • Gain a good all round understanding of the way the industry operates, enabling you to complement many types of professional teams (employers compliment us on how ‘industry-ready’ our students are)
  • Build core skills in fashion design, illustration, graphics, branding and promotion
  • Gain additional experience in photography and styling for editorial communication
  • Participate in a supported work placement, which will give you the chance to see what the fashion world is about. Placements can last from 10 days to 6 weeks; past students have had placements at All Saints, Jonathan Saunders, Debenhams, Diesel and Oasis

New Sunderland Culture logo

A city brimming with creative potential

Offering a year-round programme of exhibitions, events and performances, Sunderland Culture brings big-name artists from the worlds of contemporary visual arts, glass, ceramics and performance to the city, alongside showcasing the best and most exciting local talent. There is a huge range of opportunities for students to visit the venues, take part in events and get involved in the programme. Learn more about Sunderland Culture.

Student work


Get to know Spark, Fashion North, Northern Lights, SR News, and Sportsbyte, our students' award-winning websites for local news, local sport, fashion and arts and entertainment.

  • Spark FM
  • Fashion North
  • Northern Lights
  • SR News
  • Sportsbyte

Course structure

In the first year – the foundation year – you will study five modules; a module about the foundations of art, design, performance and media production, an essential study skills module, a foundation project module, practical numeracy skills, and an introduction to creative practice module. After completion of this foundation year, you will then move onto the Fashion Design and Promotion honours degree course.

On this course you will experience the complete fashion process. From experimentation, research and concept, right through to promotion and branding, and the delivery to the customer of a professionally marketed product.

Teaching is almost entirely practical and studio based, supported by lectures, seminars, tutorials, e-learning and independent study and research. Assessment is almost totally through coursework.

View more student work in our student galleries.

Foundation Year

The Creative Industries: Arts, Design, Performance, Media Production Integrated Foundation Year includes five modules:

  • Foundations of Art, Design, Performance and Media Production (40 credits)
  • Essential Study Skills (20 credits)
  • Foundation Project (20 credits)
  • Practical Numeracy Skills (20 credits)
  • Introduction to Creative Practice (20 credits)


Some modules have prerequisites. Read more about what this means in our Help and Advice article.

Year 1 (national level 4):

  • Introducing Fashion Design and Promotion (40 credits)

Develop creative and valuable skills including traditional print-making, digital design, brand collaboration, visual merchandising and how to promote and communicate ideas.

  • Design Concept to Production (40 credits)

Study the entire fashion process, from research and design development, right through to the finished product, including pattern cutting, garment construction and technical specifications.

  • Message is Everything (20 credits)

Consider the changing ethics and motivations of the consumers of the future and create a campaign which answers the requirements for good design and which sends the right message

  • Style Icons and Subcultures (20 credits)

Learn about the key issues shaping the development of fashion and the main designers, companies and publications in the industry today.

Year 2 (national level 5):

  • Creative Product Development for Exhibition (40 credits)

Combine exciting design and research to work on a live industry-based brief which focuses on producing unique outfits for exhibition as well as promotional materials including video, photography and poster design.

  • Fashion Branding and Producing the Event (20 credits)

Further develop your digital design skills and explore personal branding concepts to produce a fashion branding portfolio, as well as planning a Fashion Show and fundraiser event, gaining skills in collaboration, negotiation and self-management.

  • Commercial Fashion Design and Illustration (20 credits)

Develop your skills in illustration and visual communication in creative and innovative ways to meet client requirements.

  • Styling for Fashion Editorial (20 credits)

Explore techniques and processes of creative imagery for fashion media, studying past and present stylists, examining historical and aesthetic influences on their work and styling and directing your own photoshoots.

  • Integrated Creativity (20 credits)

Stretch your creative borders by working within a 'creative collective' across different art and design disciplines, responding to a given theme or competition title to generate original and innovative pieces.

Final year (national level 6):

  • Professional Practice and Portfolio (40 credits)

Further develop your professional skills by focusing on commercial design and range planning and developing your personal brand identity, while diversifying your fashion portfolio.

  • Into Industry: Fashion Practice and Placement (20 credits)

Undertake a series of tasks which help prepare you for interviews and the world of work, looking at transferable skills such as professionalism, communication, problem solving  and research and analytical skills. Attend visits and talks by industry professionals sharing their experience and expertise.

  • Design Major Final Portfolio (60 credits)

In your final project you get to set your own brief, which will be carefully researched and presented in your Final Proposal. This will provide the framework for your personal project, which you can direct in a number of ways. Past successful final projects have included an ethical childrenswear range for IKEA, an original branding and promotion pack for an urban menswear range and a conceptual collection of mens’ suits inspired by the stages of grief through to acceptance.

More about BA (Hons) Fashion Design and Promotion with Integrated Foundation Year at Sunderland

Discover more articles
  • FabLab Sunderland offers a diverse range of specialist digital design and fabrication equipment. Based at the Hope Street Xchange in Sunderland city centre, it is a creative space where anyone can make (almost) anything. Our students gain free access to FabLab's machines which include:

    • Epilog laser cutter
    • ShopBot CNC router
    • The Roland Modela MDX-20 milling machine
    • Roland Vinyl cutter GS-24
    • Dimension 1200es Series 3D Printer – ABS plastic (large capacity 3D printer)
    • Ultimaker 2 (small scale 3D printer)
    • Ulitmaker 2 Extended (medium scale 3D printer)
  • We offer excellent facilities such as well-equipped workshops featuring fabric printers, laser cutters, top of the range design suites and industrial sewing machines.

    Facilities include:

    • State-of-the-art workshops
    • Project spaces
    • Open access Apple Macs and Wacom Cintiqs
    • Industrial sewing facilities, digital embroidery facilities, print studio and large scale digital fabric printer
    • Student gallery
    • Students also have access to facilities within FabLab Sunderland, on campus.
    Facilities for fashion and textiles
  • The University Library has an exceptional collection of photography books and monographs and subscribes to a comprehensive range of academic journals and databases so you can access reliable and up-to-date information.

    A dedicated Academic Liaison Librarian supports students and staff in the arts, design and performing arts disciplines.

    The key resources for your course include:

    Discover: The Library’s multi-disciplinary search tool

    Art Full Text: A major resource for media and arts information

    JSTOR (short for ‘Journal Storage’): Giving access to important journals across the humanities, social sciences and sciences

    Lexis: A major resource on full-text newspaper articles and legal information

    Library Services - arts and design
  • Map and directions


This course is based at the Priestman Building, the main base for art, design and performance on City Campus. Thanks to a major renovation programme, the Priestman Building provides state-of-the-art teaching space and resources as part of a vibrant and creative learning environment.

Entry requirements

The Integrated Foundation Year is specially designed to support you where you have just missed the grades required for direct entry onto a three-year degree, or if you have relevant work experience and are now looking to broaden your subject knowledge but want more time to develop study skills before starting your degree.

Entry requirements are provided for guidance only and we may offer you an entrance interview which will help us determine your eligibility for your chosen degree. This enables us to consider making you an offer if you are perhaps a mature student who has been out of education for a period of time, or you have gained significant knowledge and skills through employment rather than traditional education.

Eligible entry qualifications:

1. Normally a minimum of three Level 2 qualifications (NVQ, GCSE or equivalent ), including Maths and English at grade C or above** and a minimum of 40 UCAS tariff points from Level 3 qualifications (e.g. A or AS Levels, BTEC certificates/diplomas, access courses or equivalent)
2. Demonstrable evidence of appropriate knowledge and skills acquired from at least three years of post-school work experience.

Find out how many points your qualifications are worth using the UCAS Tariff calculator.

If you are unsure of whether you think you might be suitable for the course, please contact us!

** If you have studied for a GCSE which has a numerical grade then you will need to achieve a grade 4 or above. Equivalent alternative qualifications are also accepted, such as Level 2 Key Skills in Communication and Application of Number. If you have not achieved a grade C in Maths and English we may be able to work with you to ensure that you are able to gain these in the first year of the course, depending on your experience.

If English is not your first language, please see our English language requirements.

For more information about Integrated Foundation Year programmes, including more detailed module information, please see our Help and Advice articles.

Fees and finance

If you join us in September 2020, the foundation year will be £5,000.

For the following three years, the annual fee will be £9,250 but you will receive £1,250 cash-back in the first and final year of the full-undergraduate course.

In addition, you may receive free travel across the Tyne and Wear region and a University of Sunderland StudyPLUS Card loaded with additional offers up to the value of £200, plus a bundle of study skills books worth £80.

If you are a full-time UK student you may be eligible to receive financial support to cover your fee and maintenance loan for the full four years.

Please note, this course is not available to international students.

If you are not sure whether you qualify as a UK, EU or international student, find out more in our Help and Advice article.

Take a look at the Your Finances section to find out about the scholarships and bursaries that may be available to you.

Use our scholarships calculator to see what you may be entitled to.

Scholarships calculator

This information was correct at the time of publication.

City Campus by night


The UK fashion industry is worth £26 billion to the economy and growing. More than 800,000 people are working in fashion in the UK and we want you to be part of it. We'll prepare you to work in areas including: fashion design, brand development, fashion publishing, production, design consultancies, PR and fashion retail.

To enhance your visibility to employers, we encourage you to participate in competitions and exhibitions. Final year students exhibit at their own Degree Show, attended by industry professionals.

Career options

The main destinations for graduates are expected to be fashion-related creative industries. These include design, brand development, fashion publishing, production, design consultancies, PR and fashion retail. Some graduates may become freelance consultants or self-employed designers, or go on to further study or teacher training.

Past graduates have gone on to work for well renowned design companies such as Abercrombie and Fitch, River Island, Debenhams, TopMan, All Saints and Matalan.

Fashion events

Get real life experience. BA (Hons) Fashion Design and Promotion students organise their own fashion event in the city in their second year. Working together to liaise with venues, planning music, branding and marketing, booking models and not forgetting creating pieces for the show. Previous events have included a fashion film premiere, a catwalk show, a dance performance and DJ. The fundraising event, which is part of an event planning module, helps the students raise money for their final year Degree Show.

Employability days and guest speakers

We hold specific 'employability days' to help give you that essential cutting edge. We invite former graduates and employers to come into the University to look at student portfolios and give advice. Our annual Graduate Recruitment Fair attracts a large number of local and national employers.

You will also receive personalised support from dedicated staff to help you secure work placements and internships.

Meet the students

  • The course offers the ability to come at fashion from any angle.
    Adam King

    Adam King

  • I’m hoping to work in London or Manchester once I graduate this summer.
    Annabelle Preston

    Annabelle Preston

  • The great thing about the course is all the tutors have worked in the industry.
    Chloe Rodgers, Fashion Product and Promotion graduate

    Chloe Rodgers

  • The lecturers from my course were amazing, and a real asset to the University!

    Georgia Nichol

  • It's amazing working with people who are so interested in what they do.
    Kate Cluness, Fashion Product and Promotion graduate

    Kate Cluness

  • This year I began my dream job as a menswear designer for Abercrombie & Fitch in Ohio.
    Sophia Ramsey, Fashion Product and Promotion graduate

    Sophia Ramsey

Meet the team

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