Graduate Diploma in Fashion

Applications for 2016/17 entry are now closed.

Application for 2017/18 entry will open in November.  Please check back in November when online applications will open for new applicants.  We look forward to receiving your application.

The Graduate Diploma in Fashion is a one-year programme for fashion graduates, aiming to prepare sophisticated designers for the next stage of their careers. Created for International students, the course is now open to Home/EU applicants. You’ll specialise in Womenswear, Menswear, Fashion Design with Knit or Fashion Design with Textiles. The course has excellent rates of progression to leading postgraduate fashion courses including CSM - MA Fashion (Womenswear and Menswear) and MA Textiles Futures; RCA - MA Fashion (Womenswear, Menswear, Menswear Knit, Footwear and Accessories); Parsons, New York - MA Fashion (Womenswear and Menswear); LCF - MA Fashion (Womenswear, Menswear, Footwear and Accessories), MA Digital Fashion, MA Fashion Marketing; Chelsea - MA Textiles; Arnhem - MA Fashion (Womenswear); Goldsmiths - MA Design and Environment and Westminster University - MA Fashion.

This course is part of theFashion Programme

Student Renata Estefan talks about the course

5 great reasons to apply

  • In the most recent graduating year, every student that applied for a postgraduate course was offered a place either at Central Saint Martins, Royal College of Art or London College of Fashion.
  • You’ll benefit from the teaching and learning methods of some of the most eminent and experienced current practitioners in the field of fashion, which have produced some of the world's leading fashion design professionals.
  • You’ll take part in staff-directed and industry projects to help you identify and develop your strengths and address areas for improvement. Recent projects have been set by Net-a-Porter and Alexander McQueen.
  • You’ll receive support in developing your personal presentation skills (including CV-writing) to support your applications for further study or employment.
  • You’ll have access to free in-sessional English language support classes taught in the context of art, design and communications.

Facts

Course Leader

David Kappo MA

Course Location

King’s Cross, London. Tel: +44 (0)20 7514 7023

Study LevelUndergraduate
Study ModeFull time
Course Length1 Year
Home/EU Fee

Tuition fees for 2016/17: £9,000.

You can pay course tuition fees in instalments for this course. 

Use our Fees and Funding Calculator to estimate how much your studies may cost you in your first year, and what funding may be available to you.

International Fee

Tuition fees for 2016/17: £17,230

You can pay course tuition fees in instalments for this course.

Use our Fees and Funding Calculator to estimate how much your studies may cost you in your first year, and what funding may be available to you.

Start DateSeptember 2016
Autumn Term DatesMonday 28 September 2015 – Friday 11 December 2015
Spring Term DatesMonday 11 January 2016 – Friday 18 March 2016
Summer Term DatesMonday 18 April 2016 – Friday 24 June 2016
Application Route

Direct application

Application DeadlineApplications are accepted throughout the year.

Content and structure

The Graduate Diploma in Fashion offers a one-year Higher Education programme for international and, for the first time in 2014, graduate students. It aims to produce mature and sophisticated designers equipped to work in and design for the international market.

The course offers students with a background in fashion design or a closely related discipline the opportunity to take a fresh view of their work and their creative direction.

The course’s learning and teaching philosophy emphasises creative freedom and offers you the opportunity to explore and experience London as an international fashion design centre and a rich resource for research, providing invaluable insights into progression to postgraduate study or employment in the International fashion industry.

The learning and teaching are project-based and offer you the freedom to experiment and find or re-define yourselves within a creative environment. The course emphasises breadth as well as depth of research and an innovative approach to design development.

The Graduate Diploma in Fashion begins with staff-directed and / or industry projects aiming to support you in identifying and further developing your strengths and addressing your weaknesses. This enables you to develop your work in consultation with staff on an ongoing basis.

Fundamental to the course is the commitment to support your creative development with appropriate design, technical (pattern cutting / garment construction) and professional skills to help you to take advantage of the benefits and challenges that studying in London provides.

Later projects are negotiated with course staff and self-directed, offering you the opportunity to demonstrate independent learning in the context of your final project.

The curriculum also introduces you to the potential of a range of different approaches to the visual communication and articulation of design ideas. Personal and professional development emphasises the skills and aptitudes required in designing for a specific market, researching and taking account of current trends and, in particular, the personal presentation skills required to support application for entry into postgraduate study and / or employment in the international fashion industry.

You leave the course with a portfolio and realised design work that will effectively support access to postgraduate study and / or entry into employment in the fashion industry.

The Graduate Diploma in Fashion lasts 30 weeks of full-time study structured as two units over three terms.

The course is credit rated at 120 credits, and comprises 2 units. Unit 1 (60 credits) lasts 15 weeks. Unit 2 (60 credits) follows after the completion of Unit 1 and also runs for 15 weeks.

Both units must be passed in order to achieve the Graduate Diploma, Graduate Diploma with Merit or Graduate Diploma with Distinction.

Course outline

Unit One - Diagnostic: Research and Creative Development

This Unit has a diagnostic function, with projects that seek to build on your existing strengths and identify areas of your design work that need to be developed. The Unit culminates in a project normally set by a practitioner working in industry that enhances and consolidates your skills in working creatively to a set design brief.

Curriculum Elements:

Introduction / Induction

Presentation to Course Team and fellow students of:

  • Pre-entry (current trends shows and exhibitions) project
  • Portfolios (as submitted for application)

This introduces you to the course team and to one another. It also gives the course team the opportunity to make an initial evaluation of your strengths (to be developed) and weaknesses (to be addressed). It provides an opportunity for you to become more confident in talking about your work in a presentation or critique in English. You are also introduced to the rest of the Fashion Programme, the College and Student Services.

Design Inspiration Project

This project offers a combination of talks, escorted visits and personal explorations of London as an international fashion centre and how it operates in relation to marketing, retail and production as well as design.

Design and Make Project

This project (set by the course team) supports you through the process of: identifying and using a range of approaches to research (libraries, galleries, museums, shops, the internet); using London as a resource and/or focus of research; identifying and using different approaches to design development (draping, cutting, deconstructing and re-assembling a vintage item, new / unusual materials etc.) through to making a fully realised garment. The emphasis is on broadening of possibilities and the excitement of experimentation.

Industry Project

This project is led by a practitioner from industry.  It is relatively short in order to give you an idea of the restricted timescale for design development prevailing in the industry. You are required to work to a prescriptive brief and design for a specific market. In relation to your Personal and Professional Development you benefit from the opportunity of consultation with a practitioner.

Muse Project

This project (set by the course team) equips you with a framework within which you can reach an insight into who will wear your clothes and how to go about designing to meet their needs. You are required to document intensive research in a variety of media as well as your design development process and to produce a finished garment. The project enables you to design with greater focus and understanding.

Portfolio Preparation

The portfolio presentation tutorials take place towards the end of Unit One. Their purpose is to review your portfolio to date and provide advice and guidance on compiling a professional portfolio suitable for interviews for postgraduate study or for employment. The tutorials will supplement the IT for Presentation provision described below.

IT for Presentation

The course team believes that the creative use of design and presentation software is an essential part of the creative designer's repertoire and may be a key deciding factor in employability. The emphasis in these sessions will be on IT as a creative design tool and this will be linked in to the current studio project, thus supporting you in applying learning in the development of your personal projects and the associated portfolio work. 

Research and Cultural Awareness

Research and Cultural Awareness are integrated in the curriculum and will include a mixture of visits to museums, galleries and key retail outlets and the range of opportunities available in the capital e.g. fashion weeks and exhibitions as well as input on market analysis.

Fabric and Fibre Awareness

An intensive programme of Fabric and Fibre Awareness is also provided in order to support your fabric choices and design decisions.

Unit Two - Final Project and Portfolio: Development and Resolution

In Unit Two you use the knowledge and skills acquired or extended in Unit One to develop a rationale for your final design output. Continuing from Unit One, further support will also be provided at this point in developing your personal presentation skills (including CV-writing) to support application for further study or employment. The major part of this period is given over to completion of the final project that defines what you have gained from the course. This comprises realised creative work together with a portfolio of design work. This Unit concludes with final assessment, examination and your degree exhibition. 

Curriculum Elements:

Final Project Development

The initial weeks offer you an opportunity to reflect on your learning so far and, in consultation with tutors, to refine your final project proposal as to rationale (including market awareness), concept, indicative timescale for realisation and nature of work to be presented for assessment. You will be supported in developing a proposal which is congruent with the learning outcomes of the course and viable in relation to the time and resources available. You present your final project proposal to your tutors for agreement.

Final Project Realisation

You work on the realisation of your final project. Although design tutorials and pattern-cutting and garment construction support are available, the essential skills of self-directed and self-managed learning within a defined envelope of resources are emphasised. Throughout this stage, presentation and IT support and tutorial support are also available on a regular basis to ensure that you have the opportunity to resolve any difficulties as they arise.

Personal and Professional Development (PPD)

On the Graduate Diploma in Fashion, PPD is directly integrated with the subject of study and the discipline. Relevant knowledge and skills are addressed and embedded in the two Units.

English language support

In addition to pre-sessional English language classes we offer free in-sessional English language support classes to students currently studying a full time course at the University. These weekly classes are taught in the context of art, design and communications and are designed to support you with the language and language skills you need to complete your course successfully.

If you would like one-to-one time with a language tutor to look at your writing, get help understanding a difficult text, or prepare for a presentation, you can book a tutorial. Tutorials last 30 minutes and there are sessions every week during term time at all the colleges and also at the Language Centre. There are three types of tutorials:

  • Drop in tutorials - just come along on the day and write your name on the sign up sheet
  • Bookable tutorials
  • Online tutorials - send up to 500 word by email to an English tutor who will check your work and reply with corrections within a few days.

Staff

Course Leader: David Kappo

Careers

The Graduate Diploma in Fashion is one of a number of related courses in the Fashion programme.

During their studies students are guided by some of the most eminent and experienced current practitioners in the field of fashion enabling them to benefit from the teaching and learning methods which have produced some of the world's leading fashion design professionals.

The Graduate Diploma in Fashion has been created to produce mature and sophisticated designers equipped to work in and design for the international market. You will leave the course with a portfolio and realised design work that will effectively support entry into employment in the fashion industry and access to postgraduate study.

Graduates of the course progress to postgraduate study on a wide range of well established courses in London, the UK and elsewhere in Europe including: Central Saint Martins' MA Fashion (Womenswear and Menswear) and MA Textiles Futures courses; MA Fashion at the Royal College of Art; MA Fashion at Arnhem; MA Fashion Design and Technology (Womenswear and Menswear), MA Digital Fashion, MA Fashion Marketing and MA Footwear Design (all at London College of Fashion); MA Design and Environment at Goldsmiths and MA Fashion at Westminster University, or go on to establish design careers in London, the UK and Europe as well as their home countries.

Student perspectives

Adam Andrascik, USA: MA Womenswear CSM 

Looking back on my time on the Graduate Diploma in Fashion course, of all the things I gained, I feel that the most important was a sense of self-confidence in my work. Through various self-guided projects, I became more comfortable with making decisions about the direction I wanted my work to progress, along with identifying any faults along the way. It also helped me to look at the way I design in a more objective sense, where my aesthetic fit in amongst other labels, and how I could differentiate myself in that landscape.

For me, the course was not only about gaining self-confidence, but a better understanding of fashion on an international scale. Along with various projects, I had the opportunity to acclimatize myself to London through work experience with such labels Richard Nicoll and Jonathan Saunders, along with taking part in both London and Paris fashion week. I was also encouraged to integrate myself into the fashion and design culture of London, in an effort to open myself up to the idea that inspiration doesn’t always need to come from an obscure art book or magazine. Needless to say, most of the friends I have today I met within the first few months of that experience.

At the end of the course, I felt I had the right tools needed to create and construct a professional collection, which was new and directional, along with the confidence to build a personal design aesthetic. Soon afterwards, I was accepted on to MA Womenswear at Central St. Martins, graduated and debuted my collection during LFW 2010, and have since completed my first solo presentation for Spring Summer 2011. I’ve been featured in Dazed Digital, POP Magazine, Style.com, Fashion 156, and an upcoming book shot by Rankin.

Sol Ahn, China: MA Menswear RCA

Personally, I think Graduate Diploma was the perfect course for me to take a quick peek at what  London’s (and of course, one of the world’s) most famous fashion school is like. More specifically, it helped me to grasp better ideas of London fashion, like an A to Z guidebook of London fashion.  I could learn where to buy fabrics from, how to revamp my portfolio, and the first project (the London Project) even taught me where to hang out to see all the fashionable people.   Moreover, it was just such a great place to get to know people from all the different continents around the world.  Even just by being in the school, I could see the most fashionable people passing by in the hallways.   I was really surprised to realise how fabulous they look but also how hard all of them were working.  Saint Martin’s whole ambiance was very creative, the energy from people was amazing, but obviously, it was a really tough course and the amount of work was demanding. It was almost like an intensive boot camp to completely reshape me to be a better fashion designer.  The course surely pushed me really hard

Plus, for me, it helped me deciding my future plans, so that I am doing my MA now.  Overall, I am really satisfied that I did the course, that I did actually recommended it to the people I know who are actually thinking about doing their MA (or further studies) in London, but don’t know where to start.

Katya Ford, Russia: MA Menswear CSM

I was happy to take the Graduate Diploma course last year. It gave me a great experience and a great opportunity to apply for an MA course this year. In spite of the fact that the course seems to be quite a long one, as it lasts the whole year, it is still a very hard one. We had many projects going one by one and sometimes we had to do two projects at the same time which was quite tough but this type of working process prepares you for the work in fashion industry or for the study on MA. I am so grateful for my tutors David Kappo and Tristan Webber who helped me during the course and I am happy to know them. A good thing about the course was to have different artists and designers coming to work with us. For example, we had Katie Eary for our London project and Richard Gray for our Muse project and that it was a pleasure to work with them!

Yulia Kondranina, Russia: MA Womenswear CSM

I had a great experience since my arrival at Central Saint Martins.  I enjoyed my time at this course and have met a lot of interesting people.

I have also benefitted hugely from this course which helped me to open my mind and understand the fashion industry better from the inside.  The various tasks and projects I have done have taught me varied ways of designing garments, sourcing inspiration and ideas, and consequently I now feel that I can design a collection confidently and be able to work independently.

Yejon Park, Korea: MA Menswear RCA

I finished a BA course in Korea, and worked as a womenswear designer.  Through this course I learned a great deal about how to manage my time according to the schedule that MA courses go through, and the importance of expressing my illustration ideas through to realisation as actual garments. 

I feel that it was a very important diagnostic phase to prepare myself for further development in finding out what my strengths and weaknesses are. My tutor was very passionate in helping me realise what to do to enhance my abilities in the most productive way, and I was able to see a clearer way forward after each tutorial.  

MA studies are tough, and I think I would have had trouble adjusting without what I've learned in Graduate Diploma.  I am relieved I took the course.  

Megha Garg, India

I have launched my own label and have been selected to showcase my collection in Lakme Fashion Week (one of the biggest fashion weeks in India).
The collection that I had sent to be selected for was my final collection at CSM. This collection was developed under the guidance and supervision of the course tutors, who I learnt a lot from and owe my success to as their time and patience with me helped me grow as a designer.

Entry requirements

Selection to the Graduate Diploma in Fashion is determined by the quality of your application.

You'll also need to meet the minimum entry requirements as indicated below, but please note that these qualifications alone will not be sufficient to secure entry to the course.

Minimum entry requirements

We consider applicants who have already achieved an educational level equivalent to a BA (Honours) Degree in fashion, or in a closely related design discipline e.g. fashion textiles, accessory design, jewellery design.

You can demonstrate the required educational level by:

  • Having the qualifications named above
  • Having professional qualifications recognised as equivalent to an Honours Degree
  • Prior experiential learning, the outcome of which can be demonstrated to be equivalent to the formal qualifications otherwise required
  • A combination of formal qualifications and experiential learning that, taken together, can be demonstrated to be equivalent to the formal qualifications otherwise required

English language requirement

All classes are conducted in English. If English is not your first language you will be asked to provide evidence of your English language ability in order to apply for a visa, enrol, and start your course. The standard English language requirement for entry is IELTS 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in any one paper, or equivalent. For further information visit the English Language requirements page.

Applicants who will need a Tier 4 General Student Visa should check the Visa and Immigration page which provides important information about UK Border Agency (UKBA) requirements.

What we look for

The Graduate Diploma in Fashion is for students who are dedicated, motivated, ambitious, hardworking and serious about progressing their fashion careers by using the course as a stepping stone to the College's MA Fashion or other postgraduate courses or to gaining employment in the fashion industry. Students are expected and encouraged to take full advantage of all that London offers as a fashion, social and cultural capital.

Student selection criteria

You'll be required to submit a link to a website containing your digital portfolio as part of your application. The portfolio review team will evaluate your potential using the following criteria:

Evidence of research skills

You should provide evidence of your creative exploration of research (research sketchbooks, digital examples of materials / images that you collect for inspiration).

  • Ability to develop ideas in visual form

Please evidence your ability to produce design solutions which make an imaginative use of imagery, colour, materials and technical skills shown in sketchbooks, illustrations etc.

  • 3-dimensional sense

Please provide examples of your ability to translate two-dimensional design into three-dimensions using photography or digital images.

  • Sensitivity to fabric and colour (including digital images of fabric samples where appropriate)

Evidence of use of fabrics and colour application.

  • Technical skills

Specification drawings to show in detail your understanding of garment construction e.g. seam placements, darts etc. and design details e.g. collar, cuff details.

In addition to the skills demonstrated in the portfolio, you should demonstrate by means of your personal statement your:

  • Reason for choosing the course
  • Motivation and commitment
  • Awareness of contemporary fashion design
  • Capacity for self-reflection
  • Communication skills.

How to apply

Applications for September 2016 entry are now closed.

You can apply for this course using our online application form – the link to this is below. Before you apply, we recommend you take some time to read the following details about the application process, including guidance on the extra information we will ask you to provide.

Required information for all postgraduate course applications

You will need to enter the following information in the online application form:

  • Personal details (including full name; date of birth; nationality; permanent address and English language level)
  • Current and/or previous education and qualification details
  • Employment history
  • Referee details (this course requires two references, at least one of which should be an academic or professional reference).

Before you can submit the form, you’ll also need to agree to the terms and conditions for how we process your data – these are explained in the form.

Please note, if you’re an international applicant we will need to contact you separately to ask for copies of certain documents (for example, English language qualification/certificate and copies of any previous UK study visas).

Extra information required for applications to this course

Once you have submitted the form, you will receive a confirmation email that includes links to where you should submit the extra information we require for the selection process: 

Personal statement

Your personal statement should give us information about yourself and why you want to join the course. (Write between 300-500 words)

  • What are you doing at the moment educationally, professionally, personally?
  • Why do you wish to study on this course?
  • What is your relevant experience?
  • Do you have any relevant skills?
  • Why do you think you are a suitable candidate for acceptance? 

Portfolio

You are expected to demonstrate evidence of appropriate ability through a digital portfolio of work.

Your digital portfolio must include:

  • A minimum of four projects including, where applicable, the final major project from your first degree - or equivalent
  • Sketchbooks / swatch books / illustrations
  • Advice about portfolio preparation:
  • The quality of your work is more important than the quantity
  • Please supply title, media and dimensions of each piece, bottom left of the image
  • Where possible, scan rather than photograph work. Large or 3-dimensional work should be photographed
  • Please organise your work by project, with supporting work presented alongside final outcomes

Please note, you can submit text and as many website links as you need to, but the portfolio form does not allow you to upload files.

Start your application now

Due to the popularity of the course, we recommend that you return your application as soon as possible after 31 January but by the end of May at the latest. 

It should be noted that you can submit your application after the closing date, however, if the Course is full it will be filed as a late application, and you will only be interviewed if and when a place becomes available.

Deferred entry: Entry can only be deferred in exceptional circumstances. Please contact us before submitting your application if you're considering applying for deferred entry.

The application form can be saved as you fill it out, so you don’t need to complete it all at once. You will also have the chance to review all the information and make any necessary amendments before you submit the application form.

We will send you emails as you progress through the application process, so do check your inbox (and junk folder, just in case). These emails will contain important information about your application, and links to the online forms you should use to submit the extra information required.

Enquire about this course

If you haven’t found the information you’re looking for or want to ask us a question about this course, please fill out our enquiry form.

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