BA (Hons) Fashion Communication: Fashion History and Theory

Places available 2016/17

This course has places available for UK and EU applicants. View the Apply section on this page for more details. For a full list of UAL courses open for 2016/17 entry, including others available at Central Saint Martins, visit the Places available page.

This course is for students who want to obtain a knowledge and understanding of the history of western fashion from the Renaissance to the present day. It’s for fashion thinkers and theorists who want to experience a stimulating connection between theory and practice.

This course is part of the: Fashion Programme. 

Scholarships and Awards available:

Charlotte and Dennis Stevenson Awards
Foundation for Essex Arts Scholarships
Mead Scholarships and Fellowships
Yat Malmgren Bursary
Fung Foundation Study Abroad Scholarship


Meet Course Leader Hywel Davies and students

5 great reasons to apply

  • Choose from three pathways: Fashion Communication & Promotion, Fashion History and Theory, Fashion Journalism 
  • You'll partake in collaborations with external professionals and sponsors including L'Oreal Professionel, Dazed & Confused, Diadora, Grazia, Pringle of Scotland, British Museum, Museum of London, Alix Partners, From Somewhere and the Victoria and Albert Museum 
  • You can take the opportunity to interrupt your course after two years full time study to do a work placement and qualify additionally for the Diploma in Professional Studies
  • Take advantage of the course’s excellent relationship with the international fashion community, to experience placements drawn from a wide and distinguished range of sources
  • Our graduates work across a wide spectrum of careers in Fashion Communication, working as writers, journalists, editors, stylists, photographers, art directors, set-desginers, fashion show producers, illustrators, curators, archivists, researchers, and retailers.


Course Leader

Hywel Davies

Course Location

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

Study LevelUndergraduate
Study ModeFull time
Course Length3 years or 4 year sandwich full time
Home/EU Fee

£9,000 per year (2016/17).

Please note that fees are subject to inflationary increase.

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

£17,230 per year (2016/17).

Please note that fees are subject to inflationary increase. 

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 26 September 2016 – Friday 9 December 2016
Spring Term DatesMonday 9 January 2017 – Friday 17 March 2017
Summer Term DatesTuesday 18 April 2017 – Friday 23 June 2017
Application Route


Application DeadlineOpen for UK and EU applicants only for 2016/17 entry. Applications for 2017/18 entry will open in Autumn 2016.
UCAS Code4A37
University CodeU65

Content and structure

With the explosion of new media over the last ten-years, the fashion industry has been democratised. Opportunities in fashion are no longer primarily focused on the role of designer - the fashion industry requires quality content in the form of words and image.

BA (Honours) Fashion Communication is part of the Fashion programme. It is aimed specifically at students who are passionate about fashion, but do not want to follow the design route.

From photographers, stylists, art directors, fashion-show producers, film-makers and public relations experts, to bloggers and social networkers, on-line marketers, ‘traditional’ writers, journalists, curators, commentators and theorists, BA (Honours) Fashion Communication aims to nurture you to become innovative, informed, responsible promoters, writers, communicators and observers, central to the industry’s future.

The course comprises three named pathways, all of which have the communication of and about fashion at their core. Led by tutors who are expert practitioners, the pathways offer different approaches and a synergistic combination of fashion communication, awareness, historical and theoretical studies.

  • Fashion History and Theory concentrates on developing your understanding of the history of western fashion, and the development of a sound theoretical framework within which to analyse this knowledge.
  • Fashion Communication and Promotion focuses on understanding how fashion can be communicated and promoted creatively through different media, through a curriculum that includes, amongst other areas, branding, trends, styling, photography, graphics and the creative use of new digital platforms.
  • Fashion Journalism builds on the College’s forty-year track record in this area, and offers you the opportunity to focus on fashion writing for different audiences, media and markets. From traditional media to new platforms the pathway will anticipate and respond to industry’s insatiable demand for quality written content.

The course is uniquely taught alongside BA (Honours) Fashion, offering you, as communicators, first-hand insights into fashion design ‘in the making’.

Recognition of difference, nuance, diversity and cultural meaning is central to the course ethos. We encourage and support you to take advantage of the opportunities, challenges and benefits that this offers, to develop creatively and intellectually whilst increasing your technical and professional skills and knowledge.

Ultimately we aim for you to graduate as confident, responsible, adaptable Fashion Communication specialists who possess a depth of knowledge in your chosen fields underpinned by a breadth of knowledge and critical understanding of the social, economic and cultural factors which impact on the professional environments in which you will work.

The BA Fashion Communication curriculum is flexible, providing excellent scope for networking with the fashion industry. Active learning through project-based enquiry is a cornerstone. You'll do collaborative projects that involve working together in mixed pathway groups or with external professionals and sponsors (e.g. Monaco Museum of Modern Art, Liberty, Dazed & Confused, Victoria and Albert Museum). This promotes interdisciplinary peer learning. It helps you develop the ability to work with others, the capacity for independent learning, and greater awareness of the skills you'll need to further your career.

Visiting lecturers include Kay Barron, Laura Bradley, Caroline Evans, Kathryn Ferguson, Mandi Lennard, Penny Martin, Iain R Webb.

Length of study for all fashion communication pathways is three or four years. You can apply to interrupt your degree course after two years full time study to do a period of work placement (subject to academic approval). If you meet the approved requirements of this work placement period you'll qualify additionally for the Diploma in Professional Studies.

BA Fashion Communication offers a choice of three named pathways (identified by separate UCAS codes).

With the study of the communication of fashion as their core subject, these options represent a uniquely synergistic combination of fashion communication, design, historical studies and theoretical studies led by tutors who are expert practitioners. The pathway range allows you to study a specific area of Fashion Communication in depth, embracing different approaches to the subject and a range of creative opportunities within the industry.

Under the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications the Levels for a BA are: Level 4 (which is stage 1 of the course), Level 5 (Stage 2) and Level 6 (Stage 3).

There's a progression point at the end of each Level and, in order to progress, all units of the preceding Level must normally have been passed.

If you're unable to continue on the course a Certificate of Higher Education (Cert HE) will normally be offered following the successful completion of Level 4 or a Diploma in Higher Education (DipHE) following the successful completion of Level 5.

To gain a BA (Honours), students must successfully complete 360 credits. The final award consists of marks from Level 6 units only, weighted according to their credits.

At enrolment you need to identify if you wish to study for three years full time or take the four-year mode. The work placement takes place at the end of Stage Two. A Diploma in Professional Studies is awarded on successful completion of this year.

Pathway outline - Fashion History and Theory

This pathway develops your understanding of the history of western fashion from the Renaissance to the present day, and provides you with a sound theoretical framework within which to analyse that history. The subject's interdisciplinary nature is addressed using a range of methodologies to analyse sources, drawing on approaches from cultural theory, material history and other fields. Fashion is studied as image, object and text. You'll be asked to consider the design, manufacture, promotion and consumption of fashion and to explore these areas within social, historical and cultural contexts.

While this pathway analyses fashion history, it also engages with the contemporary fashion industry. You'll work with students from other fashion pathways on projects that will enrich your understanding of the design process, cut and construction, and communication and promotion to make stimulating connections between theory and practice.

Stage One

This stage lays the foundation for the development of your skills, knowledge and ideas through practical or technical workshops, lectures and seminars. While focusing on the unique aspects of your chosen pathway, Stage One introduces you to related pathways, encouraging you to research, explore and develop individual strengths and approaches.

Stage Two

This stage carries you deeper into your pathway, allowing you to develop a variety of approaches through individual and often experimental responses while acquiring the discipline demanded by professional practice. Through a combination of studio work, formal tutorial guidance, seminars, lectures, external projects, competitions, critiques, personal research, independent study and team projects, you'll explore the breadth of your subjects and develop your individual talents in relation to them. During this stage you'll benefit from the learning experience gained from helping our final year students prepare work for the degree shows.

You may also have the opportunity to go abroad (at your own expense) during this year to visit trade shows or fashion collections relevant to your field of study.

At the beginning of the summer term, students on the four-year programme are involved in the planning and preparation for their work placement. Exceptionally, three-year full-time students may apply to transfer to the four-year mode to do a work placement. Such applications have to be made via the Placement Administrator.

Stage Three

The focus during Stage Three is on the further development of your individuality and independence as you initiate, develop and complete your final degree project. Your course work helps you locate, explore and exploit your strengths while identifying areas that may require further attention or focus.

In the summer term you will show work in a degree examination exhibition.

Cultural Studies

In Stage One you'll attend lectures on a range of cultural themes, including course-specific options and broader aspects of popular culture, art and design. This gives you an opportunity to discuss cultural issues and to develop your communication, research and writing skills through encounters with students from other courses.

Within your cultural studies programme, elective studies complement and underpin your main study area.

In Stage Two you begin work on your degree dissertation research. This allows you to carry out an extended body of research on a subject of your choice in negotiation with your tutor. The dissertation is a written project involving structured analysis of a chosen aspect of visual, textual or spatial culture that is completed in Stage Three. It may be weighted at 20 or 40 credits, balanced with your main study practice. Your dissertation consolidates your research and writing skills, offering you a unique opportunity to develop a cultural study of your own.

Personal and Professional Development, (PPD) helps to prepare you for employment and career development by providing you with skills to enable you to take responsibility for your own learning. The core study of all the fashion pathways also helps develop many of these transferable skills, which play their part in equipping you for a professional career and the generic activities of creative practice.

PPD is integral to BA (Honours) Fashion Communication and is embedded in many aspects of both the studio and cultural studies programmes as a planned part of their structure and learning content. PPD activities take place in all Stages of the degree course and aim to improve your capacity to understand what and how you are learning and to help you to review, plan and take responsibility for your own learning. A considerable number of the skills learned in the academic context of BA (Honours) Fashion Communication have a wider value and use in other areas of life. These transferable skills are highly valued by employers.


Course Leader Fashion Communication and Pathway Leader Fashion Communication & PromotionHywel Davies

Fashion History and Theory Pathway Leader: Alistair O’Neill
Stage 1 Leader, Fashion Communication:Cally Blackman
Lecturer: Professor Caroline Evans
Lecturer: Marketa Uhlirova 

Cultural Studies co-ordinator: Jane Tynan 


BA Fashion Communication graduates work across a very wide spectrum of careers in fashion.  

Our graduates work across a very wide spectrum of careers in the Fashion communications industry. From curators and archivists to journalists, stylists, photographers, fashion show producers, illustrators, editors and retailers the range of career opportunities is wide

Many of our graduates have gone on to work with important fashion companies throughout the world:

  • Love Magazine (Editor).
  • Port Magazine (Fashion Editor),
  • The Telegraph (Junior Fashion Editor),
  • Pop Magazine (Junior Fashion Editor),
  • Acne Paper (Junior Editor),
  • Burberry (Art Director),
  • 10 Magazine (Online Writer),
  • (Studio Assistant),
  • Grazia Magazine (Fashion Assistant),
  • Six Creative (Casting Assistant),
  • Vogue Turkey (Fashion Assistant),
  • (Fashion Assistant),
  • Reiss (Online Editor),
  • Proud Galleries (Galleries Assistant),
  • Gainsborough & Whiting Show Production (Production Assistant)
  • Orphan Creative NYC (Junior Creative).
  • Alexander McQueen (Archive Manager),
  • Burberry (Archive Assistants, Assistant Stylist),
  • Margaret Howell (Archive Assistant),
  • Bonhams (Textile Specialist),
  • (Assistant Buyer),
  • Daphne Guinness Collection (Archivist),
  • Christian Louboutin (Archivist),
  • Somerset House (Assistant Curator, Exhibitions Assistant),

Recent graduates have also entered postgraduate study on the following courses:

  • MA Critical Writing in Art and Design (Royal College of Art),
  • MA Journalism (Goldsmiths),
  • MA Fashion Curation (London College of Fashion),
  • MA History of Design (Royal College of Art/ Victoria and Albert Museum),
  • MA History of Art - Dress, Body, Space and Modernity: Fashion in the City, 1919-1939 (The Courtauld Institute of Art).

Developing your links

Located at the heart of the London fashion industry, BA (Honours) Fashion Communication is able to link education and industry providing students with 'live' projects and professional feedback. The BA (Honours) Fashion Communication course has also developed an excellent relationship with the international fashion community, so that placements for its students are drawn from a wide and distinguished range of sources.

Students benefit enormously from studying in London. While there are other fashion courses on the outskirts of the capital, none can offer you the daily stimulation and advantages of being in the middle of an international cultural and fashion centre, surrounded by all levels of the retail market and sectors of the industry within which you will later find employment.

Current collaborations across the design pathways include work with L'Oreal Professional, Triumph, Liberty, Tie Rack, Paul Smith, Dior and Christian Dior Couture. Fashion History and Theory students collaborate with Pringle of Scotland., Somerset House Embankment Galleries, Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea, Historic Royal Palaces/ Kensington Palace and Alexander McQueen.

Entry requirements

Fashion History and Theory and Fashion Journalism pathways

Both these pathways require written evidence. Entry is highly competitive and selection is determined by the quality of your application, indicated primarily in your writing and statement. Applicants are normally expected to have achieved, or be expected to achieve, the course entry requirements detailed below:

  • Passes in 2 GCE A Levels (80 UCAS tariff points normally including one single award) one of which should be in the Humanities and requiring essay based answers e.g. History, History of Art, English Literature, Philosophy.
  • Passes at GCSE level in 3 other subjects (grade C or above) one of which should preferably be in a modern European language.

This educational level may be demonstrated by possession of equivalent qualifications; e.g. International Baccalaureate or High School Diploma.

Applicants who do not meet these course entry requirements may still be considered if the course team judges the application demonstrates additional strengths and alternative evidence. This might be demonstrated by, for example: related academic or work experience; the quality of the personal statement; a strong academic or other professional reference; or a combination of these factors.

English language requirements

All classes are conducted in English. If English is not your first language you'll be asked to provide evidence of your English language ability at enrolment. The standard English language requirement for entry to the course is the IELTS requirement is 6.5 with 5.5 in any one paper.

Applicants who will need a Tier 4 General Student Visa should visit the Language Centre website.

International applicants can download the International Application For Admission PDF below:

What we look for

In this fast-moving global industry it takes hard work, flexibility and passion to succeed. This course is aimed specifically at applicants who are passionate about fashion, but do not want to follow the design route: spirited, informed and mature individuals who want to be innovative, confident, responsible, informed, skilled and adaptable graduates who will become the fashion photographers, stylists, art directors, fashion-show producers, film-makers and public relations experts, bloggers and social networkers, on-line marketers, ‘traditional’ writers, journalists, curators, commentators and theorists of the future.

Selection criteria for Fashion History and Theory and Fashion Journalism pathways

Applicants are selected according to their demonstration of potential and current ability to:

  • work imaginatively and creatively with the written word and visual presentation

-  engage with experimentation and invention
-  show imagination and ambition in proposals for your work
-  take informed risks

  • demonstrate a range of skills and technical abilities

-  through examples of written work, demonstrate a range of approaches to writing, originated from personal experience or textural and visual research and progressed through logical stages to a finished outcome
-  demonstrate an awareness of planning and time management skills
-  evidence your ability to critically reflect and evaluate your achievements

  • provide evidence of intellectual enquiry within your work

-  demonstrate relevant research skills
-  evidence your ability to critically reflect and evaluate your achievements

  • demonstrate cultural and historical awareness and/or contextual framework of your work

-  evidence an interest in Fashion history, theory and contemporary culture
-  identify social, historical and/or cultural influences on your work

  • articulate and communicate intentions clearly

-  discuss your work in individual and group situations
-  present your work, concepts and ideas appropriately and effectively

  • demonstrate commitment and motivation in relation to the subject and the course

-  develop your own ideas and address both set and personal briefs
-  show willingness to collaborate
-  show initiative
-  reflect your knowledge of this course

Fashion History and Theory and Fashion Journalism pathways - Criteria for the Picture Analysis at the interview

The quality of the picture analysis demonstrating:

  • analytical and critical skills
  • interpretative skills
  • ability to generate and explain ideas

Portfolio and interview advice

Fashion Communication and Promotion pathway

Your portfolio should demonstrate creative development, whether for a set college project or in your personal work. By creative development, we mean ideas that have originated in your own experience and research and progressed towards potential visual and three-dimensional proposals. We’re interested in seeing your ideas, visual research and experimentation as well as finished design solutions. It’s important that the creative work you include reflects and demonstrates your thinking, initiative and personal commitment to a particular project, theme or idea.

Both in terms of your writing and at interview we’re interested in you as a creative and enquiring individual. Your personal interests, motivation, creativity and initiative in developing an awareness of fashion, art and design are what matter to us.

Fashion History and Theory and Fashion Journalism pathways

Both in your writing and at the interview we are interested in you as an individual, your personal interests, motivation, your creativity and initiative in finding out about your awareness of fashion and art and design. We expect to see an aptitude for the study of fashion history, theory or journalism and expect candidates to be able to articulate this. A portfolio is not required for application to this course although you may present relevant visual work at the interview if you wish to.


2016/17 entry

Written evidence is required for the Fashion History and Theory pathway. Entry is highly competitive and selection is determined by the quality of your application, indicated primarily in your writing and statement:

  • Please submit a 800 words written essay demonstrating an aptitude for studying fashion as object, image or text.

Home / EU applicants

Apply through the University and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) online at From the UCAS home page go to 'Apply', where you’ll be able to register and create a password that gives you unique access as you complete your application form. 

The University code is U65.

Course Code:

FHT 4A37

International applicants

If you are from outside the European Union, you have three options to apply for undergraduate courses:

1. Apply through UCAS

2. Apply directly to Central Saint Martins. ‌Choose this option if you are only applying to undergraduate courses at UAL. (Application form below)

3. Apply through one of our overseas representatives.

For full details of these options, visit the University's International section.

If applying direct to Central Saint Martins, please complete the form below and sent it along with copies of supporting documents (such as previous qualifications / references) by mail to: International Office, Central Saint Martins, The Granary Building, Granary Square, London, N1C 4AA, UK.

International Undergraduate application form [PDF, 185 KB]

Student projects

British Library Fashion Late final year project
More: British Library website

Pringle of Scotland Princess Grace final year project

Silent Partners at the Fitzwilliam Museum second year project
More: CSM News

Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore! final year project

Fashioning Winter Angus McBean second year project

Fashionably Curious at Linley Sambourne House final year project
More: Fredbutlerstyle website profile by Sarah Mower

Industry collaborations

Working with paying clients on live briefs will give you valuable commercial experience which may mean your work being taken forward for production or, if so desired, in the purchase of your intellectual property. All paid projects are conducted within a carefully developed legal framework, which includes student agreements to protect your work and help you realise its commercial value. 

Recent client projects in the Fashion programme include: H&M | Diadora | Pringle | Umbria Cashmere | Philips | Derry - City of Culture 2013 | Dr Martens | Dyloan | Bally | Italian Trade Commission | British Horseracing Authority. Find out more about Bally client project. 

Once you’ve graduated, you may be picked as part of a small team to work on a live creative brief, organised by our Business and Innovation department, under the supervision of an experienced tutor. This can be a valuable first step in working professionally in a chosen discipline and has resulted in graduates being hired by clients

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