BA (Hons) Fashion Visual Merchandising and Branding
This course covers visual merchandising, marketing and branding for the fashion industry, providing industry experience and allowing you to work while you study.
|Study Mode||Full time|
|Course Length||3 years / 4 years (with placement year in industry)|
£9,000 per year (tbc for 2017/18)
£17,230 per year (tbc for 2017/18)
|Autumn Term Dates||25 Sep - 8 Dec 2017 (tbc)|
|Spring Term Dates||8 Jan - 16 Mar 2018 (tbc)|
|Summer Term Dates||16 April - 22 June 2018 (tbc)|
|Application Deadline||Applications for 2016/17 entry are now closed. Applications for 2017/18 entry will open in Autumn 2016.|
Content and structure
BA (Hons) Fashion Visual Merchandising and Branding is a highly specialised course designed for individuals who want to work in the fashion industry in the areas of visual merchandising and / or branding. The course facilitates your understanding of all aspects of fashion visual branding and retailing at all levels of the market, from value retailers to luxury design-led brands. You will acquire an understanding of consumers, which will underpin your study of the relationship between brands and their customers. The course covers trend research, design development, store design and online visual merchandising, which will give you the necessary understanding and professional skills to be a confident visual merchandiser across an omni-channel environment. The strategic contribution of visual merchandising and branding to the long term development of a retail business is emphasised by studying internationalism, sustainability, innovation, strategy and entrepreneurship. There are opportunities for collaborative projects with other students in the fashion business programme where you will gain industry relevant knowledge and practice by working with a prestigious company. National and international industry professionals interact with the course on projects, as visiting speakers, and through industrial visits. The opportunity for a placement year between the second and final year of the course enhances the employability of students through offering valuable experience and contacts within the industry. LCF Careers offer support throughout the course on increasing your career profile, and, through First Move, continue support after graduation.
This course is taught on two sites: John Prince’s Street and High Holborn.
The practical aspects of BA (Hons) Fashion Visual Merchandising and Branding are taught at John Prince’s Street, Oxford Circus, in the heart of the West End. We have excellent dedicated visual merchandising studios at this site. The area is one of the prime shopping centres in London, with the majority of London’s department stores, including Selfridges, Liberty, Fenwick and John Lewis, within a short walk of five minutes or less. The green spaces of Hyde Park and Regent’s Park are close, as is Soho, with its many bars, restaurants and clubs, and Berwick Street market. The Wallace Collection, the Royal Academy of Arts, and the West End art galleries are all within walking distance.
The theoretical aspects of BA (Hons) Fashion Visual Merchandising and Branding are taught at High Holborn, adjacent to Lincoln’s Inn Fields. Other green spaces in the area include Gray’s Inn Gardens and Coram’s Fields. Situated nearby are Sir John Soane’s Museum in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, the Foundling Museum in Brunswick Square, and the British Museum in Bloomsbury. Markets worth visiting are the weekday lunchtime markets in Leather Lane and Exmouth Market. Covent Garden, with its numerous shops, bars and restaurants, the Royal Opera House and many of the West End’s theatres, is a ten minute walk away. The John Prince’s Street site, with the library, Oxford Street and Regent Street, is two tube stops along the Central line.
The course team arrange a variety of optional trips and visits to supplement your studies. These trips are often local and where possible provided at nil or reduced cost. Opportunities for extended trips to fashion industry events or areas of interest are usually offered in the first and second year and where these trips involve accommodation and travel costs we aim to offer good value for students.
Year One - Stage One - level 4 - 120 credits
Term One: Introduction to Study in Higher Education: Fashion Visual Merchandising and Branding (20 credits); Principles of Fashion Visual Merchandising (20 credits)
Term Two: Introduction to Cultural and Historical Studies (20 credits); Principles of Fashion Branding (20 credits)
Term Three: Collaborative Project (40 credits)
Year Two - Stage Two - level 5 - 120 credits
Term One: Cultural and Historical Studies (20 credits); Designing the Fashion Store (20 credits)
Term Two: Research Methods, Consumer Behaviour and Psychology (20 credits); Visual Brand Communications (20 credits)
Term Three: Fashion Visual Merchandising and Brand Development Project (40 credits)
Professional Placement Year (optional)
Diploma in Professional Studies
Final Year - Stage Three - level 6 - 120 credits
Term One: Futures and Innovation (20 credits)
Terms One and Two: Fashion Visual Merchandising and Branding Strategy (40 credits)
Terms Two and Three: Final Major Project (60 credits)
Travelling across London
The renowned London College of Fashion library is at our John Prince’s Street site, and you will need to travel to this site, and possibly others, during your course to use the library, which is open seven days a week in term time, and for tuition and special events.
In addition to tuition fees you are very likely to incur additional costs such as travel expenses and the cost of materials. We strongly suggest you read the information on our Additional Costs page.
Course structureThe information outlined is an indicative structure of the course. Whilst we will aim to deliver the course as described on this page, there may be situations where it is desirable or necessary for the University to make changes in course provision, for example because of regulatory requirements or operational efficiencies, before or after enrolment. If this occurs, we will communicate all major changes to all applicants and students who have either applied or enrolled on the course.
Please note that due to staff research agreements or availability, not all of the optional modules listed may be available every year.
In addition, the provision of course options which depend upon the availability of specialist teaching, or on a placement at another institution, cannot be guaranteed. Please check this element of the course with the course team before making a decision to apply.
We will update this webpage from time to time with new information as it becomes available. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact a member of the course team.
Our excellent resources for educating our students are two-fold: people and premises. People includes everyone at the College who contributes directly in some way to your education, whether as a subject tutor, a technician, an Open Access officer, a librarian or a study support tutor. Premises include the buildings and the facilities contained in them, such as specialist machinery, design studios and workshops, lecture and seminar rooms, and the library.
The facilities at High Holborn include excellent lecture theatres, seminar and tutorial rooms and breakout spaces. The building is shared between the College and many of the central services of the University, including the Student Centre next to the Students’ Union, the Learning Zone and the Cafe and Bar.
Sarah Bailey is the Course Leader and has a BA (Hons) in Design Arts and Media, and a PG Cert in Academic Practice in Teaching and Learning in Arts, Design and Communication. She is a freelance visual merchandising consultant for a number of individual fashion retail clients and brand consultancies, and has over fifteen years of industry experience working with some of the biggest UK fashion and interiors blue-chip retailers. Sarah also teaches short courses in her subject at London College of Fashion and Central Saint Martins, and is currently writing a fashion visual merchandising book, due for publication by Bloomsbury Press in 2014.
Helen Beney is Programme Director for the fashion business programme within the fashion business school. She has an MA in Higher Education, is a fellow of the Higher Education academy and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing. She has worked in the Fashion Industry for thirty years and has held Buying, Design and Merchandising Director roles in a number of British brands such as Arcadia. Helen specialises in product strategy and consumer insight development.
Edward Stammers is Acting Course Leader and has an MA in Fashion Merchandise Management and a PG Cert in Education. He has worked in the visual merchandising industry for twenty-five years and has managed global visual merchandising and marketing campaigns as Design and Project Manager for Rootstein Display Mannequins. His research interests centre on the function and perception of the mannequin form and the challenges to the mannequin that are developing from the increased use of digital technology within the fashion retail environment.
Rob Lakin is the Creative Director for the School of Science and Management, and started his career designing fashion menswear, womenswear and childrenswear, working for a number of brands within Coats Viyella plc and the Sears Group plc. He has extensive experience of Far East product development, manufacturing, sourcing, and CMT operations. From 2008 to 2013 Rob headed up London College of Fashion’s Flexible Programme: a unique specialist portfolio of part time undergraduate courses representing Fashion Business, Fashion Media, and Fashion Design. He has been responsible for enhancing the student experience through the development of a creative curriculum, with a variety of live industry collaborative projects including CoolBrands, Brands Incorporated, and Amnesty International. Rob continues to make a major contribution to the creative identity of the School through the design and development of new courses aimed at international students allowing them to successfully prepare for an exciting academic undergraduate career at London College of Fashion.
Developing your skills
All our undergraduate courses are concerned with the development of your personal and professional skills. On your course you will evolve from learning basic skills in your discipline through to a position where you are an independent creative thinker capable of making an effective contribution to the relevant sector of the fashion industry. Personal and Professional Development (PPD) skills are embedded in all units on every course. Speaker programmes with contributions from alumni, members of industry and others are a part of many courses, as are work placement opportunities in industry. Where relevant, students have the chance to attend trade fairs, enter industry competitions, visit exhibitions and go on field trips and visits. The central position of our John Prince’s Street site in the West End affords students easy access to all sectors of the fashion retail market. In addition, our position as a constituent College in the University of the Arts London means that our students have access to the wide range of activities and events that occur in all the Colleges and at the University’s centre. Last but not least, being in London gives every student opportunities to explore and be inspired by the cultural, intellectual and social life of one of the great capital cities of the world.
Future Careers and Graduate Prospects
Graduates who wish to continue their education at postgraduate level are encouraged to progress to suitable courses within the College, the University or elsewhere.
This is a new course so we have no graduates as yet. Graduates from the Foundation Degree in visual merchandising and retail branding, which is replaced by this course, are working in a number of roles including as visual merchandisers at Ralph Lauren UK, Ralph Lauren Hong Kong, Marks and Spencer Head Office, House of Fraser, and White Company, as Regional Visual Merchandising Manager for River Island, as Brand Manager at Topshop, as a freelance conceptual designer at SCG Brand Consultancy, and as visual display artists at Anthropologie, Fenwick and Brooks Brothers.
LCF Careers provides a comprehensive career management service supporting our students to become informed and self-reliant individuals able to plan and manage their own careers.
- Visit LCF Careers
Opportunities for All
We are committed to making university education an achievable option for a wider range of people and seek to recruit students from diverse socio-economic, cultural and educational backgrounds. We are committed to supporting all our students in achieving their potential both during and after their courses.
Course Entry Requirements
Entry to this course is highly competitive: applicants are expected to achieve, or already have, the course entry requirements detailed below.
‘A’ level passes at grade C or above to total at least 220 UCAS tariff points PLUS passes in six GCSE subjects at grade C or above, with a grade C for Maths.
Access course in a relevant subject
OR equivalent awards
Preferred subjects include English, Maths, Art, Business Studies, Media Studies and Languages.
This course requires a minimum 220 UCAS tariff points.
Exceptionally, 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, for example, be demonstrated by: related academic or work experience; the quality of the personal statement; a strong academic or other professional reference; or a combination of these factors.
Applicants are expected to show evidence of work experience or placement.
English Language Requirements
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 when you enrol.
The level required by the University for this course is IELTS 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in any one skill.
Please visit the UAL Language Requirements page. Read carefully and look at the relevant documents.
Student Selection Criteria
What We Look For
The course team seeks to recruit students who can demonstrate:
- A strong interest in and understanding of retail branding and visual merchandising
- The potential for creating original visual merchandising concepts
- Fashion industry experience
- An ability to work as part of a team
- An ability to undertake self-directed study
- A motivation to succeed on the course
This might, for example, be demonstrated by: related academic or work experience; the quality of the personal statement, a strong academic or other professional reference; or a combination of these factors.
Portfolio and Interview Advice
For this course you will be required to upload a mini portfolio. Further instructions will be sent by the course administrator after application submission. International students should contact the International Office to find out about the portfolio application process.
For this course your portfolio should show evidence of: ability to present ideas through visual communication; a level of research, experimentation and development; technical and practical abilities; and effective presentation techniques.
Applicants will be expected to demonstrate the following at interview:
- An interest in fashion visual merchandising and branding
- An awareness of and interest in contemporary retail environments
- An understanding of research, design, design development and realisation
- A motivation for working in fashion visual merchandising and branding
- A motivation to succeed on the course
Interviews will be held at an off-site location in London to accommodate those applicants that have received an interview invite. Further details will be sent to you with your interview letter.
Please note that the majority of interviews for Home/EU applicants will take place in the week Monday 20 February to Friday 24 February 2017.
International applicants should contact the International Office about portfolio requirements (if applicable), interview times and dates.
How to apply
You can apply online through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).
Go to ‘Apply’ from the UCAS home page, where you will be able to register and create a password that gives you unique access as you complete your application form.
You will need the University code, the UCAS code for this course, and the deadline date for your application. You will find these on the Facts tab.
Contact us on:
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7514 7973 / 7582 / 7344
Or you can use the UAL Course Enquiry Form
International students should also apply online through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). If you are an international applicant and UAL is the only university you want to apply to in the UK, you can make a direct application to your chosen course at UAL using the downloadable application form, which you can download via LCF's International page. You can also apply through one of UAL’s official representatives in your country.
For advice and guidance with your application, please contact the UAL admissions team who can answer any specific questions that you may have regarding LCF's courses tailored for international students. This may include portfolio advice, the application process and fee advice. We offer a ‘drop-in’ facility for applicants who may be in London and wish to obtain further course and admissions information. Please LCF's International team for further information on this facility. We can also arrange a tour of our facilities if we are given prior notice.
Deferred Entry is normally only allowed in exceptional circumstances. Please contact us before you submit your application if you are considering applying for deferred entry.
What Happens Next?
All application forms, personal statements and references are read and considered by the course team against the selection criteria listed on the Entry Requirements tab, under What We Look For.
Depending on the quality of your application, you may be asked to submit a number of images of your work. If the course team wish to consider your application further, you will be invited to an interview with the course team. They will look at your portfolio and ask you questions to establish your suitability for the course. If you are successful at the interview stage you will be offered a place. Applicants are not guaranteed to be asked to upload work, nor are they guaranteed an interview.
Please note that if you are unable to attend the College may not be able to re-schedule.
If you applied through UCAS the result of your application will be communicated to you via UCAS through ucastrack. You will only receive further communication directly from the College if your application has been successful. This will be in the form of a full offer pack including details of accommodation, fees, and other important information.
Showing your Work
All final year students are given the opportunity to profile their work online via Showtime. London College of Fashion can make no guarantee that your work (either in sum or in part) will be shown, exhibited or profiled in any way as part of your course. All student work appearing in College organised events, catwalk shows, exhibitions and other forms of showcase, is selected by a panel of senior staff and, in some instances, external industry judges.
In the first term you will study two units.
Introduction to Study in Higher Education: Fashion Visual Merchandising and Branding gives you an understanding of your personal and professional development at university, with three core purposes: to introduce you to the necessary learning skills for undergraduate study; to show you where you are situated within the College and the University; and to help you understand what you will learn on your course and how you will develop your skills.
Principles of Fashion Visual Merchandising and Branding introduces you to 2D and 3D design processes by exploring creative vision through drawing and appropriate media applications. You will be encouraged to explore, investigate and analyse a variety of subject matter, in order to facilitate the development of your design ideas through visualisation techniques and product installation. Basic techniques are explored and developed through a variety of creative applications relevant to visual retail environments. Through this unit you will begin to understand the relationship between design research, design development and product installation, and you will have a coherent framework for future 2D and 3D visual retail concept development.
In the second term you will study two units.
Introduction to Cultural and Historical Studies introduces you to key concepts and ways of thinking about fashion and its context in society and culture. You will attend lectures, seminars and workshops, and do a significant amount of reading of academic texts in order to complete a formal academic essay for assessment. Completion of this unit will allow you to make an informed choice of subject for study in the second year Cultural and Historical Studies unit.
Principles Fashion Branding looks at the fashion brand as a holistic customer experience. The management of both product and retail aspects of the brand will be considered in depth, thereby covering the total branded offer. The brand experience from concept to completion will be examined across physical and online retail environments, Connections between brand essence, visual brand identity and product presentation in relation to the shopping journey will be explored. There will be a mix of theory-based work around brands and practical studio work.
In the third term you will undertake the Collaborative Project unit. This gives you the opportunity to work collaboratively with other students. This mirrors the real-world challenges faced by fashion enterprises that depend on close working relationships between departments. You will consolidate the knowledge and skills that you have already acquired, and the project will give you opportunities for fieldwork and research, as well as increasing your teamwork and presentation skills. The project will be concerned with the development and expression of brands in the marketplace, and will have an operational focus.
In the first term you will be able to study a Cultural and Historical Studies unit of your choice that will broaden or deepen your learning of areas relating to your interests in your chosen field. You will have the opportunity to participate in lectures, seminars and workshops with students from other courses within your School, and will read relevant academic texts and complete a formal academic essay for assessment.
Also in the first term, the Designing the Fashion Store Environment unit introduces you to a variety of media used in the planning of visual retail activities. You will be encouraged to explore industry practice that makes good use of appropriate solutions in commercial spaces. More advanced techniques are introduced and developed through a variety of creative applications. The relationship between design research, design and design development in computer generated contexts is a fundamental part of this unit, and you will acquire a coherent framework for future two to three dimensional concept development. You will also explore commercial restraints on visual retail planning.
In the second term the Research Methods, Consumer Behaviour and Psychology unit will introduce you to concepts of consumer behaviour and psychology through the investigation of how consumers respond to a branded fashion retail environment. You will develop your understanding of what motivates consumers to shop and how fashion psychographics influence consumer identity and behaviour. The unit will introduce you applied research methods to help you to practically investigate how consumers respond to aspects of a branded retail environment.
Also in the second term, the Visual Brand Communications unit explores the relationship between brand communication and the consumer. You will investigate the wider marketing communications mix, including digital media platforms and the role of design in digital brand communications. The rise of online retailing has challenged traditional selling platforms and transformed the visual communication landscape and the role of the visual merchandiser. The virtual shopping representation, blended with the physical store experience requires new omni-channel branding strategies. You will examine the theoretical relationship between fashion branding and marketing communications and investigate how brand identities and personalities are built through online and physical retail and media space.
In the third term you will undertake the Fashion Visual Merchandising and Branding Project, which will broaden your design, visualisation and presentation skills. You will be able to expand on the key understanding of creative branding and visual merchandising in a professional context from concept to completion and installation. This unit links freehand drawing skills, industry software packages, and product handling skills at a larger scale to the branded environment. The unit is underpinned by relevant branding theory.
Professional Placement Year
You can opt to undertake the Diploma in Professional Studies for a period of industrial placement of at least 30 weeks duration. The placement is undertaken between the second year and final year of your course, and you will normally be working full-time in a company. You will be able to experience the pace, atmosphere and discipline of working in the industry through your involvement in the day-to-day activities of a fashion business. This will give you practical experience of the roles, functions and operations in the fashion industry that you have studied on your course. There is flexibility to combine a work placement overseas (minimum 20 weeks) with a period of overseas study (minimum 10 weeks). You will be required to write a negotiated report on your placement, which will focus on issues or opportunities related to the placement company. This will develop your study skills and allow you to demonstrate your research, analytical and evaluative skills. Successful completion of the year will give you the additional qualifications of a Diploma in Professional Studies.
In the first term you will study the Futures and Innovation unit. You will look at current issues affecting the fashion industry in general and visual merchandising and branding in particular. You will explore various trend indicators that are likely to point to important influencing factors in the future. The specific content of the unit will evolve as the fashion industry changes, but will focus on trends in design, materials and the retailing landscape. Scenario planning and futures forecasting will be investigated.
In the first and second terms you will undertake the Fashion Visual Merchandising and Branding Strategy unit. This gives you the opportunity to develop your understanding of corporate strategy and business models, which will enable you to analyse fashion strategies at both corporate and business levels. You will also learn how to formulate strategic plans for businesses in different contexts, such as online and international markets. You can choose a specialist direction that reflects your career aspirations.
Throughout the final year you will do your Final Major Project. This gives you the opportunity to develop your project proposal from your initial idea, and negotiate your final project brief within the general area of visual merchandising and branding with your supervisor. This will reflect your particular interests and your future career aspirations, and the final outcome of your project will be a considerable body of work. This will be communicated to a relevant audience via an appropriate medium as the culmination of your project.
Enquire about this course
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