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Postgraduate

MA Fashion Cultures and Histories

A selection of photographs depicting fashion history with a pink filter
MA Fashion Cultures and Histories visual identity by Open Practice
College
London College of Fashion
Start date
September 2021
Course length
15 months

MA Fashion Cultures and Histories offers students an opportunity to study cultures of fashion and dress through the lens of critical fashion history and theory. Students develop high-level writing, research and analytical skills to interrogate fashion as global industry and bodily practice, preparing them to become informed critics and communicators generating innovative knowledge about fashion in its multiple contexts and shaping the ways it is understood.

Why choose this course at London College of Fashion

  • Unique course: MA Fashion Cultures and Histories is the only theory-based Master’s specialising in fashion studies offered by a dedicated fashion college in London.
  • Focus on theory: theory is our practice, as students develop a suite of specialised skills, competencies and knowledge’s to generate independent and original scholarship on a topic of their choice that contributes to the field of fashion studies.
  • Industry links: we generate theory to enact change in the fashion industry as students work closely with researchers and key industry partners to generate critical insights to address emerging questions facing the industry and our field of study.
  • Research links: the course is embedded within London College of Fashion’s culture of leading fashion scholarship as skilled scholars from our diverse and dynamic research community teach students on their respective research specialisms.

Open days

Book now to attend the School of Media and Communication: Postgraduate Virtual Open Evening.

6pm - 7.30pm, 24th March 2021.

Location

This course is based at Lime Grove. Find out about the local area in our local area guides on the Student Life pages.

London College of Fashion is planning to move to a new single campus on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in 2023. This is part of a new development for London, prioritising culture, education and innovation, known as East Bank. Some students studying this course from September 2021 may start their studies in Lime Grove and transfer to LCF’s new site in East London to complete them. Please see LCF’s move to the Olympic Park for more information about the College’s relocation.

About MA Fashion Cultures

Investigate fashion, dress and style in culture and society.

Course trips and visits

Rosie Findlay on BBC News

Rosie Findlay joined BBC News (World) to discuss how Kylie Jenner has leveraged her personal brand (and that of her family) to become the world's youngest billionaire.

The history of bras

Alumna Lorraine Smith talks to The Pool about the history of bras

Vanessa Lingham - Cultural Threads exhibition

A project about young Gypsy and Traveller women

Latest news from this course

Facilities

Library, John Princes Street
Library, John Princes Street Photography by: Ideal Insight

LCF archives and library

Take a tour of LCF's world renowned fashion library, ideal for research and study.

Photo Studio, Lime Grove

Media and communication facilities

Take a tour of our media facilities from photographic studios to darkrooms.

Mare Street Canteen

LCF's social spaces

Explore our social spaces, for collaborative study and breaks, across our six sites in London.

Course overview

MA Fashion Cultures and Histories is a theory-based Master’s degree that provides students with a cross-disciplinary foundation in relevant, innovative and critical fashion histories and theories. It provides unique opportunities for students to develop high-level writing, research, and analytical skills in interrogating fashion as global industry, media, dress, and bodily practice. 

In responding to the developments in the media landscape and the need for socially, culturally and politically engaged professionals with theoretical and critical knowledge, the course aims to prepare researchers and critical innovators who can generate new thinking about fashion and help to shape the ways in which it is understood, presented and evaluated. In providing the tools for constructing compelling narratives about fashion for specialist and general audiences in multiple formats, the course prepares students for future-facing careers in research, publishing, education, museums, think tanks, institutes, within the fashion industry or to undertake further study in a fashion-related subject.

Course units

Collaborative Challenge (20 credits); Cultural and Social Theory (20 credits); and Fashion Histories (20 credits) are taught in Block 1. Research Proposal (20 credits); Fashion Narratives (20 credits); and Research for Professional Contexts (20 credits) are taught in Block 2. MA Project is taught in Block 3. 

These units involve the types of learning and assessment outlined earlier in this document. Each student will have one 30 minute tutorial during the four core course units (Cultural and Social Theory; Fashion Histories; Fashion Narratives; Research for Professional Contexts), and work closely with tutors in three cross-college units (Collaborative Challenge; Research Proposal; MA Project). Students will also have a 20 minute pastoral tutorial in each Block to discuss their progress, goals and student experience.

Learning and teaching methods

Alongside more traditional methods, such as lectures, seminars, workshops, field trips, and group and individual tutorials, the course cultivates the following set of teaching and learning strategies. 

Enquiry-based learning

A core aspect of each unit is embedded activities that cultivate student-led enquiry into the areas under study. This includes, but is not limited to, strategies such as provocations that students are invited to independently research in preparation for class, and methods-based research such as participant observation in public spaces and sites that develop the themes of the set readings. This strategy elaborates the agency students have to shape the focus of their learning, which is otherwise primarily evident in their ability to research a topic of their choosing in each of their assessments.

Collaboration

The College-wide Collaborative Challenge, offered in Block 1, offers students a key opportunity to develop skills of collaboration within and external to their own cohort. Other units in the course builds on these abilities, such as the Research for Professional Contexts unit in which students are invited to collaborate in response to the live brief or critical debate. As collaboration is a core principle of this course, students will also be encouraged to initiate self-directed collaborative projects, such as public-facing events (talks, screenings, roundtables) to which prospective students, other MA cohorts within UAL, and alumni will be invited; and to organise and participate in enhancement activities, such as class trips and outings or extracurricular research activities. 

Knowledge Exchange

Given that this course seeks to intervene in and innovate both the fashion industry and the field of fashion studies, it follows that engaging with contemporaneous problems and debates would be a central component of this course’s pedagogy. The practice of this cohort is theory, and we will respond to pressing current issues through research, data collection and analysis, and critical thinking. The format for this work will be knowledge exchange, led by industry partnerships. 

Peer-to-Peer Learning and Feedback

Peer-to-peer learning and feedback connects to two of the five core principles of the course, community and criticality. Developing the skill of offering collegial and constructive criticism is key for a career in academia, one of the industries our graduates enter. This is embedded in the course, as students present their ideas in class and read and critique each other’s work as part of the ongoing formative feedback generated across Blocks 1 and 2. 

Expert Talks

Experts from the fashion industry and leading scholars from across UAL and other HEI’s are regularly invited to share their expertise with the students in an array of forms, including guest lectures, panels, and workshops. These talks are embedded in the curriculum, complementing and extending the core delivery. Students are encouraged to respond in the classroom as well as in their own scholarly practice, and to nominate scholars and practitioners who they wish to invite to speak to the cohort. 

Technical Delivery

Technical delivery developing core skills of slide deck production and communicating research through appropriate media will be embedded in the curriculum to support the core course unit, Research for Professional Contexts. This provision has been discussed with the Technical Coordinator- Media, whose team will teach these competencies alongside academic and practice-based instruction in the classroom.

Assessment methods

Students on this course will produce:

  • Written, researched essays 
  • Written reviews
  • Group presentation (oral and slide deck)
  • Critical, researched outcome (format subject to student choice in negotiation with unit leader)
  • Written, researched dissertation

Staff

Dr Rosie Findlay is course leader of MA Fashion Cultures and Histories. Her disciplinary background is in Performance Studies, having gained her BA (hons) and PhD from the Department of Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Sydney. Her research interests include digital fashion media, contemporary fashion branding and brand experiences, and the intersection between dress, memory, imagination and the embodied self. Her work has appeared in Fashion Theory, About Performance, Cultural Studies Review, and the Australasian Journal of Popular Culture, and her monograph, Personal Style Blogs: Appearances that Fascinate, was published by Intellect Books in 2017. Read her full profile

Dr Anna-Mari Almilla is research fellow in the Sociology of Fashion. She has BA and MA degrees in Art and Design, with the major subject of Clothing, from the University of Lapland, in Finland. She has a PhD from the Department of Sociology at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. She is both a designer and a sociologist, with interests in both the theory and the practice of dress and fashion. Her publications have focused on explorations of visibility and equality in the public sphere, and in public spaces, in particular that of Muslim women and veiling practices. Read her full profile

How to apply

Opportunities for all

We are committed to making university education an achievable option for a wider range of people and to supporting all of our students in achieving their potential both during and after their courses.

We welcome applications from people with disabilities. If you have a disability (e.g. mobility difficulties, sensory impairments, medical or mental health conditions or Asperger’s syndrome) we strongly encourage you to contact us on disability@arts.ac.uk or +44 (0)20 7514 6156 so that we can plan the right support for you. All enquiries are treated confidentially. To find out more, visit our Disability & Dyslexia webpages.

Entry requirements

The standard entry requirements for this course are as follows: 

  • An Honours degree at 2.1 or above in a related discipline. Applicants with a degree in another subject may be considered, depending on the strength of the application 
  • OR Equivalent qualifications 

APEL (Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning) 

Applicants who do not meet these course entry requirements may still be considered in exceptional cases. The course team will consider each application that demonstrates additional strengths and alternative evidence. This might, for example, be demonstrated by: 

  • Related academic or work experience (minimum of three years) 
  • The quality of the personal statement 
  • A strong academic or other professional reference 
  • OR a combination of these factors 

Each application will be considered on its own merit but we cannot guarantee an offer in each case. 

English Language Requirements 

IELTS level 7.0 with a minimum of 6.0 in reading, writing, listening and speaking. Please check our main English Language Requirements

Selection criteria

The course seeks to recruit students from diverse socio-economic and cultural backgrounds, and welcomes applications from mature students. The procedures fully comply with the Equal opportunities Policy of UAL and all interviewers have undertaken Fairness in Selection training.

The course seeks to recruit students who demonstrate some of the following:

  • a clear academic interest in the study of fashion through a multidisciplinary approach
  • evidence of cultural awareness and engagement with social and historical debate
  • relevant experience working in the fashion (or related) industries
  • a capacity for intellectual enquiry and reflective thought
  • a developed and mature attitude to independent study and intellectual growth

Making your application

This section includes all the information you need on how to apply and how your application is, and what happens next.

UK/EU students can apply to a postgraduate course at LCF by completing a direct application.

Deferring your place

This course allows offer holders to defer. If you have an offer of a place, but you would like to defer starting for a year, please contact our Admissions Service as soon as possible via your UAL Portal. Make sure you check our Admissions Policy before requesting a deferral.

If you are an EU offer holder, it is important to consider that, from 2021-22, you may be charged International fees, which are higher. Read our Coronavirus guidance for prospective students for details.

External Student Transfer Policy

If you are currently studying at another institution and if you have successfully completed 60 credits in the equivalent units/modules on your current PG course and wish to continue your studies at London College of Fashion, you can apply to transfer. The Admissions Tutor will consider applications on a case by case basis, subject to places being available. You must apply directly to the course via the course webpage as early as possible.

Please check our Student Transfer Policy for more important information and be ready to provide us with your current course handbook and transcripts.

Please be ready to provide an official document (translated into English if necessary) from your current university, explaining the learning outcomes of the units you have completed.

Extra information required for applications to this course


When you are submitting your application form, you will also need to provide the following pieces of documentation in support of your application:

Curriculum Vitae

You will be required to submit a Curriculum Vitae (C.V.) in support of your application. This should include your full education and employment history.

Personal statement

The personal statement is your opportunity to tell us about yourself and your suitability for the course that you intend to study.

Some key points to consider:

  • Make sure that personal statement is your own work and is about you.
  • Explain why you want to study the course you are applying to.
  • Try to link your skills and experience required to the course.
  • Demonstrate your interest and enthusiasm for the course and link these with your personality.
  • Make sure it is organised and literate (grammar, spelling, punctuation check).

Written assignments

Choose one of the key areas of interest that you mentioned in your Personal Statement and write a short essay that explains why you think that it is an important and interesting area of study. Your key area of interest can be as focused and specific as you like— it could be a particular garment, a style of dress, a type of craft, the relationship between clothes and memory, the influence of digital culture on fashion media, etc.
This essay is your place to demonstrate your competencies of writing and research and to show us what you're interested in. You may write in the first person and we encourage creative approaches to the format of the academic essay. Essays should be referenced in a style familiar to you and must include a list of works cited.

What happens next

All application forms, personal statements and relevant documents are read and considered by the course team against the selection criteria listed in the Entry requirements and Selection Criteria sections.

If you are selected for interview, these will take place online using Teams from Microsoft – please ensure that you download this software prior to the interview date; this is available as a free download from the Microsoft website. We will send you further details at a later point about how we will connect with you for your interview.

If you are successful at the interview stage you will be offered a place. Please note that applicants are not guaranteed an interview.

Please note that if you are unable to attend, the College may not be able to re-schedule.

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

The result of your application will be communicated to you through your UAL Portal. If your application has been successful, you will receive a full offer pack including details of accommodation, fees, and other important information.

Application deadline

15 May 2021

We recommend you apply as soon as possible before this date, for equal consideration. We may still be able to accept applications after this date, depending on availability.

When you’ll hear from us

Once you’ve sent in your application, this will be sent through to our course teams for review. We’ll be in touch shortly after you apply with information about next steps. Find out more about what happens after you apply.

This section includes all the information you need on how to apply and how your application is considered, and what happens next.

There are two ways international students can apply to a postgraduate course at LCF:

For further advice on how to apply please visit the UAL International Application page.

Deferring your place

This course allows offer holders to defer. If you have an offer of a place, but you would like to defer starting for a year, please contact our Admissions Service as soon as possible via your UAL Portal. Make sure you check our Admissions Policy before requesting a deferral.

External Student Transfer Policy

If you are currently studying at another institution and if you have successfully completed 60 credits in the equivalent units/modules on your current PG course and wish to continue your studies at London College of Fashion, you can apply to transfer. The Admissions Tutor will consider applications on a case by case basis, subject to places being available. You must apply directly to the course via the course webpage as early as possible.

Please check our Student Transfer Policy for more important information and be ready to provide us with your current course handbook and transcripts.

Please be ready to provide an official document (translated into English if necessary) from your current university, explaining the learning outcomes of the units you have completed.

Extra information required for applications to this course


When you are submitting your application form, you will also need to provide the following pieces of documentation in support of your application:

Curriculum Vitae

You will be required to submit a Curriculum Vitae (C.V.) in support of your application. This should include your full education and employment history.

Personal statement

The personal statement is your opportunity to tell us about yourself and your suitability for the course that you intend to study.

Some key points to consider:

  • Make sure that personal statement is your own work and is about you.
  • Explain why you want to study the course you are applying to.
  • Try to link your skills and experience required to the course.
  • Demonstrate your interest and enthusiasm for the course and link these with your personality.
  • Make sure it is organised and literate (grammar, spelling, punctuation check).

Written assignments

Choose one of the key areas of interest that you mentioned in your Personal Statement and write a short essay that explains why you think that it is an important and interesting area of study. Your key area of interest can be as focused and specific as you like— it could be a particular garment, a style of dress, a type of craft, the relationship between clothes and memory, the influence of digital culture on fashion media, etc.
This essay is your place to demonstrate your competencies of writing and research and to show us what you're interested in. You may write in the first person and we encourage creative approaches to the format of the academic essay. Essays should be referenced in a style familiar to you and must include a list of works cited.

What happens next

Immigration History Check

After you have applied, you will need to complete an Immigration History Check to identify whether you are eligible to study at UAL. Do be aware, if you do not complete the Immigration History Check we will not be able to proceed with your application.

Initial application check

All application forms, personal statements and relevant documents are read and considered by the course team against the selection criteria listed in the Entry requirements and Selection Criteria sections.

If you are selected for interview, these will take place online using Teams from Microsoft – please ensure that you download this software prior to the interview date; this is available as a free download from the Microsoft website. We will send you further details at a later point about how we will connect with you for your interview.

If you are successful at the interview stage you will be offered a place. Please note that applicants are not guaranteed an interview.

Please note that if you are unable to attend, the College may not be able to re-schedule.

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

The result of your application will be communicated to you through your UAL Portal. If your application has been successful, you will receive a full offer pack including details of accommodation, fees, and other important information.

Application deadline

15 March 2021

We recommend you apply as soon as possible before this date, for equal consideration. We may still be able to accept applications after this date, depending on availability.

When you’ll hear from us

This course receives a high volume of applications. We need to make sure that we give all applications equal consideration, so the course team will review them all after the application deadline date. This means you won’t hear from us about any next steps until after this date. Find out more about what happens after you apply.


After you apply

There are no official deadlines to submit your application. Applications are accepted, and offers are made throughout the year. The course will be closed once spaces are filled so we advise that you apply early.

Fees and funding

Home fee

£11,220 per year

This fee is correct for 2021/22 entry and is subject to change for 2022/23 entry. Tuition fees may increase in future years for new and continuing students on courses lasting more than one year. For this course, you can pay tuition fees in instalments.

Home fees are currently charged to UK resident nationals. However, the rules are complex and you can find out more on our tuition fees pages.

From 2021/22 entry, most EU students will be charged the International tuition fee rate, although this may depend on your individual circumstances. If you started your course in October 2020 or earlier, you’ll continue to pay Home (UK) fees for the duration of your course. Read more advice for EU students on our Brexit information webpage

International fee

£22,920 per year

This fee is correct for 2021/22 entry and is subject to change for 2022/23 entry. Tuition fees for international students may increase by up to 5% in each future year of your course. For this course, you can pay tuition fees in instalments.

International fees are currently charged to students from countries outside of the UK. However, the rules are complex and more information can be found on our tuition fees pages.

From 2021/22 entry, most EU students will be charged the International tuition fee rate, although this may depend on your individual circumstances. If you started your course in October 2020 or earlier, you’ll continue to pay Home (UK) fees for the duration of your course. Read more advice for EU students on our Brexit information webpage

Scholarship search

Careers and alumni

All our postgraduate courses offer career development, so that you become a creative thinker, making effective contributions to your relevant sector of the fashion industry.

LCF offers students the opportunity to develop Personal and Professional Development (PPD) skills while studying through:

* Access to to speaker programmes and events featuring alumni and industry.

* Access to careers activities, such as CV clinics and one-to-one advice sessions.

* Access to a graduate careers service

* Access to a live jobsboard for all years.

* Advice on setting up your own brand or company.

Career paths

Masters graduates have an acknowledged advantage in the employment market, obtaining work in a wide range of vocational and academic fields related to fashion. Previous graduates have gone on to lecture in related fields in Europe and America, worked in fashion curation and archives, journalism, styling, retail consultancy, as well as to higher level research degrees (MPhil or PhD). Our graduates are working within the industry at institutions including Museum of London, the V&A, BBC, Parsons, Kerry Taylor Auctions and Garde Robe, as well as for commercial brands such as Net-a-Porter and Burberry.

Alumni

Amber  Butchart

Amber Butchart

Fashion Historian and Associate Lecturer

Lorraine  Smith

Lorraine Smith

Independent Researcher