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Level 3 International: Introduction to the Study of Fashion

Chloe Lo
London College of Fashion
Start date
September 2023
Course length
1 year

International: Introduction to the Study of Fashion is a preparatory and diagnostic course designed for International students who want to progress to an undergraduate course at London College of Fashion.

Applications closed 2023/24

We are no longer accepting applications for 2023/24 entry to this course. Applications for 2024/25 entry will open in Autumn 2023.

Why choose this course at London College of Fashion

  • Bespoke programme: this course is designed for students who are committed to studying at London College of Fashion but who require greater exposure to the breath of undergraduate and potential career opportunities available.
  • Academic skill development:the course provides an embedded, accredited and integrated programme of academic study skills, language and communication development.
  • Introduction to the fashion industry:the course combines contextual studies with an introduction to all aspects of the global fashion industry.

Course overview

The (Level 3) International: Introduction to the Study of Fashion course is a dynamic and transformative one year full time course that has been designed and written by a team of leading practitioners from within the University of the Arts London. This course is specifically created for international students who have clear aspirations to progress to one of the three-specialist fashion undergraduate Schools at London College of Fashion. The introductory year of study will prepare you for the level and demands of work that you will be undertaking in the first year of your undergraduate course, and ensure that your academic skills and language proficiency are at an appropriate level for continued and successful study.

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Course units

During terms one of the course you will undertake an exploratory and diagnostic programme of study introducing you to the potential scope of the fashion industry and highlighting possible future undergraduate course and career choices. The course will introduce the specialist subject areas of the college; Fashion Business, Fashion Media and Fashion Design through an integrated programme of study. All students will study all areas of the curriculum allowing you to experience the breath of opportunities before focusing on one specific discipline in terms two and three of the course.
You will be introduced to a variety of teaching and learning styles designed to make you an effective and autonomous learner. The units will emphasise the importance of research, analysis and ideas development for creative solutions and concepts. Your course will launch your personal and professional development (PPD) ‘journey’, promoting the importance of critical evaluation and reflection within your work.
You will study academic English language and study skills, including the development of reading, writing, speaking and listening. These four essential language skills will be tested and reinforced throughout the course enabling your progression to undergraduate study.
During the course, the emphasis will be on the development of your knowledge, skills and understanding of fashion as a subject area. You will be supported and mentored by tutors in identifying and matching your skill set to ensure that you negotiate the most appropriate progression route for your future studies and career aspirations.
The final term of the course allows you to work on a self-initiated final personal project which will culminate in the development of your progression portfolio designed to support your progression to undergraduate study at LCF. It is expected that by this stage you will be capable of investigating, developing and realising your ideas with a growing level of competence, professionalism, independence and confidence.
Throughout the course, you will be expected to develop your cultural, contextual and intellectual understanding of fashion.

Student and graduate work

LCF facilities


Fiona Howard, course leader, has specialist knowledge and experience of working on Level 3 fashion courses and working with international students. Fiona is also a graduate herself from London College of Fashion. Fiona has worked across a wide range of areas in the fashion industry including having her own label, freelance work and employed as head designer for womenswear design companies that supplied high street stores such as Topshop, Miss Selfridge and Harvey Nichols. Fiona also has experience with textile manufacturers and the film and theatre costume industry.

Giles Pearson is L3 Intl Introduction to the Study of Fashion Design Pathway tutor. Since graduating in 2000, Giles has worked across a wide range of areas in the fashion industry predominately womenswear based – from couture and costume to commercial fashion products, printed textiles, jewellery and menswear. Joining London College of Fashion in 2007 as a part time design lecturer, he continued in his practice as a freelance designer in the music industry and created directional pieces for many performers as well as creating commission pieces for amongst others Vogue, Harpers , Elle, Tate Modern and ITV. Joining the IISF course as the full time design subject lead Giles has specialist knowledge and experience of working with international students and introducing a broad spectrum of design possibilities.

Mark Quincey is Academic Language and Language Acquisition Skills Lecturer. Mark has been teaching English language for over 15 years and also works as an IELTS examiner. Several of those years were spent teaching at universities in Japan before he returned to the UK and began working to prepare bespoke academic and exam preparation focused English courses for international students in the UK who were preparing for IELTS, GMAT, TOEIC and other academic exams as well as providing support to BA and MA students studying subjects as diverse as Art and Law. Mark now works with LCF’s level 3 and 4 students and the UAL professional to ensure our students’ language skills reach the level required by their courses.

Sarah Batho is Business Pathway leader on International Introduction to Fashion. (FE level 3). With over 20 years of involvement in the fashion and textile industry, Sarah spent the majority of her career working as a buyer for some of the UK’s biggest high street companies. She joined London College of Fashion as a guest speaker and quickly became more involved with the college, ending up as the business pathway leader for IIF in 2017.  Sarah combines an in-depth working knowledge and creative passion of the subject, introducing students to a broad range of business related topics, ensuring all are fully prepared for onward BA progression study.  She also lectures at other institutions in the South East to post graduate level.

Carlyn McGuire is a graduate from Central Saint Martins and has been teaching fashion design development and fashion media at London College of Fashion since 2016. Carlyn has over 12 years teaching experience, working across colleges and universities in London. Carlyn is currently a lecturer on the international Introduction to the Study of Fashion, teaching fashion media and multi discipline pathways, as well as well as visual studies throughout the course.

Supporting staff

  • Sing Hang Tam Tutor Adobe Suite
  • Liza Betts, Lecturer Cultural Historical Studies (Intl Office)

Fees and funding

International fee


This fee is correct for 2022/23 entry and is subject to change for 2023/24 entry.

Students from countries outside of the UK will generally be charged international fees. The rules are complex so read more about tuition fees and determining your fee status.

Scholarship search

Entry requirements

The standard minimum entry requirements for this course are:

  • Successful completion of school education to at least Level 2.

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
  • 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 5.0 with a minimum of 4.5 in reading, writing, listening and speaking. You must take the IELTS Academic Test for UKVI, no other test can be accepted. Please check our main English Language Requirements 

Selection criteria

The course team seeks to recruit students who can demonstrate:

  • A broad interest in fashion as a future career
  • Motivation to succeed on the course
  • Motivation to progress to an undergraduate course at LCF
  • An interest in increasing your skills through personal and professional development (PPD)

We are looking for focused students and all students will study the same units and do the same projects in Term One before going into the relevant specialist pathway in Term Two. Please note that you may change direction as a result of consultation with the course team, in conjunction with the work done in the diagnostic first term.

Apply now

This course is for International students only.

Applications closed 2023/24

We are no longer accepting applications for 2023/24 entry to this course. Applications for 2024/25 entry will open in Autumn 2023.

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

There are 2 ways international students can apply to a preparation course:

Read our immigration and visa information to find out if you need a visa to study at UAL.

You can only apply to the same course once per year. Any duplicate applications will be withdrawn.  Read the UAL international application advice for further information on how to apply.

Application deadline

We recommend you apply by 13:00 PM (GMT) on Wednesday 22nd February 2023 for equal consideration. However this course will consider applications after that date, subject to places being available.

Deferring your place

This course accepts requests from offer holders to defer their place for one academic year. Deferral requests are granted on a first-come, first-served basis until all deferral places are filled, or a deadline has been reached, whichever is sooner. Read our Admissions Policy for details, including how to request a deferral and by when.

Immigration History Check

Whether you are applying online via UCAS or through a UAL representative or direct application 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

Once you have applied, you will be asked to submit a portfolio of your work. Your portfolio is a collection of your work that you feel represents your potential for this course and potentially shows specific interests that you have in fashion. We have developed four tasks to help you showcase relevant skills that align to different areas of fashion.

In your portfolio submission you must include task 1, your personal statement. You must also include at least one of the other tasks and other work that you want to share. This will be uploaded via our collection tool PebblePad, and you will have up to thirty pages to present your tasks and other work. This will allow you to show us your creative potential. It’s very important that this is your own work, that you have completed yourself.

We are looking for future students that show a variety of skills and abilities across the areas of fashion design, fashion media and fashion business. These tasks will help us understand your strengths and potential.

We would encourage you to try all the tasks, as students on the course will cover each of these areas during the first part of their studies. However, if for example you feel confident in writing but not in other areas, you may wish to only complete task 4.

Task 1 - personal statement (compulsory task)

To help us understand if this course is right for you, we want to know more about you. Tell us about yourself in no more than 800 words. This should include:

  • Your education history to date.
  • Any relevant experience you have outside of your studies.
  • How your interest in fashion has developed.
  • Why you would like to study this course.
  • Your hopes and plans for the future.

Please either upload a PDF copy of this text as an image, or use one of the text boxes within your PebblePad submission.

Please complete at least one of the following tasks:

Task 2

Make individual drawings by hand, of four items from your wardrobe. These could be items of clothing, accessories, footwear etc.

Two observational drawings should be by pencil only and show details of seams and construction. Two could be in colour or mixed media. Your items can be on a hanger or freestanding. You do not need to include bodies and must not use digital drawing tools.

We are interested in both your drawings and the items that you select. You might select items that you have a particular interest in, or items that reflect your specific interest in fashion for example footwear, accessories, sports items etc.

Task 3

Create three photos that show your creative approach to contemporary fashion imagery. These photos should communicate a fashion statement and something unique to you.

Think about how you can reflect your personal aesthetic, personality, culture and more in your images. We want to see your creative style.

Task 4

Write approximately 300 words to describe a new idea for a fashion concept. Introduce it and explain what makes it new and unique.

Your concept could be a new brand, shop or product, and it should represent a gap in the market for contemporary fashion. If relevant, you can use images to support your idea.

Please either upload a PDF copy of this text as an image, or use one of the text boxes within PebblePad in your submission.

Other work

We are interested in seeing examples of work that you have completed during your current studies or in your free time. This could include examples of work from any of the following categories:

  • Observational drawings
  • Composition pieces
  • 3D work such as clothing or accessories
  • Photography
  • Textiles
  • Moving image content
  • Visual communication
  • Examples of ‘process work’
  • Developmental research and ideas
  • Written work

Things to remember

  • Please don’t submit work that uses digital drawing tools such as Procreate. We will not accept these submissions as we need to see your drawing ability.
  • When creating your portfolio from the tasks above, make sure you add information such as titles to make it clear and easy to understand.
  • Where necessary, add descriptive text to communicate important information. This might include materials you’ve used, processes etc.
  • We don’t need to see finished or professionally manufactured garments. We want to see examples of work that communicate your skills, even if they’re not complete.
  • If you have collaborated with someone else in your work, including a professional studio or organisation, please make this clear in your portfolio.

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

You will receive the final outcome of your application through your portal. You will only receive further communication directly from LCF 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.

After you apply

After you’ve submitted your application, you’ll receive a confirmation email providing you with your login details for the UAL Portal. We’ll use this Portal to contact you to request any additional information, including inviting you to upload documents or book an interview, so please check it regularly.

Once we’ve reviewed and assessed your application, we’ll contact you via the UAL Portal to let you know whether your application has been successful.


Graduate prospects

If you successfully complete this course, you will gain a qualification and will have the opportunity to progress to an undergraduate course at LCF, provided you meet all the conditions of your offer. Which course you may be offered will be dependent on the quality of the work done by you through the course. Applicants for an undergraduate course are guaranteed an interview, however this may not be necessary in all cases, as we may be able to make a decision based on your application and the work you have done during your course.

A very small number of students, in exceptional circumstances, may progress to our International Preparation for Fashion course (level 4), where it is in the interests of the student to develop their skills further before undertaking a three or four year undergraduate course at LCF.