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International: Introduction to the Study of Fashion (FE Level 3)

Start date
September 2019
Course length
1 year

Applications for 2019/20 entry are now closed.

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

About this course

The course introduces you to all areas of the fashion industry that you can study at undergraduate level at London College of Fashion. Following a diagnostic first term, the course team will direct you to the most appropriate area of fashion for your particular skills, talents and ambitions so that you can concentrate on either Fashion Business, Fashion Design or Fashion Media. You can then discuss, with the help of your tutors, the most suitable course for you at undergraduate level. The course will prepare you for the level of work that you will be undertaking in the first year of your undergraduate degree. Specialist Academic language support runs throughout the course to ensure that your academic study skills and language levels are appropriate for undergraduate study.


This course is based at Lime Grove in Shepherd’s Bush. Find out about the local area, including Holland Park and Notting Hill 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 2022. This is part of a new development for London prioritising culture, education and innovation, known as East Bank. Students studying this course will begin their studies at Lime Grove and are likely to be transferred to LCF’s new site in East London, to complete their studies there, from September 2022. Please see ‘4Fashion: LCF’s move to the Olympic Park’ for more information about the College’s relocation.

Student and graduate work

Latest news from this course


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

LCF Library

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

Photo Studio, Lime Grove

Media facilities at Lime Grove

Take a tour of Lime Grove's media facilities from photographic studios to darkrooms.

Canteen, Mare Street
Canteen, Mare Street Photography by: Ideal Insight

LCF's social spaces

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

Course overview

The course is based in Lime Grove in Shepherd’s Bush, just west of Holland Park and Notting Hill. The area, which is rich in cultural influences from across the world, is home to Shepherd’s Bush Market and the many fabric shops along the Goldhawk Road, which sell a variety of fabrics, including silks, at extremely competitive prices. There are numerous restaurants, cafes, delis and food stores, as well as the market, which reflect the many cultures of the people living there. Nearby is the Shepherd’s Bush Empire, an excellent venue for live bands, and the Westfield Shopping Centre, one of the largest retail complexes in Europe that caters for the luxury market as well as the high street. Holland Park with its Orangery and Leighton House Museum are both worth visiting.

Course units

Year one  -  level 3  -  120 credits

Term 1

Study Skills Tool Box for Fashion (20 credits)

Terms 1 and 2
Introduction to the Fashion System (40 credits)

Term 3
Progression Portfolio for Undergraduate Study (20 credits)

Terms 1 and 2
Fashion History, Culture and Context (20 credits)

Terms 1, 2 and 3
Academic Communication for the Study of Fashion (20 credits)


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.

Supporting staff

  • Heidi Stokes, Tutor IT
  • Carlyn Maguire, Tutor Media and Design
  • Liza Betts, Lecturer Cultural Historical Studies (Intl Office)

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 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 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.

Making your application

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

How we assess your application

Your application form is reviewed when you apply to the University. If you have achieved or expect to achieve the standard entry requirements you will be invited to submit a portfolio of no more than 45 images. Your portfolio is assessed by our academic team who will select applicants to attend an interview. Please note that not all applicants are invited to attend interview. When you have attended your interview we will advise you of your outcome.

There are two ways you may apply to this course:

  • One of our official representatives in your country
  • A direct application

You can only apply to the same course once per year whether you are applying via UAL Representative or using the UAL online application system. Any duplicate application will be withdrawn.

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

London College of Fashion does not accept applications for deferred entry. You should therefore apply in the year you wish to study.

Application deadline

31st January 2019. Applications for 19/20 entry are now closed.

After you apply

What happens next

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

All application forms, personal statements and references are read and considered by the academic team against the selection criteria listed in the Entry Requirements and Selection Criteria sections.

With your application you will need to submit a PORTFOLIO OF WORK via our portfolio collection tool, PebblePad, to help us understand your experience and level which we can discuss at interview. A portfolio is a collection of work to communicate your creative skills and knowledge. This should include a variety of your work (i.e. more than one project) and represent your interests, investigation, explorations and final conclusion(s). You will be asked to provide up to 45 images – think of this as 45 pages in your physical portfolio. You can also provide some text to accompany each image.

Fashion Business orientated applicants should present:

  • Fashion Influences: for example research, exhibitions, books, designers.
  • Examples of your interest / experience of fashion: i.e. written work, reports, articles, blogs, images, website.
  • You may wish to communicate ideas around marketing, visual merchandising, planning, analysis of designers, trend forecasting.

Fashion Media orientated applicants should present:

  • Research book(s) / Sketchbook(s) / Folders – showing your interest and ideas in fashion media and communication.
  • Visual / written work exploring areas in relation to fashion media and communication – e.g. creative imagery / photo shoots / styling / magazine articles
  • Websites / blogs.

Fashion Design orientated applicants should present:

  • Research and development work (i.e. sketchbook(s) / notebooks / journals). This could be thematic and could be drawings, design ideas, samples, photos and experimentation in relation to fashion ideas.
  • Design development showing your ideas (as above).
  • 3D work – this could be through photographs / observational drawings.

If the academic team wish to consider your application further, you will be invited to attend an interview either in person or via telephone where an international academic will look at your portfolio and ask 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 interview, the College may not be able to re-schedule.

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

Your application form is reviewed when you apply to the University. If you have achieved or expect to achieve the standard entry requirements you will be invited to submit a portfolio of no more than 45 images. Your portfolio is assessed by our academic team who will select applicants to attend an interview. Please note that not all applicants are invited to attend interview. When you have attended your interview we will advise you of your outcome.

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.

Fees & Funding

This course is open to international students only.

International fee


Additional costs

In addition to tuition fees you are very likely to incur additional costs such as travel expenses and the cost of materials.

  • Printing £500 max
  • Various materials (paper, fabric) £300 max
  • Enrichment (galleries, exhibitions etc) £200 max

Charges may be made for special clothing or equipment which students may need in order to participate in certain activities which form part of the course but which they retain. However, where such clothing or equipment is necessary for the student’s health or safety a charge may only be made for clothing and equipment which the student retains if the student also has the option of borrowing the clothing or equipment free of charge.

Please read the information on our additional costs page.


Find out about the accommodation options available and how much they will cost.

Scholarship search

Careers and alumni

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. For some undergraduate courses a portfolio will be required, and for other courses there may be a written or numerical test. All applicants for an undergraduate course at LCF on this course will be interviewed.

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.

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