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BA (Hons) Textile Design

College
CHELSEA
Start date
September 2020
Course length
3 years
UCAS code
W231

BA Textile Design at Chelsea College of Arts wants you to take an experimental and creative approach to textile design.

Student work

Molly Smisko.

Andrew Illman.

Amy Bairstow.

BA Textile Design Stories

Course overview

You will gain colour, design and materials knowledge within textile print, knit, stitch and weave. Through fashion, sustainability, interior and exterior design projects you will develop ideas and conceptual thinking. The course encourages a studio culture to develop alongside specialist textile workshops.

What you can expect

  • To explore possibilities in weave, stitch, knit and print and be encouraged to not see these as stand-alone disciplines but instead to embrace the skills as a starting point to develop new and exciting solutions to design challenges
  • To test out ideas through prototyping, experimentation, live projects and digital platform storytelling and the interaction between new technologies and traditional craft processes
  • To examine environmental issues, sustainable design and the circular economy encouraging you to think critically about your subject and its impact
  • A critical theory programme that helps you to consider your design practice within broad social, cultural, environmental and historical contexts
  • To learn about global perspectives and culturally diverse contexts for textiles, which will be introduced through projects, lectures, live project learning opportunities and exchanges
  • To develop skills to solve problems creatively through design thinking and ‘thinking through making’
  • To have access to textile specific specialist facilities. There is a print and dye lab and digital print computer suite. We also have workshops for stitch, digital embroidery, knit and weave
  • To have access to Chelsea's shared workshops. These include ceramics, casting, laser cutting, photography, audio-visual editing suite, metal and woodwork. View the Chelsea facilities

Work experience and opportunities

Live projects will enable you to gain vital commercial experience, build networks and expand your professional development. In the past we have worked with Burberry, Chinese Design Centre, Gainsborough Silks, H&M, Indesign, Iberoamericano University (Mexico), Latitude Festival, Made.com, Marks & Spencer, Wallace Collection and trend forecasting company WGSN.

You will have the opportunity to apply to attend international trade fairs. Students have exhibited at Première Vision Designs, part of Première Vision, Paris.

You will be able to take part in an exchange to another institution. Students have been to Berlin, Borås, Kyoto, Paris, Stockholm and Tokyo. The course also has relationships with some American colleges. These include the Fashion Institute of Technology, Parsons the New School for Design and Rhode Island School of Design.

Mode of study

BA Textile Design is offered in full-time mode. It is divided into 3 stages over 3 academic years. Each stage consists of 30 teaching weeks. You will be expected to commit an average of 40 hours per week to your course, including teaching hours and independent study.

Course units

A short description of each unit and what you can expect.

Year 1

Unit 1 - Introduction to Textile Design

This unit is an introduction to your course, the college and the university.

Unit 2 - Concept and process

This unit introduces you to textile design through projects and inductions into the textile workshops. You will gather visual information to explore concepts through experimental and observational drawing, photography and related research to inspire your work.

  • Drawing and design development
  • Specialist technical workshops
  • Technical processes through workshop practice and sampling
  • Presentation of fabric samples, including digital visualisation
  • Exploration of specialist practices in relation to research and design processes
  • Developing skills in visual analysis
  • Placing images and objects in cultural and historical context
  • Critically reflect on your process and document your practice via your blog
  • Written work

Unit 3 - Textile contexts 1

  • Research, drawing and design development directed towards 2D and/or 3D outcomes for the body
  • The development of a personal approach to a given theme
  • Introduction to body/fashion contexts
  • Exploration of scale in relation to the body
  • Introduction to collaborative ways of working through a group project
  • Group and individual tutorials
  • Technical workshops

Unit 4 - Textile contexts 2

You will work both digitally and within the studio to engage with current design ideas for interior or exterior space, interactive and experience design.

  • Projects will introduce you to the areas of interior / exterior space, interactive and experience design
  • Exhibition showcasing your work from the first year
  • Group and individual tutorials to support essay writing
  • Theory lectures
  • Digital workshops
  • Written work

Year 2

Unit 5 - Materials design practice

In this unit you will focus on the design process. You will continue to develop your individual direction within your textiles. 

  • To explore and examine the role of colour and colour theory in the production of textiles
  • Your research will inform the production of designs, samples and other outcomes that explore a theme via the development of a colour palette
  • Projects will strengthen your knowledge of professional context and the international audience for textile design
  • A series of lectures on role of color in textiles
  • Production of a technical notebook
  • Exhibition of project work

Unit 6 - Collaborative and collective practices

This unit aims to introduce you to different ways in which collaborative working can focus and enhance your own creative strengths. This unit has 3 core purposes: 

  • To engage with fellow students with different practices and interests in a collaborative project
  • To engage with external audiences, participants or institutions to consider new contexts for your work
  • To develop your creative attributes to enable you to take on future challenges in a variety of contexts

Unit 7 - Professional communication

In this unit you will work on a project that has a professional context. This maybe a staff research-led project, competition, trade fair showcase, exhibition or a live project.

Responsible design practices and textile led production times may feature in this unit. You will recognise your place in the global market and potential outlets for your work. These will help inform your future career aspirations.

  • To work individually on your design concepts and as a team towards a presentation of the work
  • Fabric and technical development appropriate to a design range
  • The identification of fabric qualities in relation to product and designing for a context
  • The production of a technical notebook
  • Explore key concepts and debates relating to responsible design in your practice
  • Written work
  • Lectures and seminars

Unit 8 - Responsible design practice

This unit encourages you to explore your practice as a responsible textile designer. Sustainable and ethical design has a broad impact. Textile design can inform change and reach outside of the textiles sector. It can cross disciplines into wellbeing, product design and technical performance innovations.

  • To look at the key concepts and debates relating to responsible design
  • An exploration of processes and skills associated with your practice
  • A negotiated research project that connects responsible design to your practice and research focus, including the presentation of your project
  • To look at global perspectives, cultural identity and contexts within textiles and fashion
  • To look at design concepts and theory
  • Studio work  
  • Written proposal for your major written project in year 3
  • Lectures and seminars to support your written work

Year 3

Unit 9 - Design synthesis

The unit is about the exploration of ideas, innovation and experimentation in preparation for your final major project.

  • To define your practice through a design project and a major written project
  • To be encouraged to develop your design identity and how this connects to a wider external context
  • Live briefs and personal direction will inform your project

Unit 10 - Professional contexts

The unit is about defining you as a designer and how your work connects to a wider context.

  • To agree a negotiated design proposal for the final major project
  • To carry out in depth research to underpin and support your ideas
  • To take part in the college degree show exhibition
  • To produce a portfolio of work that includes all your final major project research, samples and design outcomes
  • To produce a context file that includes a design proposal, degree show plan, CV and final project statement

Optional Diploma between year 2 and 3

Between year 2 and 3 you can opt to undertake the Diploma in Professional Studies or the Diploma in Creative Computing.

Learning and teaching methods

  • Briefings
  • Presentations
  • Workshops
  • Collaborative activities
  •  Research method exercises
  •  Library and technical workshop orientations
  • Seminars
  • Digital Workshops
  • Studio group teaching
  • Lectures
  • Group and individual tutorials
  • Group presentations.

Assessment methods

  • Blogs
  • Reflective journal
  • Design work
  • Presentations
  • Sketchbooks
  • Written projects

Staff

  • Caryn Simonson - Programme Director
  • Samantha Elliott - Course Leader
  • Lisa Bloomer
  • Melanie Bowles
  • Claudia Catzeflis
  • Isabel Dodd
  • Nicholas Dunn
  • Sicgmone Kludje
  • Helen Paine
  • Kathy Round

Visiting Staff

  • Claire Angel
  • John Bently
  • Matthew Crowley
  • Sophia Fenlon
  • Kate Goldsworthy
  • Cassi Hill
  • Georgina Hodson
  • Maxine Mason
  • Julia Pines
  • Jana Melkumova-Reynolds
  • Sian Weston
  • Tomoko Yamanaka

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 minimum entry requirements for this course are one or a combination of the following qualifications:

  • Pass at Foundation Diploma in Art and Design (Level 3 or 4)
  • 2 A Levels at grade C or above
  • Merit, Pass, Pass (MPP) at BTEC Extended Diploma
  • Pass at UAL Extended Diploma
  • Access to Higher Education Diploma
  • Or equivalent EU/International qualifications, such as International Baccalaureate Diploma
  • And 3 GCSE passes at grade 4 or above (grade A*-C)

Entry to this course will also be determined by the quality of your application, looking primarily at your portfolio of work, personal statement and reference.

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
  • 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

All classes are taught in English. If English isn't your first language you must provide evidence at enrolment of the following:

Selection criteria

We look for:

  • Ability to research a variety of concepts and arrive at a design solution
  • Enthusiasm for colour, texture and imagery
  • Awareness of textile design within contemporary contexts
  • A portfolio demonstrating personal responses to project briefs
  • Ability to present critical reflection of the subject in discussion
  • A concise portfolio indicating a critical engagement with design ideas
  • Ability to select and organise work

Making your application

Portfolio advice

Portfolios should show the following:

  • Visual research in colour, as well as black and white, using a variety of media
  • Evidence of an interest in surfaces, textural qualities and mixed media
  • Enthusiasm for colour, variety of scale and sketchbooks
  • Awareness of a contemporary context and ideas
  • Evidence of design orientated research - not necessarily textiles
  • An individual response to ideas and critical awareness, showing your design development process
  • A concise portfolio that shows a selective approach
  • Larger scale work can be presented through photographs

Please remember:

  • The quality of the work is more important than the quantity
  • Where possible, large or 3D work should be photographed and scanned
  • To organise your work by project, with supporting work presented alongside final outcomes

You must apply through UCAS, where you’ll need the following information:

  • University code - U65
  • UCAS course code - W231

Application deadline

We recommend you apply by 15 January for equal consideration.

However, this course will consider applications after that date, subject to places being available.

Entry to Year 2 or Year 3:

If you have successfully completed 120 credits (year 1) or 240 credits (year 1 and 2) in the equivalent units or modules on a degree course at another institution and wish to continue your studies at Chelsea College of Arts, you can apply to transfer to year 2 or year 3 respectively. The Admissions Tutor will consider applicants for entry to year 2 and 3 on a case by case basis, subject to places being available on the course. You must apply through UCAS and indicate POE 2 for entry to year 2 or POE 3 for entry to year 3 on your application. Further information can be found in our UAL External Student Transfer Policy.

Deferred entry application:

This course will consider deferred entry applications.

What happens next

Communicating with you

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.

Initial application check

We check your application to see if you meet the standard entry requirements for the course. If you do, you’ll be invited to or asked to book onto a suitable date to attend an interview selection event.

Interview selection event

You will be expected to bring your portfolio, which will be reviewed by the academics conducting the event.

Please be prepared to talk about your work, what inspires you and your influences. We may not discuss all of these topics at the event.

The event will also give you a chance to meet current students, take a tour of the college and see the facilities.

More details about your interview selection event will be emailed to you once you have chosen or been allocated your date.

Selection for Home/EU applicants happens in a variety of different ways:

  • In person at Chelsea College of Arts
  • By phone or Skype

If you choose phone or Skype, you will be sent an email requesting that you upload a digital portfolio using UAL’s online portfolio review system.

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

You will receive the final outcome of your application through UCAS track.

Please note that applicants for this course may be given an alternative offer. This decision will be based on our assessment of your creative and potential interests.

There are 3 ways international students can apply to an undergraduate course at Chelsea College of Arts:

If you are applying via UCAS you will need the following information:

  • University code - U65
  • UCAS course code - W231

You can only apply to the same course once per year whether you are applying via UCAS, UAL representative or using the UAL online application system. 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 15 January for equal consideration.

However, this course will consider applications after that date, subject to places being available.

Entry to Year 2 or Year 3:

If you have successfully completed 120 credits (year 1) or 240 credits (year 1 and 2) in the equivalent units or modules on a degree course at another institution and wish to continue your studies at Chelsea College of Arts, you can apply to transfer to year 2 or year 3 respectively. The Admissions Tutor will consider applicants for entry to year 2 and 3 on a case by case basis, subject to places being available on the course. You must apply through UCAS and indicate POE 2 for entry to year 2 or POE 3 for entry to year 3 on your application. Further information can be found in our UAL External Student Transfer Policy.

Deferred entry application:

This course will consider deferred entry applications.

What happens next

Communicating with you

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.

Immigration history check

Whether you’re applying online via UCAS, through a UAL representative or by direct application you will need to complete an Immigration History Check to establish whether you are eligible to study at UAL. If you don’t complete the check we won’t be able to proceed with your application.

Initial application check

We check your application to see if you meet the standard entry requirements for the course. If you do, you will be asked to upload a digital portfolio. Once you have uploaded your portfolio, you’ll be invited to or asked to book onto a suitable date to attend an interview selection event.

Interview selection event

You will be expected to bring your portfolio, which will be reviewed by the academics conducting the event.

Please be prepared to talk about your work, what inspires you and your influences. We may not discuss all of these topics at the event.

More details about your interview selection event will be emailed to you once you have chosen or been allocated your date.

Selection for international applicants happens in a variety of different ways:

  • By phone or Skype
  • In your country, if your application was made through one of our official representatives
  • In person at our international office based at Chelsea College of Arts

If you choose phone or Skype your portfolio that you uploaded via UAL’s online portfolio review system will be used during the interview.

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

  • If you applied through UCAS you will receive the final outcome of of your application through UCAS track
  • If you applied directly or through an agent, we will notify you through the UAL portal

Please note that applicants for this course may be given an alternative offer. This decision will be based on our assessment of your creative and potential interests.

Study Abroad

Through the Study Abroad programme international students can apply to join an undergraduate course.

For information on how to apply visit the Study Abroad section.


Fees & Funding

Home / EU fee

£9,250 (2020/21).

Tuition fees may increase in future years for new and continuing students, in line with an inflationary amount determined by government. Please visit our undergraduate tuition fees page for more information.

International fee

£22,920 (2020/21).

Additional costs

In addition to tuition fees you are very likely to incur additional costs such as travel expenses and the cost of materials. Please read the information on our additional costs page.

Accommodation

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

Scholarships and awards

Use our search tool to find out more about the scholarships and awards available to students.

Scholarship search

Careers and alumni

BA Textile Design graduates have gone on to work in international fashion or interior design studios, trend-forecasting companies and magazines.

Others have set up their own businesses or gone on to postgraduate study on Chelsea's MA Textile Design, Central St Martins MA Fashion, as well as courses at other renowned institutions such as the Royal College of Art.

Some of the course’s most successful graduates have joined design teams and are working within couture and high street production for fashion companies including Anthropologie, Burberry, Céline, Chloe, H&M, Liberty, Stella McCartney, Nike, Zac Posen, Jonathan Saunders and Alexander Wang.

Alumni

  • Yemi Awosile - Textile designer
  • Finchittida Finch - Jewellery label set up by twin sisters Lisa and Tida Finch. Worn by FKA Twigs and Lianne La Havas
  • Bridget Harvey - Designer, maker and activist
  • Henry Hussey - Artist
  • Helen Lawrence - Knitwear designer who has shown at Fashion East and London Fashion Week
  • Margo Selby - Woven textile design company making fabrics, rugs and accessories
  • Hsiao-Chi Tsai - Mixed media textile designer who creates installations and bespoke fashion accessories. She has been commissioned by Harvey Nicholls, Kew Gardens and the South Bank Centre

Find out how careers and employability helps our students and graduates start their careers.

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