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Undergraduate

BA (Hons) Textile Design

Close up shot of moulded shapes in a variety of pastel colours
Priscilla Luong.
BA (Hons) Textile Design Chelsea College of Arts, UAL
College
Chelsea College of Arts
UCAS code
W231
Start date
September 2023
Course length
3 years

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

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. 

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

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.
  • Work to demonstrate critical practice.

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 and 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 and exterior space, interactive and experience design.
  • Exhibition showcasing your work from the first year.
  • Group and individual tutorials.
  • Theory lectures.
  • Digital workshops.
  • Work to demonstrate critical practice.

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 colour 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.
  • Work to support critical practice.
  • 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.
  • Proposal for your critical practice project in year 3.
  • Lectures and seminars to support your critical practice.

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 Portfolio of work which includes Design Project(s) and a Critical Practice Project (CPP).
  • To be encouraged to develop your design identity and how this connects to wider global issues and external contexts.
  • 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 carry out in depth research to underpin and support your ideas for the final major project presented in a Design Proposal.
  • To plan for, risk assess and take part in the graduate show.
  • To produce a portfolio of work that includes all your final major project including research, design development, technical experimentation, sampling or prototyping or storytelling/design pitch, design outcomes, and written or visual reflection.
  • To produce a PDF Professional Practice Portfolio that includes a CV prepared for sharing in a relevant professional context. 

Optional Diploma between year 2 and 3

Between year 2 and 3 you can opt to undertake the Diploma in Professional Studies or the UAL Diploma in Creative Computing. Whilst these Diplomas are an optional aspect of the course, they are designed as an integrated and assessed part of your journey through the course.

Learning and teaching methods

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

Student work

  • chelsea-ba-textile-design-Alice-Bardgett-2015-1860.jpg
    Alice Bardgett - Print, BA Textile Design.
  • chelsea-ba-textile-design-jade-pearl-1-knit.jpg
    Jade Pearl - Knit, BA Textile Design.
  • chelsea-ba-textile-design-Amy-Bairstow-postcard.jpg
    Amy Bairstow - Print, BA Textile Design.
  • Chelsea-2015-BA-Textile-Design-Jing-Tan-2-1860.jpg
    Jing Tan - Stitch, BA Textile Design.
  • chelsea-ba-textile-design-india-copley-stitch-1000.jpg
    India Copley - Stitch, BA Textile Design.
  • chelsea-ba-textile-design-Shermmaine-Telan-print-1000.jpg
    Shermmaine Telan - Print, BA Textile Design.
  • chelsea-ba-textile-design-Yusra-Makhdoomi-1860.jpg
    Yusra Makhdoomi - Print, BA Textile Design.
  • chelsea-ba-textile-design-wing-yu-yeung-knit-2.jpg
    Wing Yu Yeung - Knit, BA Textile Design.
  • chelsea-ba-textile-design-yee-man-fung-knit-1000.jpg
    Yee Man Fung - Knit, BA Textile Design.
  • chelsea-ba-textile-design-Marcelina-Paulinska-14.jpg
    Marcelina Paulinska - Print, BA Textile Design.

Film

Show 2022: Natasha Sulkin

Staff

  • Caryn Simonson - Programme Director
  • Cecilia Langemar - Course Leader
  • Lisa Bloomer
  • Melanie Bowles
  • Claudia Catzeflis
  • Matthew Crowley
  • Isabel Dodd
  • Nicholas Dunn
  • Elaine Igoe
  • Sicgmone Kludje
  • Helen Paine
  • Kathy Round

Visiting Staff

  • Douglas Aitkinson
  • Kirstie Eells
  • Fenella Hitchcock
  • Georgina Hodson
  • Makeba Lewis
  • Kirsty McDougall
  • Julia Pines
  • Steph Rolph
  • Jennifer Rossi
  • Bine Roth
  • Helen Spencer
  • Chole Swords Cherry
  • Tomoko Yamanaka

Fees and funding

Home fee

£9,250 per year

This fee is correct for 2023/24 entry and is subject to change for 2024/25 entry.

Tuition fees may increase in future years for new and continuing students.

Home fees are currently charged to UK nationals and UK residents who meet the rules. However, the rules are complex. Find out more about our tuition fees and determining your fee status.

International fee

£25,970 per year

This fee is correct for 2023/24 entry and is subject to change for 2024/25 entry.

Tuition fees for international students may increase by up to 5% in each future year of your course.

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 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 at 24 points minimum
  • 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

Apply now

Apply

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 25 January 2023 at 18:00 (GMT) for equal consideration.

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

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 and selection

We check your application to see if you meet the standard entry requirements for the course. If you do, you will be invited to submit a digital portfolio through UAL’s online portfolio review system.

Following the review of the digital portfolio, a small number of applicants will progress to the interview stage. All interviews are held online and last 15 to 20 minutes. For support with your interview, visit our Interview tips page.

Portfolio advice

  • A maximum of 30 pages showing a selective approach/visual research in colour, black and white and various media, this could include moving image.
  • Evidence an interest in surfaces, textural qualities and 3D exploration.
  • Enthusiasm for colour, materials and variety of scale.
  • Awareness of contemporary context and ideas.
  • Design orientated research - textiles and/or non-textiles.
  • An individual response to ideas/critical awareness, showing your design development process.

For more support, please visit our Portfolio advice page and PebblePad advice page.

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

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

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

Feedback requests:

If you would like to request feedback please contact us through the UAL Portal using the Contact us button in your My Application(s) tab.

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, and request your deferral by contacting us through the UAL Portal using the Contact Us button in your My Application(s) tab.

Transfers

If you are currently studying somewhere else on a course in an equivalent subject area and would like to transfer to this course, you can transfer to:

  • Year 2, if you’ve completed 120 credits in Year 1
  • Year 3, if you’ve completely 240 credits in Years 1 and 2

Apply via UCAS and choose Year 2 or 3 for your POE (Point of Entry).

Please check our Student Transfer Policy for more important information.

Be ready to provide us with:

  • Your current course handbook
  • Year 1 / Year 2 unit transcripts

Apply

There are 2 ways international students can apply to an undergraduate course:

Applying through UCAS you will need the following information:

  • University code - U65
  • UCAS course code - W231

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 a 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 25 January 2023 at 18:00 (GMT) for equal consideration.

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

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

You will be asked to complete an Immigration History Check to establish whether you are eligible to study at UAL. We will not be able to proceed with your application until you have submitted your completed Immigration History Form.

Initial application check and selection

We check your application to see if you meet the standard entry requirements for the course. If you do, you will be invited to submit a digital portfolio through UAL’s online portfolio review system.

Once we have received your digital portfolio it will be reviewed by the academic team. A decision will be made on your application which may include - offer, offer alternative, recommend to alternative course, reject or invite to interview.

We aim for all on time application reviews to take place by the end of March 2023.

Portfolio advice

  • A maximum of 30 pages showing a selective approach/visual research in colour, black and white and various media, this could include moving image.
  • Evidence an interest in surfaces, textural qualities and 3D exploration.
  • Enthusiasm for colour, materials and variety of scale.
  • Awareness of contemporary context and ideas.
  • Design orientated research - textiles and/or non-textiles.
  • An individual response to ideas/critical awareness, showing your design development process.

For more support, please visit our Portfolio advice page and PebblePad advice page.

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

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

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

Feedback requests:

If you would like to request feedback please contact us through the UAL Portal using the Contact us button in your My Application(s) tab.

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, and request your deferral by contacting us through the UAL Portal using the Contact Us button in your My Application(s) tab.

Transfers

If you are currently studying somewhere else on a course in an equivalent subject area and would like to transfer to this course, you can transfer to:

  • Year 2, if you’ve completed 120 credits in Year 1
  • Year 3, if you’ve completely 240 credits in Years 1 and 2

Apply via UCAS and choose Year 2 or 3 for your POE (Point of Entry).

Please check our Student Transfer Policy for more important information.

Be ready to provide us with:

  • Your current course handbook
  • Year 1 / Year 2 unit transcripts
  • An official document (translated into English) from your current university, explaining the learning outcomes of the units you have completed

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.

Careers

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.