FA4012 - Introduction to Fashion Communication

What will I learn on this module?

This practical and theoretical module introduces the study of fashion communication. You will be introduced to the teaching processes and learning environment of the School of Design and Northumbria University, and gain an understanding of the critical and cultural role of fashion within the wider communication and media industries, beginning to locate your own practice in these evolving contexts.

In a visual research strand, you will explore the holistic process of gathering, generating, collating and presentation of visual and textual research in fashion. You will use appropriate methods to locate relevant sources of research and apply personal judgement in assessing, interpreting and presenting the findings.

In a theory-based strand, you will study the history of fashion from the early 20th Century, exploring the cyclical nature of fashion and the disparate influences that are the catalyst for significant change. You will learn how to research, plan, structure and reference an essay.

Finally, in a professional practice strand, you will learn about the social, economic and cultural factors which impact on the creative industries. You will develop your subject knowledge, with an overview of the range of roles, tasks and creative responsibilities within the field of fashion.

Core skills and understanding developed on this module will provide a foundation to your learning throughout the year and programme, and the introduction of professional practice awareness will lay the groundwork for your future career aims and ambitions.

How will I learn on this module?

Learning and teaching strategies on Fashion Communication encourage you to acquire a flexible and imaginative approach to problem solving through enquiry-based learning. You will become an active participant in your learning, integrating creative practice with academic and intellectual skills.
The extended studio (X-Studio) environment is integral to this process, encouraging individual intellectual freedom and a creative collaborative community. The X-Studio embraces our physical studios and making workshops as well as our virtual spaces to create a flexible and rich environment that is responsive to your learning needs.
This dedicated approach has been developed over many years of continuous teaching innovation, research and industry collaboration. It has created a supportive extended studio culture that encourages you to learn flexibly, dynamically blending your learning and University experience between physical and digital interactions both in real-time and online at your own pace.

This extended studio culture not only helps you to become a more confident autonomous learner but also prepares you for a dynamic design industry in which an extended studio philosophy is current practice.

Lecturers with industry experience and supporting research will guide you through the module, developing your understanding of professional standards and practice. Guest speakers from the creative industries will help you situate your own work in a professional context.

You are encouraged to advance your visual literacy and to be aware of current issues and debates. Working in groups, you learn to be flexible and collaborative, to identify and redefine problems in a creative way and focus on solutions that are both relevant and empathetic.

Traditional, new and emerging technologies are used both in the delivery and realisation of outcomes, and you will learn to present your work and ideas using a range of media and communication tools to a variety of audiences in different situations. You will create digital portfolios and presentations, as well as image-based/multimedia submissions.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

• At the beginning of your programme you will be allocated a Guidance Tutor who will be able to provide advice and support in relation to your academic, personal and professional development. Formal guidance tutorials will allow you to reflect on what you have achieved and identify your strengths and weaknesses
• Tutorials with lecturers provide advice on the direction of your work and whether you are meeting Module Learning Outcomes. These will be timetabled, and will help you to progress your ideas.
• Project briefs are introduced via briefing sessions, where the task is fully explored by both staff and students
• Live projects with industry and regional, national and international external partners extend the practical study of the subject area within an industrial context, where possible. They are also designed to support student confidence in their ability to handle professional practice within the creative industries
• Students experience a range of teaching, learning and assessment methods and course work is largely project based
• Modules are delivered through a combination of delivery modes, with guided and independent learning
• Additional study skills materials and workshops are available through Skills Plus at https://library.northumbria.ac.uk/skillsplus/ and Linkedin Learning
• Students are expected to maintain a project plan and are encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning
• English language support is provided for international students
• University student services offer specialist support e.g. financial, disability, mental health, international student support etc.
• eLP includes all relevant documentation and learning material, e.g. module briefs, lecture content, video demonstrations, reading lists and weekly tasks, together with meeting spaces, discussion boards and notices
• Visiting professionals support relevant and current practice where possible

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
1. Demonstrate your awareness of cultural and contemporary issues through the investigation of fashion communication and realised through a process book

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
2. Identify, review and discuss topics related to the fashion industry in a scholarly manner as evidenced through essay writing

Personal Values Attributes
3. Evaluate your own progress, exercise self-criticism and analysis in the resolution of a professional practice portfolio

4. Evidence your communication skills in Fashion Communication through a printed synopsis booklet

How will I be assessed?

Assessment will be conducted through:

Summative assessment
Fashion History essay (2) 25%

Process Book demonstrating research and analysis of key concepts explored within the module, using primary and conceptual research and evidence of session tasks; Synopsis Booklet in layout illustrating key research concepts – 12 pages including front and back cover (1, 4) 50%

Portfolio website including 6 blog posts and a CV (3) 25%





Module abstract

This module introduces you to the academic and visual research skills required for your study of fashion communication. It also provides you with a foundational knowledge of the fashion industry past and present, and helps prepare for you for professional career paths in the creative sector.

You will examine how cultural influences can be used within a fashion context, and engage in the study of semiotic meaning within fashion and cultural imagery. This module examines the holistic process of gathering, generating, collating and presentation of visual and textual research in the exploration and dissemination of fashion-based phenomena, by examining a variety of genres, movements and styles. You will also study fashion history.

This module also introduces you to issues of professionalism within fashion communication and will support you in developing key transferable skills, as well as examining the ways in which they may be applied to wider contexts. Through investigation and critical reflection, you will have the opportunity to develop your knowledge of the scale and scope of the creative industries and begin to locate yourself, your interests and your practice within a professional context.

Course info

UCAS Code WP29

Credits 40

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years Full Time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Northumbria School of Design

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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