FA4009 - Introduction to Fashion Design

What will I learn on this module?

In ‘Introduction to Fashion Design’ you will be introduced to creative design thinking and learn how to develop a creative response to a range of project briefs exploring genres of fashion.

You will learn the value of design research through analysis, drawing inspiration from a broad range of historical, contemporary, cultural, global and fashion market sources in the wider design world to inform design direction for responsible fashion outcomes. You will engage with creative exploration of design briefs demonstrating an awareness of design development processes, fashion formal elements (silhouette, pattern, texture, detail, colour and proportion) and issues. You will create a final illustrated garment collection incorporating printed textiles and constructed knitwear.

You will be encouraged to explore your own individual design handwriting through experimental and systematic design development, some of which will inspire garments in ‘Introduction to Fashion Skills’ module. Elements of your 3D creative sampling processes will be included in your design projects to show how this informs garment design.

You will learn how to develop your drawing skills appropriate to specific purposes: observational research drawing, technical drawing and experimental fashion illustration; to communicate your ideas using both manual and digital techniques.

You will learn how to produce a personal portfolio in both physical and screen-based formats and present these at critiques, giving opportunity for evaluative feedback and exchange with peers in preparation for Industrial Placement at level 5.

How will I learn on this module?

In this module you will learn through engaging in creative practice in response to a Fashion Design brief, which will encourage enquiry-based learning.

Blended teaching and learning strategies in Fashion Design encourage you to acquire a flexible and imaginative approach to creative problem solving: to think divergently and to develop your ability to articulate concepts and ideas through research-rich enquiry-based learning. Students become active participants through project-based coursework, integrating design practice, academic and intellectual skills.

The School of Design operates an extended studio approach (X-Studio) that embraces our physical studios and making workshops as well as our virtual spaces to create a flexible and rich environment that is responsive to our learners’ 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 our students to learn flexibly, dynamically blending their learning and University experience between physical and digital interactions both in real-time and online at their own pace.

We believe that this extended studio culture not only helps our students to become more confident autonomous learners but also prepares them for a dynamic design industry in which an extended studio philosophy is current practice.

The studio, X-Studio and workshop environment is integral to this process, encouraging individual intellectual freedom, a creative collaborative community, and collegial exchange.

In semester 1 you will be set creative challenges designed to develop your research and development ‘tool kit’ that will underpin your creative practice and programme of study. This approach emphasises creativity and experiential enquiry, enabling the generation of ideas, through active participation in observation, recording and making through design practice. Project-based learning engenders an enquiring, analytical and creative approach to the progressively interrelated nature of practical and intellectual skills. Analytical and adductive thinking, experimentation and trial and error, are characteristics of the creative process and are embedded and supported throughout programme design and delivery.

Semester 2 enables students to display evidence of creative thinking through the exploration and communication of a personal design concept that has a purposeful outcome for portfolio. This type of experiential activity engages the learner in self-initiated research, encouraging independent judgement and critical self-awareness through practice. Designs created for portfolio will also be interpreted in the form of garment(s) and/or samples in the parallel module FA4008; Introduction to Fashion Skills.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

• The project is introduced at a briefing session, where it is fully explained and explored by both staff and students.
• The lead Module Tutor and the academic teaching team direct studio and virtual learning-based practice through presentations and tutorials and are available to answer queries in relation to the module during timetabled studio sessions and office hours.
• Specialist staff experienced in design practice will guide you during the module and help you to find your creative direction and style
• Tutorials provide feedback on your project work and your progression on the module and offer direction on how to develop your work further, including guidance for student-led independent learning.
• Formative feedback stages are included in the module, when you will receive academic feedback on your progress.
• Learning materials for this module are available on the university eLearning Portal, including the module documentation, announcements, presentations, assessment, study skills, and resources such as videos, digital reading lists and timetable.
• Access to garment archives and specialists library and online resources, e.g. the Vogue archive
• Access to computer facilities with industry standard digital image manipulation and publishing software
• Academic Language Skills (ALS) support is available for international students.
• Students requiring additional support are advised to contact their Guidance Tutor for advice, who will be able to refer them to the relevant university services for specialist support regarding their personal circumstances.
• TEL: eLearning Portal, digital reading lists, presentations via Panopto, Prezi. Lectures and seminars via Blackboard Collaborate

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?

On successful completion of this module, you should be able to:

Knowledge & Understanding:
4. Show a foundational ability to conduct Fashion research in a variety of modes, analyse the information and present through verbal and visual presentation in sketchbook/CPJ.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
1. Select appropriate methods of Fashion research to enable you to realise creative, considered design conclusions for Fashion design via illustrative portfolio work.

6. Analyse the Fashion design process; recognise design issues or problems and identify solutions through systematic development of ideas in your Fashion project.

9. Evidence ability to effectively use drawing (observational/technical drawing/illustration/colour/texture/pattern), appropriate for Fashion in the realisation of a Fashion design portfolio.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):

4. Evaluate your own progress, exercise self-criticism and analysis in the resolution of a creative Fashion portfolio.

How will I be assessed?

Formative feedback received from tutors and peers during studio and workshop engagement and online where appropriate.

Formal formative feedback
Tutorials will be scheduled at key points of the learning programme, to provide feedback and informally record academic progress. This provides you with the opportunity to apply the feedback to your existing work and improve your competencies before your final summative assessment.

Student self-assessment
Students are encouraged to be reflective learners through scheduled self-assessment opportunities.

Verbal feedback will be provided from peers
and academic staff.

Summative assessment

Component 1: Fashion Design Toolkit – end of semester 1 (40 credits) KU 04; IPSA 01; PVA 04
At the end of Semester 1, assessment will be via the physical and digital submission of an A3 sketchbook, which documents the creative process of learning as the design “toolkit” (i.e. the core skills needed to conduct research and underpin design development) . alongside your grade you will receive feedback designed to help you identify areas of improvement in Semester 2.

Component 2: Portfolio – end of semester 2 (20 credits) KU 04; IPSA 01; IPSA 06, IPSA 09, PVA 04
assessed via portfolio.

At the end of Semester 2, module tutors will assess
the learner’s overall performance holistically with
a single grade from both components, by
reviewing the learners’ research, the level of
design thinking and the success of design
conclusions. Verbal feedback will be provided
via a 1st Year exit tutorial.

Additional forms of assessment practice may take place within projects in the form of peer assessment/ self-assessment, which may contribute to the overall module outcome.





Module abstract

In ‘Introduction to Fashion Design’ you will be introduced to creative design thinking and learn how to develop a creative response to a range of project briefs exploring genres of fashion, leading to the production of a physical and a screen-based portfolio.

You will be introduced to practical research skills, enabling you to think innovatively as a designer. The world of fashion offers a wealth of inspiration, you will identify key elements through engagement with contemporary design influences to create new and exciting ideas. Fashion Design creative briefs will encourage and inspire you to explore your personal design ‘handwriting’. You will develop an individual design portfolio from which areas of specialism in fashion design will emerge and discussion will centre around your career aspirations for Fashion Industrial Placement or study abroad.

You will be introduced to the core skills that underpin successful fashion design by Fashion staff who have industry expertise in research and design practice. This will enable you to learn how to research and think creatively – imperative for the evolution of future fashion. You will learn through creative enquiry, working individually and in groups to research and develop your ideas, communicated through skills in observational drawing, design development and fashion illustration in your portfolio. This will sit alongside garment flatwork showcasing creative ideas for cutting garments, printed textile and knitwear design, and ideas taken into 3D in the parallel module Introduction to Fashion Skills.

You will also be introduced to industry relevant digital software to develop your portfolio presentation techniques in preparation for your Industrial Placement in level 5. This module will support your ability to identify a future specialism in pattern cutting, constructed knitted fabrics or textile design.

You will have the opportunity to contribute to the collegiate creative community through working with others during the module to enhance your knowledge and learning.

Course info

UCAS Code W230

Credits 60

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 4 years with placement

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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