MA Fashion Media Practice and Criticism
Learn how to be a critical fashion communicator with a wealth of theoretical knowledge and practical experience, working in multimedia formats.
Applications for 2018/19 entry to this course have now closed.
Visit the Clearing page for a full list of UAL courses that are open for application.
Explore the role of creative direction within fashion communication. Develop skills and knowledge to produce imaginative creative outcomes across a range of new and traditional media.
The BA (Hons) Creative Direction for Fashion course is situated in the School of Media and Communication and focuses on how creative direction is used to communicate messages about and around fashion. In the context of this course, creative direction refers to the strategic use of communication design in order to attract and engage audiences whilst ensuring the intended message is clear and compelling. The impacts of social and cultural trends, globalisation and emerging digital technologies within fashion communication are central to the course.
Take a tour of LCF's world renowned fashion library, ideal for research and study.
Take a tour of Lime Grove's media facilities from photographic studios to darkrooms.
Explore our social spaces, for collaborative study and breaks, across our six sites in London.
This course is subject to revalidation. Revalidation is a process that makes sure students get a high quality academic experience. During revalidation there may be some changes to course content. Please contact us if you have any questions about this course.
BA (Hons) Creative Direction for Fashion prepares students for a wide range of positions within fashion media and communication and related creative industries by exposing them to a variety of concepts, skills and techniques.
This includes the fundamentals of visual communication and design principles, and their application in the context of publications (magazines, websites, mobile apps), spaces (retail, experiential) and brand identity. We cover graphic and interface design, moving image, photography, sound, performance and interaction design. The course provides an understanding of brands to ensure that students develop into skilled designers with an awareness of markets and audiences, and the confidence to propose innovative and forward-thinking concepts. The practical aspects of the course are supported with intellectually stimulating ideas around contemporary creative practice and cultural and historical studies.
Teamwork and project management are important to the course and students are taught about aspects of production such as budgeting and risk assessment that are essential to the realisation of a creative vision. To further support students’ understanding of professional practice we aim to run a number of live briefs and collaborative projects each year. Recent collaborations have involved H&M, Knomi and the Victoria and Albert Museum. We offer regular guest lectures and host sessions and master classes with visiting practitioners from a range of disciplines. Recent visitors include Jamie Reid, art director of Dazed magazine, and Matthew Drinkwater from the Fashion Innovation Agency. In Year 2, students have the opportunity to undertake a work placement (for credit) of up to three months’ duration.
This unique course is delivered by a seasoned team of academics and practitioners with backgrounds in fashion, visual art, publishing, events, moving image, branding and communications. The course seeks students who are curious, motivated, experimental and willing to work hard both collaboratively and independently in order to realize their ambitions. There is scope for each student to pursue their individual interests whilst receiving a strong foundation in design and transferable skills that will benefit them long into the future. Students are expected to take advantage of the University’s many resources as well as the expanded classroom that London provides. Lectures and seminars run a minimum of two days per week with a third day designated for technical delivery, leaving ample time for students to develop their projects and take on part-time employment if desired.
Year one - stage one - level 4 - 120 credits
Term one: Introduction to Fashion Communication (20 credits); Visual Communication for Fashion (20 credits)
Term two: Introduction to Cultural and Historical Studies (20 credits); Fashion Interfaces: Page and Screen (20 credits)
Term three: Fashion Spaces (40 credits)
Year two - stage two - level 5 - 120 credits
Term one: Cultural and Historical Studies Option (20 credits); Fashion, Brands and Audiences (20 credits)
Term two: Situating Your Practice: Communication Placement / Situating Your Practice: International Study Communication / Situating Your Practice: Simulated Professional Practice (40 credits)
Term three: Research Methods for Creative Direction for Fashion (20 credits); Future Directions (20 credits)
Third year - stage three - level 6 - 120 credits
Term one: Final Major Project: Research and Development (20 credits)
Terms one and two: Cultural and Historical Studies Dissertation (40 credits)
Term two and three: Final Major Project: Production and Evaluation (60 credits)
Students on this course might be invited to participate in study trips. This may involve, for example, visits to key areas of capital cities, factories, stores and museums. Attendance on these trips is not compulsory but recommended. Details regarding timings and costs will be issued closer to the relevant trips.
In the first term you will study two units:
Introduction to Fashion Communication introduces you to your course and its subject specialism as well as to effective learning and studentship at undergraduate level. It will orientate you to the practices and knowledge-base needed to understand your discipline and help you to develop your skills for independent & collaborative learning, reflection and your own self development. Students come from many diverse educational backgrounds and a part of this unit will enable to reflect on your own background and how that shapes the way you approach your course.
The Visual Communication for Fashion unit allows you to develop a solid grasp of basic design elements such as form, texture and colour, before you can create more complex communication design outcomes for fashion. This unit will explore these fundamentals of design alongside principles of visual communication. It will introduce the relationship between a fashion designer’s visual aesthetic or style and the look and feel of related pieces of visual communication design such as logos, look books, campaigns, and in-store visuals. You will explore this relationship by translating a designer’s aesthetic across a range of media using a variety of processes and image-making techniques. To support your experimentation, you will need to conduct in-depth research into past and present examples of visual communication design within fashion. By the end of the unit you will have produced an extensive portfolio of image experiments alongside a curated portfolio of final images in response to a brief.
In the second term you will study two units:
Introduction to Cultural and Historical Studies introduces you to key concepts and ways of thinking about fashion and its context in society and culture. You will attend lectures, seminars and workshops, and do a significant amount of reading of academic texts in order to complete a formal academic essay for assessment. Completion of this unit will allow you to make an informed choice of subject for study in the second year Cultural and Historical Studies unit.
The Fashion Interfaces: Page and Screen unit builds on the previous term, providing an opportunity for you to improve your design skills with additional emphasis on typography, layout and picture editing. The unit looks at ‘fashion interfaces’ or the places where fashion messages are communicated and received. This includes print publications, websites, blogs and mobile applications, each with their own rules of engagement. You will be introduced to the process of pitching a creative concept and identifying appropriate collaborators and contributors. In addition, you will be asked to consider and apply ideas from cultural and historical studies to your practical outcomes. Importantly, you will prepare a visual and verbal presentation as part of a group that critically evaluates contemporary fashion interfaces. By the end of the unit you will also have created a professional and designed concept proposal for an original fashion interface in response to a brief.
In the Fashion Spaces unit you will explore how space is used in fashion. From concept stores to pop-up shops, virtual catwalks to interactive installations, there are many ways to offer unique fashion-related experiences in both physical and virtual spaces. In this unit you will be introduced to time-based media including moving image, sound and performance and investigate their role in creating engaging experiences. Through a review of contemporary practice and new technology you will examine how multi-sensory messages can be communicated in various fashion contexts including fashion shows, retail spaces and site-specific events. In addition to technical knowledge surrounding the production of time-based media for fashion you will become familiar with effective project management, budgeting and health and safety concerns. By the end of the unit you will have produced a series of time-based media outcomes alongside a proposal for a related fashion space.
In the first term you will be able to study a Cultural and Historical Studies unit of your choice that will broaden or deepen your learning of areas relating to your interests in your chosen field. You will have the opportunity to participate in lectures, seminars and workshops with students from other courses within your School, and will read relevant academic texts and complete a formal academic essay for assessment.
Also studied in the first term, the Fashion, Brands and Audiences unit will provide you with the in-depth theoretical and practical knowledge required to deliver innovative and appropriate communication design outcomes to an increasingly global range of fashion clients and brands. You will be introduced to branding models and to the tools at your disposal for analysing a client’s strategic communication needs and objectives. You will learn about markets, trends and audiences and the role of creative direction in maintaining and/or shifting audience attitudes towards brands. You will work on developing a client brief based on identified communication objectives and propose a communication design outcome that appropriately answers the brief. You will need to apply your evolving knowledge of cultural and historical studies alongside primary research such as interviews and focus groups in order to evaluate and propose an appropriate creative solution.
Second term options:
Situating Your Practice: Communication Placement unit provides an opportunity to apply previous learning in a professional work environment. You will gain a deeper critical understanding and appreciation of professional practice within your discipline and in relation to contemporary debates and cultural contexts. The unit also demands a critical approach to the management of your own learning through reflection and planning as well as demonstration of suitable individual and collaborative professional working. The unit requires a minimum of 60 work placement hours.
Situating Your Practice: International Study Communication provides an opportunity to apply previous learning whilst studying your subject in a different institution. You will develop skills within your practice and gain credits for your current course whilst engaging with the academic culture of your host institution. The unit also demands a critical approach to the management of your own learning through reflection and planning.
Please note: we are unable to guarantee that every course will have an agreement with a partner host institution. As such, this unit is subject to availability. There will be a selection and application process for students who are interested in applying to take this unit of study.
Situating Your Practice: Simulated Professional Practice provides an opportunity to apply your previous learning and further develop your individual practice. The unit will simulate a professional working environment where you will be encouraged to collaborate with students across your course, programme and the wider University in order to respond creatively to a brief which will be detailed in your unit handbook. The unit also demands a critical approach to the management of your own learning through reflection and planning.
In the third term you will do two units:
Research Methods for Creative Direction for Fashion provides an introduction to, and overview of, a variety of different research methods for the collection of data relevant to all the work you will undertake in your third year. With reference to your Cultural and Historical Studies Dissertation you will explore two areas to enable you to produce your dissertation proposal. These are the literature review and research and you will examine their relationship to one another. You will look at primary and secondary sources, ways of originating and developing research, and ways of realising the research appropriate to cultural and historical studies.
Alongside this, an introduction to the Final Major Project reviews the importance of research towards informing creative outcomes. You will consider how qualitative, quantitative, primary and secondary research methods can be used to generate interesting and appropriate creative solutions. You will combine your understanding of cultural and historical studies and the contemporary practice of creative direction with market and trend analysis to develop and propose a research plan to be undertaken at the start of your final year.
The Future Directions unit develops your previous experience where you have explored creative direction through fashion interfaces, fashion spaces and how brands use these and other communication design outcomes to connect with and engage audiences. This unit will run like a research and development (R&D) lab and will require an exploratory approach to identifying possible future trends and ‘hot topics’ within fashion communication and culture at large. The focus will be on innovative and enterprising approaches to fashion communication and their impact upon patterns of consumption. This includes analysis of, and investigations into, areas such as emerging technology, on-going concerns around sustainability, and the perceived phenomenon of globalisation, all in relation to fashion. You will examine how creative direction and communication design within fashion can lead positive change and impact the way we lead our lives. Working in teams you will identify and research a “problem”, develop and test solutions, and pitch a relevant and inventive creative outcome.
In the first term you will do the Final Major Project: Research and Development unit. You will undertake the research plan that you proposed at the end of the second year via an intensive period of research and development (R&D). This period of R&D will include reading and analysing theoretical texts, identifying and evaluating market and trend reports, and recognising and questioning the contemporary practice of creative direction for fashion. You will also expand your skills and knowledge around prototyping, iterative design and the importance of testing and checking of ideas throughout the concept development process. Appropriate primary research will also be developed and conducted. Towards the end of the unit you will evaluate and synthesise your research findings towards the construction of a carefully considered proposal for your Final Major Project. The proposal must define and address a specific set of communication objectives for a fashion-related client (live or simulated) of your choosing. You will realise and evaluate your proposed project in the following term.
In the first and second terms you will undertake a major piece of written work for the Cultural and Historical Studies Dissertation unit. This allows you to demonstrate your understanding of the critical and analytical perspectives developed within cultural and historical theory, and how you can apply these theoretical perspectives in a specific study, which you will have already identified in the third term of the second year.
The dissertation gives you the opportunity to undertake primary and secondary research that examines in depth cultural issues relating to a particular aspect of fashion, lifestyle, the body, performance or the media, and to produce a written piece of work that reflects the critical debates around your chosen topic.
The Final Major Project: Production and Evaluation unit follows on from the previous term and supports you in producing an original and coherent Final Major Project that evidences the consolidation of knowledge acquired on the course. The project will reflect an understanding of the contemporary practice of creative direction for fashion and apply insights from cultural and historical studies concepts. This client-specific, extended body of work must be at an advanced level conceptually, technically and aesthetically. Whereas the previous unit was focused on research and development, this unit focuses on production and reflective practice. The format of your project will reflect your individual interests, skills, personal and professional goals and will be negotiated with the course team.
All students are advised to set up a profile on portfolio.arts.ac.uk, UAL’s new portfolio platform, which can be done at any point during your time at LCF and will last for up to 12 months after graduation. This platform is often used to source student work for promotional use on the website, social media and for print and can be a great way of getting your work seen. You may also be asked to have a portfolio profile for the selection process when it comes to degree shows.
The extensive facilities at Lime Grove that support this course include the Mac suites, photography studios, edit suites, sound studios and other specialist areas which can be utilised if required.
Kelly Dearsley is acting Course Leader and the Programme Director for the Fashion Communication courses, which include BA (Hons) Creative Direction for Fashion, BA (Hons) Fashion Public Relations and Communication and MA Fashion Media Practice and Criticism. Kelly began her career as an advertising executive in the 1980s working with clients in the film and entertainment industries. She returned to study Fashion Photography at London College of Fashion and has worked as a freelance photographer for publications including Guardian, Vogue Pelle and ID magazine. She has made a number of short films which have been shown at film festivals across the world, including Leeds, Liverpool, Greece, Sweden, London, Slovakia, Croatia and Brazil. Her most recent new work ‘I’ve a Feeling We’re not in Kansas any more’, a fine art installation/performance was devised and performed in Glasgow at the New Territories International Festival of Live Art in March 2011. Kelly is currently studying for a PhD at LCF. Her research, a comparative study of the reading practices and reception of fashion media in print and digital formats, will be a wholly written thesis that uses phenomenology as a methodology to explore the reception of fashion media paying particular attention to the role of new media in this process.
Daniel Caulfield-Sriklad is a creative producer and researcher with multidisciplinary experience in physical and digital communication design within the cultural and creative industries. Following his undergraduate degree in Communications and Image-making, Daniel completed an MA in Fashion Curation from the University of the Arts London (2013). His research has explored the potential for digital technology to communicate the sensorial, tactile and embodied nature of dress and led to being awarded a Fulbright scholarship to work with The Drexel Digital Museum Project, Philadelphia, USA (2015). He has specialised in digital and multidisciplinary methods of curation and content creation and produced solutions for UK and international clients and collaborators including: White Line Projects, Southbank Centre, Centre for Sustainable Fashion, Centre for Fashion Enterprise, Royal Albert Hall and P1 China. Daniel’s work continues to explore the boundaries of physical and digital space while prioritising the human experience that is central to communication design.
Kim Coleman is an artist working predominantly in expanded moving image, light installation and performance, Kim’s work scrutinises the mechanics of collaboration, focusing on how people and things perform. Solo works and collaborative works with Jenny Hogarth have been commissioned by ICA (London), Kings Cross (London), Frieze Foundation (for Frieze London), (London), Edinburgh Art Festival, and Glasgow International Festival. Kim holds a BA (Hons) Fine Art from Edinburgh College of Art (2001) and an MA Fine Art from Chelsea College of Art & Design (2008). With Jenny Hogarth, Kim was a LUX Associate Artist (2009/10) and a NGS Artist Fellow (2011). For searchable histories of Kim's research and further information on current projects, visit kimcolemanprojects.com and kimcolemanjennyhogarth.co.uk. Kim has been Visiting Practitioner at numerous HE institutions including Glasgow School of Art; VIA, Denmark; Bath School of Art, and Grays, Aberdeen.
Antony Price is an accomplished photographer and post-production digital artist with over 15 years of industry experience. Past clients include The Face, Mixmag and Dazed & Confused. His expertise spans the areas of photography, film, editing, post-production, page layout, graphic design, typography and visual projection. Antony’s specialist skills are currently combined in his role as Creative Director of audio-visual company Anomalous Visuals and studio A_SPACE. Antony is also an experienced DJ with a background in promotion and an interest in London club culture. He is a nightlife photographer with an extensive archive of photographs that chart the evolution of London's musical subcultures from the 1980's to the present day. This archive has been the focus of two major exhibitions.
Charlotte Troy has a background in both fashion communication and art publishing. After graduating with a degree in Womenswear Design, she made clothes and accessories that were sold around the world, bought by celebrities and featured in magazines including i-D and Harper’s Bazaar. She also worked as a stylist receiving commissions from editors including Isabella Blow for the Sunday Times. In 1997, while working for Browns as a buyer and visual merchandiser, she helped establish the concept of Browns Focus as a platform for emerging design talent. Charlotte soon became interested in art publishing and has published many books and projects for her own imprint, CT Editions. She has served as a consultant and editor, with clients including The Hayward Gallery, The Contemporary Art Society, Deptford X, The National Museum of Media, and Philippa and Grayson Perry. She has collaborated with artists and fashion creatives in her publishing projects including Alexandra Shulman, Philip Saville, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Linda Sterling, Ed Ruscha, Penny Martin, Edward Enninful, Susan Hiller and Amos Vogel. Charlotte holds an MA in Book Publishing and an MA in Contemporary Art Theory from Goldsmiths. She is currently developing ideas for a visual listings magazine and her research interests are in aesthetics and psychological freedom.
Visiting Practitioners and Guest Lecturers include:
Guest Speakers and Visiting Practitioners
We are committed to making university education an achievable option for a wider range of people and seek to recruit students from diverse socio-economic, cultural and educational backgrounds. We are committed to supporting all our students in achieving their potential both during and after their courses.
This section includes information on how to apply, course entry requirements, selection criteria, information about interviews and portfolio advice.
Applications for 2018/19 entry for this course are now closed. Applications for 2019/20 entry will open in Autumn 2018.
You must apply through Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), where you’ll need the following information:
Go to ‘Apply’ from the UCAS home page, where you will be able to register and create a password that gives you unique access as you complete your application form.
Please note that the equal consideration deadline is 15 January.
Contact us on:
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7514 7344
Or you can use the UAL Course Enquiry Form
For full details on the application process, visit the Undergraduate application page.
This section includes information on how to apply, course entry requirements, selection criteria, information about interviews and portfolio advice.
International applicants may apply through one of three routes only:
Further information on applying via UCAS is provided on the Applying through UCAS page.
If applying through UCAS, you will need the following information:
For full details on the application process, visit the Undergraduate application page.
We continue to accept applications throughout the year, but please note that the equal consideration deadline is 15 January.
For full details on the application process, visit the Undergraduate application page or contact the UAL admissions team who can answer any specific questions that you may have regarding LCF's courses tailored for international students. This can include guidance for your portfolio, advice on the application process and fee advice. We offer a ‘drop-in’ facility for applicants who may be in London and wish to obtain further course and admissions information.
Entry to this course is highly competitive: applicants are expected to achieve, or already have, the course entry requirements detailed below.
The standard minimum entry requirements for this course are:
Exceptionally, applicants who do not meet these course entry requirements may still be considered if the course team judges the application 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.
All classes are conducted in English. If English is not your first language you will be asked to provide evidence of your English language ability when you enrol.
The level required by the University for this course is IELTS 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in each skill.
Please visit the UAL Language Requirements page. Read carefully and look at the relevant documents.
What we look for
The course team seeks to recruit students who can demonstrate:
For this course you will be required to upload a mini portfolio. Further instructions will be sent by the course administrator after application submission.
For this course your portfolio should show evidence of: drawing / presentation skills; examples of creative visual imagery; research skills; experimentation; and engagement with technology for image production.
Applicants will be expected to demonstrate the following at interview: a strong interest in, and awareness of, contemporary fashion; a cultural awareness of society and current global issues; visual awareness evidenced through portfolio work; an interest in, and knowledge of, digital and social media; a motivation for working in creative media; and a motivation to succeed on the course.
All application forms, personal statements and references are read and considered by the course team against the selection criteria listed in the Entry requirements and What we look for sections.
Depending on the quality of your application, you may be asked to submit a number of images of your work. If the course team wish to consider your application further, you will be invited to an interview where the course team will look at your portfolio and ask you 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 the College may not be able to re-schedule.
If you applied through UCAS the result of your application will be communicated to you via UCAS through ucastrack. You will only receive further communication directly from the College if your application has been successful. This will be in the form of a full offer pack including details of accommodation, fees, and other important information.
Deferred entry is normally only allowed in exceptional circumstances. Please contact us before you submit your application if you are considering applying for deferred entry.
Applicants on some courses may be invited to attend an Interview. Further details will be sent to you with your interview letter, confirming location and date. International applicants should contact the Admission Office by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org about portfolio requirements (if applicable), interview times and dates.
Please note: the information outlined is an indicative structure of the course. Whilst we will aim to deliver the course as described on this page, there may be situations where it is desirable or necessary for the University to make changes in course provision, for example because of regulatory requirements or operational efficiencies, before or after enrolment. If this occurs, we will communicate all major changes to all applicants and students who have either applied or enrolled on the course. Please note that due to staff research agreements or availability, not all of the optional modules listed may be available every year. In addition, the provision of course options which depend upon the availability of specialist teaching, or on a placement at another institution, cannot be guaranteed. Please check this element of the course with the course team before making a decision to apply.
We will update this webpage from time to time with new information as it becomes available. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please use the enquiry form above.
This applies for the 2018/19 academic year.
Tuition fees for undergraduate degree courses have been set at £9,250 per year for full-time study. This applies from the 2017/18 academic year, subject to changes in the law. 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.
This applies for the 2018/19 academic year.
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.
Find out about the accommodation options available and how much they will cost.
There are a number of scholarships and awards available to students on this course. Use our search tool to find out more information.
All of our undergraduate courses are concerned with the development of your personal and professional skills. On your course you will evolve from learning basic skills in your discipline through to a position where you are an independent creative thinker capable of making an effective contribution to the relevant sector of the fashion industry. Personal and Professional Development (PPD) skills are embedded in all units on every course. Speaker programmes with contributions from alumni, members of industry and others are a part of many courses, as are work placement opportunities in industry.
Graduates who wish to continue their education at postgraduate level are encouraged to progress to suitable courses within the College, the University or elsewhere.
Graduates from this course are well placed to take up a number of positions within the fashion media industry. Design and technical skills learnt on the course equip graduates to work as effective fashion communicators, where an overview of brand strategy and the ability to create and realise an effective creative vision across multiple platforms with a team of creative practitioners is required. Graduate destinations include Insight and Innovation Consultant at Brand Genetics, Digital Concept Designer at LVMH, Visual Studio Communications Assistant at COS and Team Assistant at The Communications Store.