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Contour Fashion BA (Hons)

Established in 1947 to support the local corset industry, Contour Fashion is the oldest and most successful degree-level course in intimate apparel and is widely regarded by industry experts as one of the best in the world.   


Reasons to study Contour Fashion BA (Hons) at DMU:

  • Internationally renowned course
    with recent graduates employed by: ASOS, Agent Provocateur, Triumph, H&M, Clover International, Heidi Klein and Nicole de Carle
  • Specialist areas of study
    in lingerie, bodywear, swimwear, loungewear, nightwear, corsetry, menswear and sportswear
  • Develop specialist skills
    in conceptual design and application, pattern cutting, grading, fit methodologies, technical excellence and manufacturing and presentation formats to equip you for industry roles in the UK and worldwide
  • Work experience and placements
    opportunities with the likes of Abercrombie & Fitch, Gossard, Seafolly, Agent Provocateur, Aubade, GAP New York and H&M Sweden
  • The Contour Catwalk Show
    gives you the opportunity to showcase your final collections/products to a wide range of industry professionals and public through a varied means
  • International design competitions
    gives you the opportunity to enter and win awards such as Lingerie Designer of the Year, The Leathersellers Award, as well as experiencing external client projects with global brands
  • #DMUglobal is fully integrated into the course
    via overseas trips, international study, and the representation of the course in the GREAT Festivals of Creativity in Brazil, Shanghai and Beijing

You are introduced to the academic, professional, industrial and commercial challenges of design practice. There are opportunities to work with companies on live projects, work placements and competition awards, and the course has unparalleled links with the UK and global intimate apparel industry.

The course covers visual research; drawing and design development; illustration; trend prediction; contour garment design; pattern cutting and making for lingerie, swimwear and nightwear, sportswear; CAD for print generation, fashion illustration, fit and grading via Lectra garment technology; contextual studies; designing for external clients; professional practice and a final collection suitable for presentation to industry and public display. In the final year, students choose to specialise in either an aesthetic or a technical route.

Contour Fashion 2016



At DMU, we are committed to helping our graduates enhance their careers and personal development through further study. We are currently finalising our scholarship packages for 2017 entry.

More courses like this:

Fashion Design BA (Hons)
Fashion Textiles and Accessories BA (Hons)

  • UK/EU
  • International

Key facts for UK/EU students

Institution code: D26

UCAS course code: W235

Duration: Three years full-time, six years part-time.

Fees and funding: For 2017/18 tuition fees will be £9,250 (subject to Parliamentary approval)

Find out more about course tuition fees and available funding.

Additional costs: Here at DMU we provide excellent learning resources, including the Kimberlin Library and specialist workshops and studios. However, you should be aware that sometimes you may incur additional costs for this programme.

Contact us: For more information complete our online enquiry form or call us on +44 (0)116 2 50 60 70.

Key facts for international students

Duration: Three years full-time

Fees and funding 2016/17: £11,750

Find out more about course fees and available funding.

Additional costs: Here at DMU we provide excellent learning resources, including the Kimberlin Library and specialist workshops and studios. However, you should be aware that sometimes you may incur additional costs for this programme.

Contact us: For more information complete our online enquiry form or call us on +44 (0)116 2 50 60 70.

International students can apply to study at DMU directly using our online applications portal or direct application form.

Entry criteria

Typical entry requirements 

A good portfolio and normally:

  • Art and Design Foundation or
  • 112 points from at least 2 A ‘levels and including grade C in Art and Design or
  • BTEC Extended Diploma DMM in an Art and Design related subject or
  • International Baccalaureate: 26+ Points including Art and Design

GCSEs - Five GCSEs grades A* - C including English Language or Literature at grade C or above.

Access - Pass QAA Accredited with at least 15 credits in Art and Design at grade Merit and GCSE English (Language or Literature) at grade C.

We also accept the BTEC First Diploma plus two GCSEs including English at grade C or above.

International students

If English is not your first language an IELTS score of 6.0 or equivalent when you start the course is essential. English Language tuition, delivered by our British Council accredited Centre for English Language Learning, is available both before and throughout the course if you need it.

Interview and Portfolio

UK applicants with relevant qualifications will be invited to bring their portfolio of work to an open day and interview. Overseas applicants will be invited to send samples of their work. Please see our Contour Fashion BA (Hons) portfolio advice for full details.

UCAS Tariff changes

Students applying for courses starting in September 2017 will be made offers based on a new UCAS Tariff. Find out more.

Structure and assessment


Course modules

Teaching and assessments



First year

  • Complete Contour Studies
  • Integrated Contour Studies

Second year

  • Progressive Contour Studies
  • Contour Applications

Third year

  • Advanced Contour Studies
  • Final Major Studies


Teaching is a broad based mix of formal lectures, group seminars, tutorials, practical workshops, studio-based activities and visual and verbal presentations, often to external industry representatives. Assessment occurs generally at the close of each teaching module but may be broken down into smaller sections to deliver verbal critique of elements of the module and to acclimatise the student to public presentations.

Students are expected to engage in self-directed learning when not in scheduled lessons developing work and encouraged to maintain a level of drawn work in sketch books to support practical sessions.

Learning through practical application and manufacture are key components. The course is directed by highly experienced staff who have all worked in industry and advise and train intimate apparel and the wider fashion industry globally. The course benefits from visiting lecturers from the wider fashion/intimates industry and often staff from other courses to support teaching and learning e.g. graphic, typology and presentation skills.

Students engage with international design competitions such as The Leathersellars Award, The Hand & Lock Prize and have won awards including New Lingerie Designer of the Year. External client projects with industry are a feature of the course and have included: Luxury French label Aubade, Stretchline Innovation Prize, Gossard Game Changing Competition, Lepel Swimwear Competition, Miraclesuit Swimwear USA, and H&M Lingerie competition Sweden.

Gillian Proctor Programme Leader for Contour Fashion received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the UK Lingerie Awards in 2013 in recognition of her career spanning the past 30 years. Gillian chairs the IIIA and staff team have received numerous teaching awards. 

Contact hours
You will be taught through a combination of lectures, tutorials, seminars, group work and self-directed study. Assessment is through coursework (presentations, essays and reports). Your precise timetable will depend on the optional modules you choose to take, however, in your first year you will normally attend around 14 hours of timetabled taught sessions (lectures and tutorials) each week, and we expect you to undertake at least 25 further hours of independent study to complete project work and research.


International Institute of Intimate Apparel (IIIA)

The Course has an unofficial advisory body in the International Institute of Intimate Apparel (IIIA) which comprises representation from all aspects of the intimates industry globally; including; Directors and CEOs from Manufacturing, fabric suppliers, technology, retail, trend prediction, journalism, and global sportswear and lingerie brands. The IIIA meet twice annually at key European trade shows (where student work is showcased) to discuss advancements in the industry, student placement and job opportunities, travel bursary support and integration of technological advancements. Institute members contribute to the Professional Practise module at level 6 as Visiting Lecturers and work as mentors for the students during final collections. Level 6 students produce bi annual newsletters for the IIIA outlining student achievement, competition results and employment outcomes.

Facilities and features

Art and design facilities

Contour Fashion studios include full-size pattern cutting tables, Lectra Modaris pattern generation system, Macpi Moulding machine, Hashima Heat Press, industrial steam irons, a visualiser, the latest computerised lockstitch sewing machines, specialist contour sewing machines and specialist intimate apparel mannequins.

You will be encouraged to work with a breadth of materials common to the intimate apparel industry e.g. stretch and rigid fabrics, while embracing experimentation in other materials and processes.


We have 1,500 study places and 650 computer workstations across four sites on campus. These give access to more than half a million publications, an extensive range of DVDs, e-resources and thousands of electronic journals. 

The main Kimberlin Library is open 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year (other than in exceptional circumstances).

Award-winning staff are on hand to help and there is a café for study breaks. We offer a range of workshops, drop-in and one-to-one sessions, and our Just Ask service provides email and telephone support.


Learning zones

Our comfortable and well-equipped study areas provide a range of environments to suit your needs.

Originally set up in our main Kimberlin Library, the learning zones proved so popular that more were created in the Eric Wood Building and Greenhouse. These flexible spaces are ideal whether you are working as a group, practising a presentation or working quietly on your own.

They feature workstations with power supplies for laptops, plus bookable syndicate rooms with interactive whiteboards and DVD players. Eduroam wi-fi is available across all campus locations.


Opportunities and careers



Students have completed work experience and placements with Seafolly Australia, H&M Sweden, Agent Provocateur, Abercrombie & Fitch, Triumph, Charnos, Gossard, Made by Niki, Bordelle, Curvy Kate, Crystal Martin, Jenny Packham and Heidi Klein.

We have an exchange agreement with Hong Kong Polytechnic University (HKPU) which enables two students to spend one month studying at HKPU and one month working with industry partner - Clover International.

Contour Fashion also has a placement opportunity with GAP, USA for a 10 week placement.

We also have an optional year out between level five and six with industry placements available.



This is our innovative international experience programme which aims to enrich your studies and expand your cultural horizons – helping you to become a global graduate, equipped to meet the needs of employers across the world. Through #DMUglobal, we offer a wide range of opportunities including on-campus and UK activities, overseas study, internships, faculty-led field trips and volunteering, as well as Erasmus+ and international exchanges.

#DMUglobal supports the first year trip to Paris in January to visit the Salon de la Lingerie and Interfiliere trade show, along with a cultural experience of Paris exhibitions, architecture and shops. The trip is open to all year students too.

Contour Fashion has been well represented as a part of the GREAT Festival of Creativity where work from the course, and our annual catwalk show DVD were showcased in Brazil, Shanghai and Beijing.


Graduate careers

The course produces highly sought-after graduates, acclaimed for their technical skills and design excellence, who work for international brands such as Abercrombie and Fitch, Moving Comfort, Victoria’s Secret USA, Triumph International, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Stretchline Sri Lanka, Clover International Hong Kong, Seafolly, O’Neill, Ace Style, Superdry, House of Fraser, Heidi Klein, John Lewis, Eveden, Ted Baker Intimates, Jenny Packham, Boux Avenue, Asos, Panache, Agent Provocateur, Aubade, Courtaulds, New Look, Tesco, H&M Sweden, Intimas Group plc.

Recent graduates have taken up job opportunities in the USA, Australia, Sri Lanka, France, Taiwan, Canada, China and Hong Kong. Others have set up their own lingerie labels including Nicole de Carle, Lascivious, Tutti Rouge, Made by Niki, and Lorna Drew. 

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How to apply

We welcome applications from UK and international students with a wide range of qualifications and experience.

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More about your DMU

Festival of Creativity
Vijay Patel Building
Backstage at the Contour Fashion catwalk

Contour Catwalk Show

The Contour Catwalk Show celebrates the outstanding work produced by the students on the course.


Vijay Patel Building

The new Vijay Patel Building at the heart of DMU will offer sector leading facilities to students on our Art and Design courses.



Find out why our students are proud to say #IchoseDMU. Find out more.



We offer a range of high-standard accommodation for our students, with nine halls of residence – and around 2,300 rooms – all of which are within easy walking distance of the campus. There is a choice of mixed or same-gender flats, shared kitchen and laundry facilities, furnished bedrooms (some with en suite facilities) and internet access. Find out more.

Fees and funding
Fees and funding

Find out what financial help you can access during your studies at DMU.

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