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Contour Fashion BA (Hons)

About the course

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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

  • Specialisms in lingerie, underwear, bodywear, swimwear, loungewear, nightwear, sportswear and corsetry

  • You will develop the specialist skills in design, pattern cutting, grading, fit methodologies and technical excellence to equip you for industry roles in the UK and worldwide

  • Students have completed work experience and placements with the likes of Abercrombie & Fitch, Gossard and Agent Provocateur

  • The opportunity to showcase your final designs to industry at a London catwalk show

  • Recent graduates from this internationally renowned course are employed by Superdry, Agent Provocateur and Triumph

  • Our students and graduates regularly enter and win international design competitions such as Lingerie Designer of the Year 

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 close links with the UK and global intimate apparel industry.

The course covers visual research, drawing and design development, style and colour, contour garment design, pattern cutting and making for lingerie, swimwear and nightwear, colour prediction, computer aided design, CAD for fashion illustration, fit and grading, contour garment technology, contextual studies, designing for external clients, professional practice and a final collection suitable for a catwalk show. In the third year you can specialise in either an aesthetic or technical route.

You will also have the opportunity for a meaningful international experience as part of your studies through #DMUGlobal


Key facts

UCAS course code:  W235

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

Institution code: D26

Entry and admission criteria

A good portfolio and normally:

  • Art and Design Foundation or
  • 280 points from at least 2 A'levels and including grade C in Art and Design or
  • BTEC Extended Diploma DMM or
  • International Baccalaureate: 28+ Points

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

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

Interview and Portfolio

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

Overseas applicants will be invited to send samples of their work. For further details check our international students portfolio page.

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.

Teaching and assessment

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. 

Learning through making garments is a key component. The course is directed by highly experienced staff who have all worked in industry and advise contour fashion companies globally.

Gillian Proctor programme leader for Contour Fashion chairs the International Institute of Intimate Apparel (IIIA) and has recently received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the UK Lingerie Awards 2013 in recognition of her career spanning the past 30 year.

Course modules

Year one

  • Complete Contour Fashion Studies
  • Integrated Contour Studies

Year two

  • Progressive Contour Studies
  • Contour Design and Technology
  • Corsets and Swimwear

Year three

  • Advanced Contour Studies
  • Major Project
Note: All modules are subject to change in order to keep content current.

Work experience and placements

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

Graduate careers

The course produces highly sought-after graduates, acclaimed for their technical skills and design excellence, who work for international brands such as Marks & Spencer, Next, Abercrombie and Fitch, Triumph International, George at Asda, Fleur T, Tommy Hilfiger, Ace Style, Superdry, House of Fraser, Stretchline, Ace Style, Heidi Klein, John Lewis, Evedon, Ted Baker Intimates, Agent Provocateur, Victoria’s Secret, New Look, H&M and Intimas Group plc.

Recent graduates have taken up job opportunities in the USA, Australia, China and Hong Kong. Others have set up their own lingerie labels. Graduates may also choose to progress to MA study or teaching.

Fees and funding

UK/EU Fees: £9000 per year
International Fees:  £11,750 per year 

Learn more about fees and funding information 2016.

It is likely there will be some additional costs wherever you choose to study. Here at DMU, we provide excellent learning resources, including the Kimberlin Library and specialist laboratories and studios. However, you should be aware that sometimes you may incur additional costs, which vary from course to course. We provide full details of all course fees, but these extra costs may include general living expenses, field trips, travel for work placement opportunities, materials, additional text books and others such as supplementary printing.


Contour Fashion studios include full-size pattern cutting tables, Lectra pattern generation system, the latest computerised lockstitch sewing machines and specialist contour sewing machines.

You are 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, often working closely with an industry partner. Industry offers vital support for materials and components but students need to buy fabrics and some equipment.

Art and Design Facilities

Expenditure for final collections can vary from £100 upwards to £800 and where luxury lace fabrics and trimmings are used, can be even higher. Students are encouraged to be realistic with fabric selection. Expenditure does not equate to a better creative or degree outcome.

How to apply

UK and EU students are advised to apply through UCAS at

International students can apply to study at DMU directly using our online applications portal.

Contact details

For more information please contact:

Online enquiry form
Telephone enquiries:  +44 (0)116 2 50 60 70

Awards and competitions

Students regularly enter and win international design competitions such as Lingerie Designer of the Year and the Triumph International Award, and there are live industry projects with Gilly Hicks, Curvy Kate and Abercrombie & Fitch.

Equipment and course costs

Equipment List 2015 (PDF)

Course Costs 2015 (PDF)

The above documents are provided as a guide and are subject to change.

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