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Contour Fashion BA (Hons)

Widely regarded by industry experts as one of the world’s best degrees dedicated to the design of intimate apparel, this course combines heritage, innovation and technical excellence.

Overview

Take a look at this short clip of creations on the catwalk by our Contour Fashion students.

Intimate apparel is a fast-growing multibillion-pound industry with diverse career opportunities across the globe. At the cutting-edge of the sector for 75 years, Contour Fashion at DMU is a unique course with unparalleled connections, producing industry-ready graduates who are handpicked to work with some of the best fashion houses in the world.

On this course you can specialise in lingerie, athleisure, swimwear, loungewear, nightwear, corsetry, bridalwear, men’s underwear, sportswear or medical applications. Building your understanding in a step-by-step approach from the ground up, you will develop specialist technical skills in 2-3D creative development, digital drawing, pattern cutting, grading, fit methodologies and manufacturing.

Innovation and sustainability are embedded throughout the course, alongside live client projects and opportunities to receive industry feedback on your work. Experienced tutors bring their industry expertise into your teaching and our state-of-the-art facilities for intimate apparel construction will push you to reach your full creative potential.

Key features

  • We are recognised as one of the country’s most sustainable fashion and textiles schools (Green Gown Awards, 2021) and one of the best fashion schools in the world for 2022 (CEOWORLD, 2022).
  • Our vast global alumni network spans several generations, with graduates working for major brands including Lounge Underwear, Stretchline, Gymshark, Starkers Group, Panache Lingerie, Coco de Mer, Curvy Kate, H&M Sweden, F&F, Bravissimo, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger Amsterdam, Inqube, Concepts Paris and Hunkemoller. 
  • Work on live projects with industry to gain valuable insight and the chance to secure work placements. Recent briefs have been set by Lounge Underwear, ASOS, Gymshark, H&M, John Lewis, Freetrain and Lycra.
  • The DMU Contour Fashion Show is a highlight of the intimate apparel industry’s annual calendar. Our 2022 graduates showcased their work to 120 industry partners including headline sponsors Lounge Underwear and Stretchline, alongside Aura, Panache Lingerie, Crystal Martin, Naturana, Gossard, Sweaty Betty, Skims, George at Asda, Next and River Island.
  • Enter prestigious national and international competitions to boost your industry exposure or undertake an optional placement year to put your skills into practice.
  • Benefit from Education 2030, where a simplified ‘block learning’ timetable means you will study one subject at a time and have more time to engage with your learning, receive faster feedback and enjoy a better study-life balance.
  • The award-winning Vijay Patel Building offers some of the finest facilities in the sector, with specialist industry-standard tools for intimate apparel construction. 

Follow Contour Fashion at DMU on Instagram.


Highlights from Contour Fashion Show 2022

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Student success:

Students impress leading lingerie brand Lounge

Students mark 75th year of Contour Fashion at DMU by wowing industry with a 'bold, inspiring and innovative' catwalk show

Lingerie by DMU grad worn by Billie Eilish in iconic shoot with Vogue

  • UK
  • EU/International

Institution code: D26

UCAS course code: W235

Duration: Three years full-time, four years full-time with a placement. Six years part-time.

Fees and funding: 

2023/24 tuition fees for UK students: £9,250.

Find out more about 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.

Duration: Three years full-time, four years with placement

Fees and funding: 

2023/24 tuition fees for international students: £15,250

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.

Entry criteria

Typical entry requirements 

We welcome applicants from a range of backgrounds.

  • Art and Design Foundation or
  • 112 points from at least 2 A levels 
  •  BTEC Extended Diploma DMM
  • International Baccalaureate: 26+ Points or
  • T Levels Merit

Plus five GCSEs grades 9-4 including English Language or Literature at grade 4 or above.

  • Pass Access with 30 Level 3 credits at Merit and GCSE English (Language or Literature) at grade 4 or above

We will normally require students to have had a break from full time education before undertaking the Access course.

  • We also accept the BTEC First Diploma plus two GCSEs including English Language or Literature at grade 4 or above

English language requirements

If English is not your first language an IELTS score of 6.0 overall with 5.5 in each band (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

Applicants with relevant qualifications will be invited to submit a portfolio of work. Please see our portfolio advice page for full details.

Non-standard applicants may be invited to attend an interview via MS Teams with a portfolio.

Applicants who receive an offer for this course for 2023 entry will be invited to attend an offer holder day. You’ll get to spend time with our teaching team, current students and be able to experience our fantastic facilities. Your email invite will be sent to the address you used to register when you applied, so keep an eye out and book to join us.

Structure and assessment

Education 2030

We want to ensure you have the best learning experience possible and a supportive and nurturing learning community. That’s why we’re introducing a new block model for delivering the majority of our courses, known as Education 2030. This means a more simplified timetable where you will study one subject at a time instead of several at once. You will have more time to engage with your learning and get to know the teaching team and course mates. You will receive faster feedback through more regular assessment, and have a better study-life balance to enjoy other important aspects of university life.

Read more about Education 2030
 

Course modules

Teaching and assessments

Awards and memberships

 

First year

Block 1: Contour Introduction

Block 2: Contour Creative

Block 3: Contour Consolidation

Block 4: Contour Collaborations

Second year

Block 1: Technical Inquiry

Block 2: Contour Futures

Block 3: Contour Exploration and Communication

Block 4: Consolidation project

Third year

Block 1: Creative Practice

Block 2: External Client

Block 3 and Block 4: Major project with cultural context

Structure

The focus of your first year will be to ‘Investigate’ through a grounding in research, concept development, 2D illustration, basic technical skills and design development. The second year aims to ‘Develop’ your skills and knowledge, building on the foundation gained in the first year. Your third year will ‘Consolidate’ your learning by bringing together all the skills you have learnt into a final product that reflects your chosen area of focus and individual design aesthetic. You will be taught through a combination of lectures, seminars, practical studio sessions, tutorials, workshops and self-directed study. Your Personal Tutor will support you throughout your learning journey and will encourage you to reach your full potential.

External client projects with industry are embedded in each year and you will receive invaluable feedback by showcasing your work to a panel of industry experts. You will be taught by highly experienced staff who have all worked in industry and are undertaking cutting-edge research that feeds into the global intimate apparel sector. This is complemented by guest lectures and workshops from our industry partners. 

You are encouraged to enter prestigious design competitions in which we have a proud history of success, including The Leathersellers Award, Fashanne Awards and The Hand & Lock Prize. 

Contact hours
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.

 

Ranked as one of the best fashion schools in the world for 2022 (CEOWORLD, 2022) and in the top 10 in the UK for 'career after 15 months' (The Guardian University Guide 2022), our innovative and widely-respected courses help prepare students for fulfilling futures in this fast-paced industry.

Green Gown Award

The School of Fashion and Textiles won the Next Generation Learning and Skills Award in the Green Gowns Awards 2021 and received global recognition in the International Green Gown Awards 2022. These awards are the gold standard for sustainability in universities around the world and this puts DMU at the forefront of sustainable fashion and textiles education in the UK. Sustainability is at the heart of our curriculum and teaching, empowering our students to be agents of change within the industry.

UK Fashion and Textiles Association

We are members of the UK Fashion and Textile Association which ensures our teaching stays up to date with the latest developments in the sector and provides valuable industry links that enhance our courses.

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UKFT partner logo

 

Facilities and features

Art and design facilities

Our award-winning Vijay Patel building has been designed to provide the space and facilities where all of our art and design students can develop their ideas and flourish. 

The creative industries require imaginative graduates who can develop new ideas and products. Students use our sophisticated and contemporary workshops, labs and studios to experiment and test in the same way they will in industry, while the open and transparent spaces in the building encourage collaboration between disciplines. In doing so, the building prepares students for industry and helps develop them as future leaders in their respective fields. 

Take a look at our stunning showcase of the building at dmu.ac.uk/aad.

More flexible ways to learn

We offer an equitable and inclusive approach to learning and teaching for all our students. Known as the Universal Design for Learning (UDL), our teaching approach has been recognised as sector leading. UDL means we offer a wide variety of support, facilities and technology to all students, including those with disabilities and specific learning differences.

Just one of the ways we do this is by using ‘DMU Replay’ – a technology providing all students with anytime access to audio and/or visual material of lectures. This means students can revise taught material in a way that suits them best, whether it's replaying a recording of a class or adapting written material shared in class using specialist software.

Campus Centre

The home of  De Montfort Students' Union, (DSU) our Campus Centre offers a welcoming and lively hub for student life. Conveniently located at the heart of campus, it includes a convenience store, a Subway and a Starbucks. Here you can find the DSU-owned charitable accommodation service Sulets and DSU’s shop, SUpplies, selling art supplies, stationery and clothing, and printing and binding services. The building is also home to the DSU officer team. 

Opportunities and careers

Find the people who will open doors for you

DMU's award-winning careers service provides guaranteed work experience opportunities DMU Works
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Placements

During this course you will have the option to complete a paid placement year, an invaluable opportunity to put the skills developed during your degree into practice. This insight into the professional world will build on your knowledge in a real-world setting, preparing you to progress onto your chosen career. 

Previous students have worked with Agent Provocateur, ASOS, Boux Avenue, Calvin Klein, Curvy Kate, Gymshark, H&M Sweden, Heidi Klein, Seafolly Australia, Tommy Hilfiger Amsterdam, Something Wicked, Tisja Damen, Anekdot, Understatement, Stretchline, Studio Pia, Crease Studios and DSTM.

Our careers programme DMU Works can help to hone your professional skills with mock interviews and practice aptitude tests, and an assigned personal tutor will support you throughout your placement. 

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DMU Global

Our innovative international experience programme DMU Global 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 DMU Global, we offer a wide range of opportunities including on-campus and UK-based activities, overseas study, internships, faculty-led field trips and volunteering, as well as Erasmus+ and international exchanges.  

Students on this course have been to Paris to visit the Salon International de la Lingerie and Interfilière Paris  trade show, along with a cultural experience of the city’s exhibitions, architecture and shops. 

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Graduate careers

The course produces highly sought-after graduates, acclaimed for their technical skills and design excellence, who work in senior positions for brands all over the world such as Abercrombie and Fitch, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, O'Neil, Superdry,  John Lewis, Ted Baker, Boux Avenue, ASOS, Agent Provocateur and New Look. Others have set up their own lingerie labels, including Nichole de Carle, Karolina Laskowska, Elissa Poppy, Azarla Swim and Roshni Desai.

Gemma Cheyne and Elissa Grainger have started their own thriving brands after embracing the support and opportunities at DMU. 

Roshni Desai has launched her own environmentally-friendly lingerie company with support from DMU's Crucible Project and recently scooped the top prize at the Leicestershire Innovation Awards 2022.

 

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