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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.

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Overview

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

Established in 1947, our course has unparalleled links with the UK and global intimate apparel industry, providing opportunities to work with big brands on live projects, work placements and competitions.

With a focus on sustainability and innovation, this course covers a range of specialist areas and will prepare you for the changing demands within this dynamic sector. Specialise in lingerie, athleisure, swimwear, loungewear, nightwear, corsetry, menswear, sportswear or medical applications. You will develop specialist skills in conceptual design and application, pattern cutting, grading, fit methodologies, technical excellence and manufacturing. In your final year, you will choose to specialise in either an aesthetic or a technical route. 

Your base will be the award-winning Vijay Patel Building, home to all of our art and design students, which provides both the space and facilities to foster creative thinking.

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).
  • Develop the technical skills, market proficiency, design expertise and understanding of 2-3D creative development needed to innovate in this fast-evolving sector.
  • Work on live projects with industry experts to gain valuable skills and insight into the industrial and commercial challenges of design practice. Recent briefs have been set by global brands such as Lounge Underwear, ASOS, Gymshark, H&M and Lycra.
  • Enter prestigious national and international competitions to boost your industry exposure.  Previous graduates have won a number of accolades, including Boux Avenue’s Lingerie Designer of the Year and the Worshipful Company of Leathersellers award. 
  • This course has a global reputation in the intimate apparel industry, with recent graduates employed by ASOS, Gymshark, Agent Provocateur, Triumph, H&M, Clover International, Heidi Klein and Nichole de Carle. 
  • Gain valuable international experience as part of your studies with our DMU Global programme. Previous trips have taken students overseas to visit global brands including Victoria’s Secret, Aerie and Adore Me in New York.
  • 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.

Follow Contour Fashion at DMU on Instagram.

The Green Gown Award puts DMU at the forefront of sustainable fashion and textiles education in the UK. Our comprehensive approach to sustainability is empowering our students to be agents of change within the industry.

Professor Carolyn Hardaker, Head of School of Fashion and Textiles

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 

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.

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.

Find out more information 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

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 Leathersellers 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
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.

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.

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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 completed a variety of work placements with high-end designers including Agent Provocateur, ASOS, Boux Avenue, Calvin Klein, Curvy Kate, Gymshark, H&M Sweden, Heidi Klein, Seafolly Australia, Tommy Hilfiger Amsterdam and Triumph. 

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 undertaken DMU Global trips 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. Students have also travelled further afield to visit global brands including  and Adore Me in New York. 

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Graduate careers

The course produces highly sought-after graduates, acclaimed for their technical skills and design excellence, who work for brands all over the world such as Abercrombie and Fitch, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, O’Neill, Superdry, John Lewis, Ted Baker Intimates, Boux Avenue, ASOS, Agent Provocateur and New Look. Others have set up their own lingerie labels, including Nicole de Carle, Lascivious, Tutti Rouge, Made by Niki and Lorna Drew.  

Successful graduates Gemma Cheyne and Elissa Grainger started their own thriving brands after embracing the support and opportunities at DMU. For Elissa the technical skills she learned on the course were invaluable: “You get pushed to your boundaries and you take all of that with you in the next step.” 

 

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

 

Take your next steps