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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

Watch: Take a look behind the scenes of our Contour Fashion students' photoshoot of their final year collections and find out what inspired them.


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

Specialise in lingerie, athleisure, swimwear, loungewear, nightwear, corsetry or menswear, and study a range of topics that will develop specialist skills. These include 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. In your final year, you will choose to specialise in either an aesthetic or a technical route. 

Our industry-led curriculum will prepare you to innovate and adapt to changes within this dynamic sector. You will develop skills in athleisure products - now in high demand following the global shift to remote working which has led to a growth in comfort-inspired, fashion-driven work attire.

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. 

The prestigious annual Contour Catwalk Show in London gives you the opportunity to showcase your final collection to a wide range of industry professionals and the public. It will help you to network with brands representing the industry and has become a must-see event for talent spotters and forecasters of future trends.

Key features

  • 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 ASOS, Gymshark, H&M and Lycra.

  • Benefit from opportunities to 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 with industry experts 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. 

  • 100% of our Contour Fashion graduates from summer 2017 are in work or further study after graduating (Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education 2016-17 report). 

  • 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.  

  • We provide core workshop materials at no cost, and give cash awards – £150, £200 and £300 in years one, two and three respectively – to support personal materials/printing costs*. 

  • Contour Fashion (Communication) BA (Hons) is a related course aimed at those who wish to pursue a career in marketing and promotion within the intimate apparel industry.

 

Scholarships:

DMU Sports Scholarship
Apply for the DMU Sports Scholarship, worth up to £6,000.

DMU Global High Flyers Award
Our dedicated DMU Global High Flyers Award offers ambitious students a discount of up to £1,000 towards a DMU Global opportunity (terms and conditions apply).

More courses like this:

Contour Fashion (Communication) BA (Hons)
Fashion Design BA (Hons)
Fashion Textile Design 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 2020/21 tuition full-time fees will be £9,250 per year.

Find out more about course tuition fees and available funding.

Students of this course qualify for financial support as part of The DMU Difference. We will provide awards of £150, £200 and £300, for students in years one, two and three respectively, towards materials and specialist printing*.

*Awards are available to students undertaking full-time study and pro-rata for part-time students. Students on placement and therefore not incurring such costs are not eligible for financial assistance.

Important information on The DMU Difference.

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, call us on +44 (0)116 2 50 60 70.

Key facts for international students

Duration: Three years full-time

Fees and funding international: For 2020/21 tuition fees will be £13,750 per year.

Find out more about course fees and available funding.

Students of this course qualify for financial support as part of The DMU Difference. We will provide awards of £150, £200 and £300, for students in years one, two and three respectively, towards materials and specialist printing*.

*Awards are available to students undertaking full-time study and pro-rata for part-time students. Students on placement and therefore not incurring such costs are not eligible for financial assistance.

Important information on The DMU Difference.

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, call us on +44 (0)116 2 50 60 70.

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

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 in Art and Design 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

International students

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

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.

Structure and assessment

 

Course modules

Teaching and assessments

IIIA

 

First year

  • Contour Technology
  • Pattern Cutting & Construction
  • Visual Communication
  • Design Cultures
  • Trend & Product Development

Second year

  • Contour Applications
  • Progressive Pattern Cutting & Construction
  • Visual Communication
  • Design Cultures
  • Progressive Trend & Product Development

Third year

  • Advanced Pattern Cutting & Construction
  • Final Collection – Aesthetic / Technical
  • Design Cultures
  • Professional Practise and Portfolio

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
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

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

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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. 

Thanks to our exchange agreement with Hong Kong Polytechnic University (HKPU), two students are able to spend one month studying at HKPU and one month working with their industry partner - Clover International. Contour Fashion also has an established placement opportunity with GAP, USA for a 10-week placement. 

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 international brands 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. 

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.  

Successful graduates Gemma Cheyne and Elissa Grainger have started their own thriving brands after embracing the support and opportunities at DMU. Elissa’s high-fashion lingerie is made of a pioneering blend of latex with exquisite guipure lace and has earned her a number of impressive accolades, including a prestigious deal with leading online retailer ASOS. 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.” 

 

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Art and Design facilities
Accommodation
Backstage at the Contour Fashion catwalk

Contour Catwalk Show

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

New Art and Design facilities in the Vijay Patel building

Vijay Patel Building

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.  

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We offer a range of high-standard accommodation for our students, with 13 halls of residence and around 4,100 rooms, all of which are a short distance from our 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.

 
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