Key facts

Entry requirements

112 or DMM

Additional entry requirements apply to this course. Full entry requirements

UCAS code

W224

Institution code

D26

Duration

3 yrs full-time

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

Fees

2024/25 UK tuition fees:
£9,250

2024/25 international tuition:
£15,750

Additional costs

Entry requirements

112 or DMM

Additional entry requirements apply to this course. Full entry requirements

UCAS code

W224

Institution code

D26

Duration

3 yrs full-time

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

Fees

2024/25 UK tuition fees:
£9,250

2024/25 international tuition:
£15,750

Additional costs

You will learn how to develop your design ability, create garments and communicate your design vision through pattern‑making, sewing workshops and 3D digital design.

Dive deep into the ever-evolving world of fashion with this dynamic course, gaining a comprehensive understanding of trend analysis, design, retail management, and supply chain logistics. You'll also have the chance to collaborate with industry professionals, visit fashion companies, and engage in real-world buying experiences that will prepare you for a successful career in this exciting field.

Our dedicated faculty team is committed to providing you with a supportive learning environment, ensuring that you have access to the resources and guidance needed to thrive academically and professionally. You will learn how to develop your design ability, create garments and communicate your design vision through pattern-making, sewing workshops and 3D digital design.

We know that it is can be difficult to choose between degree programmes, so we have structured the first year to offer your design specialism in one block with another three blocks taught alongside students from the Marketing, Merchandising and Fashion Business programme. This gives you the chance to experience other course routes, and with guidance, we will help you move to one of our other subjects if another one resonates with you.

Block teaching designed around you

You deserve a positive teaching and learning experience, where you feel part of a supportive and nurturing community. That’s why most students will enjoy an innovative approach to learning using block teaching, where you will study one module at a time. You’ll benefit from regular assessments – rather than lots of exams at the end of the year – and a simple timetable that allows you to engage with your subject and enjoy other aspects of university life such as sports, societies, meeting friends and discovering your new city. By studying with the same peers and tutor for each block, you’ll build friendships and a sense of belonging. Read more about block teaching.

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What you will study

Block 1: Fashion Consumer and Marketplace

In this module, you will study the fundamental principles of marketing, covering key concepts such as the marketing mix, segmentation, targeting, and positioning. This knowledge will enable you to understand the consumer and craft detailed customer personas, aiding in the identification of a brand’s target audience.

You will gain insights into commercial awareness and what is meant by the marketplace, exploring both traditional brick-and-mortar stores and the dynamic realm of e-commerce. You will also examine the future of the fashion retail experience, gaining a comprehensive overview of this evolving landscape.

Additionally, this module will introduce you to the intricacies of fashion roles and responsibilities. You will learn practical skills in computer aided design (CAD), fabric identification, and construction methods. By understanding how different garment qualities cater to distinct target customers, you will gain a good insight into fashion product.

Assessment: 100% report

Block 2: Design and Development

Creative and cultural influences will be identified and explored to develop trend led design development. Options of styling and silhouette will be examined so design work can be justified. It is expected that you will be able to problem-solve and form opinion on suitable design outcomes through practical experimentation in pattern cutting and construction. Critical reflection should develop through the review of self-progress and consultation with the tutor and peers. Computer-aided design skills will be developed to support student enquiry in using media to present outcomes.

Assessment: 100% portfolio

Block 3: Fashion Lifecycle

This module explores the buying process from trend and colour prediction, range planning, product development and the role of sustainable sourcing, through critical path management to sales analysis and trading. You will communicate and present ideas through Adobe Creative Suite to develop a range of garments, implementing knowledge gained on fabric identification. Adobe skills will be developed enabling you to become CAD proficient, while developing your own digital portfolio.

Assessment: 100% digital portfolio

Block 4: Sustainable Futures

This module engages you in personal reflection and development with consideration to your professionalism and your future impact in the fashion world. The module content is further underpinned by theoretical studies delivered by the Design Cultures to contextualise current practice within an historical framework. You will consider origins and influences - how traditions develop and evolve in response to social and political - as well as research methods, visual literacy, and the skills for academic writing. Sessions will promote interaction and analytical thinking with an understanding of inclusive and ethical practice.

Assessment: 50% presentation and 50% assignment

Block 1: Buying and Professional Practice

This module explores the buying process from trend and colour prediction, range planning, product development and the role of sustainable sourcing, through critical path management to sales analysis and trading. You will communicate and present ideas through Adobe Creative Suite to develop a range of garments, implementing knowledge gained on fabric identification. Adobe skills will be developed enabling students to become CAD proficient, while developing their own digital portfolio.

Assessment: 100% digital portfolio

Block 2: Design Innovation and Sustainable Futures

This module teaches the fundamental principles of sustainable design innovation and the future of fashion within a global context. The module will examine the key issues and considerations of sustainability from a design innovation perspective. The module will introduce the circular economy with consideration of the implications of cost versus planet. You will explore and apply relevant theoretical concepts in the areas of design innovation, sustainability, and fashion business.

Assessment: 50% assignment and 50% assignment

Block 3: Fashion Buying Professional Practice

This module will examine the fundamental principles of fashion buying within a global context. It will equip you with a sound knowledge of key tasks and considerations in buying fashion products from a global supply base. The module explores open costings, negotiation, key fabrics and fabric testing, garment production and the management of the buying process. The module will examine the day-to-day role and responsibilities of a buyer within the buying cycle and critical path. It will examine the global sourcing environment including logistics, legal implications, and supplier management.

Assessment: 100% coursework

Block 4: Fashion Design Practice

This module will enable the student to experience design for Brand Licence and retail. Design concepts will be developed through guidance to build confidence in drawing upon trend research to produce fashion ranges for a specific retailer. You will be expected to investigate relevant options of design and construction detail that will include embellishment techniques. Garment realisation and communication will be developed through practical experience in CAD labs and construction workshops. Critical reflection will develop through the review of self-progress and consultation with the tutor and peers.

Assessment: 100% coursework

Block 1 and 2 Sustainable Sourcing and Supply Management & Collaboration with Industry

Sustainable Sourcing and Supply Management

This module focuses on the sourcing of a textile product and examines some of the global supply issues faced by buyers and merchandisers. Set within a commercial context, you will select a textile product, together with a specific type of retail outlet in the UK. You will evaluate country-of-origin, and consider flexibility of supply, managing quality, international distribution and supply chains, international political legislation, and sustainability.

Assessment: 100% assignment

And

Collaboration with Industry

This module is designed to develop your portfolio and product development / merchandising skills. The module will be based around national competition briefs and / or Industry collaborative projects which address product development skills. You will execute research, market identification, product development / design and range creation. This module is largely a 2D exercise and affords you the experience of developing a portfolio, developing CAD and verbal communication skills.

Assessment: 100% coursework

Block 3 and 4: Major Design Project or Major Research Project

Major Design Project

This module will examine and bring together all pre-acquired skills from throughout the course into a major design buying project. The module will include all areas of the buying process from market and customer research, through to theme creation, product development, range building and wardrobe creation of a range of styles. Emphasis will be on you identifying a specific market level and product range, which you wish to base your project work around.

Assessment: 75% digital and 25% assignment

OR

Major Research Project

This module will allow you to select a topic to research and create a piece of original work under supervision. The project will provide three options of research:

  • A dissertation
  • An entrepreneurial project that identifies a product area for development and demands a business plan up to product launch
  • A work-based project where you liaise with a company to develop an improvement project that focuses on a need, and through research and investigation can propose well justified solutions.

Assessment: 85% written and 15% presentation

Note: All modules are indicative and based on the current academic session. Course information is correct at the time of publication and is subject to review. Exact modules may, therefore, vary for your intake in order to keep content current. If there are changes to your course we will, where reasonable, take steps to inform you as appropriate.

Structure

This includes design studio practice, formal lectures, group seminars, tutorials, lab work and practical workshops. There are regular tutorials and reviews which allow you to reflect and develop your work ready for your final presentation at the end of the year.

Contact hours

You will be taught through a combination of lectures, tutorials, seminars, group work and self-directed study. Assessment is through coursework (presentations, phase-tests, 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 15 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.

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Our facilities

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.

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. It is home to a wide range of resources and facilities, including:

  • Fashion studios: The building has a number of fashion studios, where students can design, create, and prototype their garments.
  • Textile workshops: The building has a number of textile workshops, where students can learn how to work with a variety of textiles, including fabrics, yarns, and fibers.
  • Fashion technology labs: The building has a number of fashion technology labs, where students can learn how to use a variety of fashion technology, including CAD software, pattern-making software, and sewing machines.
  • Exhibition spaces: The building has a number of exhibition spaces, where students can showcase their work.

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.

The building is striking and innovative, with a large central atrium filled with natural light. It has a variety of teaching and learning spaces, studios, workshops, and exhibition spaces.

It is a major landmark on the De Montfort University campus and provides students and staff with the space and resources they need to thrive.

Our expertise

We are 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 2023 (CEOWORLD, 2023). 

Profile picture for Helen Burbidge

Helen Burbidge

Programme Leader Fashion Buying

A creative and personable subject leader in fashion buying, management, and business at De Montfort University. Founding member of the Association for Fashion Business Employability (AFBE), dedicated to showcasing non-practical student talent in the fashion industry. Expertise in product development, with a career spanning from production to design, and a focus on fit diagnostics and pedagogy in research.

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Sally Gaukrodger-Cowan

Senior Lecturer in Fashion Buying

A multidisciplinary artist, specializing in upcycling agricultural textiles into sustainability-aware artwork. Co-founder of the T-Extinction initiative and creator of the Fashion and Textiles Art Club. Latest work includes avant-garde Passementerie reimagined pieces.

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Joanne Lewis

Program Leader - Fashion Business

Experienced Fashion Buying, Sourcing, and Sustainability lecturer. 20+ years in the industry working for leading Denim brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, and G-star.

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Siobhan Merrall

Senior lecturer

Expert in apparel merchandising and global sourcing, with a comprehensive retailing background. Committed to student employability and fostering mental health awareness.

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Karen Hickinbotham

Senior lecturer in Fashion Buying

Leading the Design Pathway and lecturing in Buying at DMU and committed to fostering employability in Fashion Buying students.

Awards and memberships

Green Gown Award logo

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 logo

UK Fashion and Textiles Association

We are members of the UK Fashion and Textiles 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.

AFBE logo

The Association for Fashion Business Employability (AFBE)

The (AFBE) is a collaborative platform uniting top UK fashion business schools with the industry, empowering students through networking and showcasing events.

What makes us special

Education 2030 - Block Learning

Block learning

With Education 2030, you’ll learn in a focused ‘block’ teaching format, where you study one subject at a time instead of several at once. As a result, you will receive faster feedback through more regular assessment, have a more simplified timetable, and have a better study-life balance. That means more time to engage with your DMU community and other rewarding aspects of university life.

DMU-global

Global experiences

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 DMU Global, 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.

Students on this course have recently experienced the culture and beauty that Paris has to offer and gained inspiration for their own work. They visited the Première Vision Designs Trade Show and experienced the scale and nature of the international fashion market.

Where we could take you

Fashion Buying Placements

Placements

This course gives you the option to enhance and build your professional skills to progress within your chosen career through a placement. Our dedicated team offers a range of careers resources and opportunities so you can start planning your future.

We have excellent links with the fashion industry, ensuring you work on industry relevant projects and client briefs to gain more experience and build your external reputation before you graduate. This invaluable experience can enrich student capabilities and their final-year projects. Students have gone to big brands including Boohoo, ASOS, Urban Outfitters, Hunkemöller, George at Asda, Ralph Lauren and Timberland.

Charlotte

Graduate careers

Our graduates are working for companies such as Monsoon, Fashion UK and Next. Other students have buying roles at companies such as Reiss, Primark, Next, Urban Outfitters and George. One student has a key role in FACE and contributed to the WEB 3.0 Fashion Synthesis event (July 2023). 

Charlotte Purnell graduated with a first-class honours degree and now works as a Junior Garment Technician in the snow department with leading lifestyle brand O’Neill, in Amsterdam.

Course specifications

Course title

Fashion Buying with Design

Award

BA (Hons)

UCAS code

W224

Institution code

D26

Study level

Undergraduate

Study mode

Full-time

Part-time

Start date

September 2024

Duration

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

Fees

2024/25 UK tuition fees:
£9,250

2024/25 international tuition:
£15,750

Additional costs

Entry requirements

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

Interview required: No

Portfolio required: No

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, which for this programme could include the following:

  • Art and Design materials; £100 in your first year, rising to £250 in your second year and £400+ in your third year. These costs may vary depending on what materials you choose.
  • Field trips or visits: £30 in your first year, £100-£300 in your second year and £400-600 in your third year.

There will also be a range of optional showcasing activities that will be available to you, the costs of which will vary depending on the opportunities you choose.

Learn more about fees and funding information