Fashion & Textiles
A level

This qualification focuses on creative approaches to the development and realisation of both contemporary and traditional textile outcomes, alongside decorative outcomes.   This course will provide you with key skills for the textile industry: creativity, technical knowledge, commercial awareness, colour and styling, surface pattern design, texture and embellishment processes, and fashion illustration. 

You will develop a lively, creative and individual portfolio brimming with creative and technical skills required to progress onto a wide range of textile and art related degree courses.  The course is highly practical; therefore you will need very good organisational skills and a passion for creating and producing.

A level fashion & textiles is a two year course.  Areas of study include:

  • Machine & hand embroidery
  • Weave, knit and felt
  • Constructed textiles
  • Dyeing 
  • Fabric manipulation
  • Draping and shaping
  • Print design
  • Fashion illustration
  • Design & visualisation
  • Fashion design
  • Fashion textiles
  • Art textiles

The portfolio components are inspired by trend forecasts, you will develop personal responses to these through extensive technical workshops.  You will look at haute couture and high street Fashion Design to inspire creations on the body. You will also develop an awareness and understanding of different cultures, studying both traditional and contemporary textile influences.  Each component concludes with the production of a major fashion garment or decorative/installation final outcome, alongside photoshoots.

Textile and fabric exploration: Lessons are highly creative and practical.  During the two year course, you will explore digital printing, heat transfer printing, flocking, foiling, machine and hand embroidery, shibori, CAD Design using Photoshop, laser cutting, dyeing techniques and constructed textile techniques exploring paper, fabric and plastic manipulation.

Resources: You will use an extensive range of high quality equipment.  This includes a dye sublimation printer, heat presses, laser cutting machine, embellishing machines, sewing machines and a range of printmaking equipment to name a few. 

Research: You will study a range of artists' work to inspire the technical development of your work; alongside looking at haute couture and ready to wear fashion designers to develop creative ideas and concepts on the body.

Plan and create final outcomes: To aid highly creative and individual realisations, you will explore draping and shaping on the body, create pattern solutions, in house studio photo shoots and fashion illustration or textile sculpture, fibre art and installations.

This is a new-style linear A level course.  You will NOT take an external AS exam at the end of the first year.  In the second year of the course, you will take external exams that assess content covered in the first and second year.  These exams (along with portfolio work) will determine your A level grade.

The A level components will be assessed through a personal investigation and an externally set assignment.

Students studying fashion & textiles will need to be prepared to provide some of their own art media and fabric; this is available at cost price from the College shop.  You will be told of the specific requirements when you start the course.  A large quantity of work will be completed using a sewing machine therefore regular access to a sewing machine with free hand embroidery is required.

You can choose to do fashion & textiles with a wide range of other subjects.  It fits particularly well with other creative subjects and with the humanities.

The majority of students progress onto an art foundation course or a fashion/textile related degree.  A major requirement of any advanced art course will be a good portfolio of practical work.

Many students have also progressed onto other related degrees such as fashion journalism/photography/marketing/buying/promotion, interior design, product design, and theatre/costume design to name a few.

Please see below for careers and labour market information for fashion and textiles - use the refresh buttons to find out about different courses and careers, and use the left and right arrows to view more detailed information.

You can find the prep work for this course at

Q: Do I need to have done art or textiles to do the course? 
A: Having an art or textile GCSE can be advantageous, however it is not essential.  We provide lots of one-to-one tuition and guidance and all textile techniques are taught from scratch.  The art content is very abstract - we encourage students to explore mark making, colour and pattern throughout the course to inspire fabric work, and any work that requires more precise drawing can be aided using lightboxes. 

Q: How is fashion incorporated into the course?
A: The course uses fashion as a platform to build ideas for projects.  Our main goal is to embed industry skills into our projects.  We use fashion trend forecasts to inspire projects, this could be ‘Among insects’ or ‘Ravishing ruins and we create moodboards, fashion illustrations and concept boards to visualise ideas.  We present final ideas on a mannequin, exploring 3D shape and form on the body.  The garments we create as final outcomes are perceived as wearable art.  If you have pattern cutting skills, you can bring these skills into your designs.  For most however, final pieces are artistic expressions of colour, texture and pattern using the body as a canvas to present. 

Q: What will I be doing on the course?
A: Year 1 begins with a six week print and pattern project inspired by African and Aztec pattern design, learning heat transfer dyeing and printing methods and digital pattern design processes using Photoshop.  You will then explore two longer projects inspired by trend forecasts - in the first you will learn embroidery and embellishment techniques, combined with dyeing processes, and in the second constructed textile techniques incorporating plastic and 3D manipulation.  Both projects conclude with a significant piece of wearable art or textile art piece.  Year 2 is then your opportunity to develop your own individual styles and build upon the skills learned in Year 1.  There is a long personal investigation project and an externally set assignment. 

Q: What facilities are available on the course?  
A: We have a fantastic range of equipment in the textile department.  Our studio is spacious and packed with found materials and sundries to use in your everyday fabric sampling.  We use Janome sewing machines and embellishing machines for decorative work.  We have a dye sublimation printer capable of printing metre width fabrics.  Students use this to print their own CAD created using digital software, including Photoshop.  In addition, we have a laser cutter and several heat press machines to print fabrics.  We operate a loan system for students to borrow equipment and have an onsite shop where all materials can be purchased at competitive prices.  

Q: What careers can follow on from doing fashion & textiles?
A: A wide range of careers in the following areas are just some of those possible from fashion textiles:

  • Fashion designer
  • Costume designer
  • Interior Design
  • Sportswear designer
  • Fabric developer
  • Fashion stylist
  • Bedding designer
  • Textile fabric colourist
  • Store manager
  • Tailor
  • Embroidery machinist
  • Couture seamstress
  • Sample machinist
  • HE lecturer
  • Bridal seamstress
  • Textiles technician
  • Market researcher
  • Pattern cutter
  • Accessory designer
  • Knitwear designer
  • Museum gallery conservator
  • Retail buyer
  • Art Director
  • Fashion Journalist
  • Art Therapy
  • Teacher

Exam Board

AQA Learn More

Entry Requirements

  • Studying art and/or design at GCSE is advantageous but not essential.
  • Students who did not achieve the entry requirements will need to show evidence of work at enrolment.

Employability Skills

  • Creative thinking
  • Independent thinking
  • Problem solving
  • Team building
  • Time management
  • Working towards deadlines

Course Resources

Starter Pack (for initial equipment) - approximately £36 from the College shop (this includes a straight sewing foot and embroidery foot to use during the course)

A2-sized boards (to present work) - 50p each from the College shop