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Fashion Business and Promotion with a Foundation Year - BA (Hons)

Our BA (Hons) Fashion Business and Promotion degree course enables you to explore a range of roles within the fashion industry, far beyond the making and production of clothing....

Studying with us in 2021/22 and 2022/23

The University has put in place measures in response to Covid-19 to allow us to safely deliver our courses.  Information about the arrangements for the 2021/22 academic year can be found here.  

 

Should the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic continue in the 2022/23 academic year or subsequent years of your course, any additional and/or alternative arrangements put in place by the University in response will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, pandemic-related/health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.

  • Level Foundation
  • Study mode Full Time
  • Location City Centre
  • School School of Fashion and Textiles
  • Faculty Faculty of Arts, Design and Media

Overview

Our BA (Hons) Fashion Business and Promotion degree course enables you to explore a range of roles within the fashion industry, far beyond the making and production of clothing.

Guided and supported by a knowledgeable, industry-experienced staff team, you will gain an education across the different fashion sectors and develop skills in order to undertake a number of industry roles, including Buying, Marketing and PR, Trends Forecasting and Event Management.

About foundation courses

The foundation course is an exciting step towards your chosen degree. It provides an opportunity to develop skills to equip you on your professional journey into the creative industries.

The programme encompasses elements of fashion design, fashion business and textile design degree routes. It provides a platform for you to share with and learn from others, while developing visual communication skills and processes. It will help you in building confidence and independence ready for the next stage of your degree.

We aim to excite, engage and challenge you, pushing you to develop into a capable student with a great fashion and textiles aesthetic as well as an enthusiasm to learn.

This four-year programme has been specifically designed to allow you to undertake additional level three study, to ensure you are successful on your chosen degree programme.

After successful completion of your foundation year, you will have the flexibility to switch (should you wish to change direction) onto a number of related undergraduate degree programmes within the School of Fashion and Textiles.

This course is open to International students.

What's covered in this course?

This course will develop you through a variety of business and creative modules, teaching you skills in buying, merchandising, marketing, visual merchandising, PR, and buying and merchandising.

You’ll learn how fashion roles work together, as well as commercial and planning skills, competitive awareness and the ability to think outside the box, all of which are essential in this global industry.

You’ll be exposed to trends forecasting, buying, marketing, and events and industry placements, ensuring you graduate ready for employment.

You will work on a live event management project, as well as industry-led briefs across the first two years, supported by brands such as Whistles, Selfridges, Claire’s and River Island. You’ll benefit from regular industry visits, listen to guest speakers from leading fashion brands and have the chance to visit London, Paris, Florence and New York.

Throughout the course, you’ll be taught by staff with experience of brands like Topshop, Lyle and Scott, Emporio Armani and more, ensuring your learning is supported by contemporary knowledge, practice and contacts. We’ll develop your business knowledge and language, preparing you for delivering presentations, teamwork, writing reports, creating visual mood boards and using online resources. You’ll also explore new skills in packages such as InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator.

In your final year, you will work on a series of projects that will develop your skills ready for industry. There will be the chance to showcase your work to industry leaders, at events such as Graduate Fashion Week in London. 

I didn’t have any experience in fashion so the foundation course allowed me to gain as much experience as I could before going on to the degree. I liked using the machinery and the print room and getting used to sketchbook work that prepared me ready for the degree.

Abbie Well, Fashion Business and Promotion with Foundation Year student

Why Choose Us?

  • The course helps you become as versatile and dynamic as the industry itself.
  • Unlike other courses, we cover a variety of fashion business modules to ensure you gain a broad perspective of the fashion industry.
  • The course provides creative and visual fluency, equipping you with the toolkit to operate in the competitive, international fashion market place.
  • Our academic staff all have industry experience, teaching and researching their specialist subjects, ranging from trend forecasting to branding and international retailing.
  • Integrated work placements provide you with the essential experience needed to get ahead in their sector.

Entry Requirements

We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.

UK students
Essential

80 UCAS tariff points.

At the point of entry, students will need Maths and English Language GCSEs grade 4 (C) or above.

LEVEL 2 QUALIFICATIONS
GCSE
  • GCSE English Language at grade C/4 or above
  • GCSE Maths at grade C/4 or above
  • Must have been achieved at the point of enrolment

Irish Leaving Certificate (Ordinary Level)

See level 3 entry under Irish Leaving Certificate for full details
Scottish National 5
  • English Language at grade C or above
  • Maths at grade C or above
  • Must have been achieved at the point of enrolment
IELTS 6.0 overall with no less than 5.5 in each band.
Plus one of the following Level 3 (and above) Qualifications
A Level and Advanced VCE
  • CDD / 80 UCAS points
  • A maximum of 4 subjects are considered. These can be other A/S Levels (as long in a different subject) A-Levels or Level 3 equivalents.

AS and AS VCE

Considered with a maximum of 3 other Level 3 qualifications (AS Levels must be in different subject to A-Levels) to obtain 80 pts

Access to HE Diploma

  • Pass with 60 credits overall. At least 45 credits at Level 3.
  • Arts, Media and Publishing subjects preferred but other subjects also considered.
  • Pearson BTEC National Extended Diploma (2016 – present)
  • Pearson BTEC Extended Diploma (QCF) (2010 - 2016)
  • BTEC Level 3 National Diploma (2002 – 2010)
MMP

Foundation Studies (Art and Design, and Art, Design & Media)

  • Pass
  • Considered with a maximum of 3 other Level 3 qualifications to obtain 80 pts

IBO Certificate in Higher Level

  • Students who do not complete the IB Diploma will be considered on the basis of their IB Certificates if they obtain a total of 11 points or above from two Higher Level Subjects
  • Considered with other acceptable level 3 qualifications to meet 80 UCAS Tariff Points
  • For students who do not already hold a GCSE in English Language at Grade C/4 or above Standard Level English Language (not literature) English A - Grade 4 or above or English B - Grade 5 from the IB Diploma will be accepted
  • For students who do not already hold a GCSE in Mathematics at Grade C/4 or above Standard Level Maths, grade 5 or above from the IB Diploma will be accepted

International Baccalaureate Diploma

  • Obtain a minimum of 24 points overall
  • For students who do not already hold a GCSE in English Language at Grade C/4 or above Standard Level English Language (not literature) English A - Grade 4 or above or English B - Grade 5 from the IB Diploma will be accepted
  • For students who do not already hold a GCSE in Mathematics at Grade C/4 or above Standard Level Maths, grade 5 or above from the IB Diploma will be accepted

Irish Leaving Certificate (Highers)

Pass the Irish Leaving Certificate with a minimum of 80 tariff points, achieved in five Higher level subjects. This must include English Language and Maths taken at either Ordinary Level (minimum grade O1-O4 (or A-C/A1-C3)) or Higher level minimum grade H1/H7 (or A-D / A1-D3 up to and including 2016

OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma

MMP

Scottish Advanced Higher

  • Achieve a minimum of 80 tariff points achieved in either three Advanced Highers or from a combination of two Advanced Highers plus two Highers.
  • Where three Advanced Highers have been taken achieve a minimum of grades DDD
  • Where a combination of Highers and Advanced Highers have been taken you must achieve (grades of DD in two Advanced Highers plus grades of DD in two Highers).

T-Levels

Pass overall (C or above on the core)

UAL Extended Diploma in Art & Design

Merit overall

UAL Extended Diploma in Creative Media Production & Technology

Merit overall

UAL Extended Diploma in Performing and Production Arts

Merit overall
Other qualifications
If you have a qualification that is not listed in the table please refer to our full entry requirements on UCAS.

Further guidance on tariff points can be found on the UCAS website.
Extra information for EU/International students
Essential
EU/Non-EU (International) Qualifications Requirements
IELTS

6.0 overall with no less than 5.5 in each band.

If you do not meet the required IELTS score, you may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English courses. Please note that you must have a Secure English Language Test (SELT) to study on the pre-sessional English course. More information.

Mature Applicants

Applications from mature students (21+) with alternative qualifications and/or considerable work experience will be considered on their merits.

Fees & How to Apply

  • International students

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2022

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2022

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees

Access to computer equipment

You will require use of a laptop, and most students do prefer to have their own. However, you can borrow a laptop from the university or use one of our shared computer rooms.

Printing

You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.

Field trips

All essential field trips and associated travel costs will be included in your course fees.

Access to Microsoft Office 365

Every student at the University can download a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 to use whilst at university and for 18 months after graduation.

Key software

You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.

Key subscriptions

Subscriptions to key journals and websites are available through our library.

Free access to Rosetta Stone

All students can sign up to the online learning language platform for free through the Graduate+ scheme.

Project materials (mandatory)

This course includes project work that requires you to develop and produce a portfolio or collection. You'll be expected to provide the materials for use in your individual major projects; costs will vary depending on the materials selected, but are likely to be in the region of £10 - £50 for your foundation year.

Excess printing (optional)

Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.

Books (optional)

All module key texts will be in the University library, but in limited numbers. You may choose to purchase a copy.

Field trips (optional)

This course includes the option of additional trips that may enhance your experience, at extra cost.

Subscriptions (optional)

You may wish to purchase subscriptions to additional journals and websites.

Accommodation and living costs

The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.

Guidance for UK students

UCAS

UK students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.

Applying through UCAS
 Register with UCAS
 Login to UCAS
 Complete your details
 Select your course
 Write a personal statement
 Get a reference
 Pay your application fee
 Send UCAS your application

Portfolio Guidance

If you are an International student and your application is progressed, you will be asked to submit a portfolio of your creative work. Your portfolio is your opportunity to show us examples of your work and creative interests to support your application.

Please see our international portfolio guidance page for guidance on how to create and submit your portfolio. 

Please note that if you are a UK/ EU student you will not be required to submit a portfolio.

Course in Depth

Foundation year

In your Foundation Year, you will gain a grounding in a variety of skills from each of our degree pathways, including blog writing, textile techniques, branding, creating garments and more. You will be able to explore the Fashion and Textiles workshops and CAD suites to pursue your individual interests.

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):

Fashion and Textiles are two very large and interrelated global industries, they encompass many different job roles. The two disciplines also support a variety of related approaches and activities ranging from business to art practices.

This module will provide an overview of processes and skills that are essential to fashion and textiles and also give you the opportunity to develop the skillset and knowledge that interests you. You will be allowed to develop personal approaches that can incorporate one or a mixture of making, business analysis or communications.

This module will focus on techniques and strategies for identifying and researching trends, documenting them and how trend analysis can be used in professional practice. In response to seminar discussions and workshops you will experiment with layout and physical compositions to produce a visual interpretation of your findings. You will analyse past, present and future trends using a variety of primary and secondary sources. You will evidence ongoing reflective practice which includes written and visual analysis.

This module will allow you to develop an understanding of how the world and lifestyles are changing and how fashion and textiles respond to these changes. Through lectures and workshops, you will be introduced to a range of themes, discussion topics and techniques for future gazing and predicting social and industrial changes, and the development of subcultures and innovations as a result of this and the impact back on to society.

This module you will allow you to plan, develop and deliver a project that draws on your own, personal creative strategies to facilitate the realisation of ideas appropriate for progression on your BA course.

Year one

The course is module-based and delivered one at a time – you will be taught in a classroom and lecture hall-style rooms to help you engage in lectures topics, discussions and class activities to support the module.

You will receive workshops in Visual Communication across pages such as InDesign and Illustrator.

All modules will be supported with weekly tutorials in groups or individually, of which you are expected to come prepared with work to show and questions.

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):

Fashion Business Context will introduce you to an understanding the fashion industry, sectors and topical issues. This module considers the global picture of fashion and discusses the important issues which have defined or are defining this area. Whether it is social, political, economic, environmental or technological factors effecting the industry and consumers. You will be researching a sector and producing a visually creative piece of work that evidences your findings.

Trend Forecasting is the process of translating information across historical, cultural, social, technological, political factors into a visual direction for the future. This project is about understanding the process of trend forecasting, by identifying key drivers and their impacts and the consumer tribes. Student will develop a visual aesthetic to reflect the trend, which you will then apply to a chosen sector/client of the fashion industry.

This module will introduce you to the buying and merchandising principles, and the roles and responsibilities of a buyer and merchandiser, in relation to the fashion industry. You will understand how the buyers and merchandisers work together, within different retail formats.

The visual merchandising project explores the current shift within retail environments to that of curated spaces, and acknowledges the new creators who are shaping the future of retail design. As retailers look to deepen engagement with customers, this module defines and promotes the understanding of visual communication and retail design as a key factor in the evolution of bricks and mortar. The module will introduce you to the challenges and exciting developments within the retail sector with particular focus on innovative visual communication methods and visual merchandising strategies.

Year two

The course is module-based and delivered one at a time – you will be taught in a classroom and lecture hall-style rooms to help you engage in lectures topics, discussions and class activities to support the module.

You will receive workshops in Visual Communication across pages such as InDesign and Illustrator.

All modules will be supported with weekly tutorials in groups or individually, of which you are expected to come prepared with work to show and questions.

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):

This module will advance students skills in the world of PR and Marketing. Students will learn about techniques on persuasion, sales, segmentation and communication across market sectors. Utilising theories and innovative thinking students will develop and execute a Marketing and PR strategy.

This module is designed to understand the nature of internationalisation and to critically evaluate strategies applied to the business sector. The module will enable students to address a variety of key issues in international retailing.

The purpose of this module is to enable you to undertake an in-depth project exploring the event industry. This module looks at different types of events, and explores key factors affecting their planning, it enables you to understand how funding and sponsorship work, and the importance of maintaining a healthy budget. You will explore and understand how to plan and organise a team, and find key suppliers and participants to make the event happen.

The purpose of this module is to enable you to develop professional attributes and subject skills through experience in the work place, and to critically reflect upon your learning in that context. You will normally be expected to arrange your own placement, with support from academic staff and ADM Careers+.

Year three

The course is module-based and delivered one at a time – you will be taught in a classroom and lecture hall-style rooms to help you engage in lectures topics, discussions and class activities to support the module.

You will receive workshops in Visual Communication across pages such as InDesign and Illustrator.

All modules will be supported with weekly tutorials in groups or individually, of which you are expected to come prepared with work to show and questions.

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):

The purpose of the module is to enable you to undertake a sustained, in-depth and theoretically informed research project exploring an area that is of personal interest to you. It is important that we can support you appropriately, so you will be guided towards choosing a research topic which is relevant to your discipline and in which your lecturers have expertise. The outcome may take the form of a written dissertation or a practice-based portfolio.

The Independent Final Project is an opportunity to focus on a specific area related to future career aspirations, and develop a piece of work that reflects this. It could include creating a magazine or digital publication, developing a branding concept, a brand extension opportunity or a communication strategy. This will be grounded in extensive research both primary and secondary, with industry insight, innovation and justification.

The aim of this module is to critically reflect on good practice and experience and prepare you for the progression into industry and recruitment opportunities.

The first two years of the course allow you to explore the multi-faceted disciplines that are integral to the way that the fashion business operates.

The third year then allows you to refine your expertise through negotiated projects and tailor your work to become an expert in your chosen field.

Guest speakers have included buyers from George and River Island, social media and PR experts from Missguided, marketing and PR industry managers and fashion bloggers.

You'll gain commercial awareness through a series of live industry projects, industrial placements and opportunities for competitions. 

Projects

We have previously linked with Selfridges in Birmingham to help understand the scale of visual merchandising in a department store. Students applied trends and key drivers to new concepts and presented their ideas to the store manager.

Buying and Merchandising module, worked with Whistles to focus students on their core consumer. They gained an insight into how to profile the consumer and interpret the fashion trends into a range. This was supported with Illustrator workshops and Whistles’ head office buyers.

You will also gain experience of Event Management, working in teams to generate a live event in support of a charity. Previous events have included comedy nights, roller discos, open mic nights and more. You will work with venues and retailers to get a real feel of how to manage, market and deliver an event.

You will engage in discussions and debates  and you will look at issues  surrounding fashion business, and offer solutions for the next generation.


Student Work

Emily Lehmann, Year 3 student

Final-year student Emily Lehmann worked on a project for ASOS, bringing online media to the high street with a new app that used geotagging. The app sent news feeds that direct the consumer to an open space. Once there, the shopper is then rewarded with discounts and content.

Final-year student Emily Lehmann worked on a project for ASOS, bringing online media to the high street with a new app that used geotagging. The app sent news feeds that direct the consumer to an open space. Once there, the shopper is then rewarded with discounts and content.

Georgia Griffiths, Year 3 student

Georgia whistles image

Georgia Griffiths created a buying range plan for Whistles, offering a consumer-focused collection with ways to wear, and in-store layout.

Employability

Enhancing your employability skills

Employability and being ready for the world of work is very important to us and the course offers a range of modules that will develop relevant industry skills.

Our aims are to:

  • To produce industry-ready graduates, who can creatively contribute to fashion and its related industries in local, UK or global markets.
  • To provide opportunities for you to explore, practice and challenge the inter-relationships between the commercial environment, creative thinking and technical practice.
  • To employ a range of teaching and learning methods, in which you are able to synthesis theories, concepts and fashion practice within local, national and global market places.
  • To develop student confidence and professionalism through fluency in verbal communication, as well as coherent written and visual presentation skills.
  • To stimulate commercial awareness and activity through project management, live and team projects, industrial liaison and visits, industrial placement and competition at all levels.
  • To instil cooperation, competition and an entrepreneurial approach in all student achievements.

Placements

As is the nature of the industry, our students often get the chance to work in many inspiring and glamorous places. If that’s not a great excuse for a shopping trip, we don’t know what is!

Placements have previously seen students undertake a range of roles, working with leading brands like Topshop, Selfridges, Missguided, River Island and Next, taking on roles in blogging, social media, PR and buying.


Links to industry

We have great links with the visual merchandising team at Birmingham’s Selfridges branch, as well as Claire’s Head Office.

OpportUNIty

OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.

International Students

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Our international students

Our School is particularly popular with students from China and Malaysia.

Our International Office in Shanghai was established in 2007 and we work hard to develop strong working relationships between both countries.

Facilities and Staff

Parkside and Curzon Buildings

Our Facilities

You’ll be based in our School of Fashion and Textiles, within The Parkside Building. The Parkside Building is part of our new multi-million pound City Centre Campus development in the heart of Birmingham's Eastside development.

Our staff

Louise Martin

Foundation Year Course Director

Louise’s Masters in textile design established the foundation for her design journey. From this platform, Louise started to build a career as an interior designer, regional design manager, stylist, and as a lecturer in fashion and textiles. Louise now has over 10 years' teaching experience as a lecturer.

As a designer maker, Louise has developed her own business, growing her knowledge within this creative sector, continually learning new techniques, technical know-how and client facing skills in order to develop the final products ready for market.

Louise still actively works as an interior design consultant where she is able to use her extensive experience and creativity to interpret clients’ needs into inspiring schemes that meet their specification and budget. Ongoing research supported with regular visits to design shows ensures she is always aware of current fashions and trends.

More about Louise

Natalie Martin

Lecturer in Foundation Fashion and Textiles

After graduating with BA (Hons) Fashion Design from BCU Natalie has worked with brands such as Joseph Turvey and Hades Knitwear as a freelance designer, production assistant and illustrator as well as working on show production for presentations at London Fashion Week Mens. Working hands-on with small, luxury brands has enabled her to gain a holistic view of the industry with experience in CAD, design, fashion illustration, styling and fashion show production.

In 2016 she began working at Birmingham City University as a Visiting Tutor on BA (Hons) Fashion Design, BA (Hons) Fashion Design with Communication and Foundation Fashion and Textiles. In 2018 she became a full time lecturer on Foundation Fashion and Textiles course.

More about Natalie