Study Abroad in London, England - London Arts

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Study Abroad in London - (University of the Arts London): Courses

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London College Of Fashion Semester

University of the Arts London course title is listed below the American equivalent. Recommended U.S. credits are shown in parentheses.

Required Courses for All Programs

The three mandatory courses are constructed to analyze a broad range of social, cultural, historic and behavioral factors. The premise is that an understanding of the past informs a discerning interpretation of the present and fuels an intelligent anticipation of what is to come.

Cultural Studies 315 (2)
British Cultural Studies

We will encourage you to search for inspiration and knowledge whilst exploring and discovering an ‘alternative’ London. Part of this will be gaining knowledge of the layers of idiosyncratic behavior, cultural attitudes and curious customs that define the real essence of a place. You will have the opportunity to explore and discover with the insight of Britishness, and more to the point an understanding of ‘Londoness’.

All the classes are field trips. You will participate in a number of guided walks through obscure parts of London (unrelated to fashion), looking behind the scenes and gathering an alternative perspective by observing the mechanics of a city steeped in a complex history. Where do people go, what do they say, how do they talk, what do they eat? The aim of this unit is to ‘make a difference’ to the way you find, see, absorb, process, and communicate information - in your own individual and personal way.

We want to develop your awareness, individuality and confidence. You will be encouraged to consider originality, creativity, uniqueness - breaking the mould, possibly reconnecting with being a child again, remembering what it was like to suddenly discover new and wonderful things. We want you to take risks, be expressive. Be bold. Speak out. Have an opinion.

Fashion 355 (2)
Theoretical and Contemporary Fashion Studies

This course presents key contemporary news, industry strategies and issues in the fashion business, whilst fostering academic debate based on Fashion studies.

You will address the development of certain aspects (sometimes controversial & provocative) of European/Global Fashion within their specific social context, examining different interpretations of taste and consumption, the impact of mass culture, digital media, issues of gender, class, ethnicity and sustainability.

The approach to theory will encourage critical thinking when exploring contemporary phenomena, philosophy and the humanities, linking in practical examples in order to awaken individual creativity to tackle issues and opportunities of the future.

This is a self-directed unit, requiring you to be inquisitive, analytical, and critical. The lectures are merely to stimulate discussion and thought, in order to inspire you to develop your own perspective and opinion on subject matter.

History 345 (2)
Fashion History and Artefact

This class is delivered in different locations around the London every week. You will participate in a series of lectures and guided visits to key collections, fashion districts, exhibitions in museums and art galleries.

Fashion is continually changing. This is clearly seen in London where history and traditions are without doubt major catalysts that influence this change. Knowledge of the past allows for a considered understanding of why things are the way they are NOW, which in turn informs an intuition with which to predict the future.

The class will focus on how change occurs by examining fashion from sociological and cultural perspectives. Research into a wide cross section of relevant fields acts as the backbone of this unit. You will have access to a variety of fashion and cultural influences, some traditional and some unexpected. This research will allow you to further develop and underpin an understanding of what fashion means to you.

You will continually reflect upon, critically examine, and develop your individual interests in fashion history and artefact through note taking and sketching in a journal. Further self-directed research will culminate in a PechaKucha visual presentation.


In addition to the three required courses students on the Fashion Business Program select electives from the following list of 11 courses up to a total of 16 semester credits.

Business 345 (3)
Fashion Entrepreneurship and Luxury Brand Management
In this unit you will gain an understanding of the principles and practices behind luxury brand management including economic management, production and distribution channels of a brand.

This unit is aimed at aspiring fashion entrepreneurs who dream of starting or managing a luxury fashion brand and want an overview of the development, planning, marketing and management involved. Gaining a comprehensive understanding of the current global luxury brand climate is key to this unit. You will research trends, gain an understanding of Trend Forecasting, and consider who is the luxury consumer.

Through a combination of lectures, discussions and workshops you will gain knowledge of the techniques needed to develop, produce and market a luxury product. Topics covered will include sourcing strategy, production process, target market customer profiling, financially driven marketing strategies, and the broad range of tools with which to present product from packaging to e-commerce.

Communication 325 (3)
Creative Visual Communication
Compiling impactful presentations is an acquired skill that can greatly influence the creative process and give a competitive edge when communicating or pitching an idea.  The mood board is a recognized tool with which to express, explain, excite, and/or sell an approach, new product or personal skill. A well-constructed visual board can be a powerful driving or supporting tool and is an impactful nonverbal form of communication used at all levels across the fashion industry.

In this unit you will learn the principles behind creating mood boards and examine situations where they can be used effectively. This will include exploring typography, imagery, colour, texture, layout, composition, style and basic graphic design.  You will be working both physically and digitally combining traditional image making techniques such as collage and sketching with digital media resources. Combining found images and your own photography will be a key element with an emphasis on learning effective ways of using a camera.

There is a photography element within this unit, which will investigate a range of technical and creative approaches, including composition, perspective, light, colour, depth of field, movement, capturing the moment, and expressing a mood.  The need for image gathering, idea development and practice using a camera/smart phone are reflected in the self-directed study element in this unit.

Communications 330 (2)
Social Media and Online Communication
In a very short period of time the ways in which written and visual content are disseminated haven’t merely changed, they have exploded. The world of marketing is ‘noisier’ than ever before with ever evolving systems of communication feeding ever growing appetites for consuming information. In a contradictory world where fresh new content is craved but almost immediately discarded an awareness of the complex mechanics of social media is essential to be able to use these languages both strategically and effectively.

In this unit you will examine the evolution of various social media platforms to gain a comprehensive understanding of their current impact and evolving potential. You will then use this research to inform the building of your own personal social media campaign.

Case studies including cultural institutions, fashion brands, cultural movements and individuals in the cultural sector will inform the approach to evolving your own personal project.

Though intuitive and reactive activity fuels the progression of social media, strategic decision making and constant evaluation to generate meaningful analytics are key working methods covered in this unit. Market awareness, consumer habit, trend anticipation and market saturation need to be recognized so that they can be avoided or exploited in the creation of your own distinct and engaging voice.

Communication 375 (2)
Fashion Public Relations
Fashion is a highly competitive Industry spread across a global marketplace. Achieving maximum success for a product/brand relies on effective public relations (PR) and promotion based on dynamic communication, effective relationship building, market awareness and industry knowledge. Tempting and daunting, the world of PR can be fast moving, dynamic, proactive, reactive, sometimes stressful, occasionally exciting and potentially glamorous.

In this unit you will gain an introduction to the role of PR in the fashion and beauty industries. Exploring media opportunities for PR is key to this course. You will review written and visual information, news, press releases and the essential ingredients for a ‘press pack’ to inform your own ability to generate editorial coverage through servicing the media. Topics covered will include understanding target markets, industry and consumer fashion and media lead times, the reach of relevant media including both national and regional women’s and trade press.

An awareness of online PR and marketing activities is also critical to understanding how these work in relation to fashion e-commerce businesses and how ‘virtual’ activities across social media, blogging and online advertising work in tandem with the ‘actual’ world.

You will also gain an understanding of basic fashion styling and how an effective image can influence the public and media.

Fashion 320 (2)
Visual Merchandising
Shop window displays and store design can define a fashion brand and steer the agenda to sell a product. A good window is the first interface with which to capture the attention of a potential consumer, a good interior sets the mood to buy. Getting this right requires an understanding of consumer behavior, brand/product positioning, trend and creative flair.

In this unit you will study a variety of visual merchandising presentation techniques as well as examine the art of space planning and store layouts.

This unit provides an overview of visual merchandising within a fashion retail context. You will be guided through the process of redesigning your chosen store using the information gained within the class. Topics covered will include relevant theoretical concepts and retail design and contemporary practices.

Fashion 330 (3)
Fashion Styling
Styling spans many aspects of cultural communication and includes fashion editorial, catwalk, commercial work and the music industry. When executed using creative flair, cultural insight and technical skill, it can succinctly define today or even predict tomorrow.

In this unit you will gain firsthand practical industry insider knowledge and learn about the many different roles of stylists today as well as the opportunities that are on offer. You will work towards the creation of the ‘styled’ image. This will include working within teams on a rough shoot to create your own fashion image within a given theme. You will learn about the many facets of the role of the stylist such as team/project management, the importance of ‘art direction’, styling to suit a variety of genres, fashion editing and run throughs, catwalk trends, working with a fashion photographer, and the differences between conceptual editorial styling and sales driven commercial styling.

Practical workshops including an analysis of your own personal style, an investigation into colour and body shapes, fashion image analysis and effective use of mood boards will help fine tune your skills and develop your own unique approaches.

Fashion 335 (2)
Trend Forecasting
How does one learn to predict the future? How is it possible? Is it at all possible? How is it that designers do present similar ideas at similar times. There are waves of change that push trend in specific directions. Synchronicity led by informed intuition.

In this unit you will look at how fashion trends begin and how they then evolve to influence a wide range of fashion product areas.

This is a ‘hands on’, creative and interactive class. You will be immersed in the mechanics of this fascinating and complex field through a range of lectures, discussions and workshops. This includes exposure to a variety of forecasting publications and media as well as being guided through the principals of forecasting to appreciate the importance of market intelligence. Analysing the role of trade fairs, magazines, trend agencies, and social media will give insight into how the world of forecasting operates. Challenging how you observe and evaluate cultural influences will inform the development of your fashion ‘instinct’ and ‘intuition’. You will be required to gather, research and evaluate external information as well as build convincing rationale as to why your concepts should work.

Fashion 360 (4)
Buying and Product Development
In this unit you will be introduced to the major roles and responsibilities within the Product Development Team (PDT) including buyer, merchandiser, garment technologist and designer.

You will have the opportunity to gain an understanding of product development and fashion buying. This includes learning about merchandise planning, strategy, marketing, costing, sourcing and trend forecasting in relation to product development.

Replicating industry working methods within the classroom is a key aspect to how this unit is taught. For one assignment you will work in a small team as is usual in a large buying office. You will also work individually to construct a visually rich report as if you were working as a professional buyer for a retailer.

This challenging and stimulating course offers insight into the mechanics of commercially focused aspects of the fashion industry and is suitable for students wishing to enter into fashion business.

Fashion 375 (2)
Fashion Drawing
In this unit you will learn how to create a fashion drawing from concept to completion. You will have the opportunity to draw directly from a live model and through observational drawing of figure, garment and fabric you will learn to communicate and express your designs accurately and effectively. This is a very practical unit with a strong emphasis on both demonstrations and individual tutorials. The aim is to take you to another skill level whilst retaining your individuality.

Topics covered will include composition, scale, proportion, drawing construction details, drawing hands/faces/hair and feet, expressing gesture, movement, volume, and contour. You will be given the opportunity to understand the value and application of tonal range, accent, rhythm, contrast, emphasis, texture, and pattern. You will experiment with colour rendering using a variety of media including charcoal, chalk, watercolours, pastels, ink, acrylic, gouache, markers and coloured pencils.

Those who want to improve and practice their drawing skills and those who need to add more personal work to their portfolios would benefit from this unit. The final outcome will be a portfolio of fashion drawing complemented with a personal sketchbook. Suitable for beginners.

Fashion 385 (2)
Sustainable Fashion

In this unit you will be introduced to the role of a garment technologist in the development of fashion products and how they work with the supply chain in collaboration with the design and buying teams.  This course takes a fresh look at the traditional skills of garment technology by responding to the ethical and environmental concerns of the modern fashion industry.

The complete production process will be studied starting with the sketch and progressing from material selection and sampling through to getting the right fit and quality before manufacture. In addition, you will be introduced to the concept of an ethical approach to manufacture at each stage of production. This covers traceability and environmental considerations, as well as workers’ rights.

Using industry case studies, you will gain an insight into current fashion business models and also learn about new technology and innovations that are set to influence the fashion industry in the future.

Marketing 365 (2)
Fashion Marketing in the U.K.
The fashion consumer is becoming all the more powerful, more discerning, more difficult to understand and please. Consumers are now combining mainstream and designer products more readily. This evolving behavior has led to a shopping democracy where selective extravagance is ‘normal’. From a marketing perspective these are changing, challenging yet exciting times with communicating differentiation and unique value key to success.

In this unit you will examine the complexities of marketing fashion in the 21st century, enabling you to understand and identify a range of relevant marketing strategies. The theory of marketing will be explained and you will gain practical insight into how to apply marketing to your fashion practice, whether you are studying design or fashion business. With it becoming increasingly normal for product development to hurtle from concept to consumer in just three weeks, marketing strategies have to be faster conceived, better informed and more precisely targeted than ever before. How you convey your message is based on knowing what you have to say, who should be listening as well as how and when they need to hear it.


In addition to the three required courses students on the Fashion Media and Communication Program select electives from the following list of 9 courses up to a total of 16 semester credits.

Communication 325 (3)
Creative Visual Communication
See Fashion Business Program for course description.

Communications 330 (2)
Social Media and Online Communication
See Fashion Business Program for course description.

Communication 355 (3)
Creative Direction for Fashion Media
Creative Direction involves an intuitive creativity heightened by industry knowledge and sound cross-disciplinary cultural awareness. It’s a skill that brings together concept, design, content and strategy to make an aesthetic statement with which to most effectively communicate an idea. Exercised well, it’s a powerful role in the realisation of artistic vision used across the fashion industry to drive marketing strategies.

In this unit you will explore the methods of communicating ideas, curating and editing concepts in order to reach target audiences and convey relevant and complex messages. This course offers insight into the growing role of Creative Direction as a communication tool for fashion media and fashion business. Researching and analysing contemporary fashion/lifestyle media campaigns and creative projects is key to this unit. Through seminars, discussions and workshops you will have the opportunity to gain a clear understanding of relevant fashion industry working methods, target audience expectations and business goals whilst being pushed towards identifying your strengths and realising your personal vision. This course is recommended to students interested in working in journalism, design, publishing, branding, advertising, curating, creative agencies and general fashion and lifestyle media related projects.

Communication 375 (2)
Fashion Public Relations
See Fashion Business Program for course description.

Fashion 330 (3)
Fashion Styling  
See Fashion Business Program for course description.

Fashion 340 (3)
Fashion Editorial Makeup
In this unit you will examine the role of the makeup artist in fashion editorial and explore creative ways of exploiting the medium to create your own signature approaches.

Gaining an awareness of the synergy between makeup and other styling disciplines and understanding the importance of a joined up vision to create a cohesive look are key to this unit.

Through a combination of lectures, demonstrations and practical workshops you will learn about the history of makeup in a fashion marketing context, examine the importance of makeup as a communicator of both trend and creative vision, and learn about the skills the makeup artists requires to contribute to common goals in a well balanced styling team.

The focus on using makeup as part of a narrative will extend to you being taught practical techniques and processes to allow you to create unique looks, either working to a stylist’s brief or expressing your own self generated ideas.

Journalism 315 (3)
Fashion Journalism
In this unit you will learn a number of important fashion journalism principles including how to generate ideas, compile news stories, write trend reports and come up with the questions to conduct successful interviews. This unit contains a practical and theoretical guide to understanding the disciplines of style journalism. You will be taught and mentored by an experienced industry professional who will pass on how to communicate fashion with authority, in varying styles and writing voices, across multi-platforms and audience.

Each week you will be taught topics from how to generate ideas and research, to the importance of ‘breaking news’ to blogging from the front row; whilst gaining a better understanding of the workings of the industry. High fashion remains a highly organised factory, which works with or without social media.

Marketing 365 (2)
Fashion Marketing in the U.K.

Photography 330 (4)
Fashion Photography

In this unit you will develop the skills every fashion photographer and film maker needs to know and also learn how to use modern technology creatively. Through lectures, discussions, demonstrations, practical workshops and shoots you will closely examine the relationship between theoretical approaches and realistically achievable goals.

You will consider what type of digital camera to use and why, learn what setting combinations mean and which are best to shoot with, acquire an understanding of terminology, and become familiar with the technology and programmes needed for digital image capturing.

Understanding the role of the photographer/director on a shoot is key to this unit. Topics also covered will include how to recognize the potential of available light, the set up and manipulation of studio lighting, appropriate use of movement, the importance of styling, and recognizing technical errors and how to fix them.

This class is for those who are serious about this subject and want to know more about becoming a photographer/film maker or working with fashion imagery in the future. You will create a final piece of work where you will utilise both still and moving image to capture and promote fashion in an innovative and current way.


In addition to the three required courses students on the Fashion Product Design Program select electives from the following list of 10 courses up to a total of 16 semester credits.

Business 320 (2)
Start a Fashion Label

In a highly competitive market anyone running their own fashion business cannot rely on creative flair alone. Business acumen and market knowledge are vital components to commercial success.

In this unit you will learn about the preparation and planning required to launch a fashion label and build a sustainable business. Through lectures, discussions and workshops you will cover all the elements of developing, planning and costing a balanced and realistic product offer ready for launch. Practical aspects of running a fashion business covered will include learning about suitable business structures for starting a fashion label, advantages and disadvantages of being your own boss, the necessity for a business plan, and understanding cash flow as well as profit and loss.

Gaining an awareness of the processes required to develop your product range, from designing and sampling a collection to production, is key to this unit. Topics covered will include sourcing fabrics, working with domestic and overseas manufacturers, and the potential of new manufacturing technologies. From a promotional perspective you will examine methods of selling your collection to domestic and international markets, the role of trade exhibitions and agents, and working with distributors.

Communication 325 (3)
Creative Visual Communication

Design 335 (3)
Shoe Making

Understanding the properties of materials and having the technical skill to fully exploit them is a fundamental driver behind fashion. It’s the acknowledgement of traditional skill and craft that sets the parameters for ambitious experimentation with new technologies. Shoe making is a good example of how long-established making techniques are still both relevant and essential today.

In this unit you will draft a pattern, cut it out of leather and complete ONE perfect court shoe.

Working intensively you will go through all the processes to make a basic court shoe on a specified last. This is a making unit, designed for students to understand the processes involved in constructing a basic shoe through directly experiencing specialised techniques.

You will gain an understanding of all the stages involved in making a technically accurate and sound pattern as well as hand construction methods. You will have the opportunity to use specialised machinery and equipment in our professional Cordwainers footwear workshops, based at Golden Lane.

Design 355 (3)
Menswear Design

Gaining a comprehensive overview of the evolution of the menswear market and understanding what drives and differentiates this aspect of the fashion industry today are key elements in this unit. Informed by this foundation knowledge you will learn how to research, develop and communicate your own design concepts to create innovative and relevant products.

Your instinctive responses to research will be important. Design development will include looking at the principles and elements of menswear clothing and product design to discover the many ways you might interpret research and approaches. You will develop creative skills by experimenting with media and composition to achieve impactful content.

A design research trip, a sketching practice trip plus various assignments will help you discover different ways of using inspiration for the development of original ideas for clothing, accessories, print design and lifestyle objects for the male consumer.

Work and research is discussed on a one to one basis throughout the course. You will present finished work to your peers throughout the course. The unit is suitable for beginners. Suitable for students with drawing skills.

Design 385 (3)

The art of millinery is manipulation of material, form, balance, proportion, line and structure. Headwear is wearable sculpture. It can be a single feather, a leather bow, a piece of twisted plastic or abstract objects on a band. Hat making itself is steaming, twisting, cutting, curling and sculpting materials. The art is in making all these crucial elements work together.

In this unit you will create two pieces of headwear, one traditional and one fantastical.

You will be provided with an opportunity to acquire core making skills with which to explore and expand the usual perception of millinery. You will be encouraged to develop a passion for experimentation and finding creative solutions to design problems. This, combined with inspiration from personal visual research, will bring to life your unique three-dimensional ideas.

The creative journey through this unit is underpinned by access to traditional techniques. Topics covered will include blocking and hand sewing techniques, sculpting methods, fabric manipulation, dyeing techniques, working with feathers (trimming, cutting, curling and twisting), applying veiling & crin, wire work, applying prongs & elastics. Suitable for students with hand sewing skills.

Design 390 (3)
Footwear Design

In this unit you will explore alternative design methods to produce designs for striking/extreme shoes and then ways to commercially translate these ideas into a wearable footwear proposal. With a product design approach you will learn about the basic elements of a shoe, foot analysis and foot anatomy, through various exercises you will examine and deconstruct the product itself. This foundation knowledge will allow you to explore what a shoe can be. You will cover basic and creative footwear drawing, sketching and speed designing, rendering techniques and technical drawing for footwear. As your ideas evolve you will consider how to present and promote your designs. You will work with inspiration, compile mood, colour and materials boards, learn about the importance of consumer/market research, explore design conceptualization through to design development, design a collection and understand range building. The course combines an experimental and innovative attitude to shoe design, whilst also exploring the traditional essentials. Suitable for students with drawing skills.

Design 395 (4)

The corset epitomizes fashion’s relationship between what can be seen and that, which is concealed. The cultural significance of this garment shifts with changes in style and social attitudes. From standardization of silhouette to body distortion, from ‘enslavement’ to empowerment through self-expression, the corset manages to survive through reinterpretation pertinent to the zeitgeist.

What never changes however is the necessity for construction process and attention to detail.

In this unit you will create and construct a Victorian corset, to fit yourself.

This is an opportunity to construct the ultimate foundation garment. You will learn appropriate construction methods, using boning, binding, a busk and eyelets. On completion, through lacing you will understand how this garment may change body shape. Recording the making process in a technical file will create your own personal resource to refer to when undertaking related projects in the future.

Suitable for students with machine sewing skills.

Fashion 320 (4)

Draping, often called modelling, is an innovative and creative method of pattern making used as an important element in the design process. Calico or muslin is manipulated on a garment stand until the design is perfected to the designer’s satisfaction. The shape in fabric is then transferred onto paper to obtain a pattern. This three dimensional approach to creating a pattern helps designers quickly see the evolution and visual effect of a specific style. In this unit you will be introduced to the fundamentals of draping in order to realise your own unique designs in three-dimensional form. You will have the opportunity to develop your own creative project, modelling your own design based on skills and techniques learnt. With a strong emphasis on research, you will produce a file of inspirational images and material to support your own creative ideas.

This unit is particularly suitable for students who have struggled with flat pattern cutting methods. It is also suitable for complete beginners as well as a refresher for those with basic draping skills. Suitable for students with machine sewing skills.

Fashion 330 (3)
Fashion Styling

See Fashion Business Program for course descriptions.

Fashion 370 (2)
Fashion Drawing

Download PDF with full program details on all AIFS England programs!

Download PDF with full program details on all AIFS England, London programs!