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Level 3 Fashion Design

Fashion Design is an exciting two-year course accredited UAL extended diploma, taught over two days a week with additional student centred, independent study time. It covers a range of design principles used in the fashion industry like illustration, design development, construction and presentation as well as broader industry related skills that reflect the huge range of roles and opportunities in fashion and creative design industries.

The course is delivered through a range of exciting projects combining theoretical elements and practical, creative making processes and will give you an invaluable set of skills demanded by universities and the fashion industry.

Focusing on Fashion Design and development, the wide reach of the course could reveal aspects you haven’t considered before, giving you different career options to pursue. FRA students have gone on to study women’s wear, menswear, creative direction, design with development, tailoring, fashion journalism, pattern design and textiles at prestigious universities like Central Saint Martins, London College of Fashion and Westminster. The structure of the Level 3 Fashion Design Extended Diploma course aims to identify your strengths and give you a tighter focus to pursue in the fashion industry. Some students decide to stay at the FRA to pursue a specialism further on one of our level 4 qualifications or 2-year degrees whilst others join industry apprenticeship schemes. 

This course is perfect for you if you’re a creative visual thinker and have a flair for drawing, textiles and concept design. You will have an aptitude for pattern-cutting and an affinity for textiles and construction processes. You will create bodies of visual work using a broad range of traditional and contemporary ways; in sketchbooks, construction journals, concept pieces, e portfolios and multimedia. You will visit galleries and museums, watch film and explore books to develop your contextual awareness of the world around you. You will participate in college-wide industry projects. You will present professionally created seminars and expected to critique your peers.

What does a career in Fashion Design involve? Find out here.

Over the 2 years of the course, you will study 6 key areas (units) all embedded into project briefs to introduce you to specialist subjects, development specialist skills and realise your creative practice. You will cover units 1, 2 3 in year one and 4, 5, 6 in year 2. All work is internally assessed; work created for 03 responding to set brief and 06 specialist creative outcome are internally assessed and externally moderated

01 The Creative Process: Students to explore and interrogate the creative process in relation fashion industries to through its various stages. Students will explore, apply and assess the different stages of the creative process in order to develop an understanding of the separate activities within each stage, contextualising the role of the creative process within a creative and professional framework and how these activities inform one another holistically from brief and concept to creative outcomes. 

02 Developing Creative Practice:  Students learn, explore, experiment and refine their creative practice along with gathering knowledge of various materials, techniques and processes used across 2‑dimensional, 3‑dimensional and 4‑dimensional creative practices within the fashion industries including garment design and construction. They will understand how to safely use creative practice skills to solve problems, develop outcomes and present work appropriate to the fashion industries.

03 Responding to a set brief: This is the summative unit for the first year and allows students to evidence their learning throughout the whole of year 1 by responding to a set brief and evidencing their ability to develop a project proposal, generate ideas and produce and present outcomes that evidence practical skills to realise creative outcomes, reflect on the creative process, and use reflective practice to inform and direct the choices they make and how successful they have been in meeting the brief.

04 Researching a Specialist Industry Practice: Students explore all aspects of a chosen specialist industry practice within the fashion industries, to inform their development as a creative practitioner and influence their future career progression.

05 Specialist Technical Skills Development: With a central focus on in‑depth technical, practical skills and creative processes associated with a chosen specialist industry practice, students will refine their understanding of their chosen specialist industry practice through focused material and process led exploration and experimentation, presentation techniques to demonstrate their technical expertise.

06 Specialist Creative Outcome: Students will realise all their learning they have developed throughout the qualification, by realising and presenting a self‑initiated project, this is a detailed and in-depth body of work that gives students ownership of their own creative practise.

Throughout the course you will take part in projects and challenges set by industry professionals. Previous Level 3 Fashion Design students have taken part in projects set by sector leaders such as ASOS and Topman, working directly with industry practitioners.

The Level 3 Fashion Design Diploma course has been created to reflect that of a working practitioner in Fashion to develop your self and independence skills. A typical day might begin with you researching ideas for a design project, and then heading into a digital design studio to create a new set of prints. In the afternoon you might be draping on the stand before presenting this to your peers and tutors for critical feedback.

On successful completion of the course students will have a broad overview of the fashion design industry. Some students choose to go directly into employment in the fashion industry in junior positions or as assistants in design, sample and production departments. Alternatively students may go onto a FRA Level 4 Diploma course or Degree. 

Awarding Body: UAL

Qualification Title: Level 3 Diploma and Extended Diploma in Creative Practice: Art, Design and Communication

Age Requirement: 16+

Start date: September 7th

Course duration: 2 years, 2 days a week

Entry Criteria: 5 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above, including Maths and English. If you have any non-UK qualifications, please provide us with a NARIC Statement of Comparability, as well as, the IELTS test for English language (our entry requirement is 5.5 overall and in all sections) if you have not studied in the UK or English speaking country.

If necessary, please contact IELTS prior to booking your test to confirm how they are testing during the current pandemic of COVID-19.

Offers: After completing our online form, your application will be processed and you will receive the outcome by post and e-mail within 5-10 working days. If we decide you would benefit from an interview, we will contact you with an invite. Your offer will be based on your predicted grades and is only secure after Enrolment.

Fees: If you are 16-18 as of 31st August in the academic year of which your course starts and are a UK resident you will be eligible for full fee remission and do not have to pay any tuition fees.

If you are 19 or over at the start of your course your fees are £4220 per annum. For a full list of course fees please visit our Fees Page. Advanced Learning Loans are available for anyone aged 19 or over. 

Please note that there is a course materials contribution of £99 per year for all students.

Disclaimer on fees: Tuition fees are subject to change - the fees due are effective at enrolment.

Applications are processed in the order they are received and you may be required to attend an interview.

Start Date: 7 September, 2020

Half Term: 26-30 October, 2020

Christmas Holiday: 21 December, 2020 - 8 January, 2021

Half Term: 29 March - 9 April, 2021

Last Day of Term: 25 June, 2021

Apply Now


Lucinda Crowhurst, Graduated 2014, L3 Fashion Design.

"The facilities they have on offer are to the highest standard and the overall environment has a homely and friendly feel."



Kate Kamsa, Graduated 2015, L3 Fashion Design.


"My time at the Fashion Retail Academy taught me so much, I gained confidence in my work and myself. I have continued to work on my personal style in fashion. The FRA gave me best friends of life as well as good industry contacts. The teachers are so experienced and have opened to me the world of fashion."

Meet the Fashion Designer

Meet the Fashion Designer

Lucy Sampson, Menswear Knitwear Designer, Next


My role at Next is really varied with a huge creative focus, as you’d expect.  The most exciting element is the travel and I love going to new cities to find inspiration and see what trends are out there.  This helps the creative process and it’s comp trips like this that help to inspire us when we create mood boards for a new range, alongside forecasting sites such as WSGN.  We use computer software such as CAD to create a design concept, sending detail instructions to suppliers to make a prototype sample.  The best things are the job are seeing my designs in-store or on the high street, and knowing that something I have created is a top 10 best seller.