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Level 3 Fashion Design*

Fashion is a fast-moving and exciting industry worth billions of pounds to the British economy. It is made up of highly skilled practitioners working in fields as diverse as design, manufacturing, communication and media. British designers like Alexander McQueen and Hussein Chalayan are famous throughout the world for their visionary approach to design while new designers like Phoebe English and Craig Green continue to create works that question what we define as fashion. Creative directors like Katie Grand are famous for creating magazines like LOVE and styling Prada’s catwalk shows, while photographers like Tim Walker continue to thrill with their shoots in Vogue and Dazed.

Fashion Design is an exciting two-year course, taught two days a week. It covers a range of design principles used in the fashion industry like illustration, design development, construction and presentation.

Projects combining theoretical elements and practical application processes 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. Some students decide to stay at the FRA to pursue a specialism further whilst others join industry apprenticeship schemes. On successfully completing and passing a FRA Level 3 Diploma, you will be guaranteed a place on one of our degree courses, providing you with a seamless experience from education to employment

The structure of the Level 3 Fashion Design Diploma course aims to identify your strengths and give you a tighter focus to pursue in the fashion industry. After graduating, you’ll be in the perfect position to pursue further studies at the FRA with a Level 4 Diploma course or Degree.

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 in sketchbooks, construction journals, concept pieces and fashion film to reflect your development. 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.

*The units in this course are currently being reviewed due to funding changes.  Amendments will be published shortly. Any applicants applying before updated course details are released will be automatically moved to the new course and notified of relevant changes.

Introduction to Visual Language – You will learn exactly what Visual Language is and how to confidently apply it in a range of fashion art and design activities.

Introduction to Research Skills in Art and Design – You will develop an understanding of the vital role that research plays in informing and developing ideas.

Introduction to critical and Contextual Awareness in Art and Design – This will provide you with an awareness of the critical perspectives and contextual frameworks that support practical activities in art and design.

Introduction to Materials, Processes and Technical Skills in Art and Design – This unit will provide you with an introduction to a range of materials and processes used in art and design, their particular characteristics, and the related technical skills necessary to record experiences and articulate ideas.

An Integrated Approach to 2D Problem Solving in Art and Design – This unit will develop your ability to critically analyse and integrate research, contextual understanding, materials, methods and skills to solve two-dimensional problems in fashion.

An Integrated Approach to 3D Problem Solving in Art and Design This will develop the student’s ability to critically analyse and integrate research, contextual understanding, materials, methods and skills to solve three-dimensional problems in art and design.

You will take part in your own project set by industry professionals. Previous Level 3 Fashion Design students have taken part in a Topman menswear project, giving them an opportunity to work in small design teams to create a menswear collection. Students were asked to consider the Topman brand, it’s ethos and price point but also encouraged to consider digital marketing strategies and new media such as augmented reality. Students presented their collections and marketing strategies to the senior design team at Topman and one group were selected as prize winners.

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 Applied General Extended Diploma in Art & Design (Fashion Design)

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.

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.


21/10/2019 - 25/10/2019

1 week


23/12/2019 - 10/01/2020

3 weeks


06/04/2020 - 17/04/2020

2 weeks

Apply Now
Meet The Tutor

Meet The Tutor

Jacoob Kimmie, L3 Fashion Design Tutor.


"Jacoob Kimmie was born in South Africa with family roots extending as far as Indonesia, the Netherlands, St Helena and the UK. His great-grand mother, of Cape-Malay slave descent, was presented to and her portrait painted for Queen Victoria at the Colonial and Indian Exhibition in 1886. He was just 11 years old when he made his first dress for a friend who had entered a beauty pageant from a fluorescent yellow plastic meat-packer's suit that his father had bought him to wear as a raincoat. Aged 20, he worked as an illustrator and trends writer. His growing up in coloured townships of Johannesburg during Apartheid is a constant source of energy. Now living in the United Kingdom, Jacob has exhibited his work at LFW and in countries as diverse as Nigeria, South Africa, the UAE, Uzbekistan and Canada."



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.