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Relevant and immediate

Key details

  • 180 credits
  • 1 year programme
  • Full-time study

School or Centre

The Fashion MA programme asks for a disruptive critical approach, leading to new aesthetics and responses about the practice and industry of fashion.

Still accepting applications for 2022 entry. See the Key Dates webpage for round 4 details.

This programme is subject to validation

Fashion is designed, created, articulated, manipulated, and simulated in both physical and digital spaces. It aims for a state change, where you are open to new and emerging thinking and to unlearning. It is also at its best when guided by diversity, inclusivity and cultural awareness. We must perceive systems and structures, and express our fashion identities with an awareness of how our values are embedded in our outputs. This programme creates an environment where you can engage with these processes. This will include an exploration of themes such as gender, culture, race, justice, nature, time, space, data, science, materials and magic. Throughout you will have the opportunity to reflect on, discuss and strengthen your own authentic identity, and help others to do the same.

Explore further

Visit 2022.rca.ac.uk to view graduate work by our students, 2021.rca.ac.uk to view work from the class of 2021.

Watch a recording of the MA Fashion Open Day presentation from November 2021.



The School of Design is based across our Battersea and Kensington sites.

View all facilities

Students have access to the College’s workshops, with traditional facilities for woodworking, metalworking, plastics and resins, including bookable bench spaces. Computer-driven subtractive milling equipment is available, as well as additive rapid prototyping.

  • View of the Fashion studio

    View of the Fashion studio

  • Fashion facilities

    Fashion facilities

  • Working in the Fashion studios

    Working in the Fashion studios

More details on what you'll study.

Find out what you'll cover in this programme.

What you'll cover

This programme is subject to validation

In the MA Fashion programme you will have the opportunity to choose one of three platforms: BIO, DIGITAL 360 or SYSTEMS. These are designed to give students an opportunity to work with tutors and peers to explore themes that responds to their emerging practice and develop new spaces, materials, identities and business models. There are points of intersection where students can engage with peers across platforms. There will also be an opportunity to participate in the School of Design’s interdisciplinary Grand Challenge, which enables all students to work collaboratively to develop projects that anticipate and respond to key societal concerns.

This programme is subject to validation

The programme is delivered across three terms and includes a combination of programme, School and College units.

Term 1

New Perspectives - This unit is an intense series of shared perspectives, that aims to strengthen (and yet ask you to debate), your own values and critical thinking about Fashion as identity.  

There will be a series of lectures that might cover, Gender, Culture, Race, Digital Values, Design Justice, that might question our relationships to Nature, Time, Space, Data, our Planet, Ourselves, and then to open us up further Neuroscience, Material Hierarchies, and Philosophy; possibly even magic. Parallel to the lectures, there will be a series of workshops run by the Fashion technical team, working only with material from within the RCA studio and a series of intuitive workshops.

Platforms - This unit sets out distinct yet interrelated ways in which you might engage with a developing and changing fashion industry and will support you in investigating experimental approaches to your practice.  This is a unit to provoke and challenge existing norms about the Fashion industry and given ideas about Identity through BIO, DIGITAL 360, and SYSTEMS.

BIO, DIGITAL 360, and SYSTEMS looks to unite values, sustainability, planet centred thinking, cultural identities and connected patterns and networks, as embodied experiences across potential different geographical and temporal scales.

Across Terms 1 and 2, you will participate in the College-wide unit. This unit aims to support students to meet the challenges of a complex, uncertain and changing world by bringing them together to work collaboratively on a series of themed projects informed by expertise within and beyond the College. These projects will challenge you to use your intellect and imagination to address key cultural, social, environmental and economic challenges. In doing so, you will develop and reflect on the abilities required to translate knowledge into action, and help demonstrate the contribution that the creative arts can make to our understanding and experience of the world.

Term 2

Term 2 allows time to collaborate and explore further while collectively responding to grand challenges and Electives that could deepen your knowledge, disrupt and expand thinking, depending on your choices. A critical response to your own and others' work that is open, fluid and alternative to what you might have assumed.

In term 2 all School of Design students will participate in the Grand Challenge, School-wide unit. The aim of this unit is to connect and challenge all students in the School through the introduction of a ‘wicked’ design problem that requires a cross disciplinary approach to problem solving involving an external international scientific or industry partner (or both). This unit and lecture series has been hugely successful in connecting and disrupting disciplines, people, philosophies and approaches to design thinking whilst providing our student body with very unique networking opportunities.

Term 3

Independent Research Project (IRP) - The Independent Research Project (IRP) is an opportunity for each student to take responsibility for their practice by developing their own brief. Through the programme, you will have been encouraged to experiment with a range of disciplinary and interdisciplinary ideas and practices. Through focused self-study the IRP enables you to apply that learning to a unique project and body of work. While this should be informed by your studies it should not be seen as fully conclusive; it is an emerging work that is now apparent and unambiguously your own voice as a designer.

You will be mentored throughout the IRP to help you develop your voice and your project. There will also be opportunities to make connections with peers throughout the IRP. This includes a burst mode week called ‘Mirror Mirror’ where students can present work in progress and give and receive peer feedback. A ‘Final Engagement’, will ask professional experts to critique your choices through a series of talks, post a public-facing event.


What you need to know before you apply

Candidates are selected entirely on merit and applications are welcomed from all over the world. The selection process considers creativity, imagination and innovation as demonstrated in your portfolio, as well as your potential to benefit from the programme and to achieve high MA standards overall.

We want students who wish to articulate new perspectives, develop their imagination and advance an enquiry about their discipline, practice and industry. You’ll be self-motivated, determined critical thinkers and passionate about their discipline, as well as technically curious and independent.

What's needed from you

Your portfolio is a showcase of your work as an artist or designer and can be made up of images, videos or writing examples. Your portfolio helps us to better understand your application and allows you to show evidence of your ability and motivation to undertake a given programme.

Generally, we’re looking for you to demonstrate your:

  • Creativity, imagination and innovation
  • Ability to articulate the intentions of the work
  • Intellectual engagement in areas relevant to the work
  • Technical skills appropriate to the work
  • Potential to benefit from the programme

We are looking for your unique vision.

How you present your work whether by filming for the atmosphere, sound, 360 degree reveal or the graphic layout for a future magazine, screen or publication, please consider everything you choose…

Fashion is a design language of communication so what might inform as this proposal will be viewed as your complete world and language.

  • What are the steps in your process? Have you ever considered drawing-up a schematic of this?
  • What materials are important to your work and why?
  • When you design how much do you consider the body? And do you show the specificity of that body and form – scale culture gender.
  • How do you choose to investigate your design through make? Do you create multiple iterations or focus on the engineering of a few prototypes?
  • Can you present your experimentations and then show us how you edit and curate from these for the next steps in design?
  • Show us what you considered to have failed and why.

Please use the following to guide your ten spaces:

  1. STRONGEST CLEAR IMAGE about your unique LANGUAGE in design
  2. Video of what you research, what you believe and why including a personal sketch
  3. Video of process how you make draw consider view touch experience showing methodologies and intuitive process
  4. Video of work on body in appropriate movement and situation including garment/ artefact imagery edited from fittings or editorial visuals
  5. Video of design work a selection including recent work, research and design development, in-depth research about material to application of concept, rendered illustrations and flats of at least four projects/ concepts
  6. Images of iterations of design process thinking
  7. Image of design concluded
  8. Images of iterations of design process thinking
  9. Image of design concluded
  10. Image of final work that shows your known or explored digital approaches, showing method of design or communication

If you are not a national of a majority English-speaking country you will need the equivalent of an IELTS Academic score of 6.5 with a 6.0 in the Test of Written English (TWE) and at least 5.5 in other skills. Students achieving a grade of at least 6.0, with a grade of 5.5 in the Test of Written English, may be eligible to take the College’s English for Academic Purposes course to enable them to reach the required standard.

You are exempt from this requirement if you have received a 2.1 degree or above from a university in a majority English-speaking nation within the last two years.

If you need a Student Visa to study at the RCA, you will also need to meet the Home Office’s minimum requirements for entry clearance.

Find out more about English-language requirements

Fees & funding

For this programme

Fees for new students

Fees for September 2022 entry on this programme are outlined below. From 2021 onward, EU students are classified as Overseas for tuition fee purposes.

Overseas and EU


New entrants to the College will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit in order to secure their place. This will be offset against the tuition fees.

Overseas and EU

* Total cost is based on the assumption that the programme is completed in the timeframe stated in the programme details. Additional study time may incur additional charges.



Scholarships are awarded for a specific programme and entry point and cannot be deferred without consent from the academic Programme and scholarships panel.

More information

External funding

There are many funding sources, with some students securing scholarships and others saving money from working. It is impossible to list all the potential funding sources; however, the following information could be useful.


Tuition fees are due on the first day of the academic year and students are sent an invoice prior to beginning their studies. Payments can be made in advance, on registration or in two instalments.

Start your application

RCA students at work (photo: Richard Haughton)

Change your life and be here in 2022

The Royal College of Art welcomes applicants from all over the world.

Before you begin

Make sure you've read and understood the entrance requirements
Visit the requirements page
Check you have all the information you need to apply.
Read our application process guide
Visit our applications portal to get started

Ask a question

Get in touch if you’d like to find out more or have any questions.

Email us at
[email protected]
Lucy Barlow