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Fashion

Overview

Relevant and immediate

Key details

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

School or Centre

Next open day

Application deadline

  • 4 Jan 2023

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

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.

Please note all applications must be submitted by 12 noon on the given deadline.

Explore further

Visit 2022.rca.ac.uk to view graduate work by our students.

Watch Art on the Grass, an art installation by 70 MA Fashion students in Victoria Park, London.

Catch the replays from our November 2022 online Open Day.

Gallery

Facilities

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.

  • Lecture in the Dark

    Lecture in the Dark

More details on what you'll study.

Find out what you'll cover in this programme.

What you'll cover

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.

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

Term 1

New Perspectives: Talk Debate Draw, 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 may cover, Gender, Culture, Race, Digital Values, Design Justice, and that question our relationships to Nature, Time, Space, Data, our Planet, Ourselves. It will then to open us up further to Neuroscience, Material Hierarchies, and Philosophy. 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 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.

Term 2

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.

Advanced Practise gives space to further articulate your unique perspective, system and aesthetic for Fashion, that may have emerged during your first term and the units completed so far. It will be a time to identify spaces in the landscape that require new responses, and consider how Fashion might change behaviours. This might include non-hierarchical thinking, trans & post humans, all gender identities, inclusivity with an intersectional breadth, debate about the position of non-human agency, taking an open view to economics that includes all and offers alternatives.

Across Terms 1 and 2, you will participate in AcrossRCA, the College-wide unit. See below for more details.

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.

Situated at the core of your RCA student experience, this ambitious interdisciplinary College- wide AcrossRCA unit supports how you respond to the challenges of complex, uncertain and changing physical and digital worlds by engaging you in a global creative network that draws on expertise within and beyond the institution. It provides an extraordinary opportunity for you to:

  • make connections across disciplines
  • think critically about your creative practice
  • develop creative networks within and beyond the College
  • generate innovative responses to complex problems
  • reflect on how to propose ideas for positive change in local and/or global contexts.

AcrossRCA launches with a series of presentations from internationally acclaimed speakers that will encourage you to think beyond the discourses of art, architecture, communication, and design, and extend into other territories such as economics, ethics, science, engineering, medicine or astrophysics.

In interdisciplinary teams you will be challenged to use your intellect and imagination to respond to urgent contemporary themes, providing you with an opportunity to develop innovative and disruptive thinking, critically reflect on your responsibilities as a creative practitioner and demonstrate the contribution that the creative arts can make to our understanding and experience of the world. This engagement with interdisciplinary perspectives and practices is designed both to complement your disciplinary studies and provide you with a platform to thrive beyond graduation.

Requirements

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

What else would you like us to know about you? What we would like to hear is your individual voice and questions about Fashion as design. How you might describe your work in your own words and language (sub-titles are an option if you are speaking in your own language).

We want to hear about your enquiry, honesty, values and questions as a designer that offer us insight into your way of thinking and working is relevant to today’s global community. Here are some questions that might assist you, but please feel free to direct this two minutes in your own individual way.

  • What do you look to achieve whilst you study at the RCA?
  • Is there a question that you feel the Fashion industry needs to respond to?
  • Is there a new system you would like to investigate? Is there an area about identity for our future, that looks across gender, faith, race, culture, digital, ethics, climate?
  • How might you materialise your work, articulate in the physical or the digital? What machines or software are you interested in investigating and exploring?
  • Why do you do … what you do? How do you process your thinking? What processes have become important to your work or what might lead your next steps in your design processes?

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 2023 entry on this programme are outlined below. From 2021 onward, EU students are classified as Overseas for tuition fee purposes.

Home
(subsidised)
£14,175 *
Overseas and EU
£33,600 *

Deposit

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.

Home
£1,000
Overseas and EU
£2,000

* 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

Scholarships

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

Scholarships targeted to students enrolling onto a number of RCA MA programmes to enable students to unlock full potential regardless of their financial circumstances. Preference will be given to students from underrepresented communities.

Funding Categories: Financial hardship, Full time, Students from under-represented communities

Eligible fee status: UK fee status

Value: Up to seven full-fee tuition fee scholarships

Supporting students on any MA programme from the UK (Preferably is a Scottish national), experiencing financial hardship.

Funding Categories: Financial hardship, Full time, Student preferably of Scottish origin

Eligible fee status: UK fee status

Value: £10,000

Supporting MA Fashion students from the UK, experiencing financial hardship

Funding Categories: Financial hardship, Full time

Eligible fee status: UK fee status

Value: £10,000

Supporting UK Fashion students in financial hardship and from underrepresented communities

Funding Categories: Financial hardship, Students from under-represented communities

Eligible fee status: UK fee status

Value: Two scholarships valued at £30,000 each

Supporting MA Fashion and MA Textiles students experiencing financial hardship

Funding Categories: Financial hardship, Full time

Eligible fee status: UK fee status

Value: Full fee scholarship

The Scholarship supports 21 UK MA, MRes and PhD students every year from across all RCA MA, MRes and PhD disciplines.

Funding Categories: Financial hardship, Students with Black African and Caribbean diaspora heritage, or mixed Black African and Caribbean diaspora heritage

Eligible fee status: UK fee status

Value: £21,000

Supporting MA Fashion experiencing financial hardship

Funding Categories: Financial hardship

Eligible fee status: Any

Value: Two bursaries of £4,000 each

To provide scholarships to students onto any RCA programme, from underrepresented communities, and facing financial challenges. Preference will be given to those identifying as Black or Black British; Asian or Asian British; or from a mixed background.

Funding Categories: Financial hardship, Full time, Students from underrepresented communities who identify as Black/Black British; Asian/British Asian; or or mixed heritage.

Eligible fee status: UK fee status

Value: Up to sixteen full fee scholarships

Supporting School of Design students from the UK from under-represented communities. Preference for those identifying as Black or Black British (Caribbean); Black or Black British (African), or other Black background.

Funding Categories: Students with Black African and Caribbean diaspora heritage, or mixed Black African and Caribbean diaspora heritage

Eligible fee status: UK fee status

Value: One scholarship valued at £35,000

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.

Payments

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 2023. Applications now open.

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

Before you begin

1.
Make sure you've read and understood the entrance requirements
Visit the requirements page
2.
Check you have all the information you need to apply.
Read our application process guide
3.
Consider attending an Open Day, or one of our portfolio or application advice sessions
See upcoming sessions
4.
Please note, all applications must be submitted by 12 noon on the given deadline.
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.

Register your interest with us here
Lucy Barlow